A collaborative revolution

By Kunal Chabaldas – @KChabaldas – #YourTurnChallenge – #day1

I started blogging almost 3 years ago after something as simple as excess stock in our warehouse got me in the quest for alternative solutions, getting me to think about “simple tools” for considerably bigger problems. As this small everyday issue lead me to gain awareness about collaborative consumption, a powerful movement that was already improving many people’s lives and gradually changing the world. I felt the urge to start this blog and share some stories. Full details are on my first post from March 2012.

The excitement of starting to blog, learning about collaborative consumption and the emerging tools was fantastic, with the feedback making it an even better experience. However, I found it hard to deliver on a regular basis after that, perhaps my inspiration faded away after the initial boost. Also,  having this activity as mere “hobby” unrelated to my daily work routine and living in a town such as Ceuta (which is beautiful, but laid back) with locals insisting that “this will only work in big cities” probably didn’t help. I therefore see #YourTrunChallenge as an excellent opportunity to motivate and even “educate” myself, hoping to get my commitment on track and exchange ideas further.

I must mention though that the blog got me some exceptional connections, which I will always be grateful for. Within a matter of weeks I came accross Albert Cañigueral who had founded consumocolaborativo.com a few months before (the first blog in Spanish language about these matters), and he told me about OuiShare. Back then, it was just a group of a few young enthusiasts about collaborative consumption who used to meet up every month in Paris to discuss where these trends could lead the world to, and with a vision to build an international network. Today, Albert has published the first book about the collaborative economy in Spanish language, consumocolaborativo.com is the most recognised Spanish blog in this field and OuiShare is of course a leading international think & do tank, with the mission to build and nurture a collaborative society from its international community and horizontal approach. In practice, it’s hard to explain precisely what OuiShare really is and for this purpose I recommend the article “What OuiShare means to me” by Francesca Pick, one of the leaders and co-chair of OuiShare Fest, the annual event that gets together the global collaborative economy in Paris.

OuiShare, collaborative

Is this an opportunity for a deep cultural change?

Nevertheless, the collaborative economy includes much more, not just P2P marketplaces and networks, but also offline sites such as fablabs and coworking spaces. It basically provides accessible tools for citizens to become producers of almost any goods and services imaginable, whether it’s via collaborative consumption, P2P finance, open knowledge, horizontal governance or the maker movement. Powered by the internet and networks across different industries, this movement could be the start to a deep “cultural change” and boost creativity in a world where access would is more valued than ownership, resources would be used more efficiently and where the mix of online-offline interactions result in collaboration, trust, transparency and intangible benefits to society. However it won’t be easy, as these trends involve plenty of disruption in traditional companies. Whether it’s already affecting these organisations at present or not, all should be flexible, prepared and adapt quickly to change.

In terms of my personal blog and projects, I will emphasise more on p2p travel from a very local perspective. Tourism is the industry that contributes most to Spain’s GDP and as you can imagine, traditional players are not very happy with the increasing adoption of p2p travel and mobility platforms. Lobbies are making a lot of pressure against these trends and they have a high influencing power in the country. However, we have seen similar trends as the rise of the internet has affected many industries such as music, film, telecommunications, media and retail for example, with all of them having to adapt in the end. If many are increasingly using these alternative platforms it’s because they provide an added value, and history suggests that trends will carry on whether traditional organisations like it or not.

Ramaorli_CC

Photo by RamaOrli via a creative commons license on Flickr

Personally, I don’t see the economic or social situation of Ceuta (my hometown) any better than when I started my blog almost 3 years back. Having said that, it’s an extremely beautiful town located at the tip of Africa exactly where the Mediterranean sea begins. This is an ancient strategic point at the straight of Gibraltar with plenty of history, heritage sites, culture, mythology and natural beauty. It’s hard to imagine how the ongoing large promotional public budgets fail to significantly increase the number of tourists.

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Photo by Jose María Mora Camacho via creative commons license on Flickr

Many feel it would be very interesting to have certain places where we could test the effects of p2p initiatives. I would also add, why not try a “sharing city” approach in a town with a profound multicultural tradition (for instance: cristians, muslims, jewish and hindu communities have lived peacefully over the last 100 years), with the added insight that it’s on African mainland and has a boarder with Morocco? It would even become a highlighted example at the sharitories project by OuiShare.

Moreover, in Ceuta the presence of hotel lobbies is non-existent (there are only 2 big hotels with high public ownership) and having mentioned its picturesque attraction, the traveller’s overall experience could even be enhanced by the use of p2p travel platforms. In addition, the North of Morocco region nearby is also beautiful and tends to have many empty houses during most of the year. I clearly see this as a win-win scenario for all: p2p travel could be “tested” without obstacles, while raising awareness about the area, attracting potential visitors and generating considerable income for the local economy at the same time. All of this without further building expenses or any environmental damages.

Any thoughts on this?

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One thought on “A collaborative revolution

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