Entrepreneurs, social innovators, non-profit organisations and grassroots activists will gather in Paris this week for the third edition of OuiShare Fest. The three-day festival about the collaborative economy is taking place from 20 – 22 May. Theme: Lost in Transition? The meaning behind this is something we chatted to OuiShare team members Francesca Pick and David Weingartner about.
1000 visionaries from the collaborative economy will come together for three days of conference, exchange and the joint creation of the new. For the third time, OuiShare Fest is expected to draw 1000 participants to the French capital to map out the next steps in areas such as collaborative consumption, open source, makers and fablabs, coworking, crowdfunding, alternative currencies, and horizontal governance – areas that are transforming cities, organisations and citizen initiatives.
The challenges in this field are plenty. The pioneers of the collaborative economy must solve complex problems such as regulation and financing of an organisation in times of ecological, economic and social uncertainty.
When it comes to how to change the economy, environment and politics, we hear more and more often words like Transition, Transformation and Change. But what kind of transformation is it? In what direction would we like to move? How could a collaborative society look?
This is what OuiShare Fest is about. RESET spoke with OuiShare Fest team members David Weingartner and Francesca Pick about what they took away from previous editions and what participants can expect this year.
Entrepreneurs, social innovators, non-profit organisations and grassroots activists will gather this week for OuiShare Fest's third edition. What have you learned from previous editions that you will put to use this year?
Francesca: We received a lot of feedback from participants that the 'Experience' Sessions – such as last year's 'Sharing Love' session - were particularly beneficial for personal development and interaction. For that reason we have built upon this programme element so that in one area of the conference (the boat) only these kinds of programme points take place. Generally speaking, we have structured the programme around 12 topics. The technical possibilities have also convinced us to make the programme more collaborative. To this end, we are using the app Sli.do to help facilitate interaction and participation among attendees.
The theme for this year, ''Lost in Transition?'', plays with the idea of change and transformation in the current age. What do you mean by this?
Francesca: The point is that, in this climate of rapid change, both organisations and individuals have difficulty finding fixed points to orientate themselves with and on to which they can grab hold.
David: On the other hand, of course, it plays well into the challenges of the collaborative economy. After the Sharing Economy was celebrated by the media as an environmentally-friendly solution to our culture of consumption, critical aspects and developments are now being brought to light. We are at a point where we must decide which way we want to go in order to realise a truly collaborative society.
Cherry-picking a three-day power programe is not easy. Nevertheless: what are you looking forward to the most?
David: the programme is of course filled with extremely interesting content, making a decision difficult. Personally, I am looking forward to the keynote from Charles Eisenstein, the podium discussion on the environmental impacts of the collaborative economy and the workshop about applying design thinking and collaborative methods to improving work in the humanitarian sector.
The content makes up only one part of the OuiShare Fest experience. Another essential part is meeting and interacting with people from completely different backgrounds and seeing the variety of approaches out there that are all working towards the same vision. It is best, therefore, to come without a grand plan and float along the river and see what happens.
OuiShare is thought of as a 'Zero Waste' event. No rubbish at such a big event? How do you do it?
Francesca: We know we have set a lofty goal for ourselves by giving ourselves the task of organising a zero-waste conference, an event which normally accumulates a huge amount of rubbish. But we want to try and, if we can, set a precedent in France and in Europe. For example, we don't allow stands or flyers at the event, not even from our partners. The usual bags filled with promo materials and handed out at events have been replaced by so-called virtual 'goodie bags'. We have also organised it so that the food that remains at the buffet is still available later and will be donated at the end of the event to an organisation. The banners on site have been made out of recycled bottles and will be upcycled and repurposed (such as being used as document holders) after the event. Those are just a few examples. A complete list of measures can be found on our website.
Collaborative consumption, crowdfunding and DIY communities are all among this year's main topics. In the last year, what was your personal 'aha!' moment when it came to making, sharing and borrowing things?
David: The entire scene is developing so quickly that I am surprised again and again about the solutions and possibilities being conceived. What's really taken me by surprise has been, say, that now even initial disruptors like Uber itself is being overtaken by 'blockchain' solutions like La'Zooz, challenging the accumulation-oriented concept of ownership and thus the unequal distribution of value.
Head to the website to find out more.
TIMES Pieces is an ongoing editorial series on RESET.org where we speak with people who are employing TIMES principles (Telecommunications, IT, Mobile, E-Commerce, Service Provider) for social and environmental good. Read more in the series: TIMES Pieces