This post is a part of a blog relay leading up to Media Evolution The Conference 2013. I curated a session on ‘Access over Ownership’ at last year’s conference and am excited to be a part of this blog relay of cutting edge ideas and leading thinkers. This is the second post in the relay. Yesterday Mark Kaigwa from Nairobi wrote about the importance of starting to look at other parts of the world than our home turf, tomorrow Brit Stakston of the Swedish PR agency JMW
Over the course of modern history, disruption has been caused by a major societal event fundamentally changing the way we live – think wars, economic depressions or natural disaster – or the introduction of a new kind of technology that causes us to diverge from our current path permanently. From horse and buggy to motor car, or Walkman to iPod – our experience changes forever. This kind of disruption is usually out of our control as individuals, and instead in the hands of governments, large companies or even Mother Nature herself.
But over the last few years, a different kind of disruption has emerged, one that we are not only responsible for but are the leading advocates of. Through the rise of collaborative consumption, and our growing preference for ‘access over ownership’, we are disrupting the world as we know it, causing large companies to rethink their roles in our lives as we begin to rely instead on peer power. Shifting away from a top-down world based on hyper-consumption, we are doing away with the middleman and centralized power structures in favor of platforms that help us to connect and collaborate with each other.
From the rise of peer-to-peer accommodation platforms such as Airbnb that are disrupting the hotel industry; to recommerce platforms like Kladbyte, thredUP or Gazelle that are giving us alternatives to buying new things; to carsharing and ridesharing startups like Zipcar, Sunfleet and BlaBlaCar, who are reinventing the mobility sector; collaborative consumption is disrupting sectors and industries all around the world. But the incumbents aren’t accepting this change quietly. On one hand we are seeing the forward-thinking approach of the automobile manufacturing industry as many car companies, from BMW to Volkswagen to Ford, enter the space with their own carsharing brands, or create partnerships with startups. On the other hand, the negative reactions of the hotel industry and taxi lobby groups are setting a precedent of legal battles and regulatory challenges to be faced by the disruptive startups.
The road to disruption isn’t ever an easy one. Many of the companies driving forward this change will go on to become the next mega-brands and household names that might one day themselves be disrupted. Just as many, if not more, won’t last the distance, never emerging from start-up phase as they battle the incumbents. But all of them are playing a role as catalyst for this collaborative revolution, and because of them, our world will never be the same again.
The Conference creates an environment for disruptive and catalytic thinking as it brings together leading thinkers who have seen a new way of living, to share their stories and insights with an audience hungry to make change happen in our world. Tickets for the event are now sold out, but you can buy tickets to attend the evening program here.