九二六學生衝入公民廣場、九二八警方發放催淚彈後，人們可以透過社交網站迅速動員，聚集公眾力量到金鐘支援雨傘運動，也得力於香港城市空間的緊湊。政治哲學家漢娜．鄂蘭（Hannah Arendt）曾言：只有人們居住在一起，才可以形成一股不可取代的力量（Power）；也只有人居住得夠接近，才可以保存行動的潛力（The potentialities of action）。「當一個專制者想阻擋人的交流時，就會像北朝鮮（北韓）一樣，把大家散落，不但在通訊，還在空間上，散落在郊野，不讓大家一起幹任何事情，動員起來也很難。」
When banker Ryan Jeon and his wife decided to take their two children on a holiday in Japan over Christmas, they discovered that the bags they had weren't enough to hold everyone's gear. But instead of buying new luggage, Jeon turned to the Rent-a-Suitcase service.
"I have suitcases for business, but family suitcases you don't really use that much," he says, adding that it's not worth buying a large suitcase for just two or three family trips a year.
Of course, the lack of space in Hong Kong doesn't help either.
Jeon came across Rent-a-Suitcase while browsing on the internet and, noticing that it used a brand which he was thinking of buying, figured this presented a good opportunity to take the bags on a road test.
After their experience, he's convinced. "It makes sense economically [to rent]," he says. "If you're comfortable with not owning stuff, it's great - there is less wastage."
That's music to Rachel Cheung Hiu-tung's ears. She founded Rent-a-Suitcase in August to offer short-term use of sturdy suitcases and lightweight, mountable cameras that can capture action videos as well as still images. Operating out of a small space in Causeway Bay, the service has proved quite popular with young and old alike.
"It's such a vicious cycle," Cheung says about buying cheap suitcases. "Because these are not durable, consumers wind up having to buy new ones while the old bags are thrown out, adding to the burden on landfills. Moreover, suitcases take up a lot of space, which most Hongkongers lack."
Rental of expensive hi-tech mountable cameras has also been a hit because most people only use them for a few days at a time on holiday.
Cheung's venture is among the latest to join the so-called "sharing economy" in Hong Kong. Also variously described as "collaborative consumption" or "asset-light lifestyle", it is built on the idea of providing access to resources rather than ownership.
This sector can be loosely divided into three categories. There are the platforms based on sharing existing resources such as Airbnb (accommodation) and Uber (taxis). Other sites such as Jupyeah and Oh Yes It's Free are designed for swap or barter of used items. The third type involves sharing skills or services (outfits such as TaskRabbit) or capital (crowdfunding sites such as Fringebacker or Kickstarter).
Sophisticated information technology that enables a seamless experience for both user and provider is a key factor in the growth of these ventures, some of which have had a disruptive effect on conventional businesses.
The success of local van-hailing platform GoGoVan, for example, has led to the closure of several call centres providing similar freight transport services.
GoGoVan co-founder Steven Lam Hoi-yuen says call centres, which relied on telephone operators to connect available van drivers with customers, could not compete with his start-up's mobile app, which was able to link them directly with people who needed freight moved.
"I foresee the sharing economy will be a norm in many parts of the world," Lam says. "Imagine a building where the residents are informed of the whereabouts of a spanner which they use freely; nobody would need to own a toolbox at home any more. How good would that be?"
Of course, that means many manufacturers would have to come up with new business models in response to the change in consumer behaviour, he adds.
Lam reckons Hong Kong lags behind the mainland in this area, however. "There are platforms [on the mainland] where you can get all sort of services - manicures, cleaning and anything under the sun - with the touch of a few buttons."
Bobo Rok of LuxTNT agrees. She set up the site offering rental of high-end designer bags, shoes and other accessories, partly in response to the rise of "fast" fashion.
The trend of chain retailers producing cheap, throwaway versions of runway looks for the mass market is unhealthy, Rok says. "It's really unethical to copy other people's design. It's a big source of pollution too - people throw out the outfits after only one season."
However, Rok believes people want to wear the best, which is how she set up her business to provide access to luxury goods and original design at more affordable prices, as opposed to fast fashion chains like Zara and Forever 21. "That way more people would be willing to try it rather than just buy one-off [cheap fashion]," she says.
Her base is in a shared working space in Kennedy Town run by The Hive, which also operates branches in Wan Chai and Sai Kung. The premises suit her in several ways.
"I can meet similar people who are [running new businesses] so we don't feel too lonely. Also, the rent is so much cheaper - there's no way I can rent anywhere else for the same price."
