The rise of collaborative innovation and the phenomena of ‘micropreneurship’.

Making money from your idle capacity – be that time and skills, or assets such as your spare room, car, or driveway – is made easy by firms offering platforms to connect supply and demand in the collaborative economy. Indeed, drivers for Uber, hosts on AirBnB, or ‘taskers’ doing odd jobs on TaskRabbit, are increasingly described as ‘micropreneurs’. Internationally, the collaborative or sharing economy (variously conceived) encompasses everything from labour hire (TaskRabbit; Handy) to pet care (DogVacay; PawShake), parking (ParkHound; MonkeyParking) and equipment rental (Spinlister; Snapgoods).

Such platforms, many initially based on connecting neighbours and communities, and/or driven by a social purpose (hence the earlier label of the sharing economy), have also led to the emergence of global giants, some with capital valuations of over US$70 billion. Their profit-driven business models are also disruptive for traditional industries, such as transport, accommodation, and logistics. These ‘peer to peer marketplaces’ are also emerging in more specialised industries such as professional services, for instance, online marketplaces for legal services. Peer to peer market places are also emerging in financial services with crowd sourced equity platforms for start-ups (www.crowdcube.com), peer-to-peer lending (www.zopa.com), insurance (www.friendsurance.com), to disrupting traditional forms of philanthropy (www.chuffed.org).

The rise of collaborative consumption or the sharing economy is fundamentally reshaping how consumers buy and sell services. The main attraction for suppliers, or rather ‘workers’, on these platforms, is – unsurprisingly – the flexibility they offer in earning extra income. But on the down side, a lot of uncertainty comes with such work. This wouldn’t surprise those who are already freelancers, moving from gig to gig. Newcomers, however, have to come to grips with having less security and no guaranteed income, fixed benefits, or other standard worker protections. From a government perspective, while these services have proven popular with consumers, they often exist in a regulatory grey area or in outright contravention of existing laws. Furthermore, they often raise serious issues in relation to public safety, workers’ rights, tax (such as tourism and hotel taxes), and accessibility. There are also broader questions on the impacts on public amenity and utility and potential market distortions, such as AirBnB’s impact on access to the traditional rental market, or the visual and safety fall-out from dockless shared bikes.

The Australian government, like many governments globally, is attempting to respond to the rise of collaborative innovation and the phenomena of ‘micropreneurship’. Your task is to provide an analytical report to inform such government inquiries. For the purposes of this assignment, you are to:

1. Briefly explain the advantages and disadvantages of the collaborative economy – for
workers, businesses and the government; Made sense of what are ambiguous, overlapping and to some extent, contested concepts (e.g. sharing economy, peer economy, collaborative consumption etc.).

2. Select one industry that is being challenged by a collaborative economy model. *Apply at least two analytical framework ( Business Model Canvas, porter’s Five forces, SWOT, PESTELE )Explain this industry’s traditional business model (incumbent model) and means of creating and
capturing value (you may use an example of a leading incumbent firm here, as well as a
description of the traditional industry);

3. Select one existing collaborative economy firm within this industry (as described above) and analyse how this new business model is able to create and capture superior value. Include
consideration of how (or how not) this challenger model may maintain a competitive advantage. Detailed compare and contrast between incumbent and collaborative economy business.Analysis draws upon multiple sources of data, reports and analysis.Note that neither AirBnb nor Uber can be the focal organisation.

4. Identify and reflect upon some of the unintended consequences of the success of this model
(as analysed above) in terms of who wins and who loses.

 

 

 

Sample Solution

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