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.

Materials

“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

Assignment

Create an approximately 750-word post to make your contribution on digit.hbs.org  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)

StockX: The Stock Market for Things
SR2020
Posted on March 24, 2020 at 5:04 pm
StockX is an e-commerce platform on the rise due to it's unique stock market approach to resale. Strong network effects, superior platform design, and "sticky" features have and will continue to help StockX grow in the future.
Upwork— the future of remote work online
Viria Vichit-Vadakan
Last modified on March 24, 2020 at 6:11 pm
Upwork— the future of remote work online Upwork founded in 2014 is an online marketplace that connects clients, namely businesses and professionals, to skilled freelancers.  The platform currently has 5 million businesses and over 10 million freelancers on the platform. [...]
Udaan- India’s Amazon or Alibaba?
Sneha Biswas
Last modified on March 23, 2020 at 11:46 pm
Udaan is a B2B marketplace in India connecting small and medium sized retailers to wholesalers for a range of products from lifestyle, home, electronics to fruits and vegetables.
Too Good To Go: A Win-Win-Win Situation
Partha Ray
Last modified on March 22, 2020 at 2:08 pm
Too Good To Go is the world’s leading platform for reducing food wastage. The free smartphone app connects local restaurants, hotels and retail businesses that have unsold, surplus food with local customers.
Hello Alfred: automating the on-demand economy
RLT
Last modified on March 23, 2020 at 3:02 pm
In a world crowded with on-demand apps and services, Hello Alfred created an aggregated service platform for recurring and widely demanded services to simplify the life of their customers. The platform is assisted by company employed “Alfreds” who coordinate the [...]
GrubHub: Slimy or Satisfying?
Jon Snow
Posted on March 24, 2020 at 6:35 pm
GrubHub has scaled profitably and brought together restaurants, hungry people, and drivers, but can they sustain their business amidst rampant competition?
Caviar – Food delivery’s race to your doorstep
r cai
Posted on March 23, 2020 at 10:18 pm
Caviar entered the competitive food delivery space in 2012 positioning itself as the “fancy food” delivery startup. At that time, the market was dominated by two large players, Seamless and Grubhub, with many new players looking to enter. Caviar’s platform [...]