Another important aspect of these collaborative, co-working spaces is that they are not only about sharing physical environments, but also ideas and experiences. Innovation Lab, Cocoon, Wynd and Hong Kong Commons are among ventures that have emerged in recent years.
In particular, The Good Lab, a nonprofit working for social innovation, doesn't just promote the concept of sharing and collaboration - it lives up to the spirit. Its co-working spaces in Cheung Sha Wan and Mong Kok serve as hubs for social entrepreneurship.
Inspired by South Korea's Sharing City initiative, Good Lab's director Ada Wong Ying-kay believes a sharing economy can yield benefits that are social as much as commercial.
"For me, the sharing economy is not about Airbnb and Uber [attracting] big money. What is more crucial is that it enhances sustainability and mutual support within the community," she says.
"Hong Kong people are known for being big producers of waste and many do not realise the imminent problems relating to depletion of resources that we and future generations face. It's time we consider the issue and do something about it before it's too late."
Like Wong at The Good Lab, local academics Terence Yuen Yiu-kai of Chinese University and Chow Sung-ming from Polytechic University are promoters of social innovation in the sharing economy.
Last year, the three published two Chinese-language books - Sharing Cities and Sharing Hong Kong - to raise awareness about the global trend and possible directions that Hong Kong could take to better utilise valuable resources.
The books highlight local sharing initiatives that have improved people's lives, from the community kitchens of Food Angel to open-data platforms including news site Bastillepost and Green Map Hong Kong, a database of practical know-how on how to live green.
There's also Light Be, which matches owners of vacant flats with low-income families in need of housing.
To build on their books, the writers first organised Sharefest, a series of workshops and seminars at Polytechic University.
Later, they held a series of talks at The Good Lab that culminated with a "hackathon", where participants came up with ideas for new initiatives. Among the most promising is Space Buddies, an Airbnb-like model which seeks to connect people who have multipurpose spaces with others who need venues to hold meetings, parties or similar functions.
However, government support, which is crucial for a flourishing of the sharing economy in Hong Kong, has been minimal so far, Wong says. Without the right regulatory framework, for example, practical initiatives such as tool libraries and bike sharing schemes would not be possible.
Many public spaces could be utilised for hosting markets for creative products, Wong says, which can be a great way to improve the domestic economy and fight corporate monopoly. However, the authorities' grudging policies on the use of public space is hindering many community activities, she says.
"All the government wants now is to build some tiny flats to pacify [demand for housing]. But everyone needs quality of life and the convenience brought about by the collaborative lifestyle can be a great way of enhancing it," Yuen says. "People who have heard what the sharing economy is capable of love the idea. All we need is more awareness and support to push the whole system forward."
This article appeared in the South China Morning Post print edition as Share market
有想法，只是沒有人做出來。「香港人太守規矩，不敢做些較特別的事。」Maggie說。集思廣益加上二人的想像力，成立了「The Pocket Parks Collective」發掘口袋公園、天橋底等公共空間的不同可能性，例如玩巨型「扭扭樂」，突破人與人、人與空間之間的界限；又如「日落茶吧」，餐牌上列出的不是咖啡小吃，而是9條問題，讓兩個陌生人坐下談天。「一些不敢跟別人透露的秘密，你敢不敢跟一個陌生人說？」Maggie說。
就著這個問題，香港社會效益分析師學會（下稱「學會」）與土作坊合作，為土作坊量度並計算它的「社會投資回報」（Social Return on Investment，簡稱SROI），嘗試將土作坊所創造的社會價值量化及貨幣化，讓管理者和其他持份者都能更深入理解土作坊作為一所社會企業是如何通過各式資源投入以創造社會價值。
1. 持份者的參與 （Involve stakeholders）
2. 理解發生的變化（Understand what changes）
3. 為關鍵成果估值（Value the things that matter）
4. 僅納入重要事項/信息（Only include what is material）
5. 不誇大成果（Do not over-claim）
6. 保持透明公開（Be transparent）
7. 審核結果（Verify the result）
回到文章提到的另一個疑問：我們應否以金錢或將貨幣符號加進社會價值的討論？SROI能幫我們計算出一個比率，例如5：1，其意思是每投入一元，就能產生五元的回報；但學會經常強調，SROI並不是一個數字或比率，而是一個關於項目如何創造社會價值的故事。當我們用心的去問以上詳列的九個問題時，SROI已不再是一套計量的工具，它更像是一套可以供不同組織都能共同使用的「社會價值會計準則」（social value accounting framework），無論你的機構選擇使用何種方法或工具去量度你的社會影響和效益，一個負責任的管理者都要認真回答以上九個問題。從這個角度來看，社會影響評估並不是要計算一個回報率以取悅投資者或爭取某基金會的撥款支持，而是所有負責任的機構的內部管理系統都不能忽視，用以了解資源運用和實行「影響力管理」（impact management）的管理思維。只有當管理者開始將其注意力及適當的資源投放於社會影響評估，她們才算真的已在思考「如何運用有限資源以產生最大的社會影響」這問題。
In November 2014, the Social Return on Investment (SROI) International Network merged with Social Impact Analysts Association (SIAA) to form Social Value International (SVI). This is an exciting development as the two organizations had strong visions of putting social value on the agendas of government, corporate, and social profit worlds internationally. It is also exciting because part of SVI’s vision is to have broad and rich conversations of how to value social outcomes, communicate that value to key stakeholders, and integrate that value into organizations.
