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)

HUYA – the Amazon’s Twitch of China
Amanda Dong
Posted on March 22, 2020 at 8:54 am
      Introduction HUYA Inc. is a leading game live streaming platform in China with a large and active game live streaming community. Established in 2014 as a game live streaming business unit of YY Inc. (a leading online [...]
ifood: Innovation and Differentiation for Sustainability
Fernanda Pedreira
Last modified on March 27, 2020 at 9:58 am
iFood is the leading food delivery platform in Brazil and has expanded into Colombia, Mexico and Argentina. It has fared well on the scalability test. Amidst increased competition in the industry, however, can it ensure profitability and long term sustainability?
Appear Here: “Airbnb of Retail”
Dora Du
Posted on March 24, 2020 at 6:00 pm
Appear Here is an online marketplace for short-term retail space. Appear Here functions as something of an Airbnb for retail space, its online platform that allows landlords to list their empty space for free, for brands to book it as [...]
Faire: Empowering the Shop Local Movement
Posted on March 21, 2020 at 11:25 pm
Faire is an online marketplace connecting small independent retailers with artisans (makers) to bolster the Shop Local movement and build local economies. 
Haven – A safe and steady logistics platform
Chris Hartnoll
Posted on March 24, 2020 at 5:06 pm
In 2017 Haven adopted a strategy of becoming a logistics solutions platform - a safe and sustainable option. But was forgoing the sex and violence of direct competition to become a niche platform a sustainable move?
Farfetch: Tackling the Online Luxury Fashion Market
Anuj Lohia
Last modified on March 24, 2020 at 3:56 pm
Farfetch prides itself on being the only online luxury fashion platform at scale. Leading up to its IPO in 2018, it has amassed impressive growth and continues to do so till today in the large USD 300 billion luxury fashion [...]
Etsy: Amazon Marketplace for Crafts?
Posted on March 24, 2020 at 2:54 pm
Suddenly awash with free time thanks to #socialdistancing, I find myself spending more time than ever browsing Etsy in search of craft projects, home décor items, and other ways to relieve stress by spending money. The products I’ve encountered range [...]
Zocdoc: A two-sided platform charging one side
Last modified on March 24, 2020 at 1:15 pm
Zocdoc connects patients with healthcare providers. It recently adjusted its pricing structure for several markets to attract new physicians to the site. However, Zocdoc must balance the fee structure of its existing physician base with new account acquisition.
Intuit Quickbook Desktop OR Quickbook Online – what to choose?
Posted on March 24, 2020 at 5:24 pm
Intuit Inc. is a leading financial software company that develops and sells accounting and tax preparation software and services for small businesses, accountants and individuals. They have an array of products such as TurboTax, QuickBooks, ProConnect Tax Online and others. [...]
Netflix: Creating value in the Covid-19 era
Carla SanchezArmas
Posted on March 27, 2020 at 12:11 am
 The DVD rental site founded in 1997 had a first-mover advantage when it introduced their streaming service[1] in 2007; three years later they surpassed 20 million subscribers. Today they are reaching 150+ million subscribers and operate in 190 national markets[2]. [...]
AspireIQ: succeeding in the influencer marketing industry
Last modified on March 24, 2020 at 5:06 pm
Influencer marketing is a form of social media, where “influencers” (from celebrities to normal people) endorse specific products or brands. In the last few years, this industry grew from $1.7 billion in 2016 to $6.5 billion in 2019. And as [...]
TradeMe’s Kiwi Dominance
Posted on March 24, 2020 at 1:37 pm
Started in 1999, TradeMe is the largest online marketplace in New Zealand by a considerable distance.  85% of the New Zealanders have a TradeMe Account[1], and the site was the 4th most popular website in New Zealand in 2018, behind [...]