The power of platforms

Everyone, it seems, is thinking in terms of platforms. That is, they are recognising that, no matter the market, there is money to be made in providing layers of capabilities and standards that other players in that market can tap into and use to interact more efficiently.

Platforms help to make resources and participants more accessible to each other on an as-needed basis. Properly designed, they can become powerful catalysts for rich ecosystems of resources and participants.

A couple of key elements come together to support a well-functioning platform:

  • A governance structure, including a set of protocols that determines who can participate, what roles they might play, how they might interact, and how disputes get resolved.
  • An additional set of protocols or standards is typically designed to facilitate connection, coordination, and collaboration.

Platforms are increasingly supported by global digital technology infrastructures that help to scale participation and collaboration, but this is an enabler, rather than a prerequisite, for a platform.

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