Lending Money to Friends… and Getting it Back

At one point or another, we all needed to borrow money. The easiest option usually seems to be to ask our parents, siblings or friends instead of going to a third party bank or using our credit card limits. The borrower side of the story is much easier than the lender. It takes courage to ask but when we’re stuck it can be done. We usually are sincere when asking a friend to lend us a few dollars to grab coffee or asking a friend to cover your bill at the pub because you didn’t know you needed to bring cash. And the day is over and we usually forget that we borrowed the money. The nice friend on the other hand who saved us from the jam is now in the endless waiting loop of either waiting for the lender to remember to return the money or the awkward moment of asking for her money back.

The common advice is to usually avoid lending money to friends and family, because 1) they will usually forget to pay you back and  2) it’s awkward to ask for your money back. On average, only 30% of the money we lend out to friends and family is paid back but we continue to lend money out to them because we are wired to help, specially people we love and respect.

Only 30% of the money we lend out to friends and family is paid back!

It’s a real problem and there’s an easy solution: use Lendogram to keep track of money you lend to friends and family and set up notifications so your friend is reminded to return your money! Continue being the amazing and helpful friend but make life easier for you and remove the awkwardness of asking for your money back!

Lendogram available on iOS, Android, Windows OS, and even Blackberry

When we first started building Lendogram sharing platform, we thought the best way to deliver the experience was to create it using a native iOS App. Since we launched the App, whenever I talk about sharing with friends and how Lendogram makes it easier to share than to buy, the first (and sometimes the only) question is always:
Will it work on my phone?

mobile responsive web

It took us a while, but we can now say: YES, it does!
It works on your phone, your friend’s phone, your desktop, laptop, on a train in a tree, it works on any device with a web browser (Lendogram mobile web)!

Of course, the App is still the most feature rich version of the platform, so if you have an iPhone or iPad, we recommend downloading and using the App but if you don’t have one, you can use a web browser to access your inventory and share items with friends and even create groups.

So visit the mobile web site today and sign up to create your account and start sharing with friends. Let us know your thoughts on our mobile web version and what you want to see implemented next!


Halloween Costume Share Party 🎃

Halloween night is one of my favorite times of year to walk around in my neighbourhood. Whether it’s raining or not, kids are running from house to house trick or treating in their scary, funny or cute costumes. Parents follow a little behind, chatting and catching up with friends and neighbours. A great neighbourhood social event.


To prepare for this amazing night of fun, terror and unlimited candy, kids spend days deciding what costume to wear. Some design their own, others pick one from the store, and everyone with a specific intention.  But they hardly ever wear the same costume two years in a row. What a waste of material and money to buy or make an awesome costume to wear it only for a few hours and then somehow store it or dispose of it. And many of these costumes cost somewhere in the range of $50-$100+.

Last year a few of my friends, neighbours and I started a Halloween Costume Share Party. Everyone brought a few kids or adult costumes. We gathered at my house, sorted the costumes and then started brainstorming about what to wear. Those who already had their costume ready tried to find accessories, some of us made new costumes based on how we felt.  We also ate, drank and socialized while we were picking our costumes. We used Lendogram to keep track of who borrowed what and everything was returned after Halloween! Win-Win-Win!

We’re planning the same event this year. It’s not too late to organize your own Costume Share Party with friends and neighbours and have some fun creating costumes and share with friends. Post your pictures on Instagram and tag us with #HowIShare or #myLendogram.

Happy Sharing and have a great Halloween 🎃



How to Start a Sharing Movement

When we look at the way society functions in modern times, we seem to forget that amongst the teeming masses of humanity are made up of individuals.

Individuals of a Society

The thoughts and beliefs, as well as the actions of individuals in this mass of humanity we call society shape the future, the reality of our existence as we know it.

It is then imperative that we understand our own power as an individual. Power is simply the ability to do, to change, or to affect change in a situation, in reality.

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world”
— Gandhi

The fact that we can affect change in our society and as an individual, we must also carry out the obligation that we have to share.

