Can Collaborative Economy be for good?

For the very first time, this year at OuiShare Fest 15 the question of Social Impact will be explored with a dedicated track entitled “Collaborative Economy and Social Impact – Bridging The Gap Between Solidarity And Collaborative Economies.” Here’s a presentation of its content, revealing its targets and orientation.

The Social Impact Track at OuiShare Fest 15 intends to explore the question of impact, and create an overall understanding of where we are now on solving social problems through collaborative models. Besides keynotes and panels of experts, workshops are designed to experiment the power of collaborative patterns to tackle the most pressing social issues faced today.

Did you say “impact-making”?

The Collaborative Economy has drawn attention to its potential impacts on businesses, communities and organizations about how it can facilitate access to services and products through the consolidation of community networks of trust.

Presented as truly game-changing and promising by aficionados, collaborative models are said to make life better for users, and most of the time, even supposed to have positive impacts on their (economical, social, local…) environment. On the other side, rising criticisms have questioned this view, with some voices pointing out, on the contrary, the potential negative impacts of initiatives from the Collaborative Economy. All this sterile dialogue needs to be heard as a great call to produce knowledge regarding the impact of collaborative models, and most specifically their social impact.

Thus, beyond all assumptions, what knowledge do we have today regarding impacts of collaborative models?

Given the wide range of collaborative patterns, Kathleen Stokes will provide insights regarding the impact of the probably most famous collaborative symbol: platforms. (Attend keynote #1).

In parallel to this questioning about impact, we need to recognize that many actors, and for years now, are creating “positive impacts”, such as NGO’s and the so-called social entrepreneurs. It is usually argued that a dialogue is missing between traditional change-makers and innovators from the Collaborative Economy. Christina Jaëger will express her vision of the following questions:

Is there a real cultural gap, impossible to overcome? What collaborative practices do have the social impact world? How can both worlds collaborate to trigger innovative solutions? (Attend keynote #2).

Questioning the inclusiveness of collaborative solutions

While social business players tend to focus on making products and services accessible to the “bottom of the pyramid” (i.e. the poorest socio-economic group), a common criticism against initiatives within the Collaborative Economy is their habitility to efficiently serve a wide range of users.

One can ask, is the collaborative economy for educated and urban middle class only? Through this question, our experts, Helen Goulden, Shelby ClarkEmanuele Musa and Koffi Sénamé Agbodjinou will help us explore the question of the actual users and beneficiaries of collaborative services. Plus, discussions will also intend to identify new ideas and trails to serve people who are usually left aside.

Solving social issues here and there

Even less discussed than effective impacts of collaborative models, in a context of multidimensional crisis, is the actual potential of Collaborative Economy initiatives against the rising number of social issues and needs.

Most probably, many projects at the intersection of social change and collaborative practices are already change-making, in both emerging and developped countries. Our experts, Asmaa Guedira, Tomas de Lara, Katia Morales and Christina Jaëger will help us get a better understanding of the current situation asking “could the collaborative economy help address poverty and exclusion?“.

Experiencing the power of collaborative models

To go further panel discussions, the social impact track aims to create a practical understanding of both social and collaborative worlds, and co-create new ideas and solutions for social challenges, through three workshops:

  1. Helping Mediterranean countries to grow collaborative economy initiatives and social innovation, with Asmaa Guedira and Burcu Tuncer (Join the workshop #1). 
  2. Social Impact challenge:  improving the refugees situation with collaborative models with Alizée Lozac’hmeur and Ben Webster (Join the workshop #2). 
  3. Learning from P2P practices to design solutions for commonly faced social issues, with Christina Sakali and Khushboo Balwani (Join the workshop #3). 

The outcomes of all panels, keynotes and workshops will be shared afterwards through the Fest report.