Speaker: Peter C. Evans
The growing success of digital platforms brings to the surface an undeniable truth: while other global economies keep growing in terms of market value and general profit, Europe lags behind North America and Asia. To help enlarging its fair share of the platform economy, Peter C. Evans, Managing Partner at the Platform Strategy Institute, proposes the 5-step strategy.
1. Growing Platform Startups
European consumers have been quick to embrace the platform economy and become active users of platform services offered by foreign platforms such as Facebook, Google, Airbnb and Uber. However, European companies have been slow in creating and scaling digital platforms.
Over the past decade, Europe’s startup scene has developed significantly: there are more incubators as well as investors. However, Europe needs to further accelerate its investment in platform startups and graduate many more platform unicorns. According to a recent global platform survey, only 3% of the top 100 platform companies were European, while 78% of the market capitalisation stayed in the Americas (U.S, Canada, South America) and 18% in the Asia Pacific.
Top 100 Platforms
Source: Ecodynamics, 2021
2. Expanding Incumbent Platforms
Europe has many large incumbent companies. A few of these companies have embraced platform strategies. More incumbent companies need to follow this lead.
If we think that the world we know today is going to stay the way it is, it’s not. The business landscape is rapidly changing.
One area where incumbent European firms could carve out unique advantage is around applying platform strategies in the shift to cleaner energy and sustainability more generally.
3. Seizing Web3 Opportunities
With the rise of blockchain technology, the market is transitioning towards Web3, which has the potential to transform how and where companies engage with their customers, who are no longer hungry for solely goods and services but also for experiences.
* Assumes the Global Economy is ~$128 trillion in 2030.
The frontline companies are realizing that they need to supplement their traditional e-commerce engine with experiences, which is going to create a whole other wave of network effects.
Europe has the potential to become a leader in Web3. It has the talent and the technology. European companies should also build the platforms that will power Web3. These include scaling NFT marketplaces as well as creating Metaverse platforms that will be the foundation for virtual commerce. Evans cited recent studies that project the global size of the Metaverse opportunities to be between $5 trillion and $13 trillion by 2030. Europe needs to position itself for these opportunities not just by contributing as complements but by creating platforms that will be at the center of orchestrating this new value creation.
4. Building Pan-European Super Apps
Super apps have emerged around the world but not in Europe. Some have argued the reason is that Europe is too fragmented. However, Evans points to the example of Grab in Southeast Asia. The Grab super app bundles a wide range of services into one platform that crosses eight countries with separate languages, cultures and currencies.
Circling back to the Great Energy Transition possibilities, he adds that communities, which specialize in digital business, such as The NTWK could work as catalysts for ideas around building what could be a European green super app.
5. Investing in Building European Platform Talent & Leadership
The platforms’ ability to scale necessarily means that companies are constantly on the lookout for platform talent. The Platform Strategy Institute estimates that there are job postings for over 40,000 platform professionals globally each year. But because Europe has lagged in platform business creation the talent pool of experienced platform professionals is small.
Platforms require unique leadership skills
©2022 Peter C. Evans, Platform Strategy Institute, 2022
To meet the need for platform professional talent, European universities need to step up. There are currently no universities that offer a degree in platform management. Currently, European students and professional managers are turning to US universities for this training. Evans argued that it is time for European universities to create dedicated minor and major degree programs in platform management.
Written by: Gisela Giralt & Peter C. Evans
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