3 Predictions for the Future of the Collaborative Economy

 3 Predictions for the Future of the Collaborative Economy

If you’ve ever commuted in an Uber, funded a project on Kickstarter, or rented an apartment from Airbnb, you have contributed to the collaborative economy. The collaborative economy is not a new concept; people have been sharing things for hundreds of years — but combined with technology, the idea of sharing takes on a whole new meaning and is quickly disrupting business as we know it. We’re entering an era where people are more empowered than ever to get what they need from each other.

This year at Dreamforce, I had the pleasure of speaking to an exclusive group of Salesforce MVPs and user group leaders at the AppExchange’s Awesome People Party (A.P.P. — get it?). I shared my insights on the Collaborative Economy, its growth and the implications for our rapidly changing business landscape. You can watch my presentation — along with talent showcased in the Demo Jam from the AppExchange partners and a special musical performance by the MVPs — all in the video below:


Companies like Uber and Airbnb, and many others like them, enable people to efficiently get what they need from each other without relying on traditional corporations. One framework I reference in the speech is this “Honeycomb” which shows how this new economy is forming: resilient structures that efficiently enable many individuals to access, share, and grow resources among a common group.

So what’s causing this peer-based movement? There are 3 things driving the collaborative economy: societal drivers, economic drivers, and technology enablers.

  1. Societal Factors: There’s a social aspect, people want to connect to other peers, and also the rise of population and return to cities, as well as a renewed focus on sustainability.

  1. Economic Factors: Most of these startups birthed in 2008, at the trough of the recession, and people want to monetize their excess space, cars, and time. Furthermore, there’s been nearly $ 7b in funding by investors — fueling this market forward.

  1. Technology enablers: It’s so easy to get these services!  From online payment at the touch of a button, mobile apps, and social network integration it makes it easy to summon your own ride within minutes.

Participation in the collaborative economy has nearly doubled between 2013 and 2014, and it will only accelerate. As the collaborative economy continues to push forward, businesses must adapt and allow for crowd funding, which is the highest form of loyalty. Letting the community fund and own part of the business ensures that people will be engaged advocates, provide feedback, and have a vested interest in the success of the company.

Here are my 3 predictions on the future of the collaborative economy:

  1. New membership-based business models. A business model will emerge where people don’t actually own goods, they just need access to them. Think monthly membership to your favorite brands: you’ll get access to the latest products, but you won’t own them.

  2. Branded marketplaces will compete with startups. A progressive hotel will franchise the crowd and compete with Airbnb head-on. Guests will still get the unique experience of Airbnb but it will be certified by large hotel chains like Marriott and Sheraton.

  3. Brands will pull the makers closer to them, and co-innovation will blur lines between customers and employees. Companies like GE are enabling co-innovation with inventors on Quirky, and they share marketing, supply chain and even the rewards.

It’s clear that we’ve only begun to unlock the power of peer-to-peer relationships. And while the collaborative economy will continue to shape the future of business, it’s not just about the bottom line. Collaboration, sharing, and interactivity can also be a lot of fun — as evidenced in the team spirit of all the awesome people who make an event like Dreamforce so successful. And if you don’t believe me, watch the video!

About the Author

 3 Predictions for the Future of the Collaborative EconomyJeremiah is the founder of Crowd Companies, an association for innovative business leaders advancing in the growing Collaborative Economy. We connect our members to a community of peers, industry experts, and startups who are ready to partner. Prior, he was a founding partner at Altimeter Group and an industry analyst at Forrester Research covering social computing — the first phase of digital making and sharing. His site, “Web Strategy” is one of the premier blogs on how corporations connect with their customers using Web technologies. He was featured in the  “Who’s Who” in the Silicon Valley Business Journal, and his Twitter feed was named one of the top feeds by Time. Learn more at CrowdCompanies.com .

Want to learn about how Community Cloud can help you tap into the power of the collaborative economy? Visit salesforce.com or download the free e-book.

 3 Predictions for the Future of the Collaborative Economy

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