Experiments And Innovations In Collaborative Consumption

Experiments And Innovations In Collaborative Consumption

We've been seeing a rise in applications and services that facilitate communities forming around sharing both resources and experiences.

Paloma M. Vazquez
  • 17 march 2011

The notion of collaboration has been on many minds and formed part of many conversations lately. Incredibly related is the notion of collaborative consumption, more formally defined by author Rachel Botsman as “the rapid explosion in traditional sharing, bartering, lending, trading, renting, gifting, and swapping reinvented through network technologies.” eBay and ZipCar are among the earliest and most ubiquitous examples.

We’ve been seeing a rise in applications and services that facilitate communities forming around sharing both resources and experiences; AirBnB (nightly rentals offered by locals) and Swap are some additional examples gaining attention. But of course, disruptive innovation continues around niche interests, with new services and applications launching daily.

We were recently introduced to two such examples of how collaboration (and collaborative consumption) communities are forming around specific, niche interests, which we found to be particularly interesting for their relevance to the art/design and foodie community. Case in point:

  • Let’s Swap bills itself as ‘a place where artists and designers can swap art for free’. While not yet accepting ‘open swapping’, Let’s Swap is an experiment among the art and design community, featuring a single ‘swap’ and artist at a time, with the goal of featuring a new swap weekly. Currently, only the featured artist will pick their favorite submissions and swap for them – with Let’s Swap showcasing & rewarding them with an artist credit. Artists are encouraged to keep submitting their work, until one is picked by the featured artist, showcased & credited.
  • Grubwithus invites users to ‘build your friendships over food’ and ‘meet new people over a family-style meal’. Users can browse the site to find people and/or places to each with and at (where they’re at), reserve a seat through their payment system (hello, monetization!) and to subsequently just show up socialize.

Collaboration (and sharing) continued to demonstrate itself as an evolving, multi-faceted but relevant ‘trend’ at SXSW this year, with startup services like GroupMe (group messaging), Beluga (real-time group communication and participation) and SoundTracking (sharing the ‘soundtrack to your life’) getting significant attention. We’re ready to dig into some of the startup coming out of SxSW this year, and figuring out the broader ideas, insights & evolving behaviors they play to.

Let’s Swap


+Collaborative Consumption
+Electronics & Gadgets
+Media & Publishing
+mobile app
+Rachel Botsman
+web service
+Work & Business

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