Collaborative Consumption – The Way of the Future?

November 24th, 2011

Guest Post by Lisa Fox (Open Shed)

Time Magazine has called it one of the ten ideas that will change the world.

Social Innovator, Rachel Botsman says it will define the 21st century.

“Collaborative Consumption” is very hot right now!

The term Collaborative Consumption refers to the age old behaviours of sharing, swapping, renting, bartering, which technology is now allowing to occur in other ways.

There are numerous reasons why we are starting to see a burgeoning Collaborative Consumption revolution.  Technology is providing the tools and there is a growing desire to disrupt outdated modes of doing business. From a consumer perspective, Collaborative Consumption is desirable because of the global economic situation, the renewed belief in the importance of community, and an increased awareness of the environmental pressures our planet is facing.

The Collaborative Consumption revolution is a worldwide movement, and while it may have been slow to gain traction in Australia (the Space Out guys were way ahead of the curve!), it is certainly is now taking hold as more and more businesses and initiatives pop up based on Collaborative Consumption principles. In October alone I am aware of three new Aussie businesses that launched:

  1. MeeMeep ( connects people on the move to people with stuff to move. It’s a social network connected to a real world network. So if you’ve got stuff to move, you can save time and money. And if you’re on the move, you can earn a little extra money.


  1. Locongo ( is a community marketplace where people can buy & sell local experiences.  It creates opportunities for locals to rediscover their city, meet some amazing people and earn cash doing what they love.  And travellers can save time & money, venture off the beaten track and get to know the locals.


  1. Open Shed ( is a peer-to-peer rental site that I have developed with my partner Duncan Stewart. Our vision is to create a secure and reliable community marketplace that helps Australians live a more resourceful and sustainable life through the renting and sharing of their idle goods.


Think about all the things you have sitting in your shed – fishing rods, electrical goods, tools, camping and sports gear – how great it would be to rent them out to people around you. You make better use of what you already own and your neighbour has the option to rent, rather than buy.

I am in total agreement with Time Magazine and Rachel Botsman that Collaborative Consumption will change and define our future world. It is a powerful movement that empowers the individual and taps into our growing desires to be mindful and thrifty consumers; reduce our environmental footprint; and reconnect with the people around us. Let the era of collaborative consumption begin!

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