How People and Platforms are Inventing the Collaborative Economy and Reinventing Capitalism
In 1999, Robin Chase cofounded Zipcar, now the world’s largest car sharing company. Recognizing that cars that sit idle are an untapped resource, she set out to enable people to own a part of a car, rather than a whole one. Zipcar then invited its customers to be collaborators, rather than just consumers. The Internet made the model possible, but customers’ enthusiasm and creativity made Zipcar into a phenomenon.
Since leaving Zipcar, Robin has become a champion for the model that Zipcar pioneered – a model she calls Peers Incorporated. The Peers Inc. model works by combining what companies do well with the creativity, diversity, social networks, and local knowledge that individual creators bring to bear. As she describes in Peers Inc: How People and Platforms are Inventing the Collaborative Economy and Reinventing Capitalism, this combination is poised to take advantage of the excess capacity that surrounds us, sometimes in plain sight and sometimes hidden.
When the best of people power is combined with the best of corporate power to form Peers Inc. organizations, a potent creative force is released. The “Inc” in these collaborations delvers the industrial strengths of significant scale and resources, and the “Peers” bring the individual strengths of localization, specialization, and customization together, unlocking the power of the collaborative economy. When excess capacity is harnessed by the platform and diverse peers participate, a completely new dynamic is unleashed.