A brainstorm on collaborative consumption


Many of the things on our planet are not used efficiently. Cars stand idle in parking places and unemployed young people are waiting for interesting work. How can we use this wasted potential by creating transparency in what’s available (supply) and what’s needed (demand)?

Yesterday’s brainstorm started with this question. Soon the conversation shifted to other questions:

  • Can we go beyond looking for inefficiencies towards thinking of different sharing systems?
  • If there were to be an open source template for sharing platforms, would people use it?

Below is a collection of the summary of our conversation; the ideas that were born and further food for discussions.

Trends that enable collaborative consumption:



Multiple functions per object increase possible value. When your apartment can serve as a dinner-room, fitness studio and professional kitchen, you can capture different value streams (see Graham Hill’s NYC apartment, courtesy of Nils Beers). When your factory can produce different models of cars in stead of one model, you can utilize the factory much more efficiently (listen to NPR’s radio show on the NUMMI factory).

There is a tension between increased collaborative consumption (i.e. posting of what you want and what you have to offer) and privacy.

To think about next time:

  • What is the role for people who do not work jobs anymore but are capable to do physical, intellectual or emotional work?
    • Distribute research questions to individuals – citizen science v2
    • Take care of children
    • Beta testing software (maybe even debugging?)
  • How would you control the motion of people around our globe if you had an astronaut’s perspective?

Three cool ideas:

  1. Eindstanden krant: a newspaper that reports on final outcomes only
  2. Micropayments to manage the flow of people around a city (remember picking up and dropping people in Roller Coaster tycoon?)
  3. In stead of firing people when a company faces a shortage of work, lend people to other companies (this is standard practice with many soccer teams)