Lisa Gansky wants us to join the sharing economy – and give better gifts this holiday season

With the recession lingering on, technology entrepreneur Lisa Gansky thinks it’s the perfect reason to give experiences rather than more stuff this holiday season.

Gansky introduced the idea when she spoke at PopTech 2010 about her predictions for the future of business. She revealed how the interconnected relationships and information of the emerging “mesh” economy is making it far easier to share goods and services without the expense of ownership. Gansky recently published a book on the subject, called The Mesh: Why the Future of Business is Sharing.

A number of companies, among them Netflix and the car sharing service Zipcar, are taking advantage of the data-rich “mesh” to build richer experiences and stronger brands by providing people with what they need the moment they need it. [Other companies can be found in her book, and in the accompanying online directory.]

The “mesh” is not just good for business, says Gansky. It’s also good for consumers. Web-enabled mobile devices and social networks are “taking the friction out of sharing,” unleashing the true impact of peer-to-peer relationships by helping consumers buy less but use more.

Mesh Gift Guide

Gansky’s gift guide is a great way to join the experience marketplace, presenting an offbeat take on holiday giving where there are “no boxes, no gift wrap, no batteries required.”

The guide offers ideas from giving music on demand to doggy daycare to attending a digital fabrication school. The guide’s online directory makes it easy to find and buy fresh food from local growers as well as gift your time to your best friend’s, favorite organization.

The guide also suggests innovative ideas for reusing and upcycling goods. Instead of constantly buying new clothes for rapidly growing children, for example, parents can log onto peace.love.swap to exchange outgrown clothes for gently used ones from other families online.

Check out the Mesh Holiday Gift Guide – the suggestions might get you thinking about a whole new kind of holiday giving.

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