Collaborative Economy Disruption – Guest Post by @ScottMonty

As consumers can whip out their phones to get instant, on-demand access to products and services they want, we’re seeing a shift in thinking from ownership to access. It’s almost expected at this point. If your business can’t offer something to compete with this nearly frictionless effort, you’re vulnerable. When highlighted against the four disruptive forces (mobile, mindset, Internet related, emerging technologies), the collaborative economy hits all all four.

And while there is growing concern around sharing startups’ lack of regulation and aggressive global expansion, it hasn’t slowed the growth of the collaborative economy (especially behemoths like Uber and Airbnb), making it critical for established brands to understand consumer sentiment, learn their preferences and capitalize on these shifts now more than ever.

A three-pronged opportunity has emerged for large companies — but it isn’t necessary to pursue all three simultaneously; there may only be one strategy that suits each company. They can choose to compete on price, convenience or brand.

Price is fairly obvious, as financial savings is one of the top drivers of the collaborative economy with 82% of sharing transactions partially motivated by price. Established brands are well-positioned to offer greater value to providers in the collaborative economy, as traditional purchasers would use collaborative economy services for a 25% savings.

Convenience is another strong driver. To be able to pick up a device and get a service (or at least secure a service and view the length of waiting time and status of the request) appeals to the human need for immediate gratification. Convenience poses a major challenge to established companies, because it’s exactly where sharing startups have a structural advantage. However, convenience is a factor that established organizations can compete on, with value-added services that create efficiencies, on-demand access to products and services, mobile apps, and even the sale of locally-sourced and crafted products.

Having a trusted and well-known brand – even when competing with well-liked startups – is an advantage. There’s a close relationship between brand recognition and market dominance. Most people have heard of big collaborative economy players like eBay, Craigslist, Etsy, Uber and Kickstarter, and many of the top-sharing players have positive reputations. Yet more than 25% of would-be sharers will consider traditional buying if it means doing business with a reputable brand. The role of brand in the collaborative economy presents an opportunity for large companies to take advantage by marketing on trust or partnering with sharing services to leverage their brand.

scott montyScott Monty @scottmonty
Scott Monty is the CEO and co-managing partner of Brain+Trust Partners, a strategy consultancy firm specializing in digital transformation, technology selection and executive advising. He speaks to groups about the fundamentals of the human condition that are relevant to business today.

Scott spent six years at Ford Motor Company, as a strategic advisor on crisis communications, influencer relations, digital customer service, innovative product launches and more. He also has a decade of experience in communications and marketing agencies, where he had clients that included IBM Healthcare and Life Sciences, Coca-Cola, American Airlines, T-Mobile, GE Software and more.

He is a board member of the American Marketing Association and an advisor for RPM Ventures, My Dealer Service, Crowd Companies and Clever Girls Collective. He writes about the changing landscape of business, technology, communications, marketing and leadership at, where he distributes the widely acclaimed Week in Digital newsletter, and is the executive editor and co-host of the Sherlock Holmes website and podcast I Hear of Sherlock Everywhere.

​Diversity & Inclusion – Guest post by Michael Stuber

What should be seen as a business case and common sense turns out to be a long-lasting challenge for people and organisations

While differences have always existed in societies and certainly in business organisations, the phenomenon of diversity has become a disruptive force over the past 25 years. The end of the East-West-Divide, in combination with the emergence of the Internet, initiated not only the Third Industrial Revolution, but also a fundamental paradigm shift in the way many people live and work (together), at least in the Western world. Changes include an unprecedented growth in individuality (and hence diversity), a strong preference for multi-cultural environments (including the workplace), and multiple new ways of collaboration and communication. To that end, all levels of human cognition have been impacted, which provides huge opportunities for the business world but also challenges.

Reaping the disruptive value of Diversity

In order to realise benefits from diversity, the value-chain of Diversity & Inclusion needs to be managed carefully and ideally in a systematic way: Differences can only be turned into competitive advantage when openness prevails – individually and in the organisational culture – and inclusive processes, behaviour and communication are applied. The benefits of getting this value-creation process right have been proven by 205 robust studies portrayed in the International Business Case Report. Some studies highlight that in order for diversity to add value, a healthy conflict, e.g. through minority dissent, is required. This hint for existing challenges is only the tip of an iceberg, nowadays discussed under the headline of Unconscious Biases.

Hindering the productive disruption of Diversity

While the term ‘Unconscious Bias’ most often describes specific types of implicit associations, my analysis of existing research from the past decades suggests that it serves perfectly to describe six types of biases in three areas that have one thing in common: Making it hard for individuals, teams and organisations to tap into the potential of Diversity by consistently practicing Inclusion. The main categories of Unconscious Biases that are of immediate relevance to Diversity Management include personal / human preference for sameness, stereotypes about ‘others’, biased application of (theoretically) meritocratic processes, micro-inequities, unwritten rules in mono-cultures and the organisational preference that reproduces success types of the past. The dynamics can be observed on individual, process and organisational levels, and some biases stabilise each other in a way that makes mitigation a complex task.

Making Diversity & Inclusion work is complex

Over the past twenty years, a number of success formats dominated each of the different eras – each claiming to be the silver bullet everyone was looking for. In fact, the critical questions representing resistance against diversity, inclusion or both, have not changed much over the past decades. What’s in it for me? For the business? Why change in the first place? Is there any urgency at all? These and other common questions show quite clearly that a complex change strategy must be designed in order to nudge people and organisations towards overcoming initial and subsequent barriers, and gradually unleashing the power of differences. A combination of different change models has proven to be advisable: The generic trifold model of leadership, tools and cultural change serves as a backdrop against which more D&I specific approaches can be designed. The different types of Unconscious Biases provide another template for developing roadmaps. Multi-phase models for organisation development, such as Kotter’s 8 steps, make timing more effective. Finally, the value-creation model of D&I provides quality check points to know if your strategy will eventually lead to the desired benefits. One more thing still needs to be added to the complexity: Stakeholder management continues to be a challenge in many or most D&I processes. For the perceptions, personal convictions, needs and possibilities of different target groups and individuals within those target groups vary a lot.

Michael Stuber DiversityMichael Stuber,

Founder and Owner-Manager of European Diversity
VP of International Affairs, European Institute for Managing Diversity