The collaborative economy: Re-defining how we share

The collaborative economy is a phenomenon that’s transforming how we share resources, invest our money and think about trust.

This week of the Tech Futures Lab Master’s programme we took a look at crowdfunding, crowdsourcing and new business models that are fundamentally changing traditional methods.

As the likes of Lyft, AirBnb and PledgeMe become familiar and commonplace, industries such as banking, transportation and hospitality are being disrupted to the point that those who don’t respond will likely not exist in a few years.

Truths and trends of the collaborative economy

Priti Ambani, Tech Futures Lab collaboration expert and co-founder of The Next Billion, led the week and shared her expertise and insights on the topic, also bringing in a number of skilled individuals who offered their unique perspective.

Barbara Gray, equity analyst and author, spoke about new opportunities for economic abundance; Roland Harwood of 100%Open identified the elements of open innovation and key players in the space; and Juan Cartagena, Traity founder and CEO, shared the ways in which we can measure trust in the modern age. Priti tied it all together, linking the concepts back to trends that are shaping new business models and providing examples of innovative platforms and companies - such as Peerby and cityhop.

Launching a crowdfunding campaign in three days

Helping to bring these ideas to life, Anna Guenther, founder of PledgeMe - the Kiwi crowdfunding platform that has grown significantly in since its inception, led a group activity which saw the candidates creating their own PledgeMe project to aid ChildFund NZ's work in Emali, Kenya.

Meeting clever Kiwis

This week Ben Nathan brought his distinctive flair to Tech Futures Lab when he came in to talk about his company Container Door, and his unorthodox and largely successful journey – from mowing lawns as a rambunctious kid to speaking with Venture Capital extraordinaires in Silicon Valley high-rises.

Jo Brothers from Westpac also popped in to talk about digital marketing, being ahead of the technology game, lessons she’s learnt from entrepreneurial greats and Queenie Alice Moon, one of her children’s books characters.

Taking ideas to the next level

By now the candidates are beginning to flesh out their personal project plans and solidifying what they really want to focus on. Every morning two candidates presented the first iteration of their idea to the rest of the group, getting feedback and bouncing ideas off each other. And these ideas could not be more diverse.

We heard ideas about the construction and building sector, boating, gaming, early childhood teaching, tertiary education, disruptive technology, blockchain, FinTech, Maori principles, empowering individuals and the NGO space.

While these ideas vary hugely and will continue to take shape as the course goes on, one thing’s for sure – this is a very switched-on and capable group of people who will go on to do some very interesting things.

Coming up next week

Next week we take a step into robotics and automation. We will look at technologies that are gaining attention as researchers and developers move into uncharted territories and disrupt the longest-standing industries.

Follow us on Twitter to keep up to date with our Master's candidates. If you want to know more about the programme, get in touch with the team.


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Tech Futures Lab is an education facility of The Mind Lab, a NZQA registered Tertiary Education Organisation under the provisions of the Education Act 1989. Candidates who are studying on a programme delivered by Tech Futures Lab are enrolled with The Mind Lab.

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