4 near-sighted predictions for the sharing economy

The sharing economy blows up the industrial model of companies owning and people consuming.” — Forbes

The sharing economy is on the rise and it’s changing the way we work with individuals and businesses migrating away from traditional processes in favour of more flexible, value-driven practices.

Based on sharing skills, talents, and resources driven by knowledge, the sharing economy has spawned a wealth of new freelance experts in recent years, spanning almost every industry or sector imaginable.

By 2021, there are expected to be around 86.5 million active participants tapping into the gig economy⁠—a testament to its exponential growth.

The wisdom-garnering value of the sharing economy has astounded even the most optimistic of industry pundits. As technologies become more sophisticated and more people enter the arena, the sharing economy will continue going from strength to strength.

Here we explore four near-sighted sharing economy predictions and how they’re likely to shape the workplace in the coming years.

The sharing economy: what’s in store?

With advancements in accommodation and transportation to skill-based professional recruitment, the sharing economy is more than buoyant than ever before —and we expect the best is yet to come.

Here are the key trends that will shape the sharing economy next year, and beyond.

A mass migration to freelance experts

Presently, there are over a 100 million active freelance experts worldwide. And as more individuals with niche skills move into the gig or sharing economy, we’re likely to see an exponential rise in businesses across sectors hiring freelancers to spearhead projects or fill in organisational knowledge gaps.

Hiring people based on their specific skill sets is invaluable to businesses looking to improve their internal efficiency, fortify their business or boost brand awareness, and in the coming years, hiring freelancers will become a common practice for modern businesses.

Collaboration will surpass competition

Expanding on the previous point, the rise in sharing economy-based hiring is likely to create a shift in terms of innovation.

While competition is of course healthy, by partnering up, freelancers and businesses alike will begin to collaborate, sharing skills and resources to improve productivity, profitability, and above all, organisational innovation.

A concept known as horizontal innovation, the sharing of concepts, skills, and resources will produce incredible results across industries in the coming years. 

Increased demographic diversity

As the sharing economy expands, driving global adoption, new waves of freelancers will emerge from different socio-economic or ethnic backgrounds, generating increased value in several areas.

Over the next decade, women are expected to account for around two-thirds of the rise in all disposable income.

Moreover, as digital technologies become more accessible and businesses crave a more eclectic range of skill sets, the landscape will diversify, enormously.

No longer will the same demographic of professionals hold all the cards in the eyes of organisations—in a space where diversity reigns supreme, a broader spectrum of freelance professionals will become available to businesses, helping them to achieve, deliver, and implement initiatives that may once have seemed unfeasible or unfathomable.

Enter the blockchain

Concerning technologies, platforms, and processes within the sharing economy, the adoption of the blockchain will help to take things to the next level.

The decentralised nature of blockchain technology will empower freelancers and businesses to take full control of their collaborations while making sharing economy marketplaces more reliable, efficient, and cohesive.

For instance, the use of smart contracts will help to regulate terms, stipulations, project milestones, and payments both swiftly and securely, saving time and money of associated admin while protecting the interests of both parties.

 

But, while the blockchain will disrupt the sharing economy, the wider point here is that platforms will improve, technology will evolve, and the professional value of the sharing economy will rise rapidly in the coming years.

The sharing economy is here to stay. For businesses and freelancers alike, this emerging knowledge-based landscape is helping people reach and exceed their potential in a wealth of key areas—embrace it today and you’ll reap great rewards tomorrow.

For a glimpse of the sharing economy in action, explore our latest legal expert case study.

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