To share, and create social value is a very natural human phenomenon, albeit not restricted to Homo Sapiens alone. To share and to consciously understand and create sharing movements, and values, as well as social value is however, a uniquely human concept.

Sharing is not limited to advertisements on billboards, nor is it, or should it be limited to thirty second jingle tunes on the radio, accompanied on tv by a short clip.

The Sharing Movement is not about the promotion of goods, services, or values for the purpose of collecting a profit. It is a wider social movement to promote a cultural and very human need to be socially connected, through the act of sharing.

The origin of the Sharing Movement is from a cultural and human need to socially connect.

The sharing movement itself does not start, nor does it end with the physical act of sharing either – it starts with a mindset within us, as well as the understanding of what we are doing, and why.

Some people share because they feel great doing it, since altruistic acts in human behaviour actually help to propagate the altruist’s genes in the race for survival in the natural selection process. In certain cultures, sharing is seen as both a form of wealth redistribution, as well as promotion of the largesse of the patron who shares his wealth with others, hence their ability to share material goods.

But looking beyond just personal feelings as well as creating social value for ourself, sharing is about connecting people in an egalitarian manner. This is not about the promotion of our largesse, or the promotion of other’s largesse, but about us, and another person forming a connection through the need for a physical item. This connection can be formed only in the most personal of settings, as it requires trust as a currency, and trusting people is the first step to a closer community of friends, neighbours, and family.

These connections cannot be forced upon people, coerced onto people, nor can they be really effective, since being friendly, and being friendly and trusting are two different things altogether.

How we can truly see this is through ad campaigns for a friendlier neighbourhood, which rarely work. What does work however, are events where social value is created and trust slowly but surely formed amongst community members.

Sometimes, these events are initiated by the local council, made up of more outgoing members of the community, and other times, the local government(rarely).

Most of the time, these kinds of events, such as barbeque cook-outs, communal celebrations and observations of religious, cultural, or ethnic festivals open to everyone in the community are usually started by people in the community.

These are simple, yet effective tools to open up people to the idea of a sharing community that is there for every member to utilise and support.

Barbeques, celebrations and gatherings aren’t too hard to organize for someone of average means are they? yet they are the ties that bind, that hold a sharing community together.

youYet, all these need not be started by companies. Nor governments. These can be started by you.

The people you come with into contact daily, as well as the people you talk to, can be part of the sharing movement, but you have to speak out, and more than just talk about what being part of the sharing movement means, to also act on it.

Share when you can, with the people you can

If everyone did their part, and practiced sharing in their own corner of the world, soon, communities of people accustomed to sharing naturally and consciously will form.

And then, growth of the sharing mindset will increase exponentially, since ideas spread like wildfire.

Ideas are powerful, and so are actions. Alone, you cannot reach the moon, but with friends, neighbours, and other people who share, connecting groups of people will become easier, and more viable, not just economically, but physically as well as socially.



A Tale of Two Sharing Cities: Amsterdam and Taipei

Amsterdam and Taipei are two very different cities. One is located in the liberal heart of Western Europe, while the other sits at the edge of the ocean, and is an Asian city with a very different culture.

Taipei is known for its modernity, it’s food and temperate climate, as well as its geography and unique culture which sets it apart from it’s larger neighbour China. Amsterdam known for its nightlife, its extensive canal system, historic architecture and “coffee-shops” as well as its vibrant culture and as a melting pot of ethnicities and people.

Amsterdam Sharing City

Sharing culture is growing steadily, and becoming an accepted and preferred way of life.

Both however, share a very common factor:

The sharing culture is growing steadily, and becoming an accepted and preferred way of life, and led not only by the government, but with business and civic partners leading the way as well.


Taking a look at Amsterdam, it has been on the cusp of becoming the regions sharing city capital for some years, with sharing start-ups leading the way. Since February 2nd, Amsterdam has officially captured the title of Europe’s first sharing city. This has only been possible due to government participation and effort, as well as sharing start-ups in the city and other normal businesses as well.

