[Infographic] 11 Business Trends Entrepreneurs Need To Be Aware Of

As 2017 approaches, it has become apparent that the collaborative economy is not a blip or fad, or something that is related to just Uber or Airbnb, but rather a vital engine powering the future of global business and entrepreneurialism.

Following are some key issues and business trends to take note of as our world of We-Commerce, and palpable shift from the me to the we, continues to evolve:

Business Trends

 

[Infographic] Turn Your Brand Into An Award Winning Entertainment Studio

By placing a collaborative approach to innovation, marketing and communications at the beginning of the supply chain of invention, successful brands can effectively leverage cultures of collaboration to positively impact both commerce as well as meaningful communication.

The studio model, which focuses on the phases of development, production and distribution, all with an eye on building an audience that can be monetized both immediately as well as overtime, is a forward thinking approach any CMO should consider in today’s ultra competitive landscape.

Following are 3 easy steps that will help CEO’s and CMO’s “executive produce” their brands in ways that both “push” and “pull” information and content, as well as drive audience reach and measurable engagement:

Build Your Brand

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Collaborative Economy

Collaborative Economy Paves The Way To New Era of Collaborative Purpose

The sharing or collaborative economy is growing daily around the world and quickly morphing into a recognized driver of purpose as much as democratized access and convenience.

As the eras of purposeful business and sharing collide, the impact has been massive and far-reaching. By combining the core tenets of profiting with purpose with the new notions of trust and borrowing vs. ownership the collaborative economy is based upon, the global business landscape is experiencing a groundswell shift as powerful as the one felt in the days of the Industrial Revolution.

As this movement continues to evolve, we are seeing the new economy positively impact all walks of society including: innovation, economic development, equity, safety and implementation. Examples of this are rampant as both cities and emerging market regions around the world seek to harness the awesome mettle of this new economic engine to drive meaningful growth, development, transformation and collective purpose.

This is a refreshing twist as for far too long the power of collaborative consumption and its groundbreaking innovation has been relegated largely to the topics of ride and home sharing. The far greater opportunity to view the sharing economy as a massive economic shift that is positively altering the way we live work and play and impacting areas as far ranging as urbanization and sustainability, has unfortunately been mostly overlooked.

Over the last two years or so positive examples of collaborative purpose have been slowly emerging. In the United States, Etsy’s Craft Entrepreneurship programs in New York City, Chicago, Dallas, Newark and Santa Cruz give new life to public-private collaboration and allow first-hand exposure to new business models. In Latin America and the Caribbean, the Bloomberg Mayor’s Challenge is proposing to apply sharing economy principles in different ways to help imbue new energy and innovation into the region. In Asia, Seoul’s Society 3.0has supported dozens of resident-led sharing initiative with public funding and other resources, with the primary goal of boosting community connectedness trust and purposeful collaboration.

As recently as this month, the models of collaborative purpose have only become more striking and powerful. For example, the sharing economy is gradually coming to more and more aspects of African life, including home cleaning and ridesharing. Now, Ghanaian startup Swiftly is taking it into the shipping space.

sharing economy

Launched earlier this year, Swiftly matches people with goods to ship with spare space in containers, whether being sent by sea, air or land. Chief executive officer (CEO) Edem Dotse told Disrupt Africa this month that the service has benefits in terms of both the cost of shipping goods and protecting the environment.

“It is just wasteful when someone has to ship a half full container by sea, or a half full package by air, or hire a delivery truck or van without fully utilizing the space,” Dotse said.

The opportunity for purposeful collaboration in Africa, the world’s fastest growing economy is massive.  The elements highlighted by local providers – access to more work opportunities in struggling employment markets, and a pre-existing culture of sharing assets – may contribute to the fact that on-demand services have encountered limited opposition in Africa to date and will likely continue to flourish without abatement. This is a trend likely to continue in similar emerging markets around the world.

Another great recent example of purposeful sharing is UK based start up OLIO.  OLIO connects neighbors with each other and local shops so that food can be shared instead of thrown away. They are trying to reduce food waste which is a huge problem in the UK and globally (50% of the  £10 billion of good food wasted in the UK/year comes from the home). They currently have over 55,000 users, and have been used over 200,000 times to share surplus food.

In our emerging world of placing the “we” over the “me,” the collaborative purpose movement in business is just another example of the awesome power of We-Commerce and proof of the longevity and transformative power of our new economy. OLIO’s mission statement perhaps describes what our new world is about best: “Small collective actions can lead to big change.”

Billee Howard is Founder + Chief Engagement Officer of Brandthropologie, a cutting edge communications collective specializing in helping organizations and individuals to produce innovative, creative and passionate dialogues with target communities, consumers and employees, while blazing a trail toward new models of artful, responsible, and sustainable business success. Billee is a veteran communications executive in brand development, trend forecasting, strategic media relations, and C-suite executive positioning. She has a book dedicated to the study of the sharing economy called WeCommerce released in December 2015 as well as a blog entitled the #HouseofWe dedicated to curating the trends driving our economy forward. She is also a regular contributor to Forbes on the topics of marketing, storytelling and the collaborative economy.

Note: This article first appeared on Billee’s Huffingtonpost page.

Collaborative Commerce

Platform Driven Companies And The Impact Of Collaborative Commerce

This month’s Harvard Business Review focuses on the rise of businesses of all sizes using platforms instead of mere products to drive company growth.

