An interesting new report called Synthetic Overview of the Collaborative Economy explores new forms of collaborative production on the Internet with ramifications, no doubt, for the study of Social Transformation and Organizational Systems. As stated in the report’s Introduction, two main agents of transformation guide this work. One is the emergence of community dynamics as an essential ingredient of doing business.
It is no longer a matter of autonomous and separated corporations marketing to essentially isolated consumers, it is now a matter of deeply inter-networked economic actors involved in vocal and productive communities. The second is that the combined effect of digital reproduction and the increasingly ‘socialized’ production of value, makes the individual and corporate privatization of ‘intellectual’ property if not untenable, then certainly more difficult , and in all likelihood, ultimately unproductive. Hence the combined development of community-oriented and ‘open’ business models, which rely on more ‘social’ forms of intellectual property.
The report looks at community dynamics that are mobilized by traditional actors (open innovation, crowdsourcing), and new models where the community’s value creation is at its core (the free software, shared design and open hardware models). Linked to this development is the emergence of distributed physical infrastructures, where the evolution of the networked computer is mirrored in the development of networked production and even financing. Indeed the mutualization of knowledge goes hand in hand with the mutualization of physical infrastructures, such as collaborative consumption and peer to peer marketplaces, used to mobilize idle resources and assets more effectively