I believe that the visionary ideas that will have lasting impact on people are ones that are delivered in a simple and engaging way. While I ground my concepts in deep research and frameworks, I also enjoy using stories, visuals and case studies to bring insights to life.

I see my work as building blocks that each supply the element that help me construct the next layer of thinking. I study collaboration, sharing and new kinds of participation, and a major theme that runs throughout my work is how technology is transforming the social glue of society – trust between people.

Evolution of Theories

Collaborative Consumption (2010)

The theory of ‘collaborative consumption’ is defined as ‘the reinvention of traditional market behaviors—renting, lending, swapping, sharing, bartering, gifting—through technology, taking place in ways and on a scale not possible before the internet.

It includes three systems: product service systems, collaborative lifestyles and redistribution markets that enable people to pay to access and share goods and services versus needing to own them outright.

A key underpinning principle is ‘idling capacity’:  the power of technology to unlock  the social, economic and environmental value of underutilized assets.

Sharing Economy & Trust (2010-2012)

I define The Sharing Economy as ‘an economic system based on sharing underused assets or services, for free or for a fee, directly from individuals.’

It is largely based on based on peer-to-peer marketplaces that depend on the social glue of trust between strangers. The ‘providers’ in these marketplaces are often referred to as ‘micro-entrepreneurs.’

Reputation Capital (2012)

I believe that we are at the start of the shift where we are more trusting of people than corporations or government. This new era of trust needs a measure, namely reputation capital.

I define my theory of ‘reputation capital’ is defined as the ‘the sum value of your online and offline behaviours across communities and marketplaces.’ It will transform how we think about wealth, markets, power and personal identity in the 21st Century.

The Collaborative Economy (2014)

Defined as ‘an economic system that unlocks the value of underused assets through platforms that match ‘haves’ with ‘wants’ in ways that enable greater efficiency and access.’

Ripe for disruption by this model are systems with waste, redundant intermediaries, complexity, limited access and broken trust.


Currency of Trust (2016)

Conventions of how trust is built, managed, lost and repaired – in brands, leaders, and entire systems are being turned upside down. Technology is creating new mechanisms that are enabling us to trust unknown people, companies and ideas. Think Airbnb, Tinder and Bitcoin. At the same time, trust in institutions is fading. A shift is underway from the 20th century defined by ‘institutional trust’ towards the 21st century that will be defined by ‘distributed trust’ across huge networks of people, organisations and intelligent machines.

For more presentations and thinking, please visit Rachel Botsman on Slideshare.

I love beautifully designed experiences and work with the super talented designer, Amy Globus, to bring my thinking to life.