Recently, I attended a conference on Community Land Trusts. One of the elective workshops aimed to help non-profit land trusts develop additional businesses. The model for developing business ideas was taken from a book (Business Model Generation) written collaboratively by over 400 practitioners.

One trend in business models is platforms. Airbnb and Uber built extractive platforms on top of the sharing movement. But online platforms do not have to evil.

The Platform Design Toolkit released it’s 2.0 version this year.  Despite it’s marketing hype concerning brands and industry shaping, the toolkit is released under a Creative Common license. One of its commons oriented aims is to create additional value within an ecosystem by generating ecosystem knowledge.

In fact, this is the essence of conferences, like the one I attended.  The event (a platform) assembles practitioners, theorists, regulators, and entrepreneurs (an ecosystem) to interact and exchange ideas (knowledge generation).

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Platform Design Thinking is a totally new way to look at your organization going beyond traditionally imposed barriers on what a business or organization should be. Approaching organization design with a fresh mindset on what a modern organization can leverage on will help us reflect on its physical, structural and sometimes legal boundaries. This conversation is key to designing revolutionary value propositions and organization like creation spaces, that aim to be great for people, instead of big for shareholders.

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Who is the Platform Design Toolkit for?

Corporate pioneers that want to shape reference markets, startup founders that want to disrupt incumbents, social entrepreneurs that want to achieve high impact.

Consultants that want to help clients, journalists and analysts that want to understand how platforms work: the toolkit is also a premium analysis tool.

As we’ve seen in many occasions while developing and explaining the Platform Design Toolkit, there are two key aspects of being a company-platform.

First, you need to ensure you build the right channels and contexts that make it possible for the transactions and relationships that exist in your ecosystem to happen smoothly and flawlessly.

The second key aspect is to see your organization as a powerful engine of learning. Provide means for performance improvement that can benefit not only the company shareholders but the ecosystem as a whole.

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The topic of Positive Platforms is of course on our radar since a while. We’ve been keeping an eye on every relevant analysis and, in a few months old post, Marina Gorbis and Devin Fidler from Silicon Valley based Institute For The Future, identified eight principles of Positive Platforms design. All the points raised in the post are key and interesting, ranging from open access and transparency to democratic governance and more, and we took all of them into account in developing a new version of the Platform Schema that we will soon publish. By the way, among these principles, you will find one that we think is obviously key, that of “Upskilling”:

“The best platforms already show those who work on them pathways for learning […] and connect people to resources for advancement”

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Earlier on in July the team held a company workshop with one of the primary financial institutions in Europe. We’ve learnt how human capital in knowledge intensive industries can help these companies become platforms, capable of multiplying the value for the customer through the facilitation of the ecosystem interaction: experts can successfully play the role of trusted advisers for customers.

The greatest learning we achieved was that Platforms help these brands climb the value chain and provide customers with higher level services by leveraging the expertise in the ecosystem and the convergence of strategies between several customers, helping them connect around more ambitious plans and projects.

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Blockchains & Platforms: shaping the future of Insurance and Liabilities

The future of the insurance will therefore be on one side unbundled and commoditized?—?with trading of standardized risk and high-speed on Blockchain?—?and on the other will be a key process to give the brand a chance to take responsibility for complex and dynamic business processes that they will create by combining components as the DAO, smart contracts, distributed resources and open-source data: that “general intellect” that?—?despite the destructive force?—?can not be held legally responsible.

In a nutshell, Platforms (not only in the insurance industry) will increasingly take advantage of distributed tools and resources to build their business processes. These processes will be made of activities and information that are not owned by the brand itself, but of which the brand will be accountable for towards the user and the law; in doing so, the ability to calculate the overall risk of such complex combinations, will be an essential factor in determining the success of tomorrow’s brands and companies.

Photo by -Jeffrey-

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