E L S U A ~ A KM Blog by Luis Suarez

From the blog

The Sharing Economy

Tenerife - Masca in the WinterIn the recent past you may well remember a couple of blog posts that I put together over here around the subject of the Circular Economy, right?, as perhaps one of the most forward thinking initiatives towards sustainable, social, purposeful and meaningful growth, maybe much deeply inspired by the world of Social Business. Well, now, here it comes The Share Economy with a far too similar mantra that most of us, socially networked knowledge workers, have been embracing, and living!, for a good while now: Sharing!

In a world where plenty of our activities, whether personal or work related, are always pretty much individualistic, as we are starting to come around group activities, eventually, with the emergence of social networking tools, even though there is a group of people out there who keep claiming that the (Social) Web has made us all far too isolated from the rest of the world, to the point where people decline any physical contact or fail to grasp social physical cues anymore, it’s rather refreshing to see new and very innovative initiatives like Uniiverse, whose motto is nothing less than a tremendously inspiring “Platform for Collaborative Living“.

In a business world, where 80% of the knowledge workers, so, that is, 8 out of 10!, are not happy with their work anymore, and probably with their lives either, since work / life are now so intermingled with one another that’s becoming quite a challenge to distinguish which is which, here comes Uniiverse, once again, sharing along how there may well be a much better approach out there to continue providing us with an opportunity to have a “happier, more sustainable and a better lifestyle“, which doesn’t seem to be too much of a bad idea, if you consider the current state of things, whether on a personal level or a work related one. And all of that, because of a single magical word: share!

Indeed, the folks behind Uniiverse have put together a rather interesting and thought provoking initiative where they have sparked the idea of sharing and contributing into building what may well be the next wave of social interactions, as Social Business keeps taking by storm the corporate world encouraging, if anything, not just connecting and collaborating amongst knowledge workers, but just something so fundamentally simple and, yet, so incredibly powerful, as sharing. Sharing for the sake of sharing. Like the good old Knowledge Management mantra, sharing your knowledge across for the sake of sharing it and without asking for anything in return (cf. “In the context of real need few people will withhold their knowledge” by Dave Snowden).

What IF we would then shift focus and instead of hoarding and protecting our knowledge, as we keep thinking that “Knowledge is power“, which, obviously, has not made things much easier for the vast majority of people, if we currently take into count the financial crisis we have been going through over the course of the last few years, we would go ahead and, instead, share it across freely, so that others could learn and become better at what they do, just as much as you would be able to do it yourself from the knowledge that others share with you (“Knowledge shared is power“). Wouldn’t things run much smoother towards that “happier, more sustainable and a better lifestyle“? If so, what’s stopping us then?

Our ingrained ability to fight against each other to have a position of supremacy and power, over the others, as well as influence, which in most cases would only serve a few and no-one else? Or is it because we are far too scared of the huge potential behind that simple act of sharing? Imagine an example: what do you think would happen if all of a sudden, everyone in the corporate world, going from the bottom line to all the way to the top (i.e. Regular knowledge workers, and top executives alike), would come across in an exercise of radical transparency and share their pay slips, that is, their monthly salaries, like Rachel Happe was mentioning over three years ago in a rather thought provoking blog post under the title “Radical Transparency: Where The Rubber Hits The Road“? Do you think we would benefit from that act of sharing as a result of that transparency exercise? Tough one, eh? I think we would and here is why…

With (knowledge) sharing there comes an opportunity to become much more open, transparent, nimble, trustworthy, agile, engaged, responsible, interconnected, bonded, etc. etc. Essentially, some of the various main key traits behind living and embracing a Social Business, and, in a way, if you look into it much closer, the folks at Uniiverse have actually shown us what it could potentially look like. Take a look into this YouTube video clip that lasts for a little bit over two and a half minutes and which shows the power of sharing and building an entire economy around it. Worth while a look for certain!

Not sure what you would think, but with the emergence of all of these social technologies I sense we are a lot closer than what most people would think from truly realising that Sharing Economy. And somehow, just like the Circular Economy that I have talked about in the past, they both seem pretty good solid options to provide us with that sustainable growth for a better life. Our life.

What do you think? Still consider that sharing doesn’t add any value to you, as an individual, or to a group, a network or a community? Perhaps we need to start re-thinking about our priorities and evaluate, once again, whether protecting our position, power and influence, that is, our knowledge, is worth while after all, instead of putting it to good use and help others become much more effective at what they already do. Somehow, the connection to Servant Leadership is clear, it’s right there!, and so is that connection of Social Business and open (knowledge) sharing. So what do we have to do to make it all work? What would make it click for everyone? It just doesn’t sound too difficult, does it? I hope not. Let’s hope not!

Let’s do it then! Let’s share!

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