Futurist Rachel Botsman doesn’t just write about the collaborative economy. She’s living in it. In addition to penning What’s Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption, a 2010 book that explores how consumption patterns are changing as technology evolves, she is a founding partner in the Collaborative Fund, an organization that has made seed-capital investments in sharing-economy startups such as Lyft and TaskRabbit. Botsman is also a visiting academic at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School, where she’s created a new curriculum for an MBA course on the collaborative economy. Her latest work focuses on trust as the next big disrupter — a topic she’ll explore in depth at PCMA Convening Leaders 2017 next month.
How is the concept of trust evolving in concert with the collaborative economy?
We use the word trust a lot — but what does it mean in the digital age? All around us, we are seeing a shift in trust. In some instances, trust is collapsing in, say, banks, governments, and media. On the ﬂip side, we are see-ing the rise of phenomenal businesses, such as Airbnb and Uber, that depend on a new kind of trust enabled by technology. I will be exploring this great trust shift and bring to life how it is transforming how we bank, travel, form relationships, and even fall in love. Most importantly, it will enable people to decide if others are trustworthy or not.
How is the collaborative economy affecting the meetings and events industry?
One of the most important points I will explore with the audience is that the collaborative economy is not a startup trend but a transformative lens on the way we think about value and trust. There will be speciﬁc ventures that may help the events industry, such as apps that transform the booking of unusual spaces, or more efficient ways to share equipment, but that is really on the surface level of change. These new services are illustrative of the types of engagement, collaboration, and interaction people want from a meeting or an event.
I attend a lot of conferences, and in format and content they have not changed that much. Sure, there are scheduling apps and audience-interaction tools, but the fundamental experience is the same. It tends to be passive and one-way. You leave and engagement is dissipated. It’s interesting to look at collaborative-economy examples to explore what people are getting from these experiences — choice, ease, customization, connections — that make them so “sticky” and see what the events industry can learn from them.