Tommaso Buganza and Daniel Trabucchi introduce the last year of research results on how S&P 500 companies leveraged Platform Thinking to foster innovation.
"What comes to mind when you hear the word "platform"? Chances are, you're picturing social media networks, e-commerce sites, or perhaps enterprise software. Many of you might also associate platforms with big-tech giants like Apple, Google, Meta, AirBnb, or Uber. While these aren't incorrect associations, they barely scratch the surface of what platforms are and can offer.
Platforms have become integral to our daily lives, reshaping how we communicate, shop, access entertainment, and even order a pizza. Many of these transformative companies are relatively young, digital natives, and primarily based in Silicon Valley.
Does this mean that traditional, established firms are destined to be overtaken? We don't think so. Rather, we believe there's a wealth of insights to be gleaned from these pioneers— insights that can be used to drive innovation under a new paradigm.
If we view platforms merely as social media or digital apps, we risk remaining stuck in the Middle Ages of platforms. Today, platforms are penetrating established industries and frequently paving the way for their digital transformation. The era of platforms isn't over with the advent tech giants; we are witnessing a true Platforms Renaissance.
To fully engage with this Renaissance, we need "Platform Thinking": the ability to use platform-based mechanisms to unlock digital business transformations. This perspective is universally applicable—from manufacturing to services, from digital newcomers to time- tested enterprises, from family-owned businesses to global corporations. It enables organizations to read current trends and write project future innovations effectively.
This first volume of the “Platform Thinking Magazine” distills a decade of research on platforms and presents an in-depth analysis of how S&P 500 companies are implementing Platform Thinking. In doing so, we invite you to join our "Platform Thinking HUB," the community for innovation leaders focused on envisioning and executing digital business transformations grounded in platform mechanisms."
Daniel Trabucchi & Tommaso Buganza Scientific Directors of the Platform Thinking HUB Observatory