16 Sep 2017
BIG PICTURE

Sharing economy: Why are people now starting to share more again?

We learnt it years ago from our mothers: sharing things with others is a good idea – the results are a sense of community, efficient use and variety. Daniel Bartel, founder and expert for digital innovations and entrepreneurship, explains in the interview why this childhood concept is increasingly taking hold in the German economy – under the “sharing economy” title.

Daniel, people have always shared – why do you think that sharing is now becoming so popular?

“We are in the middle of a big ecological and economic change; resources are wasted and, at the same time, we are noticing that we have reached certain limits.

Many people therefore think twice about whether they actually need to own something or whether they can have the same, or even better, benefits through sharing.

This has been made possible, in particular, through the progress made in digital technologies – suddenly, we have information and access to things and services which were previously not possible.

Furthermore, our society is becoming increasingly dynamic and colorful – the desire to remain flexible and not be tied down is, of course, rather more impeded by ownership, hence the answer lies in the sharing economy.”

Daniel is co-initiator of the original autonetzer.de sharing platform and now enables employees and prospective entrepreneurs to successfully try out innovative products in the market with the Innovation Kickbox.

Therefore, for most people, it is more about the monetary aspect?

“The social effect – such as sustainability and networking with others – certainly plays a role, but not the most important.

There is a fraction who see it as anti-capitalist – the optimization of resource distribution, protection of the environment and a community feeling are in the foreground for these people.

For many, sharing offers the possibility for extra income – in addition to the existing system, quasi as optimization of capitalism. Not, however, as its replacement.

And for the Generation Y, of course, sharing is part of the lifestyle: it needs to be simple, fast, intuitive and cheap. Here, one is more likely to live long term in a shared residential community and have other status symbols than earlier.”

 

What is shared surprisingly often?

“What many do not know is that a lot of program codes are shared. When lots of developers work together via a so-called open source, then something great can be created, which no one would be able to create on their own.

It is also interesting that some patents are now actually shared. For example, the Tesla boss Elon Musk has made some of his patents freely available so that the Internet community can develop them further.”

 

Has the sharing economy already reached its peak or will it continue to grow in the near future?

“It is a long-term, positive development – and there is still a lot of potential! Due to our current situation, it is an unavoidable conclusion that people will share more.

This is the only way the world population can continue to evolve in the long term.

Additionally, there are other supporting trends, such as the New Work Movement, which promotes the return of humanity in the workplace for more meaningfulness and self-realization. Or to put it another way, a new sense of maturity. A large part of the sharing economy follows the same vein.

 

How can even more people be encouraged to share?

“Through a situation where everything is available in excess – knowledge, contacts, objects – we do not want to have to deal with annoying processes.

Anyone who wants to develop a product or service for the sharing economy should pay attention to the following three factors:

It should be simple – this not only motivates usage, but also the sharing of information with the user’s network.

You have to give the users the benefit of the doubt, believe in the good of others and have the positive basic attitude at first that your service will be treated well and with respect.

And finally, we need the corresponding legislation and insurances. At the moment, we are still in a grey zone here – this has to change.”

 

And? What do you think? What would motivate you and your friends to share more? Is there anything that you would never consider sharing?