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  • Writer's pictureThe NTWK

TheNTWKSummit22 | Big corporations switching to platforms

Speakers: Daniel Trabucchi & Tommaso Buganza

Platforms surround us in our daily life. Many types of platforms for a multitude of services that changed how we perform everyday activities. From listening to music, booking a taxi, or a hotel, ordering a pizza… and even working in the hybrid world we live in after the pandemic.

As users, we are Platform Thinkers. Years ago, we learned that there’s an app for everything. Today, there’s a platform for everything. And we know it.

Still, there’s a place where this awareness is missing — our workplace. For most of us, platforms represent a perfect example of innovation as users, but then, as professionals, we tend to forget about it. Just think about a simple and extreme example: the difficulty we had to move our professional life online during the pandemic outbreak, even though - in our daily life - we were already there for many other aspects.

Seeing platforms not only as services to enjoy but as a tool to foster innovation in established companies is the shift we look forward to with the Platform Thinking approach.

We briefly introduced our way of seeing platforms and their growth strategies in this session.

In particular, we briefly introduced:

  • transactional platforms (like or Spotify) that enable a direct transaction between the two sides in a one-to-one perspective.

  • orthogonal platforms

    • In a client-as-a-target perspective (like newspapers or Google), that enables the second side (usually advertisers) to exploit the value embedded in the first side (end users)

  • In a client-as-a-sources perspective (like Strava or Twitter), that enables the second side (usually third parties interested in the data gathered) to exploit the value created - as data - by the first side (end users)

On top of the typologies, we introduced the two main logics of platform growth:

  • Exploitation, which is the ability to create new services in the platform ecosystem, like Spotify creating Spotify for Artists

  • Extensions, which is the ability to add a new side to the platform to enable a new platform relationship, like Uber bringing on board the restaurants to create Uber Eats

We introduced the Platform Thinking Matrix and mapped the Amazon case as an inspiration for our workshop through these four elements.

Participants have been asked to put themselves in the shoes of innovation managers, or better Platform Thinkers, that want to foster innovation in their established companies. We asked them to work on two cases briefly: Telepass - the Italian company that manages tolls on the highways - and John Deere - one of the leaders in the agricultural field.

Thinking back to the matrix, participants shared and discussed their innovative ideas on how these two companies could evolve towards a platform model, and then….well, we briefly shared what Telepass and John Deere actually did. Telepass built Telepass Pay, a service hub with various sides (from municipalities to ski pass providers), while John Deere moved into the precise agriculture field, building a great data platform.

Written by Daniel Trabucchi and Tommaso Buganza


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