15 March 2009

ACRL2009: Green Speaker Robin Chase

An incredibly inspirational talk!

Robin Chase, CEO of GoLoco and Founder of Zipcar
Located in Boston---would love to have her come to Champlain.
Social entrepreneur

How libraries can play a role in a world of increasingly scare resources

From the negative to the positive.
2020 and 2050 goals:
Her emphasis on CO2 emeissions: the only way we are going to make it is if we
If we all bought fuel efficient cars, we would reduce our CO2 emissions by 5% in 10 years.
If we shared a ride 1 in 10 trips or didn’t drive 1 in 20 trips, we would reduce our CO2 emissions by 5% this WEEK.
“That is the difference between infrastructure and behaviour”

Founded in 2000, today there are 300,000 people using 5000 cars across N. America and London. Averted 6000 lbs of CO2 just this year.

Sharing can make gigantic differences: the anatomy of sharing.
Simple sharing: person to person.
Simple sharing institutionally: one company’s assets to many. If you pay me, I will share. Carsharing has a negative connotation: if hotels were called bed sharing, they would be considered very differently. I have my own personal fleet of cars anywhere I go. Different cars for different moments.

Sharing 2.0: Personal collaborative: many to many.
Wikipedia as making use of excess mental capacity. A sense of pride in contributing to the world’s knowledge.
Couchsurfing: beds all over the country, 1 million beds in 231 beds.

Excess capacity in our cars: GoLoco ride boards meets facebook meets paypal. Creating our own public transportation system. If we just started getting in the habit of asking someone if they need a ride, no matter where you are going.
It is messier and much less predictable, uses much less stuff. We know how to do a better job, we just don’t have incentives.
Lower ROI threshold: potential for success is broader, faster uptake, higher participation. Higher social value.

Collaborative consumption, but let’s think about
Let’s start to think more about
Example: Vienna, 500 wireless nodes of internet access. Opening capacity on our routers (mesh networking). Turn our cars into mesh networks. There is more that we want to do with our wireless devices in our cars (EZ Passes)
Moving into vehicle miles travel taxes: people will pay to use roads. Multipurpose devices into cars. Keep communication local. Reaching broadband through people, not governments!

We have a feeling of scarcity: we focus on closed proprietary assets “It’s mine” so I have to pay for it all and deal with it alone. I have to bare the costs.
The Architecture of Abundance: we pay for what we use. We share costs and infrastructure. “Farming” for best innovation. Draws unexpected benefits. Because Twitter is an open platform, PEOPLE came up with how to use it powerfully. The minds of many.

The take home:
1. Identify excess capacity
2. Find or build platform for sharing: what’s out there and how can we leverage it?
3. Reap Unexpected benefits

Libraries as vessels for brains and willingness and desire to engage new ideas. Libraries have an opportunity to engage in the educational component of the crisis of climate change. What does that look like at my library?

Sharing does not mean we don’t act in our individual best interest. Every dollar, we need to maximize it.

Inspirational. And while she is presenting ideas that are challenging and scary for many people because it requires a paradigm shift. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a great idea. Or that it can’t be done.

Different rule sets for small or large scales. Example from Omnivore’s Dilemma.

We are going to build a technological and environmental infrastructure. Yes, there are costs to building this infrastructure that might seem counterintuitive to the mission but if we evaluate excess capacity and we evaluate the cost and benefits of that infrastructure, then there is reason to use that existing infrastructure.

Recreate access to information beyond the platforms we already have.

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