Sharing is exploring, Part III – Explore collaborative consumption


“In both developed and developing parts of the world, people are exploring how to use goods and services more collaboratively, combining personal and societal value, unlocking opportunities for organizations of all kinds and, ultimately, creating new ways for us to enjoy life and live sustainably at the same time.”

– Steve Mushkin, CEO of Latitude


In the previous posts of the “Sharing is Caring” series we have learned why time-sharing became so successful and how the sharing economy developed. This time we will explore collaborative consumption.

And the questions that naturally arise are:

What kind of sharing economies are there?
And in particular, what are collaborative consumption ideas or companies that could change my life?

Well, there are more and more sharing economy ideas sprouting up and we can discover many different kinds of those. In order to get a clearer overview, we can categorize them into several fields because every collaborative consumption idea can be categorized into one of three fields due to its characteristics. I am so excited because I am about to explore some great sharing economy concepts of every field!

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Product Service Systems

“Rent something you don’t own!”
The main idea behind Product Service Systems is that you can borrow things you don’t posess from somebody else in exchange for money.

Carsharing is an extrodiary example for a product service system and if you want to read more about it, click here for the 4th series of “Sharing is Caring”. Of course there are more means of movement which you can rent, for instance a bike: I bet you have seen the “Call a bike” from Deutsche Bahn before. But bike sharing is truly amazing and I can tell that users love it because nowadays you can find it in so many countries in the world – in France with “Vélib“, in Canada with “Bixi“, in Japan with “Cyclocity” and these are just some of many bike sharing companies!

Redistribution Markets kleiderkreisel_teaser

“Sell or swap what you don’t need // Make bargains!”
Redistribution markets are platforms that work like a flea market. The pre-owned goods exchange owners and for both the seller and the buyer it’s a win-win situation. Even better are swaps: they have the same principe but it works without money.

Craigslist and Ebay are the old redistribution markets everyone knows. But now you can find many new, exciting ones which are not that well-known yet but are getting more and more popular. 68% participating in the Latitude research share physical media like books and DVDs.

Be sure to check out “Bookmooch“, which is super convenient because you can give away old books and choose new ones. Also look out for “Swap” where you can trade books, music, games and movies! Do you Level2_Study_Skills_and_Resources_Teacher_Helping_Female_Studenthave old electronic items, preferably Apple products lying around in your room? Why not sell them at “Gazelle“? At last, which woman hasn’t used the phrase “My closet is too full” or “I don’t have anything to wear”? The clever answer is: “Kleiderkreisel“. It is a platform with a catalogue of second hand clothes – just swap new things you like in exchange for clothes you don’t need anymore.

Collaborative Lifestyles

“Exchange your skills!”
Besides physical goods you can also share skills, knowledge and time.

You were definitely not born to do maths but are talented in languages? As we are now in the 21st century with its new, efficient technologies there is a perfect solution: an internet platform where you can share your skills! With “Skillshare” you choose your city and see and or make offers. “Ourgoods” is another great An ornate clock with the words Time to Share on its facesite where not only skills but also spaces are shared.

Collaborative Consumption in the future?

With the time, the sharing economy will be present everywhere and will change the world. But the most important foundation for a working sharing economy is trust, since nothing of it all would be able to happen without trust. This is how Rachel Botsman, Co-author of the book “What’s mine is yours: The rise of collaborative consumption” sees the progress and the future outlook of the sharing economy:


“In the 20th century, the invention of credit transformed commerce and who had power. This revolution in the 21st century will change how we think about wealth, markets, power and personal identity. I believe we are at the start of a collaborative revolution that will be as significant as the industrial revolution.”


Rachel Botsman also gave a highly interesting talk on TED about collaborative consumption in 2010 already. I really recommend you to take a bit of time and to watch it! Here you go – be inspired!