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Amsterdam Sharing Capital

This page collects the results of a project for Amsterdam’s Department of Economic Affairs (EZ) during the Social Innovation Safari – Summer School 2013

It’s no longer about ownership, it’s about access!

More and more people are sharing what they own, reusing what they have, and working together where they can. Citizen participation, social entrepreneurship and environmental responsibility have become increasingly common than in the last decades. For governmental organisations this leads to the question how they can jump on the bandwagon. And also, what are the remaining tasks for governments? What do citizens expect from a government when they are more self-organised? And are there people left out and forgotten when new networks and partnerships arise?

Also for EZ these are the types of questions that arise facing the challenges and opportunities of a sharing economy. EZ’s main objective for this case is: “Determine what the mutual opportunity is for government and peer-to-peer entrepreneurs”. During eleven days, an interdisciplinary and international team of six people attempted to crack this case:

We also like to mention our coach Amis Boersma, who supported and challenged us during the Social Safari.

The results of those eleven days are presented below. Please note that this should be considered as an exploration in this field and can in no way be seen as a complete overview of Collaborative Consumption. All texts, images and maps on this page are created by the team mentioned above are published under a Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike License. Feel free to copy, distribute and alter this content but mention this page and the team on the ‘Sharing Economy’ of the Social Safari 2013.

What is Collaborative Consumption?

The use of Internet and social networks has affected our consumption habits. Traditional ways of sharing, loaning and renting are redefined through modern technology. We call this emerging trend of technological mediated consumption “Collaborative Consumption”. Shorter product life cycles and an ever-mounting heap of waste materials are characteristic by-products of modern consumer society. We see a growing interest in a less consumption-focused and individually-centered society and it is there, where sharing initiatives find ground. It is in use, rather than ownership, we find the benefit of things. As an effect, we value things by access to them (quick, easy, cheap) rather than in ownership. Clearly today access to possession beats possession.

These types of sharing behaviours emerged around music, photography and video but gradually have spread to other areas of our life: books, vehicles and even houses. Collaborative Consumption is sometimes seen as a marketing instrument since this economical system is not new, except for the medium it uses. On the other hand, Collaborative Consumption is seen as a system that is exclusively designed to manage wealth. It is clear that this is a way to collaborate with society and the environment.

“We now live in a global world where we can mimic the exchanges that took place before face-to-face, but on a scale and in a way that had never been possible. The efficiency of the Internet, combined with the ability to build trust among strangers has created a market for efficient exchanges between producer and consumer, lender and borrower, and between neighbour and neighbour, without intermediaries”. – (Rachael Botsman and Roo Rogers @

Collaborative Consumption refers to innovative ways in which we interact in a global economy. Moving beyond the importance of money, Collaborative Consumption shows a powerful commercial dynamic at play with economic elements like: swapping, sharing, creating confidence in consumers and providers, improving a culture beyond ownership and establishing new connections and intercultural relations. The Collaborative Consumption model advocates a more intensive use of assets and resources, giving access to more people, at lower cost and adjusting to the needs of our resources. Collaborative Consumption shows that sharing is interactive, convenient and fun.

Models of Collaborative Consumption

Collaborative Consumption essentially revolves around a general market models:

  1. Product-based Systems: Paying for the benefit of using a product without having to buy it (e.g. P2P car sharing and rental). This disrupts traditional industries based on models of individual private property. These systems are increasingly attracting a larger number of users.
  2. Redistributing Markets: Redistribute used or acquired property, which are not needed anymore (e.g. exchange markets and second hand). In some markets the products can be free (Freecycle), others are exchanged (thredUP) or sold (eBay). Over time, Redistribute can become the fifth “R” along with Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Repair
  3. Collaborative Lifestyles: Not only can you share or exchange property. People with common interests are coming together to share and exchange fewer tangible assets such as time, space, skills and money (e.g. private rental). These exchanges mostly take place at a local level or within neighbourhood. There we share workspaces (CitizenSpace), gardens (Landshare) or parking space (ParkatmyHouse). On a more global level, there are loans between individuals (Lending Club) and people renting out their rooms (Airbnb and Couchsurfing).


