Tell us in a few words what collaborative consumption is about:
Collaborative consumption describes the reinvention of really old market behaviours – such as bartering, swapping, lending, renting and sharing – that have been supercharged through social, mobile and location-based technologies to enable us to share and exchange all kinds of assets, in ways and on a scale that have never been possible before this time. Our work over the last 2.5 years has been to spread the idea of this socio-economic shift, connect the entrepreneurs building companies based on these principles and grow the community of people passionate about these new ways of getting access to the things we need.
What were you doing before you got involved in the movement?
I was working as communications manager of a national architectural practice, but had spent most of my spare time in the two years leading up to this new role exploring the social innovation space and volunteering with a range of social change organisations such as the Brightest Young Minds Foundation, Australian Social Innovation Exchange and Project Australia. It was these organisations that really sparked my passion for social change.
How did you finally get involved?
I was fortunate enough to meet Rachel Botsman (founder of the collaborative consumption movement) through my involvement with the Brightest Young Minds Foundation. When I heard her describe this cultural shift that was the foundation of her first book, ‘What’s Mine Is Yours: The Rise of Collaborative Consumption’, I was absolutely hooked by its potential and when Rachel asked me to join with her and grow the movement around the launch of the book, I couldn’t refuse! It has been such an incredible, eye-opening and life-changing experience so far, and I am so grateful to be on this path.
What makes you jump out of bed every day?
I am constantly inspired by innovative ideas that really question the way we live our life and that make it easier for us to be more conscious citizens, and also the role that technology has to play in that.
From businesses like GoGet car share, to services such as FoodConnect and ideas such as co-working and Airbnb peer-to-peer accommodation, we are getting connected back to what’s important – our community and our environment.
What are other issues that you are passionate about?
I am really passionate about the role women play in business and government, and want to make a contribution to encouraging more women’s voices to be heard – which is both about creating the opportunities within our current society and also doing more to encourage women to get involved in the first place.
Who inspires you?
I am inspired by women like Jacqueline Novogratz, who founded Acumen Fund, an investment fund focused on social innovation solutions in emerging markets. I’m also inspired by Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook) and the commitment she shows not only to being a stellar career person, but also living a balanced life with her family.
Have there been challenges along the way in your career? How did you overcome them?
The biggest challenge I have faced personally is giving myself permission to dream big enough and then acting upon those dreams.
I think it’s a rare thing for Australians to truly believe anything is possible, and while there are some incredible high achievers in this country, we generally doubt ourselves more than believe in ourselves. Having exposure to some incredible entrepreneurs overseas and surrounding myself with highly creative people helps me to dream bigger and make better things happen!
What books are you currently reading?
I have slowly been trying to get my way through the amazing reading list of ‘99 Best Business Books’ on The Personal MBA’s site, and am currently finishing ‘Influence’ by Robert Cialdini, ‘Where Good Ideas Come From’ by Steven Johnson and Katie Couric’s ‘The Best Advice I Ever Got’. Reading these is interspersed with me watching The West Wing series for the first time!
Thanks for sharing your thoughts with The Fetch, Lauren!
About our Ambassador // This article was contributed by Community Ambassador Solange Francois. She is a marketer and lover of creativity, great words, people and ads and has a passion for psychology and lifelong learning. You can connect with Solange through her blog or on Twitter @solangefrancois