Authors Posts by Claartje Vogel

Claartje Vogel


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Schermafbeelding 2014-05-09 om 15.43.33Big companies need to change to survive. But how? Young entrepreneurs from BlaBlaCar and ParkAtMyHouse share their vision during OuiShare Fest. Businesses like a French DIY-shop, telecom company and postal service tell about their current ways to innovate.

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“The Age of Communities creates more choices”. For me, that’s the most important lesson out of the first day of OuiShare Fest 2014.

By: Claartje Vogel

A big circus tent is set up next to the Canal de Saint-Denis in Parijs. It’s the setting of OuiShare Fest 2014, first destination for the Crowd Expedition team. A good choice, because this is were all renowned speakers and experts about the Collaborative Economy gather. Visionairs, researchers and entrepreneurs from all over the world share their thoughts on the question how organizations should adapt in what OuiShare thinks might be “the Age of Communities”.

 Check out our video

The first speaker comes from Brasil and he’s the founder of several sharing platforms in Latin-America. For example websites for independent journalists and several online and offline platforms to facilitate collaboration between government, businesses and civilians. Tomás de Lara seems an interesting figure, but I found his presentation disappointing. De Lara started with some kind of meditation session and ask the audience to hug and get to know eighother. It was nice that we instantly got to meet new people, but unfortunately not much time was left for De Lara’s actual presentation. His main message was that many collaborative initiatives don’t need a business model, because the fact that they exist should be important enough.

Don’t blame the crisis

That’s definitely not the case for AirBnb, a company in the sharing economy with one of the most successful business models. Blogger Liam Bogaar (Rude Baguette) interviews Oliver Grémillon, head of AirBnb Europe and Africa. Grémillon had two years of experience at the home sharing platform. Even before AirBnb had an office in Paris, ten thousands of people were renting out their homes in the French capital. “The community grew thanks to word-of-mouth”, tells Grémillon. “At the moment Paris is one of the top-3 AirBnb-cities, next to New York and London. The city has more than 25.000 accomodations. French people are very open to the concept of sharing.”

According to Grémillon, the success of the sharing economy is partly caused by a new way of thinking, not by the crisis. For the new generation, owning stuff is far less important than for their parents. That’s what makes sharing appealing. The new generation thinks it’s a shame to leave their house empty when they go on a holiday. Thanks to this new way of thinking, AirBnb’s success will not cease after the crisis. At least, that’s what Grémillon thinks.

Unfortunately the head of AirBnb doesn’t really go into the question about problems concerning cityregulation. There’s a big chance the platform will have to deal with mayor restrictions in San Francisco and New York. It’ll be fine, says Grémillon: “Ignorance is our worst enemy. We understand there are rules, but when we can explain all of the advantages of renting out houses, cities will come around.”

It’s about choice

I thought Rachel Botsman was this day’s most inspiring speaker. She gave a well substantiated talk about the changing economie. Botsman is researcher and writer of the book What’s Mine is Yours about the sharing economy (Collaborative Consumption). “Definitions are very important”, she explains. “If we, the pioneers, cannot agree on the fundamental principles, how can we ever explain it to the rest of the world?”

Collaborative consumption is a global concept that involves sharing, bartering, lending, trading, renting, gifting, and swapping goods instead of buying them. This concept has been in communities for thousands of years, but has recently gained popularity in the United States and Europe. TIME magazine has named collaborative consumption as one of the “10 ideas that will change the world.” Read more.

According to Botsman the overall similarity of collaborative initiatives is that they make power shift from institution to the people. “In traditional universities learning is bound by specific definitions and restrictions”, she explains. “Thanks to the new way of learning in communities, anyone can be a teacher. You can learn almost anything from anybody in the world.”

The most important asset is that everyone has access to knowledge thanks to platforms like Coursera. In the case of AirBnb, anyone can be a landlord and a tenant at the same time. Same goes for crowdfunding: anyone can be “the bank”, and anyone can get a loan. Botsman things banking is most vulnerable to the changing economy. “Banks are complex, provide limit access and people don’t trust them anymore”, she thinks. “But I don’t believe the old organizations will disappear completely. The most important thing is that people gain more control about what they really need: food, knowledge, money.” In short: “the Age of Communities creates more choices”.

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The Crowd Expedition team goes to OuiShare Fest in Paris! Want to know more? Check out our first daily update.


Stay tuned for updates, interviews and reports about OuiShare Fest in Paris! We’re going to meet a lot of interesting experts and ask critical questions about their views on the Collaborative Economy.

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Experts join research and media project about the Collaborative Economy

Crowd Expedition starts Thursday May 1st. Expedition leader Martijn Arets goes on a mission to discover the real added value and the potential of the sharing economy, crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, social business and co-creation, together with 15 partners and 30 international experts.

foto Martijn AretsIn two years the Crowd Expedition team will research how the Collaborative Economy can be a sustainable model for several goals and forms of business, and how we can connect the new and old economy. The Collaborative Economy is the umbrella name for practices such as crowdfunding, crowdsourcing, slacktivism, co-creation and the sharing economy.

In two years the team will visit about 150 international initiatives in the categories mobility, financial services, education/sharing knowledge, participation/democracy, labour/organization, energy, food/leisure, health care and (business)resources.

New opportunities for existing organizations

New, successful and innovative projects arise thanks to co-creation, crowdfunding and (online) sharing. Examples are message service Whatsapp, sharing homes on Airbnb, raising money on Kickstarter or music sharing on iTunes. Existing businesses and governments can see these new business models as threats (lawsuits against AirBnb), or seize them as a chance to build a sustainable business in the future.

‘Combining the old and the new is important to reach to a sustainable result’, tells expedition leader Martijn Arets. Arets sees that topics like crowdfunding and the sharing economy disappearing like hypes. According to him, we can get far more out of it, but that requires a critical perspective. “What’s really new? And what’s just hype? What are the thresholds? And how can we lower them? How can we apply them to sectors and activities where you would not in first instance expect them?”

International expedition
The Crowd Expediton core team will discover the true potential of the Collaborative Economy together with (eventually) 25 partners and 80 international experts. The team consists of tens of international top experts: entrepreneurs, accountants, trendwatchers, marketeers, jurists.

Crowd Expedition is a ‘practise what you preach’ project: it is partly founded by crowdfunding and puts collaborative initiatives in practice. The teams shares their knowledge in an online community and offline during workshops, presentations and events. Crowd Expedition wants to let as many people as possible to discover the possibilities of the Collaborative Economy. Via the Expedition-platform and the media partnership with MKB Servicedesk and De Zaak the team reaches approximately 350.000 entrepreneurs a months. And that’s just the start.

On May 2nd the first interview will be with the Dutch car sharing platform Snappcar.


Crowd Expedition is led by Martijn Arets. He gained experience during his Brand Expedition, he beat media magnet John de Mol in the race for the best entrepreneur 2011 and participates in a European thinktank as on of the 40 Young Potential European Leaders under 40.

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