Platform Cooperativism: Trebor Scholz Australian Tour 2017

22 May 2017

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Platform Cooperativism Events May 2017

Disrupting the Digital Economy: The rise of platform co-operatives

Adelaide, 22 May 2017, 10am-11.30am

Level 5 Conference Room, New Ventures Institute, Flinders University at Tonsley, 1284 South Road, Clovelly Park

A free discussion with Trebor Scholz hosted by Green Industries South Australia in Adelaide, 10am, 22 May.

What does the rise of co-operatively owned digital platforms mean for entrepreneurs?

What does the rise of co-operatively owned digital platforms mean for entrepreneurs? Only a small percentage of startups will succeed. What happens to the majority that fail?

What if many of those were great ideas that would have flourished with a different business model? What other possibilities are there to make a living doing the work you choose?

Platform co-operativism challenges the ‘winner takes all’ culture exemplified by Silicon Valley.

Come and talk with Trebor Scholz, a founder of the platform co-operativism movement, and learn about the benefits of this model, how it is being taken up around the world, and how you can start your own platform co-op.

Further information.

The Digital Economy meets the Co-operative Economy

Adelaide, 22 May 2017, 2pm-3.30pm

Auditorium, The Science Exchange, 55 Exchange, City

A free discussion with Trebor Scholz and Melina Morrison (CEO, BCCM) hosted by Green Industries South Australia in Adelaide, 2pm, 22 May.

How Platform Co-operatives are changing the way we work.

Digital technologies are disrupting the very nature of work – its availability, security, and purpose. How can the digital phenomenon be channelled in a co-operative sense to achieve positive economic and social outcomes?

Co-operative business models can provide greater economic security and retain value in the community where it is created.

Platform co-operatives are the merging of digital platforms and co-operative business models.

Melina Morrison, CEO of the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals will present the evidence for the global renaissance of the co-operative business model and why co-ops could be the preferred model of business by 2030. Co-ops are described as the ‘Ninja Economy’, hiding in plain sight. Melina will discuss the importance of co-ops to the national economy and what policy makers and regulators can do to help develop co-ops and mutuals.

Trebor Scholz, Platform Co-operative researcher and Associate Professor of Culture and Media from The New School in New York, analyses the challenges posed by digital labour and introduces the concept of platform cooperativism as a way to put workers, owners, communities, and cities in charge of the platforms they use to live, work and play. Scholz will present case studies of platform co-ops from around the world, and how governments are responding.

Further information.

Transforming Work: How co-operatively owned digital platforms create jobs

Adelaide, 22 May 2017, 6pm-7.30pm

University of Adelaide, North Terrace Campus, North Terrace, City

A free talk from Trebor Sholz presented by the Don Dunstan Foundation and Green Industries South Australia in Adelaide, 6pm, 22 May.

Digital technologies are opening up new possibilities to help people find or build a livelihood in a world where the nature of work is changing fast.

But many of the digital platforms which have become synonymous with the ‘sharing economy’ or the ‘on demand’ economy are ‘platform monopolies’. These platforms are worth billions, yet the ones who profit most are the platforms’ owners and investors, even though their financial value is generated by everyone who uses them.

These platforms cast off the costs of conventional businesses by treating labour as independent contractors rather than employees – meaning gig economy workers do not enjoy benefits like stable work, superannuation, and leave entitlements.

What if the technological heart of these online platforms was cloned into a cooperative model, democratically operated by everyone who has a stake in them?

Platform Co-operatives, an alternative to venture capital funded platforms, are owned and governed by those who use them, sharing the revenue with the people who make them valuable.

Come and hear from Trebor Scholz, a founder of the platform co-operativism movement and one of network culture’s toughest critics of the sharing economy. Learn about the benefits of this model, case studies of how it is being taken up around the world, and how platform co-ops are ‘disrupting the disruptors’.

“Silicon Valley loves a good disruption… So let’s give them one.” Trebor Scholz

Further information.

Platforms, Power, People: How the platform economy will transform the way we do business – UTS Public Lecture and Panel Discussion

Sydney, 24 May 2017, 9.30am,-12pm

UTS, Dr Chau Chak Wing Building, Level 3 Auditorium, 14-28 Ultimo Road, Ultimo, NSW 2007

Don’t miss international scholar-activist Associate Professor Trebor Scholz in conversation at a FREE public lecture in Sydney, 6pm, 24 May.

More than 40% of Australian executives say platform-based business models will be part of their core growth strategy within three years. But what do they need to do to get there? Who will be the challengers in this space? What will the growth of digital labour mean for their plans? Where will platforms sit with the growing peer-to-peer and digital co-op movements?

