Gathered around the table on a Monday morning, researchers from the Urban Sharing team sit nibbling pepparkakor, the Swedish version of gingerbread cookies. As we wait for colleagues to join us by video, we discuss the purpose of today’s meeting: to begin to develop a typology of platform models in the sharing economy. However, today is unique; we are using this opportunity to explore literature collaboratively, while learning NVivo, a computer software used for the systematic storage, retrieval and/or analysis of qualitative data.

 As one of the outputs of the project, we will examine how sharing platforms are designed and operate in a variety of city contexts. To do so, we will combine theoretical strands from business model, innovation, and management theory as well as empirics from case cities.

 To begin our sythensis of relevant literature, NVivo allows for us to quickly find, sort, and analyse relevant literature. I have used NVivo extensively to analyse the definitions of the sharing economy in 151 academic articles. After self-teaching myself NVivo, Oksana – as principal investigator – thought that it would be worthwhile to facilitate a workshop for my colleagues in the Urban Sharing team along with other researchers at the IIIEE. And, while we are at it, we can use the workshop as an opportunity to explore relevant literature to begin to develop a typology of platform models.

 We had pre-selected several relevant academic articles, which we imported into NVivo. Then, we were able to explore several functions to begin to query or interrogate the articles, in particular, using tools such as word frequency and text search. We also coded the articles for mentions of value proposition and remarked on the variety of language used to describe value proposition in various contexts.

 While our workshop was brief and only the beginning, we see the value of systematically storing, sorting, retrieving, and analysing text using NVivo or similar software. As our meeting came to a closed, and a few more bites of pepparkakor, we concluded with several parameters that may be relevant for understanding the design of sharing platforms:

  • Platform Model

  • Market-Orientation

  • Financial Mechanism

  • Business Approach

  • Governance Model

  • Directness of Exchange

 In the coming weeks, we will continue to refine these and other parameters to create a tool to capture a Design Snapshot for relevant sharing platforms in our case cities. As we progress through the project, it is our ambition to develop a typology of platforms as well as to understand the role of city context in influencing platform design. And, our NVivo workshop was the first step towards this.

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