This collaborative effort to tackle issues and opportunities faced and presented by becoming a sharing city was only possible with the efforts of all actors involved. The prize? A more socially connected city – as well as a more efficient and enterprising economic landscape for both start-ups, businesses and customers.

As Amsterdam has a local government (as compared to some countries with only federal or country-wide governments) , easing and changing rules and regulations to make the city more friendly to sharing start-ups as well as initiatives is easier. They have also been the world first in developing regulations for AirBnB rental transactions – a key concern amongst locals worldwide.


Bikes in Amsterdam

The sharing economy in Amsterdam is not only confined to home-sharing or ride-sharing, but also includes borrowing platforms, which connects people who need stuff to people who can lend it, much like the libraries of things we covered in a previous article.

It must be understood that while Amsterdam still has some headway to make, bigger businesses like banks and insurance companies in Amsterdam are also looking at how they can utilize the sharing community and the power of collaborative consumption to make the city a more connected, liveable space.

On the other side of the world, in Taiwan and the city of Taipei, the issue of liveability – traffic congestion as well as pollution is a major headache in many Asian metropolises. Regardless of wealth, the amount of cars on roads only increases pollution, and with the ever increasing costs of owning a car, city officials are hard pressed to look for alternative.

The solutions to these problems have been many, and some have worked, and some haven’t. Some countries have banned cars with starting even numbers on their licence plates on even numbered days, and conversely, for starting odd numbered cars on odd numbered days. Others, have imposed fines and heavy tolls for cars entering certain areas at certain times to lower traffic congestion, or raised the cost of a car to astronomically high prices for licences or taxes to limit the number of car owners.

All of these have met with some limited success, to one degree or another. But to take people away from cars doesn’t solve the main problem, that people need transportation that is affordable, yet available and if possible, environmentally friendly.


Enter Taipei’s solution. Taiwanese have always ridden bikes, and they have a culture of bike riding, since their temperature and climate is moderate enough to allow for it.

The Taiwanese have taken it a step further, with the YouBike system, as it is called in English, and informally known as the Taipei bike sharing system.Youbike-Taipei11

The simplicity of the model combined with the availability and widespread use of the bikes are what makes this project an ongoing and longstanding success.

For NT$10, one time users can use the bikes as well as people who buy an EasyCard (a wireless payment card used for public transport). What’s more, EasyCard users get the first 30 minutes ride free to encourage the use of the bikes.

Of course, the EasyCard costs about NT$100 which is roughly USD$3 to purchase. As for non EasyCard holders, every 30 minutes of use costs roughly just USD$0.31! The popularity of the system is attested by the empty stands which hold these bikes – the locals use them so much that they are empty most of the time!

In addition to being affordable as well as being widely distributed, as they can be found outside underground train station exits, as well as busy interchanges and transit points, bikes are given leeway and a special path on most roads in the city as well.

The local government, of course, encourages the use of these bikes, as well as creating regulations to create a safe environment for people who use the bikes.

Again, public and civic cooperation along with business partnerships go a long way to furthering the sharing economy and culture across the globe. Without such cooperation, initiatives are less likely to succeed.

The Value of Generosity

Very often, we find ourselves at the short end of the stick in a deal, bargain, or enterprise, or even simple transactions in our daily lives.

Sometimes, we feel cheated of our rightful estates, possessions, holdings, or value in a transaction.

That’s not a very pleasant feeling is it? Sometimes, it feels like we get less than what we deserve, and what little we have should be kept, guarded well, and hoarded if it seems, and only shared sparingly.

Is there someone to blame for this mindset and culture? Some people argue that it is only human nature to seek an advantage to gain it over others. Some even go so far to say that selfishness, is a trait that is common in the well to do, the rich, the disciplined, and the fiscally prudent. Some also call it fiscal discipline.

Well, it may be one of these things, and it may be all of these things, but let’s not forget that correlation does not mean causation. In essence, just because you’re rich, means you’re selfish, and just because you’re selfish, means you’re more likely to be rich.

