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Chapter 3 | Platforms Guidebook

Apply Platform Thinking

Use platform thinking to put the power of platforms to work for your company.

Explore how to network different types of resources—things, people, ideas and connections—to deliver 10X return on investments you’ve already made.

Design your platform model, using platform thinking to network your resources.

Network your resources

Find ways to connect your resources—things, people, ideas and connections—to unleash network effects.

Every organization has different types of resources: things, people, ideas and connections. Networking your resources means using them to generate network effects by helping people connect, co-create and achieve Shared Purpose.

Networking different resources leads to different business strategies, as shown in the examples throughout this chapter.

Platform

What are you connecting to create network effects?

Things

  • Equipment
  • Money
  • Products
  • Facilities
  • Real estate

People

  • Customers
  • Employees
  • Partners
  • Social network
  • Community

Ideas

  • Copyrights & Patents
  • Software & Hardware
  • Algorithms
  • Brand
  • Content
  • Data

Connections

  • Data
  • Transactions
  • Behaviors
  • Conversations
  • Reputation

Example

Google Maps & Waze

Consider the different strategies of Google Maps and Waze. Both are mobile apps designed to help people navigate and avoid traffic. But one does so by networking things and ideas, while the other does it by networking people and connections.

Google Maps uses anonymized data from the GPS of drivers’ mobile devices (things), relying on APIs and algorithms (ideas) to generate traffic conditions in real time.

Waze has cultivated a community where people share what they are seeing as they are driving.

Like Google Maps, Waze creates a constantly updating repository of traffic information. But with Waze, people (called Wazers) are the nodes that are connected to create the body of knowledge, as they share information about the drives they’re taking in realtime. Eventually, Google acquired Waze to combine the various forms of value.

Things

  • Mobile devices running Google Maps
  • Cameras
  • Cars

People

  • Members of
    Waze community (Wazers)

Ideas

  • Google Maps APIs
  • Google Maps Algorithms
  • User interface

Connections

  • Wazers’ Contacts (who receive estimated arrival times)
  • Incident Reports from Wazers

Elements of a platform thinking model

To design your platform thinking model, define these fundamental elements.  

In order to advance Shared Purpose, a platform needs to create a mindshift and connect available resources and social currency so it can generate network effects and achieve 10X results.

Read more about Social Currency in the xShift ORBIT Guidebook.

Shared Purpose

What is the goal shared by everyone connected by this platform?

Platform

What is the vehicle that creates exponential value through network effects?

Mindshift

What is the shift from one mental model to another required to use this platform?

Available Resources

What resources (things, people, ideas, connections) are connected to create network effects?

Network Effects

How is value increased as each new member
joins and participates?

10x Results

What exponential outcomes will this platform generate?

Example

Wikipedia's Platform Model

Wikipedia is connecting the knowledge of thousands of people all over the planet in a free online encyclopedia.

A large community of editors, guided by Wikipedia’s Five Principles, works to ensure and improve the quality of the work.

Shared Purpose

“Unlock the world’s knowledge”

Platform

Online encyclopedia

Mindshift

From reader to editor

Available Resources

Internet, users, knowledge

Network Effects

Value from other readers sharing their knowledge as editors

10x Results

Quantity, quality and cost (free)

Example

Sephora's Platform Model

Cosmetics company Sephora has a vibrant online Beauty Board community, where customers can post their “looks” and the makeup used to create them.

Shared Purpose

“Be fearless”

Platform

Beauty Board

Mindshift

From buyer to expert

Available Resources

Makeup lovers, expertise, purchase history, mobile cameras

Network Effects

Value from how others are using products

10x Results

Product usage, customer confidence, loyalty

Example

John Deere's Platform Model

John Deere has networked their tractors and other farm machinery by equipping them with sensors and linking them via the Internet of Things.

Machinery  captures information about farming conditions, shares it with other machines which analyze it using artificial intelligence to recommend ways to optimize outcomes.

Shared Purpose

“Healthier and more productive farming”

Platform

Internet of Things system with artificial intelligence

Mindshift

From equipment to “smart farming”

Available Resources

Farmers, machinery, crops, data

Network Effects

Value increases as system gets smarter with each new piece of data

10x Results

Higher crop yields, lower costs, fewer chemicals

Exercise

Your platform elements

Use this worksheet to experiment with your vision for a platform model.

For each platform, write down the elements that correspond to each of these categories:

  • Shared Purpose
  • Platform
  • Mindshift
  • Available Resources
  • Social Currency
  • Network Effects
  • 10x Results

Recap

Use platform thinking to put the power of platforms to work for your company

  • Find ways to connect your resources—things, people, ideas and connections—to unleash network effects.
  • In order to advance Shared Purpose, a platform needs to create a mindshift and connect available resources and social currency so it can generate network effects and achieve 10X results.

Read more:

"To Build Your Platform, Network Your Capital"

"Strategies for Platform Success"

"The 7 P's of Digital Platforms"

Did this guidebook get you thinking? Let's talk about how to bring new mental models into your organization for exponential results.

Contact Us

Read the other Guidebooks

Guidebook

Essentials

Explore foundational mindshifts that prepare you to leverage the power of network effects.
Read the Guidebook
Guidebook

Narrative

Transform audiences into co-creators by creating a powerful story based on Shared Purpose.
Read the Guidebook
Guidebook

Doctrine

Develop principles for empowered decision-making across 
networked organizations.
Read the Guidebook
Guidebook

ORBIT

Generate brand gravity to create Ongoing Relationships Beyond Individual Transactions.
Read the Guidebook
Guidebook

Platforms

Use platform thinking to activate network effects and create exponential results.
Read the Guidebook