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)

Huawei to Google: We will make our own platform!
I'm Not A Robot
Posted on March 24, 2020 at 4:59 pm
Huawei to Google: We will make our own platform! Huawei is one of the leading manufacturors of smartphones in China and found itself in hot water recently when US Government trade restrictions led to US software companies preventing Huawei from [...]
Gusto: A payroll software turned ’people platform’?
Colm Farrell
Posted on March 22, 2020 at 2:29 pm
Gusto began as a payroll software for small businesses, but has since attempted to transform into a ‘people platform’, offering a range services for small businesses (mainly via partners). This post examines the execution and long-term sustainability of this product-to-platform [...]
Letgo: Grabbing Hold of the Classifieds Market and Not Letting Go
iBot
Last modified on March 24, 2020 at 6:00 pm
Letgo is a second-hand marketplace, connecting buyers and sellers of consumer goods ranging from televisions and clothing to cars and real estate, revolutionizing classifieds listings and innovating on the foundation established by dated offerings like Craigslist and local newspapers -- [...]
Plex TV: From Personal Media Server to Mediaverse
Jared V.
Last modified on March 24, 2020 at 6:17 pm
Over the years Plex has found a niche with cord-cutters by enabling customers to set up their own personal media servers and access their content across a variety of internet-connected devices. Recently, however, Plex began aiming its sights on the [...]
Spotify- More than a Music Streaming Platform
DJ Song
Posted on March 24, 2020 at 5:55 pm
Spotify is a well-known music streaming platform. By early 2019, Spotify had 242 million users and of that over 108 million subscribed users. It is currently the music platform with the largest amount of subscribers. Spotify was able to create [...]
Blind: Building and Scaling Anonymous Community
vertigo
Last modified on March 23, 2020 at 2:02 pm
“Anonymous community for the workplace.” - Kyum Kim, Head of US operations and co-founder of TeamBlind “Most of our U.S. users are tech employees and there are tons of topics on Blind. Many of them talk about compensation, salary, company [...]