Fall 2019

Driving Platform Innovation

Current Prompt

Digital technologies give rise to a variety of platforms. Think about how EBay matches suppliers and buyers, or iTunes makes apps available for iPhone users.

For this assignment, please identify companies/organizations that you think have an innovative platform. Focus on how it creates and captures value. Why are they innovative? Identify the core processes for the platform, and describe how those processes create value for participants, such as buyers or sellers. If this platform invites applications or advertising, explain what value goes to the applications or advertisers. Identify two or three interesting elements of the platform, such as its scale, prevalence of multi-homing, or pricing. Stress the strategy for value creation, but feel free to make observations about aspects of the platform’s value capture strategy. (To make it interesting, please stay away from platforms owned by the big five – Amazon, Google, Facebook, Apple, and Microsoft.)

800 words max

Digitization Winners and Losers

September 24, 2019

Digital technologies are upending many industries and companies. Think about Uber’s impact on the taxi business, or Spotify’s impact on music downloads.

For this assignment, please identify companies/organizations that you think are winning and losing due to a specific instance of digital transformation. Pick one situation with a winner on one side and a loser on the other. Why are they a winner and why is this transformation putting the losing organization in a difficult place? Stress the novelty of the situation. Discuss the key elements of how the winner creates and/or captures value, and similarly for the key elements of how the other firm is losing value. (Please devote most of the space to the winner, and focus less on the losers, devoting attention to winner/losers according to a ratio approximately 3/1.)

800 words max.

Spring 2019

Digital Winners and Losers

March 05, 2019

Digital technologies are upending many industries and companies. Think about Uber’s impact on the taxi business or Spotify’s impact on music downloads.

For this assignment, please identify companies/organizations that you think are winning and losing due to the same transformation.  Do most of the work on the winners, and focus less on the losers, devoting attention to winner/losers according to a ratio approximately 3/1. Why are they a winner and why is the other organization a loser? Discuss the key elements of how the winner creates and/or captures value that is leading you to call them a winner. Similarly for why you are calling the other firm a loser.

Create an approximately 1000-1200 word post to make your contribution by Tuesday, March 5, at 8 p.m.

Please also respond to and comment on three other posts per module. Comments are due by Wednesday, March 6, at 10 a.m. Feel free to use graphics, data, videos and links to other sites to corroborate your points.

Selected posts will be discussed in class and also featured on the HBS Digital Initiative website.

Please prepare a 2-3 min summary of your blog post before class.

Innovative Platforms

February 24, 2019

Digital technologies give rise to a variety of platforms. Uber matches drivers and riders. iTunes makes apps available for iPhone users.

For this assignment, please identify companies/organizations that you think have an innovative platform. Why are they innovative? Discuss the function of the platform, two or three interesting elements of the platform, and highlight the value creation of the platform. If you have room, feel free to make observations about aspects of the value capture strategy, but do not make it central.

Create an approximately 500-600 word post to make your contribution by Sunday, February 24 at 8 p.m.

Please also respond to and comment on three other posts per module. Your comments are due Monday, February 25, at 10 a.m. Feel free to use graphics, data, videos and links to other sites to corroborate your points.

Selected posts will be discussed in class and also featured on the HBS Digital Initiative website.

Please prepare a 2-3 min summary of your blog post before Monday’s class.

Spring 2018

Driving Digital Transformation

April 30, 2018

For this final blog post, please pick one company that you are familiar with (e.g., a company you worked at). First, describe the current challenges and opportunities the company is facing due to digital transformation. Then recommend changes the company needs to make to address these challenges or take advantages of these opportunities. In your post, please consider any organizational changes the company needs to make, and potential internal resistance when implementing your recommendation (and strategies to overcome such resistance).

Create an approximately 1,000-1,500 word post to make your contribution on digital.hbs.edu/platform-digit by 6pm on April 30. Please create appropriate tags for your post. Please also respond to and comment on three other posts by May 1. Feel free to use graphics, data, videos, and links to other sites to corroborate your points.

Competing with Data Challenge

April 09, 2018

In this module we have examined how data and analytics can be utilized in organizations of all types. For this assignment, please choose a company that uses data in a creative way to drive value creation, capture or operating model and then describe:

  • What does the usage or analysis of data create value for the company? How is it different from its competitors?
  • What does the company capture value from data and analytics? How is it different from its competitors?
  • How did it get to where it is now? What challenges did the company have to overcome? What challenges and opportunities do you anticipate for the company in the future?
  • For companies that failed to grow data-driven business models, what are the root causes for such failures?