Good news? Hardly. But let’s take a look at the other camp shall we.

Giving and generosity have been equated (mostly) with being a good person or individual, and is usually associated with charity, is it not? But what if I told you – it’s not always the case, and that perhaps, giving and generosity is not just good for character building and the soul, but also for your own gain too?

The sharing economy, the barter economy, and communities who actively promote trust and generosity amongst its members are active members and examples of this hypothesis.

In barter economies, goods are exchanged for each other. However, in many transactions, you can’t exactly rely on the exact value of goods exchanged to form a fair transaction, as you can’t split the goods to give out the remaining amount of value. For example, you need 3 pots and you have a cow to trade it for, and it’s a milk cow so slaughtering it to split its meat up is not fiscally prudent.


Your neighbour has three pots. Now, you want to trade the cow for the three pots, but the cow is worth at least twenty times the pots. You have nothing else to trade with, so you can either record the transaction as a loss, or a debt owed to you by your neighbour in the form of pots.

That would be odd, especially if everyone kept a tally in different forms measuring values indebted via various commodities like pots, which is also the reason money was invented, but we’ll get to that later.

So, what you could do, is be generous and take the pots, give the cow to your neighbour, who then feels indebted to you with gratitude, making it easier for the both of you to work together and help each other in other business or industrial activities anyway.

Generosity – in itself, is also a sign that the giver is able and wealthy enough to give. Basically, the giver becomes a patron. But practiced within a community, it encourages trust.

If there is a doubt that generosity itself is not a natural trait, here’s proof that it is.

In evolutionary survival – the best and most robust methods are the ones which involve generosity and co-operation.

Researchers Alexander J. Stewart and Joshua B. Plotkin from Pennsylvania’s Department of Biology in the School of Arts and Sciences, examined the outcome of the Prisoner’s Dilemma when played repeatedly by a large, evolving group of players.

While other researchers have previously suggested that being cooperative can be successful, Stewart and Plotkin offer ‘mathematical proof’ that the only strategies that succeed in the long term are generous ones.

In this version of the Prisoner’s Dilemma, only successful players would be allowed to proceed on to the next round, but with one caveat! The players who won would get to have more “offspring”, meaning that they would be able to have more players representing them in the next game.

It should also be noted that they were able to communicate and teach their “offspring” on their strategies.

Over the course of the experiment, the only strategies that survived were the ones that not only relied on co-operation alone, but also involved generosity and forgiveness on the part of the players involved.

In comparison, the other strategy that a player can employ is an extortion strategy, basically, to take short term gain, by using the current situation for personal gain at the expense of other players. Sounds familiar?

Well – employing this strategy allows for the best possible immediate outcome; but in the long run, affects the entire group, as the selfishness is reciprocated, and in the end, no one truly gains the most.

So, instead of a head-to-head competition, the researchers applied this to a group of people playing against one another(compared to a prisoner’s dilemma where it is 1-1), to realistically simulate communities and groups of people.

During the research, it was found that these extortion strategies don’t work well if played within a larger group of people who interact with each other, and not just between two people, because an extortion strategy doesn’t succeed when played against itself.

However. in generous strategies, players tend to cooperate with their opponents more, and are generous in their aid; and they also tend to forgive players who are selfish over time, as compared to excluding them completely. E.g, you help me, and I’ll help you, and we both win.

Using tests on how some generous strategies would work in a community of people, the researchers crafted a mathematical formula proving that, not only can generous strategies work best in this version of the Prisoner’s Dilemma, but also that these are the only strategies that resist individual selfish people in the test group and continue to endure.

These findings were reported in the PNAS journal.

In short – generosity is not a zero sum game.

Giving doesn’t mean you lose out – it only means you build relationships within group of people where all of you prosper more by working together, compared to your chances of prospering if you were to be selfish and look out only for yourself.

Isn’t it only natural that a sharing app like ours is an extension of human nature to share and be generous then instead of just looking out for yourself?


A Green Valentine: Love More, Waste Less


Green Love!

