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Collaborative Economy Workshop in Dublin

A few weeks ago, I received an invitation to a Collaborative Economy workshop organised by the Single Market Forum 2017/2018 in collaboration with Sharing Economy Ireland taking place in Dublin on October 18.
On a very fresh morning (only 5 degrees) and after missing the 5:30am bus, I made it to Dublin on time.
We started with a quick round of introductions, and I found out that in the audience there were several people from the EC, guests from Denmark,UK, Portugal
and Italy, representatives of various Irish governmental and non-governmental organisations, people from academia studying the phenomenon, companies and organisations involved in the Collaborative Economy in Ireland.

Then a few of the guests had very short (4 min each) interventions, where we heard about the study initiated by DG Grow on short-term accommodation platforms, about defining the term “worker” in the case of non-standard work (DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion),  about a two years fact finding investigation on the role of platforms for e-commerce (DG Connect). Guests from Sharing Economy UK and Denmark (link to the Danish Govt Strategy here) spoke briefly about their countries’ specific situations.

We spent the next session sharing stories about our own involvement in the collaborative economy in Ireland. I had the chance to hear from, among others, Karolis Duoba from Tryilo, Maggy Morrissey, a photographer who has an Etsy shop and is involved in organising monthly meetups for photographers interested in monetising their work in Dublin, and Fiachra Duffy, who is working for Deliveroo in Dublin. The story that stuck with me was Simon O’Rafferty‘s story about the Trade School, an initiative that aimed to bring people together to exchange skills, while at the same time giving them the opportunity to connect with others.

During the next 3 sessions, we joined various “Conversation Tables“, each dedicated to a topic. I started with “From local to global“, where we spent a good part of the time trying to come to a shared understanding of what we all meant by “local” and by “global”. I then moved to “From rural to urban“. During the last session, we discussed “Harnessing social and environmental opportunities“, talking about what could be done to provide better support for housing, education and food issues. The format worked well- at each table we examined challenges(1st round), resources(2nd round) and solutions (3rd round), while a topic facilitator stayed with the same topic for all 3 rounds.

Before lunch, the Your Europe resource website was presented. The resource is dedicate to those who move from one European country to another for work and have to make sense of the legislation in a new country. I would have loved to have access to something like this years ago when I moved to Ireland!

In the afternoon, we were all invited to suggest topics for two rounds of Open Space sessions in relation to the future of work in the digital economy.
First, I joined a session on ‘Creativity and Freedom‘ suggested by Saoirse Sheridan, whose ElderHomeShare initiative had drawn my attention in the morning. We attempted to understand what the two concepts meant for each of us, and we ended up noting the future steps each of us wanted to take to bring more creativity and freedom into our own lives. I surprised myself telling the group how much I enjoy the creativity and freedom afforded by my academic career, which is quite a change from my usual moaning. I guess the sabbatical did wonders!
The second session I joined was titled “Are platforms creating value? If so, for whom and how?“. We spoke about how platforms are more similar to marketplaces than to corporations, the various skills required by the collaborative economy, the possible sharing of data between governments and platforms. We were all intrigued by the business model of Urban Volt, illustrating that not all the collaborative economy initiatives rely on platforms.

We came back in a circle for a round of presentations and conclusions, which was video recorded and might appear online at some point. All our discussions were illustrated throughout the day by the fantastic Sabine Soeder aka CoCreative Flow, who persuaded me I should have a go at graphic facilitation(will have to find the time though!).

It was a dense and exciting day that gave me the fantastic opportunity to meet and talk to peers interested and working in the Collaborative Economy. I left with the hope that this was only the beginning, and that we’ll be able to help disentangle these complex issues through the SharingAndCaring COST action and the CollabEire Special Interest Group.

The Single Market Forum 2017-2018 has organised 3 other similar workshops in other European countries before the one in Dublin. Kudos to Dana-Adriana Puia for bringing it to Ireland and to Elizabeth Douet from Sharing Economy Ireland who initiated this!

October 23 2017 | CollaborativeEconomy and Events and SharingAndCaring | No Comments »