The sharing economy is taking the world by storm, and OuiShare is one organisation that is developing the sharing agenda through its activities. But what is Ouishare? According to the organisation itself, it is a:
“Global community and think and do-tank.”
The organisation has a mission that encapsulates developing and encouraging a collaborative society. It aims to achieve this by bringing together people, organisations and ideas related to fairness, openness and trust. This is based on a fundamental principle that there are difficult challenges that the world faces and that by working together these can be solved by enabling all to gain access to the opportunities and resources they need to thrive.
OuiShare began in 2012 in Paris, but just three years later it has now become an international leader in the collaborative economy. It is a non-profit organisation and has developed from the point where it was primarily a group of eager people with some good ideas, to the situation that exists now. The organisation is nowadays part of a global movement that is underway in many countries in Europe, Latin America and the Middle East. The organisation has members, contributors and “connectors”. All of these have a role to play in spreading the work of OuiShare. To this end the organisation seeks to promote knowledge and information, incubate projects relating to communities and the collaborative economy, and of course correspondingly building communities and offering support to people seeking to further the ends that they wish to progress.
OuiShare is built on some fundamental core values that drive everything that it does. Some of these are not particularly surprising such as transparency. An organisation like this really does need to be fairly open to achieve everything that it hopes to. Similarly, openness is also helpful, and the organisation produces open source to help with sharing, reusing and remixing of what it does. An interesting aspect fostered by Ouishare, that is missing from many other organisations but arguably should be in many more than it is, is the value of “meet people in real life”. This helps to build more valid progress and share ideas more easily. A value of “permanent beta” means the company is always working to continuously improve. Inclusion is very important for OuiShare, perhaps for obvious reasons given its goals. Meanwhile the concepts of “play”, “feedback”, “independence”, “action” and “impact” also all have a role to play.
Coming back to involvement, OuiShare has members, connectors and core connectors and each has an important role to play. Members are considered those that feel aligned with the values, mission and culture and that get involved with activities, while connectors are very active people in the OuiShare community that “connect ideas, people and organisations” in the collaborative economy. They are also involved in decision making and the creation of the overall OuiShare strategy, driving the organisation forward. Core connectors however are those that run the organisation. Connectors will focus on areas like building a local community, engaging it and coordinating its activities, or knowledge creation by facilitating online discussions on research projects among others. They also manage projects for the organisation.
On the subject of projects, OuiShare is very busy and has many projects on the go at any one time. One project is the OuiShare magazine which tracks innovative changes in the collaborative economy in Europe and other parts of the world. It seems to inform people about the changes that the collaborative economy is really bringing to lifestyles and lives. A recent article published by OuiShare is on the P2P transfer revolution, that analyzes on a group of startups that are proposing alternatives to the high fees and unfair exchange rates of bank transfers.There is also “Sharitories and the CCT” which is a collaborative territories toolkit allowing local policy makers to use knowledge tools and ideas from the organisation in their own areas. This is not to be confused with the “OuiKit” which provides information to NGOs to help them to be able to share resources with one another. The organisation also has a job board to get people on board at the organisation. An ambitious project is the OuiShare Fest, a three day event where creation, connection, learning, kickstarting new projects and collaborations are all key areas of focus. The OuiShare Awards provide five winners with prizes for their contributions to the collaborative economy. Meanwhile OuiShare Labs is a group of web developers and other technical types that are developing open source tools to further the organisation’s collaborative economy ends. The organisation also posts videos on YouTube about what it does and what others are doing. Finally, the OuiKi, a OuiShare wiki creates resources to share information with all.
The organisation is busy! It will be interesting to see in the future the impact that all of this ultimately makes.
Paula Newton is a business writer, editor and management consultant with extensive experience writing and consulting for both start-ups and long established companies. She has ten years management and leadership experience gained at BSkyB in London and Viva Travel Guides in Quito, Ecuador, giving her a depth of insight into innovation in international business. With an MBA from the University of Hull and many years of experience running her own business consultancy, Paula’s background allows her to connect with a diverse range of clients, including cutting edge technology and web-based start-ups but also multinationals in need of assistance. Paula has played a defining role in shaping organizational strategy for a wide range of different organizations, including for-profit, NGOs and charities. Paula has also served on the Board of Directors for the South American Explorers Club in Quito, Ecuador.