Big Brands meet to find their role in the Collaborative Economy

BY Fernando L. Mompó on 11 / 04 / 2014

New start ups are making possible for consumers getting what they need from each other rather than from traditional companies. Instead of buying new things, people are sharing products and services. It’s the emerging societal shift called the Sharing or Collaborative Economy.

As Collaborative Economy moves toward mainstream,  empowered individuals are beginning to function like hotels, taxis, farms, restaurants, manufacturers … The Crowd will function more and more like a company; it may eventually become one in which it will be difficult to tell the difference between an employee and a customer, between whoever makes products, is part of the supply chain or acts as a seller.

So, considering “Sharing will be the new buying”, the easy question to come up with is “What role will traditional companies play in this process?

This is the question Jeremiah Owyang asked himself and tries to answer to companies interested in this new context. This was the reason for the creation of Crowd Companies venture, a site to help large companies tap into the collaborative economy and “create new forms of business models we’ve never seen before, bringing empowered people and resilient brands together to collaborate for shared value”, as its mission estates.

The key idea  powering Crowd Companies is that brands must develop a strategy in this new market to avoid being bypassed from peer-to-peer economic models. The promise: Corporations that partner with the empowered people will become resilient.

Crowd Companies is offering different services. Besides networking and education by industry experts, the new endeavour wants to be a catalyst for change at large companies by partnering with the innovation network of startups. Once again, “Co- mindset” seems mandatory for seeking a market opportunity in being an integral part of the Collaborative Economy.

Many may think this could be just a fad. Some big names appear not to agree. The proposal seems to have been interesting enough for brands becoming part of the first Crowd Companies council, including names as GE, The Home Depot, Whole Foods, Intel, Hyatt, Ford, Western Union, Adobe, Nestle, Barclaycard,  Visa, Cisco, Taco Bell, FedEx, Oracle, Walmart, Abbott, PayPal or Verizon.

Crowd Companies

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