What we want to ask ourselves at OuiShare Fest Barcelona
Translation by Stela Zarija
The fact that Collaborative and Open Economy is a transformative power for society can be considered a cliché in the light of the headlines that already appear almost daily in the media. What we didn’t know was that the future would be so promising.
Beyond the most visible symptoms of this accelerated digital disruption (start-ups, investors, protests against the status quo, etc.) we want to explore the real potential of collaborative economy as a transforming power of society: a production model based on the aggregate capacities of individuals, with the potential to drastically reduce the costs of production and access to goods and services that opens the door to an economy of abundance. This forces us to rethink the labor model, the mechanisms of the welfare state and the way to deal with regulations.
“It is a phenomenon with a huge impact on our society that is radically changing the way in which, until now, people have solved and met their needs”- Marc Cortés, Managing Director at Roca Salvatella.
If there is a more efficient way to organize things, society has the right to benefit from it, but how do we carry out this process of creative destruction? Should we limit the potential of exponential growth of these models? Are citizens or platforms subject to regulation? And at what level: city, nation or EU level? Has someone achieved to close the circle?
During OuiShare Fest Barcelona 2015, we want to delve into the possible meanings of the expression “Collaborative transformation” which we’ve selected as the slogan of the event.Like everyone else, we have many questions. OuiShare, as a think tank for the collaborative economy, believes that the most important thing to get interesting answers is to ask appropriate questions, to have a dialogue and an open debate about them.
“Making predictions is difficult… especially about the future” – Niels Bohr, Nobel Prize in Physics 1922
Therefore, the event program will explore in different ways a wide range of questions that we must have the courage to ask:
1. For what and to whom does a company serve in 2015? What is cataloged as “collaborative” is or should be ‘social’ by default? What should be the role of organizations within the collaborative society? How can they go beyond the traditional capture of economic benefits and begin to contribute to common interest successfully? Do we know how to measure this type of contributions? Are there collaborative entrepreneurs that can innovate in values or they just focus on promoting “platform capitalism”? What cross learning is there among traditional corporations, collaborative start-ups and cooperatives of social and solidarity economy?
2. The new production model leads us to an optimum production scale = 1. The renting of a room, transportation of an empty seat, a second hand items shop, etc. Producing citizens are new economic operators that put value to what they have, what they know, what they like, for the pleasure of contributing to the common benefit, for social recognition or in exchange for money. The current system is not designed nor prepared to accommodate this new operator. Are we facing a revolution of unforeseeable consequences or are we underestimating the ability of people to build new productive relationships?
3. In 2015, there are already producing citizens who are living thanks to the collaborative economy. Really? Who are they? What are they like? Why do they do it? Do they pay taxes? How are they organized to defend their rights? And, on the side of the platforms they use, who is responsible of taking care of this community of users? How a balanced relationship between providers and the platform is achieved? How to share value, integrate them, encourage them and retain them?
4. Must we stop talking about the future of work and talk only about the future of income? How collaboration affects the concepts of employment and income? Are we going towards a world of “micro-freelancers” hired via on-demand platforms? What support network should we create to avoid a 2.0 precarization? Is basic income part of the solution? What other benefits and rewards are there beyond money in the use of these platforms? Do my reputation and data have economic value?
5. The reduction of the optimal scale also affects nation states. The new subject to understand the world is the city-state: collaborative cities. A vision of the city that goes a step beyond the smart cities when it associates with citizens and all their capabilities at the center of innovation and solutions. Productive cities with digital factories in each neighborhood and self-sufficient at the energy and food level. Human cities that are a smart destination and are socially inclusive both for those who live in them and for those who are just visiting.
6. “Organizations of the open and collaborative economy are able to do things that traditional ones are not able to do now, and do that many times in a cheaper, more transparent and more efficient way. Sometimes, insultingly better. “How do they grow so fast and have such high ratings without having their own assets? Can we design an exponential growth on the basis of these learnings?
7. Beyond the allegations of unfair competition and other obstacles put by the status quo to defend its interests and current position, how are traditional businesses responding and adapting to the collaborative economy? Is investing or buying a collaborative startup that has become the competition the best option? Is the large scale a benefit or a burden for adaptation to the new environment? If new things cannot be old-fashioned, what organizational and cultural changes must accompany changes in the business model? Is ethics the next engine of disruption? How can we create “future-proof companies”?
8. With so many profound changes and on so many fronts at the same time, how can the government respond to regulate activities and guarantee the rights of all stakeholders? How can it use them advantageously to regulate large flows of data generated by the collaborative economy of digital basis? Is the self-regulation of the industry part of the solution? Should these platforms that facilitate mass coordination between citizens be considered a public infrastructure? Is regulation a good mechanism to maximize the potential of the social impact made by these platforms?
9. When we make projections on the future, we always think from our point of view, but the Europeans with Western culture are a minority! How are they adopting and adapting the collaborative economy in other parts of the world? How do they innovate with a younger, more connected population and eager to change things from its roots, prioritizing the creation of a common interest and the collective benefit instead of the individual interest? Is this the “real” collaborative economy focusing on the people from which we should learn?
10. We have been talking about consumption and collaborative economy for several years now, but what’s new in 2015 and beyond? What business ecosystems are generated from large platforms? What needs are there that can be a good option to engage with open and collaborative economy? Are blockchain, the decentralization and “capital light” start-ups the future of collaborative economy? Which business models based on openness achieve sustainability? On what initiatives are betting impact investors?