The sharing economy, collaborative consumption, on-demand access… it goes by many names, all equally buzzed-about. From travel accommodations (Airbnb, VRBO) to transportation (Uber, Lyft) and work (oDesk, TaskRabbit), the collaborative economy has disrupted more industries than it has left untouched.
This morning, the research and advisory firm Altimeter Group published a report, “The Collaborative Economy,” outlining the landscape of this sector and chronicling its growth. Written by industry analyst and Altimeter partner Jeremiah Owyang, the report boldly highlights the necessity for businesses (not just consumers) to take advantage of the collaborative economy.
Owyang is a visionary and one of the first to urge businesses to adopt the collaborative model, often referred to as peer-to-peer sharing and previously perceived as just a consumer-oriented phenomenon. oDesk — which the report categorizes as a “talent-as-a-service company” that “empower[s] independent workers to find virtual work and enable[s] managers to quickly hire on-demand or temporary staff” — is highlighted as an example of a leader in the collaborative economy. The report calls out oDesk’s benefits for both businesses and consumers, citing how our online workplace enables “earning income and gaining greater financial independence and empowerment. oDesk found that 72% of [freelancers] seek to ‘quit their jobs to be independent’ and would use online freelancing services as a way to move forward.”
The report concludes that, with the collaborative economy becoming such a staple of the mainstream economy, businesses that do not leverage this model — either to make their own operations more efficient, or to incorporate into their own business model — will struggle to be competitive.