Collaborative Consumption: Re-imagining public services - 21 Oct 2010

This event brought together policy makers, public services practitioners, third sector organisations, digital media companies and others to stimulate debate about the rise in collaborative consumption in the UK.

Rachel Botsman

TED speaker Rachel Botsman, author of the influential book What's Mine is Yours: the Rise of Collaborative Consumption, outlined her take on the incredible power of shared consumption.

Rachel’s work has tracked how old market behaviours such as bartering, lending, gifting and trading are being revived on a global scale by the application of technologies and an environment that presents the right conditions for change.

Rachel was joined by a panel that included Giles Andrews, founder of Zopa a social lending site, Vinay Gupta, founder of WhipCar a peer to peer car sharing system and Ben Dineen of Spice Time Bank and Nesta’s Public Services Lab director Philip Colligan.

Can collaboration work?

The question for the panel was whether collaborative consumption presents an opportunity to be a game changing system for public services.

There are pressing challenges for our public services that run much deeper than the current financial crisis – such as ageing and the environment. To meet these challenges we need to find radical new ways to meet social needs.

Examples of collaborative consumption include social lending, car sharing and re-use market places such as ebay. Rachel’s work has analysed these and broken them down into three different systems or markets that each have their own features and behaviours. Watch the video to find out more.

What is Collaborative Consumption?

Collaborative Consumption describes the rapid explosion in traditional sharing, lending, trading, renting, gifting, and swapping redefined through technology and peer communities.

The movement has the potential to revolutionise how we meet social needs through public services, whether through the bike-sharing schemes that are the fastest growing form of transport in the world or the online time banks that are powering a rise in mutualism in local communities.


Rachel Botsman outlines the concept of Collaborative Consumption in her TEDxSydney talk she gave in Australia in May this year.

She's also published a book: What’s mine is yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption (recently published in U.S by HarperCollins and released in the UK in February 2011)

Watch Rachel's TEDxSydney talk


Rachel Botsman

Author of "What's mine is yours"

Ben Dineen

Spice time bank founder

Giles Andrew

Founder of social lending site Zopa

Vinay Gupta

Founder of WhipCar