I went to an exhibition last week called Thirty. Run by Positive Posters, it’s an exhibition of the 30 shortlisted posters that had been entered this year into the Positive Posters competition. Previously, the main prize: having the winning poster pasted up over multiple cities around the world, has been corporately sponsored. This year, they are crowd funding.
Crowd Funding has benefitted Positive Posters in a couple of ways. Firstly, Nick Hallam, the co-founder, now doesn’t pull 100hr weeks hunting for corporate sponsors and looking like an extra from The Walking Dead. Secondly, it has catapulted this beautiful organization into the wonderful world of Collaborative Consumption that TIME magazine named ‘one of the 10 ideas that will change the world’. For a company that has been built from the beginning on good will and a solid community, the crowd funding initiative is a no brainer- it gives this NGO the chance to engage directly with their community which is an opportunity that should never be passed up.
As a Gen Y baby, I’ve grown up in a culture of sharing. Even though my Klout score leaves something to be seriously desired, the notion of a collaborative community working towards achieving what we previously couldn’t is more and more prevalent.
- A renewed sense of belief in the importance of community.
- The emergence and growth of peer-to-peer social networks and real time technologies.
- Pressing unresolved environmental concerns.
- A global recession that has fundamentally shocked consumer behaviour.
This powerful cultural and economic phenomenon is not just inventing what we consume, but how we consume it. She continues in her talk to expose what would previously have seemed totally unthinkable- to interact with complete strangers, in a foreign community, sometimes with no money being exchanged- and how this is being enabled by technology. It’s creating trust between strangers and building communities. A ‘global village’ in it’s most utopian sense.
It’s not just physical goods that can be shared either. There are digital platforms emerging that allow people with similar interests to work together to share and exchange less tangible assets, such as time, space, skills and money. A great local example is Sidekicker, a ‘marketplace’ that allows me to, essentially hire a Sidekick for a day- to do all the things I can’t do whilst buzzing around Loud & Clear land. The Sidekickers are fantastically lovely people, security screened and trustworthy. Mostly, they just make me (and my Camilla and Marc dress that was 8 weeks past it’s dry-clean date) one very happy camper.
These systems are removing the middleman from our lives. Botsman described it as ‘waking up from a humungous hangover of consumption and waste, and taking a leap to create a more sustainable system built to serve our needs for community and identity’.
So, watch me as I spend the next year of my life hiring Flexicars, organizing dinners with friends through GrubWithUs, flexing my charitable muscle on Kiva, and staying in a loft apartment on the edge of Central Park in New York through Air B’n’B. Everyone wins.
I have not even grazed the surface of delving into the incredible things that Collaborative Consumption is achieving. Head over to this website on collaborative consumption to find out more about this movement, and how it’s fast changing the consumer landscape.