Sharing Movements

Progress through Openness: Sharing and collaboration replace secretiveness and patents

The sharing movement is about extracting value from shared resources. No matter if it is skills, software, data or physical assets, it challenges the business logic of keeping valuable assets proprietary, in favor of an asset-light economy. The sharing movement has its origins in the open source philosophy of universal access and free redistribution. But it is also manifested in the emerging sharing economy that enables consumers to easily share underutilized resources.

The half-life of knowledge is shrinking and costs for setting up startups declining. Thus, patents and traditional R&D gets less effective and collaborative forms of innovation and crowd-based concepts gain. Business leaders, such as Tesla, Apple, and Samsung, have embraced it by starting to share code and patents, accelerating the progress of technology. The increasing relevance is also reflected in recent political activities. Open Science is one of 3 priority areas for EU research policy. U.S. agencies are required to release 20 % of new software code.

Successful actors of the sharing economy (e.g. Uber, Airbnb) use technology to enable large-scale peer-to-peer sharing. In 2014 the international sharing economy reached USD 15 bn, and it is expected to grow to USD 335 bn in 2025. B2B actors are now starting to adopt the business model, for instance with sharing schemes for equipment and logistics.


“Technology leadership is not defined by patents… but rather by the ability of a company to attract and motivate the world´s most talented engineers.” – Elon Musk