When David Arthurs created the first hybrid vehicle, one of his steps to success was understanding that the power lost in braking could be regenerated to run the vehicle. It was simply wasted energy that ought to be used. Boring old Otis elevators (which, incidentally, is one of my favorite brands) uses the same concept in their newer elevators.
It was just a matter of time when we figured out how to make people to use their energy more effectively, whether by the cancer fighting screensaver from years ago to the more recent CAPTCHA method for digitizing old texts.
Chris Anderson (yes, that Chris Anderson) explained earlier this year that part of the new “Free!” economy has to do with labor exchange: having users do part of the work for an organization so that the end value benefits both user and provider with no monetary cost to the user. Further research indicates that this area of co-production represents a strong area for future organizational growth, an area that has been harnessed by progressive organizations throughout industry, whether it is a popular web browser, an up-and-coming brokerage, or a small dress shop.
The questions that are necessary to answer before embarking are:
- Is this work-sharing approach the proper approach for your brand and offering (it might not be), and
- If number one is a “Yes”—is this good for the community in which your brand lives?
Think hard if you said “No” on number two; you may be surprised.
You may see that I like Zions Direct Auctions. I also work in marketing on that product, which means I may be a bit biased (but it also means I do something that I believe in).