On Gift Ecology

Over its 20 years, ServiceSpace has popularized various memes, including a gift-ecology. By its very nature, its nuances don't lend themselves to sound-bytes. So we offer a variety of articles and perspectives below, so you can discover your own spot on the spectrum.

For the basics, start with a reading on defining gift-economy, and then broaden it out by exploring a gift ecology. For its expression within ServiceSpace, this one-pager might also help: Do Nothing Generosity.

To explore further, reflect on Multiple Forms of Capital, Tao of ServiceSpace (formerly named Charityfocus), nuances like From Sharing Economy to Gift Ecology, as well as reflections on Pay-What-You-Want vs. Pay It Forward. From our early days, Nipun's reflections on How To Survive in a Gift Economy, and Birju's thoughts on a Gift Spectrum. There's a Virtual Conversations on Gift Ecology, Dialogue on Gift-Based Pricing, and Somik's Knobs of Giftivism.

For Books on the topic, some folks have recommended Lewis Hyde's The Gift (here's an excerpt), Robin Wall Kimmerer's Braiding Sweetgrass (here's an excerpt on The Gift of Strawberries), Adam Grant's Give and Take is also insightful from a business perspective, and Pavi's Infinite Vision.

Gift-based Case Studies, folks have found the Power of Creative Constraints at Aravind Eye Hospital to be an intriguing case study (that every Harvard Business School student is required to read!). UC Berkeley's school of business researched projects like Karma Kitchen and found the people Pay More When Paying For Others. On that note, here's also a dialogue from one of our laddership circles: Of Constraints and Creativity. Northwestern University's Kellog School of Management found the social contagion of "Consistent Contributors" in large groups. The example of the "10/5 Way" also puts a lot on the power of smile capital. :) Also, a question Laddership Circle alums have been holding and experimenting around: What's Love's Business Plan?

To articulate gift-based pricing, explore the growing variety of explanations. More specifically, here's an explanation with Wisdom Crafts, Works & Conversations, and Karma Kitchen.

Gift Ecology in Practice

Examples of Gift Practice from around the ServiceSpace Ecosystem: