Five years ago, former Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Swartz wrote about something he called the Participation Age “in which an open and competitive network fuels growing opportunities for everyone”. His idea was built around the powerful effect that open source software was having on the computing world at the time. What we’re witnessing now, however, is this phenomenon spreading through the private and now public sectors and fundamentally altering how people give and receive value.
Consciously designing for this trend — something we call the “participation economy” — creates the opportunity to encourage behaviour change and, ultimately, tackle the big social issues of health, climate change and personal financial security. Already, we’re seeing this new economy changing personal choices and reshaping societies.