The current market system is extremely good at 'sweating' assets on the supply side, so that commercial producers are incentivized to squeeze to maximum extent their financial, human and other assets and thereby increase productivity and performance. However, on the consumption and demand side, there is huge waste resulting at least partially from the widespread practice of exclusive asset ownership. This is starting to be challenged by a new sharing economy in which individuals and organisations share with others an increasing range of their assets, such as finance, time, skills, competences, tools, buildings, spaces, vehicles, facilities of all types, and organisational capacities, much of which is enabled by ICT developments like crowdsourcing and crowdfunding. The sharing economy is starting to supplement exclusive ownership with new forms of collaborative ownership. A further trend, beyond the sharing of existing under-used assets, is their use for the collaborative creation, innovation and production of new products, services and other assets. This collaborative economy is characterised by 'pro-sumers' (who are both producers and consumers) mainly in the digital sector, but now rapidly expanding into the collaborative innovation of physical goods and services, such as the makers movement using 3D printing and other digital manufacturing tools. The collaborative economy is generally characterised by co-created and collaborative innovation, production, consumption and impacts, deploying common and shared assets.
Social innovation relevance
Most collaborative and sharing economy activities and actors have started bottom-up, directly addressing specific social needs like unemployment and skills, as well as environmental sustainability. They also, by definition, work with a wide range of actors and actor types. A primary goal is to increase the awareness, capacity, prosperity and welfare of the beneficiaries involved. As such, collaborative and sharing economy approaches share many of the goals, practices and outcomes of social innovators.