Co-ops and the collaborative economy: how to pioneer the digital platforms

15 Nov 2017

In a Learn session at the Alliance Global Conference in Malaysia, practitioners from this sector looked at the role co-ops can play in delivering a new model of the collaborative economy.

Nicole Alix, President of La Coop de Communs in France explained how technology was changing the way in which goods were produced, delivered and chosen by customers. “These changes are opportunities for new forms of solidarity,” she said.

Melina Morrisson, CEO of BCCM in Australia, the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals looked at some case studies of co-ops in her country involved in the sharing economy. 

NRMA, one of the largest mutual in Australia has developed a website to connect older members of co-ops to engage around the challenges of ageing, including being unable to drive. The mutual provides a range of services, including roadside assistance, International Drivers Licences, car reviews, a diverse range of motoring, travel and lifestyle benefits.

Danny Spitzberg from the Buy Twitter campaign also described his campaign to turn the platform into a co-operative. “There are many good ideas coming out of this campaign,” he said adding that another option would be for co-ops to build their own alternative of Twitter with the aim to provide a real stake in the business and better terms of service for users.

In Belgium SMART, a Belgian co-op has grown into a network of 80,000 autonomous workers and freelancers from different sectors. Sandrino Graceffa, CEO of SMART explained how the co-op was the opposite of Uber and enabled workers to benefit from legal and administrative services, insurance for accidents at work, cash and financing services, co-working spaces as well as support and advice.  

Photo: LEARN session on the collaborative economy