As the debate continues over the real “sharing” behind the sharing economy, the new platform strategy boom may provide real insight into the undeniable impact that collaborative economy businesses are having on the broader global economic landscape and entrepreneurialism overall.

As often is the case, many great tips on agile innovation can be seen in smaller start up businesses and applied to larger traditional companies to help foster new growth and innovation. This has been the case with the new platform centric approach to doing business, which most definitely got its sea legs with the likes of sharing economy companies like Uber, Airbnb and TaskRabbit.

That said, as 2016 continues to emerge as the year the collaborative economy makes a true imprint on corporate America, some key lessons can also be learned from major companies as entrepreneurs work to adjust to the new platform driven marketplace.

If we look at GE and Microsoft working to transform and grow in size and scale by switching to platform business models instead of product centric or pipeline driven ones, the impact of collaborative commerce on broader business becomes evident.

Platform businesses that bring together producers and consumers as Uber and Airbnb do are capturing increased market share and transforming how competitive edge is achieved. Yesterday it was through product differentiation. Today it is through scale and impact.

With the iOT Predix GE platform for instance, the same ecosystem concept built around the marriage of technology and knowledge or service sharing that drives many collaborative economy models can be seen.

As GE works to go back to its industrial roots, it is using their new Predix platform to shape and define the future of the Industrial Internet. The platform, which falls under GE Digital, is being built to sit at the “intersection of people, machines, big data and analytics.” This new area of GE, recently launched as part of the company’s massive transformation, is expected to bring the company $6 billion alone in 2016.

Microsoft is also using a platform instead of product approach in the huge redesign of its Outlook email program by bringing together outside partners like PayPal, Uber, Evernote and Yelp! to create not just a winning email product, but winning email ecosystem.

According to HBR “With a platform model, the critical asset is the community and resources of its members. The focus of strategy shifts from controlling resources to orchestrating them, from optimizing internal resources, to facilitating external interactions and from increasing customer value to optimizing ecosystem value.”

Doesn’t all this new innovation sound a lot like the collaborative economy? Creating ecosystems built off of technology platforms to unite people around shared ideas and the accomplishment of specific goals?

With new models of success being predicated on a company’s ability to create platform driven models, the massive impact of the collaborative economy becomes more and more visceral. Companies ranging from John Deere to Nike are quickly scrambling to get in the game.

Collaborative Commerce

As big business continues to look to smaller, entrepreneurial enterprises for cues on how to succeed and lead in the future, following are a few key points for entrepreneurs to consider as the debate over platform vs. pipeline businesses continues to unfold:

1) Products by category and price point are largely commoditized. That being the case, a company must try to drive engagement and attain customer loyalty through winning experiences. Platform models that build ecosystems can offer such seamless interfaces and are critical to attaining long-term enhanced performance and competitive advantage.

2) While small is the new beautiful, scale not size matters. Through the power of the ioT today any company can appear large enough to have a powerful and broad reach. That being said, there is a difference between being large enough to sell products globally, and being able to offer seamless and consistent products and services on a global scale. In order to achieve the latter, entrepreneurs must create winning platform models that connect consumers directly to producers wherever possible. While a bespoke approach to creativity is vital to product and service development, creating networks that allow scale to occur quickly and efficiently are an imperative.

3) A company is great. A company with an amazing brand is better. Today, anyone can leverage technology to create their own “company” few however have the rigor, discipline and creativity to imagine and actualize their own brand. The key difference between a company and a company with a brand, is the type of immersive experiences provided. Companies by and large just sell good products. Companies with amazing brands sell products AND offer one-of-a-kind experiences. By looking to create ecosystem driven platforms within your organization, a company is much likelier to be able to transcend to ‘brand” status by its ability to scale its experiences and innovations.

4) Collaboration today is the key to everything. The sharing economy has changed not only the game, but the way the game must be played. Companies today are so much better in partnership and collaboration with others, be they external partners, vendors, consumers or even their own employees. The key to victory in switching from a pipeline driven product focused company to a platform one is recognizing that while innovation, disruption, speed and resources are critical to innovation, one of the most vital ingredients is the collaborative approach to commerce that platform models provide.

It seems clear that future success is going to be driven by those wise enough to harness the power of collaboration to build winning ecosystems that drive innovation, disruption and industry leadership.

While the comparisons between huge platform companies like GE and Microsoft and smaller collaborative economy players like TaskRabbit and Postmates may possess a few disparities, the undeniable fact is that an age of doing it for the we instead of the singular me is most definitely at the heart of the future of business.

Welcome to a world where it will be collaborative driven platforms not mere products that determine victory. Hail the new age of We-Commerce.

Billee Howard is Founder + Chief Engagement Officer of Brandthropologie, a cutting edge communications collective specializing in helping organizations and individuals to produce innovative, creative and passionate dialogues with target communities, consumers and employees, while blazing a trail toward new models of artful, responsible, and sustainable business success. Billee is a veteran communications executive in brand development, trend forecasting, strategic media relations, and C-suite executive positioning. She has a book dedicated to the study of the sharing economy called WeCommerce released in December 2015 as well as a blog entitled the #HouseofWe dedicated to curating the trends driving our economy forward. She is also a regular contributor to Forbes on the topics of marketing, storytelling and the collaborative economy.

Note: This article first appeared on HuffingtonPost!