I hear my mom talking to her friends from the living room… yikes she’s talking about me: “They (i.e. me and my family, or perhaps that could extend to my generation?) share everything, I don’t know how they do that, it’s so different from my times… they tend to trust people.” She would never trust a stranger using her home, while I often do.

We are all full of stuff – and full of junk. People are “spending money they don’t have to buy stuff they don’t need” said the great comedian George Carlin. Just get to the point when you need to move to a new place (I did that recently – exhausting), and you realize, touching it with your bare hands, how much unnecessary stuff you have accumulated around yourself and your loved ones. Stuff you normally won’t dare to throw away, but the moving experience tells you “it’s now or never”; so you open your eyes and realize it’s a real opportunity to free up some space – physically and mentally. And you need to! It’s not unusual to realize all that stuff would not fit in the new place, even if theoretically larger, because disrupting your status quo creates entropy, so the same stuff would require even more room.

So it’s time for sharing: the economy, the technology and the mindset are there – everything is set and ready. Buy less, share what you have, and use what others share. Cover yourself with some good insurance (can’t skip that), then take a deep breath, and let it flow. Car2Go and ENI Enjoy are car sharing services structured as businesses, Lime and Helbiz share scooters, Airbnb shares homes. Good idea to use any or all of these, but I encourage you to go beyond. Share something of YOURS: Your home with HomeExchange. Your car rides with BlaBla car. And more! (I’m not getting paid for these mentions, but I admit I’d love to run a blog powerful enough to allow that!)

This sharing concept extends to businesses – and to banks. Recently, a business partner presented to our attention an enlightening project based on sharing financial self-service facilities. No longer a kiosk next to the bank branch, or in its lobby – instead one in a public place, where people usually go for other reasons. Something the first bank signing up for the service initially pays to use, then others follow suit so it becomes progressively more affordable for all of them – including the one who broke the ice. The more a kiosk is used, the better the business case, which is important considering they are much more expensive than a single PC, printer or scanner.

As a manufacturer of scanners, we cuddle our own variants of Bill Gates’ dream of “a computer on every desk” – which are “a check scanner at every teller” and “an RDC scanner in every business”. But again, it’s more stuff on those desks – which some banks and businesses are starting to question whether it is really needed to individually own and run, as checks diminish, but still don’t go away. Sharing a scanner in a branch is already an answer for many Financial Institutions; soon, sharing one outside the branch might become its logical continuation.

Francesco Grasso

Director of Marketing, Panini