The Future Is Collaborative

Jul 3, 2015 RainFin In the news  News
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“We are witnessing the formalization of the shared economy – access vs ownership and sharer vs consumer. And for companies, what this means is embracing the idea of Collaborators vs Competitors.” Those are the words of Lauren Wallett, Head of Marketing and Communications at The Silicon Cape Initiative. She mentioned RainFin in a blog about the future of collaborative consumption. This is what she said:

The rise of Digital Nomads

From the corporate culture of convention and doing what is expected: working 9 – 5 jobs in a fixed office space, we have moved into a new area that celebrates the individual and advocates working to suit your lifestyle choices.

Working from home, co-work spaces, accessible Internet connection and affordable travel options means that we can now work anywhere at anytime. Co-working spaces double each year globally because simply put: co-working is what people want.

These ‘global citizens’ and ‘digital nomads’ are transforming the startup scene. This shift cultivates a creative culture of invention and people’s work expresses who they are.

It’s a time of rapid growth, prompted by advances in technology innovation and the world, as we knew it, is changing to form a landscape we can’t fully comprehend. So how do we keep up with this shifting space?

The evolution to P2P Lending

The old 80’s order of more means more, mass consumerism and greed, spiraled out of control into inflated overdrafts, loans and ultimately the collapse of the economy. The ramifications of the 2007 – 2009 modern day Great recession are still in effect and new solutions have become life saving necesities for the world’s economic situation. (Click here for a link to the banks acquired or bankrupted during this period. )

Shifting consumer mindset

Now, more than ever, not just in business but in the world around us, sustainability is paramount to success.

A prime example of a collaborative mentality in the financial sector can be seen in the increase of Peer to Peer lending, instead of the competitive nature of traditional banking models – many of which have failed to provide sustainable solutions.

In South Africa: Rainfin (self described as the best way to borrow or invest money) promises a better solution. RainFin is a community of people and businesses investing in one another’s future. Their online marketplace directly connects borrowers and lenders, allowing for cheaper credit for borrowers and better returns for investors.

It’s a solution that speaks to us as individuals: it makes sense to save cents.

We’ve become far more conscious of the choices our companies make and how these effect people and the planet. ‘Boutique‘, ‘Niche‘ and ‘Customized‘ are becoming terms synonymous with successful companies, instead of the ‘Bigger and Better‘, ‘Faster‘ and ‘More‘ slogans of the past.

From Chinese factories and supermarkets to hand crafted and local artisanal markets, we’re focusing on scaling hyper local initiatives by returning back to basics.

The rise of online marketplaces: (Etsy, AliBaba) and locally Hello Pretty, SAM store to name but two, highlights the shift into combining efforts to share in sales success instead of the ‘each to their own’ mentality of singular online shops. Working together and doing less with more has become an important fundamental for successful startups. Teamwork, joint efforts and cooperation provides simple solutions to complex problems.

Ideas like company collaboration, skill share, co-work spaces and virtual offices are replacing corporate monopolies, set expertise, traditional offices and time based, location fixed staff.

Why is this trend so important?

Our reactions determine our reality. Our choices define us.

In business, how you view a situation and how you choose to respond to it, determines your success or failure. The same circumstance will effect various entrepreneurs very differently. Deciding if we view others as collaborators or competitors will influence our every day dealings and governs the nature of the companies we create.

In the dawning of this new, more enlightened world, sharing means caring not lack. The understanding is that there is enough to go around: a shift from a scarcity perspective into a perception of abundance.

Ideas are being combined instead of stolen and when this happens, the outcome is collaboration and progress, instead of petty one up-man-ship. The whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts, instead of scattered collection of fractured fragile startups struggling to survive.

My Collaborator not my Competitor

The problem is, that those who don’t embrace the changing dynamic are not going to be able to keep up with businesses of the future.

And not everyone is ready to shift their perspective. The fear based mindset that there isn’t space or enough for everyone in this inclusive, open world, is a limited belief that stunts growth.

“He will take from me” instead of “I could learn from him!” is the competitors viewpoint. Instead of seeing others as potential assets, they are viewed as potentially dangerous liabilities.

Simply explained as the ‘Food court’ mentality: placing many restaurants in close proximity to one another, encourages food sales for all the businesses. This model works. ‘Clusters’ and Precincts in cities: for design, finance, technology work because grouping similar ideas together.

The old saying, “Birds of a feather flock together” and “Like attracts like” are true.

And through online technologies, finding your people is more possible than ever before. We’re able to connect with like minded potential colleagues from across the globe and work together on projects, ask questions and engage in solutions that improve both parties service and product offerings. This is only possible when we embrace the notion that people are our collaborator’s and not our competitors. When we become fluid and not fixed.

In this way, companies are able to focus on an individual’s talents and strengths to the best of their abilities, so that instead of getting employees to do things they like, they start to do more of what they love. This is a powerful place to be because the more someone loves what they do, the more they produce and the higher the return on the individual as an investment.

Collaborators are future focused and geared for success, whereas competitors are stuck in past paradigms and geared for failure.

It isn’t a question of choosing which one you should be, but how quickly you can you transition to embrace the progressive collaborative state of the reality that is.

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