Enterprise and innovation. The role of sharing economy

0001Monday, July 11st, 2016 Istituto Centrale per i Beni Sonori ed Audiovisivi hosted a two-hour conference entitled “Impresa e innovazione. Il ruolo della sharing economy” in Rome. The conference was organised by student association Students For Liberty – Rome in partnership with Istituto Bruno Leoni and Fondazione “Luigi Einaudi. Four speakers animated the debate:

  • Sergio Boccadutri (Member of Italian Parliament and Partito Democratico Responsible for Innovation)
  • Luigi Corvo (Professor of Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the University of Rome Tor Vergata)
  • Franco Debenedetti (President of Istituto Bruno Leoni)
  • Carlo Tursi (General Manager for Uber Italia).

The moderator was Lorenzo Castellani (Scientific Director of Fondazione Luigi Einaudi).

First of all, Corvo referring to sharing economy dimension explained that: “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence”. This statement means that closed-minded people don’t want to see and search the evidence of transition. It is true both in sharing economy and in other part of life. Corvo then presented his research about sharing economy. The analysis of the phenomenon requires a brain exercise. It is necessary to find sharing economy enabling factors such as:

  • Sleeping assets (for example unused rooms for Airbnb)
  • Coordination costs = 0 (people have no costs in coordinate themselves to share their sleeping assests on a platform)
  • Risks spread (capital is distribuited: nobody risks more than he or she wants)
  • Relation and trust among community

Then, he underlined the hallmarks of the transition toward a new forms of economy. Example of this it is the graph elaborated by P2P Foundation about four future scenarios.  In this chart the four fruits of the digitally trasformed economy are divided in two macro areas: capital on one end (neo-feudal cognitive capitalism) and the commons on the other (mature peer production ): this is the first axe. Then, within these areas we are a centralized or distribuited control of a infrastructure that produce Enterprise As Usual (or “Netarchial capitalism such as Facebook), New SME (or “Distribuited capitalism” such as Kickstarter), New big players (o “Resilient Communities” such as Degrowth movement) and Social innovation or “Global Commons”.

According to Corvo’s vision, changes are taking place in different sectors:

  • Enterprise: from a hierarchical model to a circular model.
  • Ecosystem that now is integrated and not divided. The traditional ecosystem is based on different output for different actors (Public Sector produces public value, Enterprises produce profit and Society produces social value). In the new scenario, PA, Enterprises and Society work for 3P: People, Planet and Profit.
  • The model. In order to predict the birth of new innovative platforms, we have to find when the fall of coordination costs and risks from sharing economy trigger the change: this is the rate of transformation from conventional economy to sharing economy.

A further point is the repositioning of actors that is based on certain assumptions:

  • Innovation is the way
  • Protected markets are dangerous
  • No reputation means no future
  • Fragility

With respect to this very matter, in the last part of his presentation Corvo explained sharing economy in the light of Mr. Taleb book Antifragile. Things that Gain from Disorder. For more information, please click here.

In the second part of the conference speakers discussed about the role of sharing economy in the society and in public institutions. According with his professional experience, Carlo Tursi showed the Uber story and experience in the world, especially in Europe and Italy. He analyzed the most problematic issues in terms of privacy, costs and impact on society. In his opinion, an important point was that Uber had also a social impact in terms of social flanking measures for people that had lost their job. This controversial issue had stimulated a debate with the audience.

Then, Sergio Boccadutri showed his view about sharing economy: he thinks that it is necessary to overcome the traditional vision of labour market (citizen’s role of prosumer is fundamental) and approve a start-up-friendly tax regime. According to him, it is clear that the world is changing and the policymaker must be ready to act properly.

In the end the President of Istituto Bruno Leoni, Franco Debenedetti drew the conclusions of the conference talking about Italian industrial policy. He focused his attention on the role and the future of some jobs such as bankers, lawyers and doctors: in his view these jobs will be the most influenced and changed by the sharing economy. it is necessary to study this fact.

In conclusion, what emerged from this conference was a clear vision of the actual liquid-situation and the belief that facilitating sharing economy activities is the way to generate economic growth.