In April 2018, a Lund University research team was planning to visit San Francisco to study the sharing economy. The field research they wanted to conduct would make up the beginning stages of the multi-year Urban Sharing project funded by the Bank of Sweden Tercentenary Foundation and the prestigious European Research Council.
The Lund team was doing field research in a number of urban sharing hotspots across the globe to establish a knowledge base. Research lead, Professor Oksana Mont (quoted below), contacted Shareable when it came time to research San Francisco, the epicenter of the global Sharing Economy, the birthplace of the Sharing Cities movement, and Shareable’s hometown.
In addition to visiting various sharing service providers, the Lund team wanted to run three focus groups on three topics (shared mobility, space, and goods) with three different sets of participants. The Lund team was working on a tight timetable — Shareable only had six weeks to organize the three focus groups. “We are very grateful to Shareable for the fantastic and professional support we got in preparation for our visit. Without their help we would not be able to reach out to such a diverse set of sharing economy users and providers”.
Shareable designed the recruitment process, wrote the recruitment ad copy, designed the registration form to help screen applicants, did all of the outreach, helped design the participant selection criteria, helped pick the best candidates to invite, invited the screened candidates, and organized the venue and food.
Shareable was able to recruit 30 high-quality participants, 10 for each of the three focus groups held over a two-day period in a private conference room located in a San Francisco coworking space. The focus groups were an unqualified success. Prof. Mont was very happy with the trouble-free process and the team’s research results.
“We got invaluable material from the focus groups, during which we discussed people’s perceptions about different sharing services offered in the city, how sharing mentality has affected the everyday lives of people, and how the sharing practices become institutionalized in an urban setting”.
Shareable also made recommendations to the Lund team about what sharing service providers to visit and they had a successful tour as well. “Thanks to Shareable, we felt welcomed to the city and it was much easier for us to navigate the sharing economy landscape when we came for our field research”.