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Making Sense of the UK Collaborative Economy

This report examines what the collaborative economy is, who is operating and participating in it, and looks at how it can be supported and managed.

This report examines what the collaborative economy is, who is operating and participating in it, and looks at how it can be supported and managed.

Key Findings

  • 25 per cent of UK adults used internet technologies to share assets/resources over the last year
  • The organisations operating in the collaborative economy are young (64 per cent founded since 2010), can be found in each of the four pillars and have ambitious goals for what their organisation can achieve within, and for, society
  • The new ways of producing and consuming of the collaborative economy bring with them regulatory and policy challenges with some positive moves in evidence to address those challenges and support the collaborative economy

The collaborative economy involves using internet technologies to connect distributed groups of people make better use of goods, skills and other useful things. It is going through a period of growth and experimentation and in order to gauge where the collaborative economy is headed, we need to start by getting a better grasp of its current state.

The report identifies five defining traits, some or all of which can be found in the collaborative economy ventures studied. Four pillars of activity, collaborative consumption, production, learning and finance are also identified.

Drawing on a representative survey of the UK population, alongside a survey of businesses and organisations operating in the collaborative economy, the report explores who is participating in the collaborative economy and how they are doing so.

This report is the first in a series of publications, which will offer a detailed view of the collaborative economy in the UK and, to a lesser extent, in Europe.

In the coming months, Nesta plans to publish additional research and explore opportunities for practical action surrounding the collaborative economy.

Authors
Kathleen Stokes, Emma Clarence, Lauren Anderson and April Rinne

Authors

Emma Clarence

Emma Clarence

Emma Clarence

Principal Researcher, Social Innovation

Emma was a Principal Researcher on Social Innovation in Nesta’s Policy and Research unit. She joined Nesta in April 2014 and worked on areas including the collaborative economy and s...

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Kathleen Stokes

Kathleen Stokes

Kathleen Stokes

Senior Researcher, Social Innovation

Kathleen was a Senior Researcher leading on Nesta’s policy and research work in digital education and the collaborative economy. At Nesta, Kathleen researched and written various pub...

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