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* Book: Vive la Co‐Revolution ! pour une société collaborative. Anne‐Sophie Novel et Stéphane Riot. Alternatives Editions, 2012.

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Translation: Long live the Co‐Revolution! for a collaborative society


"The future of the world can no longer wait. To understand society differently, we must change the way we think; we need to abandon power struggles and work together harmoniously to build the sustainable world of tomorrow. Among the behaviors we must cultivate if we are to evolve in this direction is collaboration. Increasingly stressed by those who are convinced of what is at stake on a global scale, collaboration renews our ways of thinking and doing at all levels of society. This book analyses the emerging phenomenon of sharing, emphasizing examples and case studies to illustrate the deep impact of these new practices on communities, businesses, and organizations.

At a time when social networks facilitate our connections and encourage transparency in our relations, this new paradigm is slowly infiltrating our ways of thinking and consuming (in an emerging collaborative consumption model that includes such practices as co‐working, couch surfing, and car sharing), of conducting business (by moving beyond the logic of competition) and of managing groups of people (by emphasizing collective intelligence and co‐management).

Is this co‐revolution foreshadowing a new social model? We believe it is. By shifting our mindset from "me" to "we," the co‐revolution creates a social space in which the principles of sustainable development can be deployed in practical ways."


Why this book ?

Collaborative consumption, sharing economy, human economy, wiki economy, human economy, radical collaboration, co‐opportunity—many terms are being used today to describe various facets of a major phenomenon: the emergence of a new economic and social trend based in collaboration, a trend that cedes a fundamental place to environmental quality and human exchanges.

This revolution reflects a change in our "thinking software": the economy and society are perceived through a new paradigm that shifts from a logic of "me" to a collective perception of "we." In harmony with the principle "think globally, act locally," it offers an opportunity for the practical deployment of sustainable development.

We are witnessing the formulation of sustainable development 2.0. Many visionaries, thinkers, and analysts have been speaking and writing about this changing world. All agree on the importance of sharing and collaboration in the current social mutation. But what exactly are we talking about? What are the forces behind this (r)evolution? What are the different scales of deployment of this shift? How does this trend renew prospects for sustainable development? Can we really believe in what is happening ?

These are the questions we try to answer in this book. This ambition is supported by the contents of countless conferences, seminars, books, and analyses of myriad sustainable development actors who call for greater cooperation among human beings. "Sharing will save the world," "growing cooperation is the only way out," "we must join forces to move toward a greener society," "think globally, act locally" — eco‐networks convinced of the need for change have been repeating such statements for over thirty years.

Many call for a more united and supportive society without being taken seriously. Some see such calls as a kind of utopia, others as the expression of traditionalists. But more to the point, these ideas have never been realized on a large scale and thus remain at a level of wishful thinking. Few experts in sustainable development have focused, as of yet, on how collaborative societies could truly embody the anticipated paradigm shift.

There is good news, however: The time for cooperation and sharing has arrived. A number of factors observable today are consistent with the emergence of what we have chosen to call the "co‐revolution."


Structure of the book :

The foreword has been written collaboratively asking 50+ people around us to share their view on what a « collaborative society » should look like.

Chapter 1 (« sharing from your keyboard, or the citizen’s co‐revolution ») details collaborative strategies across society. It begins by presenting collaborative economy principles at the level of the individual citizen through such means as couch surfing, co‐working, car sharing, house exchanges, barter, etc.

For each element of the typology, numerous explanations and examples are provided, together with ideas about how they can provide solutions to sustainability issues. The concept of conviviality that Ivan Illich theorized as a fundamental value is ever present.

At the end of the chapter, a list of over 100 Web sites and references encourages readers to experience the varieties of collaborative consumption.

Chapter 2 (« a World in co‐construction ») explores collaborative practices between NGOs and companies, the logic of dialogue and exchange of know‐how, showing how it serves sustainable development on both sides—for the company through improving its environemental and social impact, and for the NGO through improving its ability to implement its programs locally. We call this logic between profit and non‐profit "co‐creation."

Chapter 3 (« From competition to radical collaboration ») explores radical collaboration and how it can provide a new vision for business and sustainable development. We observe more and more organizations, inherently competitors, starting to collaborate on specific issues such as product lifecycle analyses, innovation, freight pooling, etc. in the process planting the seeds of new business models that can be useful for the future.

Chapter 4 (« For a collaborative management ») focuses on the concept of collaborative management in organizations. it explores various ways of building new models of governance based on collective intelligence and an emerging value system linked to empathy, trust, and co‐creation. It espouses a specific view of the way in which the various parts of an organization should collaborate like the elements of nature, while also integrating a neurocognitive approach to the human factor in cooperation.

This book is based on more than two years of research examining prospective papers about the future of society, business, and management. It has been enriched by generous feedback and by numerous interviews with leading thinkers and inspiring young entrepreneurs in Europe and North America, including Jeremy Rifkin, Rachel Botsman, james Surowiecki, Lisa Gansky, Tiffany Shlain, John Grant, Benita Matafoska, etc."

Author Bios

  1. Anne‐Sophie Novel
  2. Stéphane Riot

More Information

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  2. Twitter : @LeCoLab
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