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner! What are your plans to show your love?

Before you take the credit card out to show your love with buying stuff, let us suggest something a little different. After all, whether you’ll be going with your regular lover, or someone new this valentines – a change of scenery and focus on love from just between you two will be appreciated, and you’ll definitely find out more things about your date too!

The plan – Helping out the homeless or newly arrived refugees. You’d think that giving out food and clothing would be quite far off from the idea of romance but you’d be wrong!

Why? Simply put, the generosity in you and your date shown and practiced by helping those in need by giving out clothing and food will make them associate you with kindness and generosity, and basically make the both of you view each other in a better light.

On top of that, giving out used clothes repurposed and food to feed those who need it will make your community a kinder and greener place – donations of money can surely buy new clothes, but used clothes in good condition will reduce pollution through wastage, as well as encourage a culture of recycling where you live.

Giving money to the homeless is good, and is needed for shelters as well as soup kitchens, but volunteering brings the concept of helping others in your vicinity into a much more personal space, and isn’t that what Valentine’s is about? Letting others into your personal space to get to know them better?

Spread the love this valentine’s day, and help the needy, for they need your love the most, and your help, as does the environment.

Perhaps you are fortunate to live in an area where the homeless are well taken care of, or you want to choose something else – what about a homely date at someone else’s place?

You could cook, or of you don’t know how to, you could ask a local chef or cook to make something with fair trade and locally sourced ingredients.

Of course, look for locally grown ingredients first, to support your local growers and farmers, since the reduced cost and need for transportation will leave you a lesser carbon footprint. However, it is highly suggested that you DO cook something for the day of the date itself.

Why? You could make one date, turn into two!

How you ask? Well, you need to go to the farmer’s market don’t you? Go with your date! Going to a fresh air market with just the both of you there and friendly farmers will make for good conversation topics, and be less direct and “confrontational” if you were sitting opposite of each other.

It gives you room and space to talk about yourselves, and find out more about each other, without actually having to ask about each other directly, which for some less socially inclined people, will be a much more comfortable situation.

On top of that – you can make a joint decision on what to buy, and engage each other in what to cook with the ingredients you’ve got! Now, just remember, some farmers markets don’t just sell organically grown root tubers and greens, they are also places for local beekeepers, artisans and craftsmen to showcase their locally made and environmentally friendly craft products!

Need an actual beeswax candle? Ask the beekeeper! Need soap? Ask the local soap maker! Or perhaps you need a bag to carry all the stuff you’ve bought? There’s someone spinning hemp and cotton together into large carry bags too!

Now, what will you do with all these? Surprise your date of course! Buy them a gift, or simply, buy things together and then set the table, and the house with those beeswax candles, and give them a body rub lotion of honey and lavender with soaps bought from the market!

So instead of going out of your way to spend a lot of money on flowers, only to be thrown away later, why not make your Valentine’s a more meaningful one, to include the things that matter?

Love is not about what you buy for your lover, it’s about how you make her/him feel. Love is not stored in a box of chocolate with pretty flowers. Love is imperfect, and has many facets. Love exists in this moment but will grow forever if in the right environment. Show your love by making this Valentine’s Day about learning more about your loved ones. Don’t just focus on now, remember the wider community and our earth and the future you want to build with your loved ones.

Love More, Waste Less!

Library of Things

As we head into the new future of consumerism and increased personal gain, are there any places in our communities, lives and homes that we can share? A place where one can lend, borrow, and trust in the goodwill of the neighbour and community to repay in kind with trust and goodwill too?
Well, you’ll be happy to know that places like these are more common than you think.

If you look closely, these places are not just publicly owned in name, but also in deed, meaning to say, some are community run and funded, while others are government funded, but the community usually decides on how to run the organization, what to lend and how.

You see, the key lynchpin to making a library of things, as we call them, is trust. Trust in the community you live in, as well as in the stewards of the library. let us share with you three delightful examples we have found.

ThingsThe public book libraries of Sacramento

The public book library of Sacramento, is a government funded library that actually functions as both a library for books, and a library for things.

