San Luis Obispo Technical & Business Communicators

May 21, 2012 Event Summary

“Collaborative Commerce: Tools, Tips, and Takeaways from an Empowering Economic Trend”

Collaboration experts Delia Horwitz and Paula Vigneault usually focus on helping individuals and groups build teams, prevent and resolve conflict, hold more effective meetings, and produce satisfying agreements. Even though all of those aspects of collaboration are valuable to us as business owners and service providers, they prepared something even more fascinating to share with us: the ancient and future-pacing concept of "collaborative commerce." This is a trend that Time and CNN named "one of the ten ideas that will change the world" and some have called the "currency of the future."

At this fun, highly interactive, and discussion-oriented event, Delia first framed the big picture, and then took us all the way down to some practical tools, tips, and takeaways that we can apply right away. Here are some of the highlights...

Topic 1: Global trends in collaborative commerce

Delia explained how a host of diverse groups and enterprises are successfully practicing what might best be called "collaborative commerce," and how this trend can produce meaningful and more profitable results for our businesses.

We learned what video game players, soccer moms, and great music groups all have in common, which includes reputation, community, and shared access to goods and resources. This novel slant on production and consumption creates large-scale economic benefits for collaborative communities, and can produce meaningful results for us and our business partners individually.

Examples of collaborative commerce include ways of paying for the benefit of using something without actually owning it, such as car sharing (e.g., Zipcar and Funride), peer-to-peer car sharing, bike sharing, ride sharing, tool and equipment sharing, movie sharing (Netflix), service hours exchanges and skill sharing, peer home rentals, peer-to-peer travel (e.g.,, and many more examples. It also includes many popular redistribution venues and marketplaces, such as eBay, swap meets, and Craigslist.

Topic 2: Personal opportunities to engage in collaborative commerce

Rather than pursuing a large-scale commercial idea, hire employees, or pay high priced specialists we learned ways to successfully apply the core ideas behind collaborative commerce by developing Collaborative Business Relationships (CBRs). Once we clearly define our CBRs, Delia explained how we will be able to form satisfying, rewarding, win-win business relationships that bring great results for ourselves and our customers or clients.

Topic 3: Practical tools for enhancing everyday collaboration

Developing successful CBRs requires an expanded entrepreneurial mindset as well as a series of logical actions. As creative professionals, solo-preneurs, and project managers, we know we can't do it all ourselves. Personal and group success requires collaborating with people who have similar values and goals to leverage our skills, talents, and resources. We took the opportunity to better understand how this principle can work for us by working with Delia's personal collaboration worksheet and discussing some of our responses as a group. (Note that you can download her handout below.)

See below to access the presentation materials and handouts...

Downloads & Resources

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Download the presentation and handout:

Additional background on collaborative consumption:

Event Facilitators:

Delia Horwitz has had extensive experience consulting and facilitating with hundreds of groups in a wide variety of circumstances, beginning in the late 1970’s. Her projects include strategic planning with non-profit Boards of Directors, teambuilding with small and large corporations, goal setting with City Councils, corporate culture work with Fortune 500 senior leadership teams, and visioning with community stakeholders. She also co-founded and served for three years as Executive Director of Leadership Santa Barbara County. In addition to partnering with Paula on Collaboration Soup, Delia owns and is the principal of Business Relationship Consultants. She is also the author of The Achieving Agreement Workbook: Managing Your Internal and External Conflicts and Letters From My Future Self: Musings of a Mid-Life Seeker.

Paula Vigneault has had several careers working with and managing teams in the medical, construction and retail fields. As an entrepreneur, she founded and managed for 15 years a successful book and gift store in Santa Barbara, California. Paula has continually pursued her passion for collaboration and has volunteered her time with many non-profit groups as a Director, event organizer and meeting facilitator. Some of those projects include Women Waging Peace at the Harvard School of Government, Project Esperanza in Guatemala, and the International Dances of Peace Strategic Planning Conference in Holland with contributors from 20 countries. She now works as a SCORE volunteer, is a Hub member of SLO Transition Towns, and is co-owner of Energy Efficiency Solutions in San Luis Obispo.

SLO TBC usually holds its events on the 4th Monday of the month from October through June. We generally take a break over the summer and resume in the fall. For more information, please contact us.