Initiative on the Sharing Economy


DHL Innovation Challenge 2017: Sharing Economy

The transportation and hospitality industries have been revolutionized by sharing economy business models, but what about the asset-intensive world of logistics? By taking a business-oriented approach to the sharing economy, it is possible to augment or disrupt existing practices in logistics, and even create new businesses opportunities for the logistics industry. The DHL Innovation Challenge provides you with the opportunity to come up with original ideas or practical solutions that aim to address logistics problems that could be solved with innovative sharing economy business models. Submissions due September 16, 2017.

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About the Initiative

The University of Minnesota’s Initiative on the Sharing Economy sheds light on the growing trend away from the exclusive ownership and consumption of resources to one of shared use and consumption. Peer-to-peer shared mobility is a particular focus. The Initiative has four broad objectives:

  • To support the development of the University of Minnesota as a center for thought leadership on issues surrounding the sharing (and on-demand) economy and the study of its impact on the economy, society, and the environment.
  • To cultivate a cross-disciplinary community that draws on faculty and researchers from schools and departments throughout the University.
  • To encourage University-driven entrepreneurship and innovation for the sharing and on-demand economy.
  • To promote engagement with industry, government, and the non-profit sector and to provide balanced analysis and guidance to policymakers.

These objectives will be achieved through:

  • Research collaboration among affiliated faculty and researchers, co-advising of students, and joint pursuit of external funding.
  • Discussion and dissemination of ideas through regularly offered seminars, workshops, and other external engagement events.
  • Publication of research papers, reviews, and opinion pieces targeting the academic community, policymakers, industry, and the broader public.
  • Undertaking the evaluation and analysis of emerging business models and technologies on the behalf of industry, government, and other organizations.


To learn more about how you might participate in the Initiative on the Sharing Economy, please contact Saif Benjaafar, or Michael McCarthy of the Center for Transportation Studies,