The part of the Sacramento Public Library that loans out items is similar to how it loans out books. A member of the library needs to fill out a form to loan the ‘thing’ as they call it, and they can then be loaned out the lender for up to 3 weeks. If that period is not long enough – it can be borrowed up to 6 times, in which case, the need for the item should have passed.

This library chooses what items will be available to the public by how portable the item is, how valuable it is, as well as the number of votes from valid members as to the items that they want.

The items are then either donated, or bought using state money for this public programme to be available for loaning out, or to be used.

A small list of the items available : Board games, Video games, Sewing Machines, 3D printers, button maker, laminators, screen printers, musical instruments, GoPro cameras, a serger for professional stitching, and a bike repair station.

They have a full online catalogue of items available, some items can be used in the library only, such as the bike repair station, the 3D printer, as well as the Serger. For the reasons that they are higher in value and harder to operate and set up, these are kept at the library.

The Library of Things is located at Arcade Library at 2443 Marconi Ave. in Sacramento.

The Library of Things in Berlin

Berlin! Such a place with rich history, always breaking down barriers between people, and they’re doing it again, with the Laila Project, which is a library of things in the purest sense.

The Laila project is staffed by a volunteer who goes by Mr Nikolai Wolfert, who is a volunteer there.

If you ever wonder what the motivations were behind his store, he says “The average electric drill is used for 13 minutes in its entire lifetime – how does it make sense to buy something like that? It’s much more efficient to share it”.

That’s typical German efficiency for you! But apart from that, take a look at Leila on a deeper scale, and you’ll find that he’s actually a member of the Green party, and after they lost their local elections, he decided that he could do something for his community based off his political beliefs for the good of the community.

Thus, the Laila project was born. The Laila project is similar to other library of things – items get loaned out, and items are donated in, and to be part of the project to access items, you need to first donate something. The items range from useful, to quirky – drills to unicycles.

Mr Nikolai emphasises that it isn’t just about charity – it’s about efficiency, for more people, to use less. That’s the way to go isn’t it?

Library of Things in the UK

The Library of Things in the UK  started in West Norwood, South London in 2014, when friends Emma, James and Bex ran a pilot scheme in a library after visiting a borrowing shop in Berlin.

Similar to the project run by the Sacramento Public Library, the initial project by friends Emma, James and Bex met with success and an overwhelmingly positive response from the community, not just as a means of resource sharing and distribution, but also as a means of community bonding, interaction, and learning. Simply put – you can borrow a circular saw, but first you’ll have to learn how to use it from someone who does?

After that, they decided to pitch the idea to the general public online for funding via Kickstarter, and have raised £15,000 for this new library from 248 people.

They aim to set up a new library of things with these funds in South London, as well as making a toolkit to help others start their own library of things.

Do you know of other initiatives on Library of Things? Have you been thinking about starting one in your community? Comment below or contact us: hello{at}lendogram{dot}com.



Communities Matter

The estates and flat complexes of 1980’s Ireland, although often facing social problems and poverty in their own right, were also thriving, vibrant and convivial places to grow up. Children would roam the streets and play outdoors together, mothers would chat over back-yard walls while hanging out the washed clothes, and front doors were rarely closed or locked.

There was an intimacy and connection amidst it all that lent itself to a sense of place and community. It wasn’t idyllic of course, and many welcomed the opportunities economic growth brought – a chance to get work outside of the community, to earn higher wages, to get a university education, to move out to more upmarket neighbourhoods, to travel or move abroad.

However with that growth and social mobility, there was also an erosion of the bonds that tied people together in the places where they lived. In some suburban areas of Dublin, with people working long hours, facing long commutes and turning to more individual free-time activities it became common for people to barely know or interact with their neighbours and to feel less connected to the physical space they lived in. People were more likely to spend their free time in their high-spec newly purchased homes, than in the local park. Perceptions of safety changed, and children played less often outside with their peers. Hedges grew higher, doors were locked and supermarkets replaced the local grocer, butcher and bakers.

