Firms today are establishing market leadership by mastering digital innovation. For example, the traditional "Mad Men" advertising agencies now have to be able to blend digital products and services with creative strategy. Amazon is as much a retailer and supply chain powerhouse as it is a digital innovator. Similarly, the Netflix business model is heavily reliant on continuously building and enhancing digital products and services to compete against incumbents in the entertainment industry. Ford is realizing that its future competitors are likely to be Facebook and Google and not BMW and Toyota. Meanwhile, Local Motors, an HBS-alum led startup, is using crowdsourcing, digital fabrication and 3D printing to disrupt the automotive industry.

Digital Innovation and Transformation is a Harvard Business School course designed to equip students to confidently help conceive, lead and execute digital innovation initiatives. To enrich the course experience, Professor Greenstein have elected to use this platform for assignments. The goal of using Open Knowledge is to stimulate deeper conversation, cross-pollination between ideas, and inclusion of the global "digital transformation" community.

We invite you to read more and dive in by adding your own thoughts through contributions and comments.

Latest Assignment

Platform Business Challenges

March 24, 2020

Read The Full Prompt

Digital technologies give rise to a variety of platforms. For this assignment, please pick ONE of the following two options:

1) Identify a platform firm, describe how it creates and capture value, and evaluate its scalability and sustainability.  To make it interesting, please stay away from well-known platforms such as those owned by Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft.

2) Identify a firm that tried to work with a platform (e.g., X Fire or Australian banks) or tried to become a platform (e.g., Qihoo). Describe the opportunities and challenges in its journey.


“Why Some Platforms Thrive and Others Don’t” (Links to an external site.) HBR January-February 2019
“Products to Platforms: Making the Leap” (Links to an external site.) HBR April 2016


Create an approximately 750-word post to make your contribution on  by 6 pm on March 24.

Please also respond to and comment on three other posts per assignment. Feel free to use graphics, data, videos, and links to other sites to corroborate your points.

Selected posts will be discussed in class.

Submitted (79)

MasterClass – Mastering Scale as Edutainment Platform?
Last modified on March 17, 2020 at 1:17 am
MasterClass is a platform that provides online video courses on topics from film directing to tennis taught by iconic figures (like Martin Scorsese and Serena Williams). As they raised $80M Series D funding in 2018, they must master scale sustainably.
WeddingWire: with you till you say I do!
Posted on March 22, 2020 at 4:18 am
WeddingWire is a platform that connects engaged couples with wedding vendors to help them plan their wedding and streamline the process as much as possible. It was founded in 2007 by Timothy Chi who was frustrated by the complexity and [...]
Turo: the Airbnb for Cars
Walter Mitty
Posted on March 24, 2020 at 1:26 am
Turo is a two-sided platform, a peer-to-peer car sharing marketplace, that enables users to rent their cars out to others.
OpenTable: Restaurant Reservations Made-Easy
Danielle AJ
Last modified on March 23, 2020 at 5:39 pm
OpenTable is the market leader in online restaurant reservations. The company has made several strategic decisions to grow its two-sided platforms and has benefited from strong cross-sided network effects. Yet, in a perceived winner-take-most market, OpenTable should continue growing and [...]
Zocdoc: The Yelp for Medicine?
Jesse Bendit
Posted on March 24, 2020 at 3:05 pm
The Zocdoc platform has helped to increase transparency and ease accessibility within the healthcare industry, a space that lags behind most other industries in those areas. In doing so, Zocdoc has opportunities to further expand its offering to continue to [...]
Blackbuck – Hauling the future
Posted on March 22, 2020 at 12:03 am
Blackbuck is attempting to solve the inefficiencies in the Indian surface transport sector through a marketplace and technology-enabled services. Its impressive growth and recent funding have attracted various competitors – including one that questions the logistics platform business model itself.
Alphasights: Purveyors of Knowledge
Posted on March 24, 2020 at 7:29 pm
 “No [person’s] knowledge here can go beyond his experience” – John Locke The maxim that knowledge is power is heard so often that its fundamental truth may be obscured with repetition. Nonetheless, knowledge is the indispensable currency that makes the [...]
A “Plaid”form worth paying (a lot) for
C. Xu
Posted on March 23, 2020 at 2:21 pm
One of the latest landmark acquisitions in the start-up space is the $5.3bn acquisition of Plaid by Visa earlier this year. This post examines how Plaid evolved to become the poster child fintech platform of the last decade.
Cookpad: spreading the joy of cooking worldwide
K River
Last modified on March 23, 2020 at 3:53 pm
With its simple mission of 'Making every day cooking fun!', Cookpad has become the biggest recipe-sharing platform in Japan with a huge fan base and 3 million recipes. What is their secret to success?
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