Who wins and who loses in these new digital innovation eco-systems?

In this event, international scholar-activist Associate Professor Trebor Scholz of The New School, New York City, Stocksy co-founder Brianna Wettlaufer, and Melina Morrison, BCCM CEO, will join UTS Business School researchers Associate Professor Danielle Logue and Associate Professor Sarah Kaine to discuss the challenges and opportunities of the platform economy.

This event is hosted by:

Book early to guarantee your seat for Sydney. Further information.

Will the real sharing economy please stand up?

Melbourne, 25 May 2017, 6.15 pm – 7.45 pm

Swanston Hall, Melbourne Town Hall, 90-120 Swanston Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000

You use it every time you catch an Uber or book a weekend away on AirBnB. You’re part of it when you borrow from a tool library, swap food at a community garden, or use open data to build an app. And if you make a living driving for Uber, or bid for gigs on Airtasker and Sidekicker, it’s your bread and butter.

It’s the sharing economy – and it’s revolutionising the way we work, do business and build community. But how do we understand such a diverse phenomenon? Is it still ‘sharing’ when wages are earned and profits made? And why does this all matter to Melbourne?

Further information.

Morning Workshop hosted by Commons Transition Coalition and Melbourne Law School – Take Back the Sharing Economy with Platform Co-operatives

Melbourne, 26 May 2017, 9.30am-12.30pm

Melbourne Law School, 185 Pelham Street, Lecture Theatre G08, Carlton, VIC 3053

The Commons Transition Coalition presents Take Back the Sharing Economy with Platform Co-operatives with special guest Trebor Scholz in Melbourne, 9:30am, 26 May. 

The sharing economy has failed to live up to its promises. Platforms like Uber, Airbnb and TaskRabbit extract value and profit from local communities while drivers, errand runners, and gig workers are deprived of rights while struggling to make a living wage. In 2014, Scholz framed the concept of platform cooperativism to describe a new breed of enterprises that blends the technologies of the sharing economy with co-ownership and democratic governance. Platform co-ops like Stocksy UnitedGreen Taxi Cooperative and Up&Go demonstrate that a fairer future of work rooted in solidarity and local control is not only possible but rewarding.

A nascent movement is gaining ground in Australia and bHive is working to become Australia’s first platform co-op by creating a sharing economy platform that is owned by and for the people of Bendigo. Trebor Scholz, on his first trip to Melbourne, will deliver a keynote on the latest developments, opportunities, and challenges for platform cooperatives worldwide. This will be followed by a presentation by Melina Morrison from the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals. The second half of the event will be a hands-on clinic with bHive Bendigo to unpack challenges related to funding, co-operative structure, technology and story-telling.

Further information.

About platform cooperativism

“The concept of “platform cooperative” has been proposed as an alternative to such “sharing economy” firms. A platform cooperative is an online platform (e.g. website, mobile app) that is organised as a cooperative and owned by its employees, customers, users, or other key stakeholders.

We fully support the broader movement of platform cooperativism. However, we cannot be content with isolated cooperative alternatives designed to counter old forms of capitalism. A global counter-economy needs to be built. And this could happen through the creation of a global digital commons of knowledge.” – Michel Bauwens and Vasilis Kostakis, “Cooperativism in the digital era, or, how to form a global counter-economy”,, 6 March 2017

Read more

About Trebor Scholz

Trebor Scholz is a scholar-activist and Associate Professor for Culture & Media at The New School in New York City. His book Uber-Worked and Underpaid. How Workers Are Disrupting the Digital Economy (Polity, 2016) develops an analysis of the challenges posed by digital labour and introduces the concept of platform cooperativism as a way of joining the peer-to-peer and co-op movements with online labor markets while insisting on communal ownership and democratic governance. His next book will focus on the prospects of the cooperative online economy. His edited volumes include Digital Labor: The Internet as Playground and Factory (Routledge, 2013), and Ours to Hack and to Own: Platform Cooperativism. A New Vision for the Future of Work and a Fairer Internet (with Nathan Schneider, OR, 2016). In 2009, Scholz started to convene the influential digital labor conferences at The New School. Today, he frequently presents on the future of work, solidarity, and the Internet to media scholars, lawyers, activists, designers, developers, union leaders, and policymakers worldwide. Scholz is a member of the Barcelona Advisory Council on Technological Sovereignty. His articles and ideas have appeared in The NationThe Chronicle of Higher EducationLe Monde, and The Washington Post.


22 May 2017




By Delivery
Face to face
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CEOs, Leadership, Employees
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