The shift in economic circumstances has brought with it a realignment of values in some communities

Fast forward to Ireland today, and something exciting is happening around community. Without undermining the harsh reality of increased unemployment for many families, the shift in economic circumstances has also brought with it a realignment of values in some communities across the country. People are feeling a need to look outwards, connect with those around them, and create opportunities for sharing, supporting one another and igniting initiatives that sustain local economies and make the places we live more enjoyable places to be. More people are attracted to networks and platforms that allow communities to pool and share resources, and in doing so build greater bonds of trust.

Cloughjordan Ecovillage is a registered educational charity and an internationally recognized destination for learning about sustainable living.

Residents regularly come together for pot-luck meals in people’s homes, and the village-wide email list acts as a means to communicate and share open invitations to parties, celebrations and events organised by individuals

Nowhere is this more prevalent than in the rural Irish community of Cloughjordan, Co Tipperary. A small village in the midlands, with a strong sense of community in its own right, it has in recent years become the location of Ireland’s only eco village project. The project, essentially a neighbourhood off the main street of the existing village, has inspired and contributed to a thriving, vibrant and interconnected community life. The design of the development itself encouraged a sense of sharing – homes are built without separate gardens for the most part, and the recreational space is instead a commonly owned and accessible plot of the overall land. There is a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm on the site, to which members contribute monthly sharing the produce and the risk. Freshly harvested vegetables are collected by members three times a week with an understanding that you take what you need, while being mindful of the needs of others. An arts collective has animated an empty property, offering accommodation, catering facilities and craft equipment for people to create, host and organise pop-up food and arts events. Residents regularly come together for pot-luck meals in people’s homes, and the village-wide email list acts as a means to communicate and share open invitations to parties, celebrations and events organised by individuals. It is this atmosphere and approach to collectively meeting the needs of individuals in the community that has made it such a great place to live, demonstrated by the fact that the community was listed as a runner-up in the Irish Times Best Places to Live as well as winning the LivCom International Award for most liveable communities.

The erosion of the fabric of community is not of course isolated to Ireland. Worldwide, particularly in urban environments, residents struggle to create a sense of connection and common belonging in the places they live. Great examples are emerging however, of how the sharing economy can enhance this sense of connection and place. Berlin, Germany demonstrates how the sharing economy can become part of the fabric of a city and its many suburbs. In the Prinzessinnengärten in the Kreuzberg area, a derelict site has been transformed into a space where members can harvest their own fresh vegetables, educational events take place, and there is a social space with a café and bar (selling non-profit beer of course!). Not too far down the road, the wonderful Weltkuche provides jobs and training for migrant women, and raises funds by selling delicious ethnic food to the public. On Fehrbelliner Strasse in the North East of the city, the first borrwing shop has kicked off a trend across the country, creating opportunities for people to borrow from a library of household items, rather than purchase the items individually.

The efficiency, enjoyment and ease with which communities and individuals are moving into this new way of transacting speaks volumes

In Australia, cities such as Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane are at the forefront of new ripples in the sharing economy. The oft-referenced AirBnB and Uber examples aside, people are matching unused bikes, empty driveways, empty sheds, excess clothing and cars with those who need them. The Secondbite project, established by a Melbourne couple has had great success in sourcing waste food, to provide nutritious catered food to community groups at reduced costs. The Welcome Dinner Project, is an excellent example of trust being built in the face of fears around new arrivals from the Middle East, organising shared meals in people’s homes for new arrivals and established Australians, transforming attitudes and forging friendships in the process.

It seems the core of these initiatives is the connection between people involved. For the most part, the efficiency, enjoyment and ease with which communities and individuals are moving into this new way of transacting speaks volumes, and sees increasingly more initiatives and projects emerging that connect resources and needs in ways that transcend traditional monetary exchanges. Advocates claim it is recreating the personal human interactions and connections that our modern economic model has eroded.


