The sharing economy has the potential to change the way all business operates, says experts in the co-sharing arena.

It is more than just collaboration, and work culture needs to change to enhance asset values, Nick Shewring, co-founder of coworking operator Bizdojo, said at today's PwC Herald Talks event held in Auckland's SkyCity Theatre.

"The impact of the sharing economy is colossal," Shewring says. "It's affecting everything from property to toy sharing, how we buy and consume drinks, the type of work we do - a massive shift in how we function as human beings."

The sharing economy, or shared economy, promotes profit through sharing resource by merging economic benefits with human benefits.


According to a PwC report, 44 per cent of US consumers are familiar with the term the sharing economy, with 90 per cent of those engaged in the sharing economy.

Twenty per cent of the US workforce is freelance and we are starting to see more of it in New Zealand.

Eat My Lunch - feeding thousands of children and be commercially successful - was an example of this, Shewring said, as was Kickstarter, Indigogo and Airbnb.

Despite whether business was ready or not, the sharing economy was already having a significant impact, he said.

"As we're becoming more of a millennial workforce, we're kind of a little bit commitment shy, we want to access a brand new car but we don't really want to own it, and we only want it for the moment we need it, and we're starting to see that with companies like Mevo in Wellington," he said.

Shewring said businesses needed to embrace change or be left behind.

"Be very careful about what your customers actually do and actually want. If you're not in tune with the human element of what they need your market will happen and change around you before you realise," he said.

"You don't want to be that dinosaur, extinct brand or organisation, that is looking out to the ether thinking 'what just happened?'

"The sharing economy isn't limited to the corporates and multinationals."

In a panel discussion, Rush Digital founder and panellist Danu Abeysuriya said the asset ownership model was changing, and with that came opportunity.

"It's really easy to get blindsided by all the technology and the business side of things, but at the end of the day it comes down to that human connection.

"Technology has really played a part in what we do and demising how we connect, and the place where we can provide the most value and exciting things."