In our analysis we researched the main actors and their interactions in the Amsterdam Sharing Economy. We found opportunities and disconnects that we addressed in the following graphs (Click for a larger images).


Several large platforms active in Amsterdam can be considered part of the Collaborative Consumption movement. Our analysis shows that although they are part of a new sharing economy they do differ from each other. Below we describe some of these platforms/initiatives in terms of their DNA (touchpoint, type of transactions, what they share and ownership).



By interviewing lots of people from various backgrounds and professional occupation we have been able to create five personas that we believe give a good overview of the different perspectives we have encountered.



Interviews, discussions, the creation of the above personas and rapid product development (see below) lead us to the creation of the actor map below. The map highlights the opportunities and disconnects what we have encountered, and indicates where these opportunities are.

The map shows, in the centre part, all key actors in the field of Collaborative Consumption. These range from non-users to national governments. Underneath these agents we’ve placed quotes that these agents could have said and that we think indicates their general feeling about Collaborative Consumption. The green arches indicate opportunities between two agents, the red arches indicate disconnects between two agents. Each arch has a corresponding description either at the top of bottom of the map. Both the opportunities and disconnects are places where EZ could facilitate in one way or another.

Inspiration & Prototyping

During the Social Safari we have used prototyping and rapid development to research Collaborative Consumption and to test assumptions that we have made. Below we have presented an overview of some of these projects.

A day in the life of a traveling sharer

Sven is a civil servant who uses a lot of sharing platforms when he needs to work in different parts of Amsterdam. The following images show a day in his traveling and sharing live. They research the likelihood of this becoming common practice in the future. His day shows us that ownership is not as important as access; Access to local transport (mywheels), local food (thuisafgehaald) local places to stay (AirBnB, coachsurfing, etc.), places to work (, things to learn (coursera) and things to teach (

Platform Sharing Amsterdam

The ‘Amsterdam Sharing Capital’ aggregation site is a concept for a service that allows tourists and citizens alike to find the best ways to enjoy their life in Amsterdam by using only sharing platforms. The main entry point is a map which visualises where they can find what they need, sourced from all the possible sharing platforms available in Amsterdam. From transport to food, from a working space for a few hours to a way to learn skills and even places to get (or borrow) necessary goods. The site also allows interested stakeholders (e.g. the Amsterdam Department of Economic Affairs) how these ‘sharing hot areas’ overlap with traditional socio-economic indicators such as house prices, literacy, income, etc.

Enhancing Social Capital

In the sharing capital Amsterdam, different actors like individuals, companies and social welfare organizations share with each other. They both use money and other currencies. By interacting together, an economic and social capital is created.

A local Sharing Ambassador explains sharing platforms in a 'wijkcentrum'


The Amsterdam Stadspas is for people with tight budget, cooperation with collaborative consumption platforms is obvious.

The Amsterdam Voedselbank works together with Thuisafgehaald to support local economy and social cohesion.

Big hardware stores organises Repair Cafes and creates strong local ties.

Bridging the knowledge gap

Our analysis shows there is often a knowledge gap between people who already participate in Collaborative Consumption and who do not. We have created a set of playful tasks for interested parties to get to know Collaborative Consumption better. These are meant to be played by the Economic Department of the Amsterdam municipality, but can easily be converted to be played within any type of organisation.


Final Presentation

On Friday July 19th 2013 we gave the following presentation during the closing session of the Social Safari 2013.


The Social Safari 2013 took place in early July 2013. After the Safari the individual members of this group went back to their regular jobs. Please use LinkedIn to contact individual members of this group. To contact the entire group please get in touch with Maarten Zeinstra at Kennisland ( / t +31205756720 / m +31643053919), he will make sure you message will reach the entire group.