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Sharing Economy; Design of a Behavior

Sharing economy has progressed through the exponential growth of social networks and platform thinking. The tendency of sharing economy is to expand its scope more and more by using new technological developments and shift to new opportunity areas.

The analyses and questions stated below emphasize the importance of the intersection of design and sharing economy;

The new sharing economy presents unlimited opportunities for us as consumers to reinvent our spending habits. It also poses a number of big challenges for businesses, as it confronts the traditional notion of creating consumer demand for purchases. Businesses will need to reconsider their distribution models that encourage shared ownership, as well as product lines that support multi-user product life cycles. If collaborative consumption is the commerce of 21st century, how do we support it with 21st-century design catered to the community rather than to individuals?

(Lada Gorlenko, User Experience Strategy Expert)

 We get more of what we measure. If we measure consumption we will get more of it. If we measure participation we will get more of that and we might just find we are already far wealthier than we realize, or perhaps far poorer. More importantly if our economy measured different types of value we could focus on designing things that created growth without automatically requiring that we consume more stuff.

(Tim Brown, Co-founder and CEO, IDEO)

 Sharing economy and human-centered design have several points in common such as Empathy, Observation and Reframing the Problem. Sharing economy is not only a financial model, but also the design of a behavior; the application of old behaviors to the current context, if you will. Today, the companies which are built around the idea of sharing economy as a financial model are following a human centered approach. They design models that aligns different stakeholders in different levels. They can only do that by observing their users and understand deeply their needs as well as what they could share in their everyday life. If we think about sharing economy as the design of a behavior rather than a financial mechanism, we should ask the question; How might we adapt the sharing economy mechanism to Turkey while keeping in mind the cultural sensitivity?

(Nazlıcan Göksu, Co-founder of +37 Studio for Design)

If we want to adapt the sharing economy model to Turkey’s context in a successful way, we need to think backwards; start by understanding our culture. The first step should be to observe what kind of trust nodes and taboos currently exist in our culture and understand why we carry them. Turkish culture is already heavily based on ‘imece’ (collective work) which is the culture of co-production and sharing. Despite the fact that İmece has been disappearing in the cities, it still stands as a proof that the seeds of sharing are intrinsic to our culture.

Designing a behavior; Intersection of Vision, Design and Social Impact

Turkish cities have been undergoing the third wave of urban regeneration process. Our cities have been exposed to the demolish-build real estate economy. This brought in question life and building risks. This also gives a very clear message that we should develop different strategies, economic and social models in order to rethink our cities. Sharing economy could be a new opportunity. However, when developing new economic models, we should understand that strong implementation happens when a strong behavior is designed. Sometimes, the behavior already exists in the culture, which is the case for Turkey, and makes the new model easier to be adopted but sometimes we have to go the extra mile to design the behavior itself.

Decision makers’, institutions’ and designers’ should embrace alternative concepts and approaches when designing new strategies. Common concepts should be vision, design and social impact. In parallel, sharing economy also sits at the intersection of these concepts and balances strategic and local perspectives. In other words, the relationship between strategies and planning approaches created while structuring cities in upper scale, is in constant dialogue with the design thinking mindset at a local level in order to coordinate in a seamless way.

Local Examples of Sharing Economy and its Limits

Winds of entrepreneurship, which have been growing by leaps and bounds throughout the world, also started in Turkey a while ago. Silicon Valley unicorns that are built on sharing economy models created big excitement for Turkish entrepreneurs. However, implementing the same model to another location, even if it is with “good” intention, doesn’t always end up doing “good”. It is time for new local ventures to create difference with a shared economy model by taking in consideration our national eco-system in a deeper level. Perhaps, new metrics should be developed in order to measure impact and growth for those potential ventures that can great impact by using shared economy models in Turkey.

This wave of excitement also brought in question the rise of co-working spaces. Incubation centers, ateliers for sharing, accelerators. These spaces and organizations have been proof of the existence of a strong collaboration culture in our society.

Design Atelier (TAK) and Vision Atelier that I am the co-founder of, aims to create an experience based on vision, design and social impact concepts and projects.

What we do at TAK is rethinking new services and systems by bringing designers and locals together; leading designers to understand the problem by always putting the user at the center of the process.

In case of Vision Atelier, we aim to develop new urban models and participatory planning approaches by asking public, private and civic sectors; “How might we re-think our interaction with cities?”

The main principle of both entities is bringing everyone and every segment together, observing problems together and designing solutions with participatory mediums. Outputs are built upon exploration and reproduction of the disappearing “sharing” culture rather than consumption. We believe that when a system has a strong sharing model as basis it will endure and scale faster for impact.

Today the sharing economy developed in parallel to economic and technological innovations. However, in order to adopt, improve and implement the sharing economy model in Turkey we should design production oriented systems instead of consumption-oriented ones. Designing values that will lead societal growth should stand at the balance of production and consumption.



Co-founder of TAK and Vision Atelier