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Synthetic Overview of the Collaborative Economy: Chapter 2: Discovering The User As Value Creator And The Emergence Of A User-Centric Ecosystem

Synthetic Overview of the Collaborative Economy: Chapter 2: Discovering The User As Value Creator And The Emergence Of A User-Centric Ecosystem

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Published by P2P_Foundation
The report “Synthetic overview of the collaborative economy“, coproduced by Orange Labs and the P2P Foundation, provides a thorough mapping of the actors involved in this cooperative economy: for the first time, nearly all the dots of the emerging collaborative economy, and their inter-relation, are presented in a single overview.
The report “Synthetic overview of the collaborative economy“, coproduced by Orange Labs and the P2P Foundation, provides a thorough mapping of the actors involved in this cooperative economy: for the first time, nearly all the dots of the emerging collaborative economy, and their inter-relation, are presented in a single overview.

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Published by: P2P_Foundation on Oct 17, 2012
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03/30/2014

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Chapter Two:
Discovering The User As ValueCreator And The Emergence Of A User-Centric Ecosystem
55
 
I. The Evolution Of ProductivePublics
The evolution of the collaborative economy also has cultural and sociological underpinnings. Variousauthors have described a process of mass amateurization, creating a class of semi-professionals with acognitive surplus’ (i.e. surplus creative time), which can be invested in value creation. Withincompanies this expresses itself in the increasing role of lead users’ in the innovation process.
Mass Amateurization and the Pro-Am Revolution
“The 20th century witnessed the rise of professionals in medicine, science,education, and politics. In one field after another, amateurs and theirramshackle organisations were driven out by people who knew what theywere doing and had certificates to prove it. The Pro-Am Revolution arguesthis historic shift is reversing. We're witnessing the flowering of Pro-Am,bottom-up self-organisation and the crude, all or nothing, categories of professional or amateur will need to be rethought.
- Charles Leadbeater, We Think
The collaborative economy is rooted in deep social and cultural transformations. These are essentiallya marriage of higher educational attainments and peer to peer technologies for horizontalsocialization, i.e. self-aggregation around affinity and common value creation.Charles Leadbeater and Paul Miller, in a report for the UK think thank Demos
, describe the shiftfrom professional culture to what they call Pro-Am Culture due to a process of mass amateurization.
49 Leadbeater, Charles. We-Think: Mass Innovation, Not Mass Production. Profile Books, 2010.50 The Pro-Am Revolution. How enthusiasts are changing our economy and society. Charles Leadbeater and Paul Miller/ Demos,2005, http :// www .demos .co .uk / catalogue / proameconomyNote: Charles Leadbeater in We Think, has a section on the Pro-Am movement, athttp :// wethink .wikia .com / wiki / Chapter _7_ part _2More on Pro-Am culture: Lastowka, Gregory, and Dan Hunter. Amateur-to-Amateur: The Rise of a New Creative Culture, Cato PolicyAnalysis No. 567, n.d.http://www.scribd.com/doc/13673419/-AmateurtoAmateur-The-Rise-of-a-New-Creative-Culture-Cato-Policy-Analysis-No-567-.56
 
“The Pro-Ams are a significant social force: 58 per cent of the population seethemselves as Pro-Ams.
They write that:
in the last two decades a new breed of amateur has emerged: the Pro-Am,amateurs who work to professional standards. These are not the gentlemanly amateurs of old George Orwells blimpocracy, the men inblazers who sustained amateur cricket and athletics clubs. The Pro-Ams areknowledgeable, educated, committed and networked, by new technology.The twentieth century was shaped by large hierarchical organisations with professionals at the top. Pro- Ams are creating new, distributedorganisational models that will be innovative, adaptive and low-cost.
For example, they note that in the UK,
“About 23 million adults a year undertake some form of volunteering,contributing close to 90 million hours a week. Volunteering has almostdoubled in the last decade” and add that “Participation in Pro-Am activitiesis heavily slanted towards well- educated, middle class people with incomesabove £30,000 per year.“Pro-Ams are a new social hybrid. Theiractivities are not adequately captured by the traditional definitions of workand leisure, professional and amateur, consumption and production.Pro-Ams demand that we see professionals and amateurs along acontinuum (see diagram below). Fully-fledged professionals are at one endof the spectrum, but close by we have pre-professionals (apprentices andtrainees), semi-professionals (who earn a significant part of their income from an activity) and post-professionals (former professionals who continueto perform or play once their professional career is over.) These latter three groups of quasiprofessionals are Pro-Ams.
See also Clay Shirky’s examination of the surplus time available to productive and networked publics,in his concept (and book) on the so-called
Cognitive Surplus
.Their study shows that Pro-Ams are important for innovation, i.e.
“Pro-Ams can be disruptive innovators. Disruptive innovation changes theway an industry operates by creating new ways of doing business, often bymaking products and services much cheaper or by creating entirely new products. Disruptive innovation often starts in marginal, experimentalmarkets rather than mainstream mass markets.Second, Pro-Ams lead innovation in use. The more technologically radicalthe innovation the more difficult it is to say in advance what the innovationis for. It may be impossible for the ‘authorsof the innovation to predict
51Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age. Clay Shirky. The Penguin Press, 201057

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