That said, one challenge of any emerging management discipline is the need to uphold standards of practice while methodologies are still in development. For example, the field of accounting dates back centuries, but it’s only been in the past 50 years that there’s been a consensus emerging around an international standards. However, even today, many in the accounting world say that there is room for improvement. From SiMPACT’s perspective, the need for standard of practice in the use of SROI methodology is becoming more apparent. In Canada alone, SROI is being used in many provinces and territories, at the federal level, and in both small and large organizations.
Ensuring clients are aware of SROI methodology is the first step towards building an international standard of practice. One thought for consideration for clients of SROI practitioners, would be to ask their consultants how they plan to uphold the seven principles of the SROI methodology. While there is a need for flexibility in ones approach in SROI, based on the audience we are trying to engage, it is essential that the seven principles are upheld. For example, it’s vital to take steps to avoid over claiming as you focus on the most material outcomes experienced by stakeholders. It’s also essential to ask stakeholders what the most important outcomes are from their perspective, unless that stakeholder is unavailable.
SiMPACT looks to 2015 as a year where the SROI Canada Network will grow its database of practitioners seeking to provide a higher quality of service to interest in valuing their social outcome. For a full list of practitioners known to SROI Canada, click here. For individuals interested in learning more about SROI, join us at our next Introduction to SROI training session on January 22, 2015 in Calgary, and January 28, 2015 in Toronto.
恰巧筆者本人亦是一個新機構──香港社會效益分析師學會的理事，同工們正致力推動「投資的社會回報」（Social Return On Investment， SROI）等國際盛行的評估工具，將經濟效益以外的廣泛社會環境效益，也納入企業、組織或項目的表現評價系統之中。例如將郊野公園改做房屋用途，短期內或會製造大量單位和經濟增長，中期卻造成樓市、經濟以至社會政治的不穩定，長遠而言，更是無可彌補的文化生態永久性損失。
正如我在早前的文章中已經提及：香港必須逐步重整我們的產業結構，緩解我們對基建地產的傾斜，亦即是對毒藥般的經濟強心針的依賴，逐步重新建立一種長遠和可持續發展的產業傳統，追求一種財務上溫和但回報穩定的投資，令香港人學懂告別「搵快錢」、急攻近利的文化，若非如此，「跨世代公平」根本也就無從談起。假如仍一味死抱上一代人陳套的理念，佔中運動所揭示的世代矛盾，也就永遠沒有得以紓緩的可能。而像雷鼎鳴這類抱殘守缺的主流經濟學家，發揮著「阻住地球轉」的關鍵作用，早晚也就足以令This city is dying夢想成真！
再舉一例。香港政府每名囚犯每年需耗費26萬元。但在美國上市的Corrections Corporation of America專門營運由政府外判給商營的監獄，每個囚犯的收費是港幣14萬元，已包括11%的利潤。如果有機構指出，它經營監獄只需一半成本，那香港政府可否就把懲教服務外判，價低者得？當然那可能會令監獄原有的管理層和獄卒失業，於是可以讓他們組成企業參與競投，由於他們有往績可循，故中選機會較高。在英國，社企最初參與的都是類似的公共服務。但香港人看社企，就只看它有沒有盈利，虧損的就關閉。但英國著重的並非盈利，而是成本效益。即使社企有虧損，但如果相比由政府提供服務來說虧得較少，那仍值得創立。
目前全球有148家院校提供社企企業家課程，多由商學院開辦，但報名的多是商人，其次是公共行政人員，社工卻不大願意就讀。我們目前需要的是一種嶄新人才，他們並非只具備社福知識或商業知識或公共行政知識，而是擁有三合一的社企知識。他們既懂得支援弱勢，嫻熟如何經商，又要明白向公眾交侍問責。而他們追求的是SROI（Social Return on Investment，社會投資回報），務求一方面節省社會開支，另一方面又令持份者更為受惠。