Co-innovate, cooperate, peer-to-peer, citizen-producer, are concepts which have been springing up in the last few years. The world is full of examples of organisations that impact on our society, that use this new way of interacting and that experience cooperation models based on shared resources. This new paradigm, emerging in the wave of the crisis, and the lack of tax incentives, has meant rethinking traditional models of management and searching for disruptive models that take this new social paradigm forward, to enterprises, organisations, administration and NGOs.
With this challenge, from Fomento de San Sebastian we aim to identify emerging innovations based on the paradigm of cooperative economy in areas such as consumption, production, knowledge and finance. Going beyond the very prominent AirBnB, Wikipedia or Verkami, and beginning to explore the more recent disruptive models that would allow the city to become a benchmark in creative economy.
Cooperative economy and cities
In the last few years, the concept and practice of sharing resources has become a common phenomenon in North America, Western Europe and other regions of the world. Internet is full of articles and web sites which have the enormous potential of sharing human and physical resources, from cars and bicycles to housing, work places, food, household articles and even time and experience. According to the majority of general definitions that are widely available on line, cooperative economy takes advantage of the information technology and enables people and organisations to distribute, share and re-use the excess capacity of goods and services. The business icons of the new cooperative economy such as Airbnb, Zipcar, Lyft, TaskRabbit and Poshmark are already well-known but there are hundreds of initiatives related to this growing movement that exhorts, in one way or another, the secular principle of sharing.
There is no doubts that the emerging paradigm of sharing resources is on the rise, especially in the context of economic recession, public sector austerity and environmental concerns. Consequently, 15 mayors have signed the resolution Shareable Cities in which the importance of cooperative economy, for both the public and private sector, is given official recognition Seoul (South Korea) has approved a city project Sharing-City which aims to expand its cooperative infrastructure", promoting its already existing cooperative companies and incubating new enterprises and undertakings as a solution (partial or complete) to the problems of housing, transport, employment and social cohesion.
On the other hand, Medellin (Colombia) is adopting shared transport plans and redesigning the use of shared public spaces. Although it is undeniable that high value cooperative economy initiatives exist with other cooperative initiatives that do not generate social value or improve current solutions; the potential job creation and improvement of life quality in cities that offer cooperative economy aimed at the common good is enormous.
Scopes of the project
Citizens in Donostia-San Sebastian already use well-known solutions such as AirBnB, Blablacar, Socialcar, Firefox, crowd-funding platforms, Homexchange, etc. There are also initiatives in the city such as transport services based on shared use namely dbizi,electric bike, or (recently cancelled) electric ibilekcoche. Other local examples are Hirikilabs in the cultural sphere, the open-source Basque OSE, consumer groups linked to producers, or Goiener for the production and distribution of renewable energy (based in Ordizia but belonging to the renewable energy and energy efficiency cluster of Fomento SS).
Many entrepreneurs attend Fomento San Sebastian with ideas related to products we no longer use or collective buying. A large part of the potential of the cooperative economy is still to be discovered in our city. The cooperative economy may generate great social impact in San Sebastian as this kind of model may generate local employment, increase territorial cohesion and increase services to citizens and the efficiency of existing resources in the city.
For this reason, from Fomento de San Sebastian and our open innovation platform, Donostia Open INN, we launch this research project and presentation of the best emerging innovations based on the paradigm of the cooperative economy, centred on six basic aspects:
- Physical space