As debates about the opportunities and challenges of the collaborative economy become ever more polarised, we have paid insufficient attention to how collaborative platforms can create social and environmental impact. On November first, Pieter participated in ShareLab. The most-needed event organized by Nesta, where 200 policymakers, entrepreneurs, innovators and researchers gathered to better understand how public services, civil society and the private sector can engage with, develop and harness collaborative platforms for good.

We looked at areas ranging from finance to healthcare, from education and skills to knowledge and the commons, and from future technology to the role of existing mainstream collaborative platforms.

Pieter presented the story of shareNL and how difficult it can be as a social enterprise to balance out earning money and delivering a positive impact. Here are Pieter's key take-aways:

- There is a big appetite among city leaders looking at the collaborative economy for more city-to-city learning. Not just to deal with new challenges presented by large collaborative economy platforms, but also to make the most out of the opportunities of the collaborative economy: social cohesion, sustainability and economic resilience.

- The biggest challenge is to bridge the gap between all organisations that have been working on delivering social and environmental value for decades (including governments, NGO's, foundations, charities), and the new generation of social tech entrepreneurs. The worlds operate almost entirely in different ecosystems with different work ethics and even different languages.

- We are just getting started. Most organisations from within the collaborative economy exists for less than five to ten years. If we can create more events and projects where the new social enterprises can interact with long-existing purpose driven organisations, we will be able to increase our combined impact significantly. At shareNL we are comited to do just that: working together with the entire playing field so that we can help shaping a world where everyone has access to all products and services, necessary for a connected, prosperous, sustainable and happy life. The collaborative economy is a driving force of a new era, and it could lead us to a more social, sustainable and economically sound society.

Curious about the event? Videos are available here