The Culture of Collaborative Consumption

Ever wonder what collaborative consumption has in common with students living together in college apartments, the hospitality and tourism industry, and New York cabbies?

And when we think of collaborative consumption, what do we think of?


We usually think of AirBnB and the like. These businesses do promote collaborative consumption, but to a smaller degree.

When AirBnB first started, it had a lot in common with college students sharing an apartment. One concept of AirBnB was to share the cost of living in an apartment with other people for a fraction of the price that it took to rent out a hotel room. On top of that – it was a more authentic experience for the person renting out the house/room since it was someone else’s home. Since then AirBnB has grown to become a global marketplace and a platform for landlords as well.

Today, college students still share and collaboratively consume services such as accommodation facilities in colleges, thereby lowering costs for each individual student, as compared to if a student had to rent out a whole apartment on their own by themselves.

In major cities like Tokyo, Singapore, and New York, car-sharing services and platforms have popped up as an answer to increasingly prohibitive costs to owning a car. Why cars? Because cabs are expensive, and sometimes, cars are more convenient when you need to go to a more isolated area.

Some carpool  services gain revenue from advertising, and others, charge a membership fee. However, most just share the cost of the travel plus a fee, and increase the efficiency of the transport system as a whole by reducing the number of vehicles on the road, as well as lowering pollution at the same time.

That is another key factor that we often overlook when considering as to why collaborative consumption is great for the public good as well as the consumer – lowered pollution is a key indicator of economic progress and prosperity.

Lowered pollution, which is also in line with less wastage, means more efficiency and productivity in a workforce and economy, which also means more profits and higher standards of living for everyone.

Consider this example – if everyone had a car that could seat 5 people and drove to work everyday, but only one person drove a car, would that not clog the roads and produce lots of smog? On top of that – the stress of being stuck in a traffic jam would piss everyone off so bad, that when they got to work, nothing is actually going to get done! But hey! Everyone has a nice 5 seater SUV!

Now consider the collaborative consumption alternative – public transport and car-sharing or ride-sharing in effect. Less smog from less vehicles on the road, a really smooth journey without jams. Sure, everyone might have to walk a bit when reaching their workplaces since the driver can’t drive up to everyone’s office doorstep, but the amount of time it takes to walk will be drastically lesser than the time spent and frustration gained from waiting in a traffic jam won’t it!

This is a prime example of how collaborative consumption can lower costs for us in our daily lives, it doesn’t need to be a complex model of sharing and collaboration, and can be beneficial to all parties involved.

Now, that’s an example for services. The collaborative consumption model has ‘traditionally’ worked for services rather than goods, since it’s harder to implement, but it has worked and is possible.

A prime example is used goods exchange platforms. Simply put, it is a place, or medium like a website where people go to buy, sell, resell, and most commonly – exchange the goods that they need with each other.

This is Collaborative Consumption too! People recycling their items, upcycling, by refurbishing them and then exchanging them for more value, as well as repairing, and then exchanging them for what they need!

Of course, this is lessened in our day and age, with our culture of consumerism and cheap goods, since it makes it easier to buy something way cheaper, and new, instead of going through the whole process of finding someone to exchange your item with, or giving it to someone who needs it more.

But wait! What if you considered this model of collaborative consumption instead? How would that benefit you?

Simply put – when you practice a culture of collaborative consumption, you create less waste since buying something much cheaper that breaks much faster will make more waste (and cost you more in the long term).

On top of that – when you practice a culture of collaborative consumption, you create a network of links that allow you to access more stuff than you would originally have, compared to if you had just gone to the store to replace your item.

These networks you build will also make it easier (and cheaper) to repair, replace, and find things you not only need, but want.

Everyone makes vintage fans these days, but are they really vintage? You actually find a vintage fan, but it’s broken, and here’s where the friends and people you meet while collaboratively consuming goods come in to help – there’s bound to be a tinkerer who can help you repair and refurbish the fan to working order.

Now, with the advent of the internet, you don’t have to limit yourself to your town – you can collaborate with people beyond your horizons, while consuming goods and services responsibly.