The sharing economy isn’t a new concept. Many of you may have heard of several frameworks which exist to offer a mutual-benefit situation based on sharing. Couchsurfing is one, Trusted Housesitters is another, and food sharing apps such as Olio are becoming so mainstream now that it’s easy to forget that these are platforms based entirely on sharing. Platforms all providing an alternative lifestyle to the capitalism-based system that we’re used to. The art we consume has also been directly affected by platforms such as Patreon and Kickstarter (even this book is the product of Kickstarter).

Generation Share is written by Benita Martofska who has been head of global entrepreneurship for Enterprise UK, which, as she humorously puts it, ‘sounds like I was head of the world’. She’s also the founder of The People Who Share charity: a social enterprise that helps people discover the power of the sharing economy to transform lives. To deliver this book, she worked alongside Sophie Sheinwald, an award-winning visual storyteller. Together, they set out to interview over two-hundred people, whose wonderful ideas had transformed lives, over ten years.

As a further bonus, the book itself is made from waste materials and each copy sold will plant a tree in the Eden Reforestation project and educate a girl in Mumbai.

Three Takeaways

  1. A community based on the philosophy that sharing is possible
  2. It’s not limited by age, gender, or economic background
  3. The future of work is based on flexibility and collaboration

A Community Based on ‘Sharing Is Possible’

The Sharing Economy is a system to live by, where we care for people and planet and share available resources however we can.

This is a book where you’ll find yourself taking notes all the way through of the various systems in place that exist purely to help people access facilities around the world. I was particularly fond of the clothing library in Amsterdam. By borrowing clothes instead of buying them they’re reducing waste from fast fashion and providing access to clothes for everyone. Not least to support creative endeavours and those on a low income. This is just one example from hundreds of ideas that serve to benefit society in one way or another.

The sharing economy is very much an umbrella term for many kinds of ventures, from swapping to borrowing, reusing to collaboration. However, it doesn’t mean money, or some other form of value-exchange, isn’t sometimes involved; it just has to mutually benefit all involved in a positive way.

Above all, we’re constantly reminded that the sharing economy can save lives.

40,000 people die each day because they don’t have access to food, shelter or water. The reality is we have enough to feed, house and sustain all of them if we can share our resources.

It’s not Limited by Age, Gender, or Economic Background

The sharing economy boomed after the financial crisis, driven initially by millennials but now 28% of the population engage in activities found under this bracket. And, as you’ll see in the book, it’s certainly not limited only to the millennial generation or to the bigger corporations like Uber or Airbnb. The Sharing Economy has very much appealed to a generation of people who would rather access then accumulate ‘stuff’ and want to help bring change, from youths to changemakers age 80+.

From ‘mumpreneurs’ to the UK startup Hearts Milk Bank, which is the first human breast milk bank in the UK to help the acute problem of milk shortage within hospitals.

It’s so easy to share milk – it’s probably easier than giving blood. My monthly bottles could feed a poorly baby for over two weeks

Mum, Jesse

There are startups created by the elderly and also those to support the elderly, like Oma’s Pop-up, which uses temporary restaurants to reintegrate isolated senior citizens or TrustonTap which connects self-employed care workers with older people who wish to live at home.

It’s very much a model that embraces all in an attempt to help all.

The Future of Work

Co-working and the digital nomad lifestyle are each becoming more and more mainstream with a rise of 250,000 people in the UK claiming to be digital nomads between 2005 -2018 and 4.8 million Americans also working remotely. This doesn’t even include the many more who have flexible working hours and locations.

Flexible, adaptable, collaborative: these are the skills that we need for the future.

Working in spaces that boost creativity, with natural light, and the chance to collaborate with people of diverse skill sets on a daily basis, are where some of the best ideas are born. In many ways, this new lifestyle is underpinned by the sharing economy as the resources needed for a good work lifestyle are now easily accessed by those who are choosing this alternative lifestyle. You’ll find an abundance of resources in this book suited to learning new skills and accessing work facilities in a non-traditional setting.

Conclusion

Whether you’re interested in embracing the sharing economy yourself, want be inspired by entrepreneurs around the world, or simply want to support a charity then Generation Share is an ideal book to pick up and explore the changemakers of the world.

Book cover, yellow with the words generation share

Get the book

Generation Share

by Benita Martofska and Sophie Sheinwald

Buy on Amazon

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