How can an equipment manufacturer harness the sharing economy?

Developing an online sharing platform that gives builders greater flexibility and control.

We live in an age of sharing where people favor on-demand, inexpensive access over ownership. Today, we get around town via car shares, stay in spare bedrooms while traveling, and share workspaces with other companies. We’ve seen the sharing economy revolutionize transportation and housing, but could it extend to the manufacturing industry? Working closely with our client, we helped plan a new business that explores how this can happen.

Over the course of our research we uncovered customers’ core needs. We found that they valued easy access to equipment. They needed greater efficiency on job sites. And, they wanted seamless technology to facilitate projects. We widened our research lens and observed a few start-ups in the large equipment landscape who were playing in the sharing economy space. When we combined these industry learnings with our human-centered insights, we found a bold opportunity.

We were able to help the client not only think beyond their traditional products, but reimagine the future of their customer industries and create actionable, disruptive businesses and internal structures to help support that.

– Stephanie Smith, Project Manager

Alongside our client, we rapidly prototyped and piloted an expansive, customer-focused online sharing platform for large equipment, accessories, labor and material that transforms the way tomorrow’s builders work. Today, the platform has a projected revenue of $1B+.

Through this project, our client elevated their innovation capabilities and created experts in the innovation process across their organization. Our collaboration helped ignite their innovation division, which is developing a number of concepts for transformational businesses focused on helping customers and driving growth.


new business created, with projected revenues of $1B+


customer, user, and stakeholder interviews in 9 countries on 5 continents


months from inception to pilot build


rounds of research, including generative and evaluative