Please try to use data and analytics to illustrate your arguments when possible. Create an approximately 500-750 word post at digital.hbs.edu/platform-digit.  Please create appropriate tags for your post. Please also respond to and comment on three other posts before class. Feel free to use graphics, data, videos and links to other sites to corroborate your points.

Competing with or Against Crowds

March 26, 2018

In this module we have examined how firms can leverage digital technologies to harness the power of collective intelligence from the crowds to create value and capture value. For this assignment you have three options:

1 – Pick one industry where no firms have leveraged crowds, and come up with a crowd-based business model that may potentially transform the industry. Describe how you plan to create and capture value. Explain why the crowd will participate, and why your crowd-based model is better than the current model employed by the incumbents.

2 – Describe a company that is using crowds (external or internal) in an innovative manner. Describe how they incentivize participation and manage the crowd. What are the challenges? Describe how value creation and value capture occur, and the growth potential of this business.

3 – Companies often struggle with crowds as well. Describe failed crowdsourcing efforts and explain how and why the company failed. Given what you have learned in the course, what would you do differently?

Create an approximately 500-750 word post at digital.hbs.edu/platform-digit to make your contribution by 6pm on March 26. Please create appropriate tags for your post. Please also respond to and comment on three other posts per module before class. Feel free to use graphics, data, videos and links to other sites to corroborate your points.

Growing Businesses in the Age of Platforms

March 05, 2018

One consequence of the digital transformation is that platforms are becoming increasingly prevalent in today’s economy.

Assignment

For this module please pick ONE company/organization and discuss how it creates and captures value in platform markets:

Issues you may want to address (feel free to consider other related issues not listed below):

  • How to scale up platform businesses?
  • How do various factors such as local/global network effects and multi-homing affect competitive dynamics in platform markets?
  • When can an entrant take over market leadership when competing with an incumbent in a platform market?
  • How can product/service-centric firms grow into platform-centric firms?
  • How do firms cooperate and compete with powerful platforms when they serve as complementors and partners of these platforms?

Create an approximately 500-750 word post to make your contribution on digital.hbs.edu/platform-digit by 6pm on March 5. Please create appropriate tags for your post. Please also respond to and comment on three other posts per module. Feel free to use graphics, data, videos and links to other sites to corroborate your points.

Note: Since our third module is on crowd-based business models (business models that leverage collective intelligence from a large number of users), please do not pick crowd-based companies such as Kickstarter and Threadless for this OK blog post.

Digital Winners & Losers

February 01, 2018

Digital technologies are upending many industries and companies. Think about Uber’s impact on the taxi business or Spotify’s impact on music downloads and the record industry.

For this assignment, we would like you to identify companies/organizations that you think are winning or losing. Just work on either winners or losers. Please focus on just one organization. Tell us why they are a winner or loser. Discuss elements of how they create and/or capture value that is leading you to call them a winner or loser.

Create an approximately 500-750 word post to make your contribution on digital.hbs.edu/platform-digit by 6pm on Feb 1. Please create appropriate tags for your post including if it is a “winner” or “loser.” Please also respond to and comment on three other posts per module. Feel free to use graphics, data, videos and links to other sites to corroborate your points.

Selected posts will be discussed in class and also featured on the HBS Digital Initiative website.

Please prepare a 2-3 min summary of your blog post before class.

Spring 2017

What is the Future of VR?

April 28, 2017

Virtual reality (VR) has become a hot area of the high-technology industry. The  ecosystem consists of multiple groups of participants including:

  • device manufacturers (e.g., headset manufacturers)
  • content providers (e.g., VR game producers)
  • platforms (e.g., Google and Facebook)
  • suppliers (e.g., lens manufacturers)
  • companies applying VR in different usage scenarios (e.g., VR in education or healthcare)

For this final assignment, please read this background note of the industry to get an overview of the industry. Pick a participant group from the above list and then pick a company within this group (the company does not need to be discussed in the background note). Create an approximately 500-750 word post. In your blog post, briefly describe this company’s current value creation and capture strategies and leverage your learning from the course to make recommendations on how the company can grow its business further.

Please create appropriate tags for your post. Please also respond to and comment on three other posts per module. Feel free to use graphics, data, videos and links to other sites to corroborate your points.