How to Build a Platform Business model

In the last three years almost every company put Digital Transformation on the top agenda of their strategy process. But how to do it right? A lot of consultants specialized in strategic management, business model innovation and design thinking claimed that their approach is the right. But in our experience, the right mixture of all three is essential to get it right.

There is also a recent study by Forbes and Alfresco, where they surveyed 328 Senior Level executives about Digital Strategy, Platform Thinking and Design Thinking. The result: 64% of Best-in-Class firms report significant annual growth, compared with 43% of those still developing their capabilities across one or two of the three key areas.

Study by Forbes and Alfresco on best-in-class practices

From strategy to implementation

When we talk to our clients we start with a pyramide to explain how the three approaches are fitting together and are build on each other. (see chart below)

the combination of strategy, innovation and service design

In our understanding the Digital Strategy forms the longterm framework on which the company will seek and implement new business opportunities, leveraging the power of new technologies. This aligned vision is very important for the organization to understand the direction and can put activities into the right picture.

One of the key acitivities of such a Digital Strategy is to design and implement new business models — in our case platform business models. This is the mid layer of our pyramide. It’s not easy to come up with new opportunities and therefore we use the Platform Innovation Process and the Kit to ideate, design and validate new platform models.

On the next layer we go deeper into the implementation of one specific platform business model where we design services and the operational model. Here we use methods like Design Thinking to use the power of user research, problem understanding to ensure the solution we design fullfills real customer needs.

Design Thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that integrates the needs of people, the possibilities of technology and the requirements for business success. — Tim Brown (IDEO)

An Integrated Approach / Process

The integrated process of Digital Strategy, Platform Innovation and Service Design

Taking the best of all worlds brings hugh benefits to the adopters. The strategy remains on a high level and is steering that the whole organization is going into the same direction. Once set, half-yearly or yearly refresh cycles ensure that the strategy remains up-to-date and taking the progress of all digital initiatives into account.

In between the implementation and growth of new businesses requires a more frequent refresh. Here we suggest a weekly or bi-weekly rhythm. This allows you to speed up time-to-market and allows the chance to react on customer validation feedbacks quickly.

A weekly sprint process for platform innovation is required to achieve your time-to-market goals and is lowering the risk of misconception.

On the lowest layer, the service design works on daily sprints & refreshs. Working together with our clients in 5-day workshops to design new services, prototype them, test them and go-live is hard, but also ensures excellent results and the ultimate speed to convince critical stakeholders.

What is your experience on integrating the 3 approaches with each other? Same? Different? Just let us know and discuss.