Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

July 16 2013

4 Regions of the New Collaborative World

Sarah Beauchamp, Assistant Editor, Convene®


Crowd power, social design, real-time access, and peer trust.

These are the four key elements of our new collaborative world, according to Rachel Botsman, keynote speaker at the PCMA Convene-sponsored Opening General Session yesterday at DMAI 2013, held at The Peabody Orlando from July 15–17. Botsman, a futurist, social innovator, and author of What’s Mine is Yours: How Collaborative Consumption is Changing the Way We Live, spoke of the barriers that are torn down by the rapid growth of technology, how to create more authentic experiences, and how together we can better navigate this new collaborative frontier.

SEE ALSO: Rachel Botsman on the Rise of Collaborative Consumption

Crowd Power
It takes two…or sometimes three, 15, or 6,000. Crowd sourcing is becoming increasingly popular with sites like Kickstarter and Foodstart, Botsman pointed out in her presentation. Kickstarter allows anyone to donate to a project of their choice, from artistic endeavors to new tech tools, and Foodstart allows people to raise funds for new food trucks and pop-up restaurants. By using these sites, ideas can come to fruition quickly, organically, and without all of the red tape. Kickstarter — which surpassed the National Endowment for the Arts in terms of supporting artistic initiatives in the U.S. last year — has helped launch game-changing products like the Pebble Watch, which syncs all tech devices, allowing people to access information right from their wrists. When they first posted the project on Kickstarter, the Pebble Watch creators wanted to raise $100,000 in one day, but ended up raising $10 million in eight days. This form of crowd sourcing can easily apply to any event or destination, for instance the Up Greek Tourism campaign, aimed at bringing visitors to Greece, has been very successful.

Social Design
Be people-centric, not product-centric. Social design is all about putting human interaction at the center of an experience. Things like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn place people (not products) at the center of the conversation. It’s important to establish, both online and in-person, a two-way relationship with attendees. Because of social media, “we’ve gone from wisdom of crowds to wisdom of friends,” Botsman said. “Ninety percent of consumers trust peer recommendations, whereas only 14 percent trust advertisers.” When marketing an event or destination, it’s important to embed a social element, where attendees and visitors feel like they are part of the decisions being made, and they can trust the source. A new trip-planning site called Trippy is a good example of consumers crafting their own experience through peer endorsements.

Real-Time Access
“Ninety-one percent of people keep their iPhones three feet away from them 24 hours a day,” Botsman said. People expect instant access to information and services — especially in the conference setting. It’s a matter of matching “needs” with “haves.” They need something that you have, so how can you best get it to them? Botsman discussed the idea of SoLoMo — social, local, and mobile. These three technologies combined make it possible to deliver instant and personalized service to delegates. Botsman used sites like Lyft, a new on-demand car service app, as an example. How can you use a similar concept with your event’s app?

Peer Trust
SoLoMo also helps promote peer-to-peer sharing. Botsman sited DogVacay, a dog-sitting site based on location and peer recommendation, and airbnb, a site that helps connect travelers with local accommodations, as examples of utilizing peer trust. “It’s about building communities,” Botsman said, “not market places.” Attendees and association members need to trust the voice and design of your event, website, app, and organization. “People are looking for authenticity,” Botsman said. “They’re looking for realness. We need to think not just about technology helping us work together, but how we can change travel in the future, to give people a more personal experience of the world that we live in.”

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