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The people of Denver are really starting to take advantage of collaborative consumption, and the effects can be seen on a daily basis. The red Denver B-cycles on the streets, the grey Toyota Yaris at stop lights, apartment dwellers planting in community city gardens, and coworkers filling seats at Creative Density are all signs of the growing trend in Denver. It will be exciting to see how this trend will continue in the coming years and change the way people interact with each other and products.

What is collaborative consumption?
Collaborative consumption is when a product is shared among a group of people versus being owned and used by a single individual. The intent is to reduce waste and to use items to their fullest potential by preventing needless idle time. The item is often owned and mantained by a company and is lent out, although their are websites that facilitate peer-to-peer sharing but so far are less popular.

How it works:

  • An organization purchases products and manages inventory and checkout
  • Members pay a low monthly or per-use fee to have access to the product
  • Members check out or reserve the product when needed and return it so another member can have access to it. Many items are usually available so lack of availability is not a strong concern.
  • The organization cleans and maintains returned items.

The benefits of collaborative consumption

  • Lower cost of ownership by having expenses shared among a group.
  • Higher quality of good. When cost and use is spread throughout a group the item must be of higher quality for durability and ease of use.
  • Lower risk. Instead of maintaining an item yourself it is kept functional by the company leading the organization.
  • Lower environmental impact. Instead of buying an item that is only used four or fives a year and thrown away each shared item is of higher quality, lasts longer, and constantly used.

Examples:

Online groups:

Look for a follow up post that describes how this trend could effect other industries.