How to Make the Sharing Economy Work for Governments

Gabe Klein discusses some of the merits and challenges of forging private-public partnerships between disruptive companies and government entities.
September 4, 2014, 11am PDT | Maayan Dembo | @DJ_Mayjahn
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Writing for Urban Land Magazine, Klein discusses private-public partnerships between companies within the sharing economy and governments. In particular, he reflects on his experiences working at Zipcar.

Noting how new services such as Uber and Lyft are helping cities fill transportation system gaps at a relatively low cost, these companies show, "that if government doesn’t pay attention to disruptive technology, new companies will find a way to work around the government... they have created a net-positive influence because they ultimately have shifted the balance of power in favor of consumers."

Unlike Uber and Lyft though, Zipcar worked hand in hand with governments to form a strong and effective partnership, "after many meetings with the powers that be in various cities including Washington, D.C., we figured it out together: a new local regulatory structure was born for 'car sharing' in most locales, which allowed us to operate and work toward profitability." With this new regulatory structure, governments provided high-profile parking spots and additional marketing, while Zipcar closed gaps in the transportation system.

Klein also outlines his key principles for successful PPPs: embrace and shape change, prioritize the public ahead of private interests, be flexible and compromise to benefit the public good and allow for profitability, and promote transparency.

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Published on Tuesday, September 2, 2014 in Urban Land Magazine
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