In a “collaborative economy,” people obtain essential goods and services from each other rather than from businesses. Just as social media enabled peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing of content, the technologies and peer communities underlying the collaborative economy enable P2P sharing of goods, services, transportation, space and money. There are well-funded established companies and startups that facilitate the sharing that makes the collaborative economy possible.
Like the early days of the Internet and social media, the collaborative economy has its champions and skeptics. In this issue, we explore why it is a strategic imperative to watch developments with the collaborative economy closely to ascertain whether established business models will be at risk or have an opportunity to enhance the customer experience.