Things are moving in Europe.

On the 4th and 5th of July shareNL and the EU Policy Lab of the Commission's Joint Research Center, engaged in a co-design session to develop a first prototype of the Sharing City Canvas. A gamified tool designed mostly for decision-makers, and also any other organizations interested in gaining a better understanding about the dynamics of the collaborative economy. 

Together with game-makers and designers, legislators, EU officials (in one room!), and myself in a double role of expert and citizen, we played for hours! This resulted in a success, and a first prototype - a victory in its own right (wink).  Although in its preliminary stage, this lean approach will allow us to test this prototype in real life and gather feedback to create an improved version. 

So does this mean Europe is getting into sharing? Indeed it is. It’s not very surprising looking at the collaborative economy’s growth in the amount of platforms, users and gross revenue in all EU member states. With the worldwide confirmation “the Sharing Economy is here to stay”, the pressing question on how the EU will respond, and which approach Europe will take on the collaborative economy, has been cautiously answered by the Commission in a publication on the 2nd of June.

In essence, the EU takes a positive stance on the new and often disruptive business models, and calls upon EU member states not to nip collaborative economy initiatives in the bud. Apart from expressing Europe’s vision in line with European values, the Commission also formulated some guidelines - though these aren’t binding (yet). 

Meaning that in the light of the development of a Digital Single Market for Europe, a regulatory framework for the collaborative economy still remains a task to accomplish. This is quite a challenge looking at the complexities of the field. There are a plethora of sharing economy business models operating in different local contexts in each of the EU Member States. There is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and a better understanding is needed. How do platforms work, what are the dynamics, the motivations and behavior of its users? “What if?”: What are the effects of the collaborative economy in relation to different circumstances?

To explore the implications of scenarios on future policy measures, the EU Policy Lab and shareNL are currently prototyping a gamified tool, The Sharing City Canvas. For its creation and other subjects the Commission is gathering knowledge and building on the expertise of specialists in the field. Just like ourselves.

The game is on! 

So what’s the game – Sharing City Canvas - about?
The tool could be seen as a new, experimental and collaborative approach to Public Consultation. It’s an interactive game with elements of role playing, chance, sharing coins, and a set of challenge and assets cards. All the actors in the urban environment are represented. In level 1 engaged citizens will be invited to participate, and co-create solutions for the challenges presented playing their assets cards. Knowledge will be gathered and ideas harvested.

The game has similarities with the Sharing City Game, yet has a deeper layer. In the second level the ambition is to allow stakeholders to deduce elements that can serve in the discussion about the dynamics and impact of the collaborative economy. Possibly also opportunities of public-private partnerships may arise, or new ideas for sharing platforms. The goal is of course always keeping the public interest in mind and along the way it narrows the gap between decision-makers and citizens. Nothing better than to bring together a group of adults around a table and play!

If you want to be part of the next Sharing Gameplay, stay tuned!

By Samantha van den Bos