Platforms and Ecosystems – Enabling the Digital Economy

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Platforms transform the way businesses, governments and individuals interact. Especially in the B2B space, they present a nascent, unique way to conduct business, are growing exponentially in size and importance, and provide unparalleled opportunities for value creation, but also risk and uncertainty. Over the next 10 years, platform-driven interactions will enable approximately two-thirds of the value for business and society identified by DTI.
Private and public leaders are grappling with the implications of the platform economy. Yet, there is no coordinated discourse between market players and policymakers.  The proposed project is a continuation of the 2016 work ‘Unlocking Value in the B2B Platform Economy’, and seeks to create a global dialogue - leading to actionable recommendations and outcomes - for leaders to address questions arising around platform economy dynamics.
In particular, the project will address four key problem statements identified during the work in 2016-2017 and also during various workshops and sessions, including at AM17:

  • Types of industry platforms and their integration: B2B platforms are either cross-industry or sector-specific. What are the influencing factors that drive one approach over the other, the implications for business, and how can different platforms collaborate (esp. industry-specific ones)?
  • Open vs. closed platforms: Platforms exist in an open or closed/proprietary model, including in some cases players migrating from closed to open. What are the implications of these models, which are most appropriate in a given context, how do they affect the structure and interaction of players, and what are guiding principles?
  • Platform players: Key to a successful platform is the engagement of relevant parties. How can one ensure that appropriate parties are part of any chosen platform ecosystem, what are the rules of engagement and collaboration, and how to ensure players’ accreditation and adherence to these rules?
  • Market power: Platforms create a unique business dynamic, often resulting in a ‘winner-takes-most’ scenario. Questions to address include how to define and address issues of market dominance, avoid digital divides, and create an inclusive ecosystem (esp. for SMEs)?

    These problem statements will be analysed in light of three primary dimensions, namely the impact of B2B platforms on (a) business models, (b) new governance structures and dynamics, and (c) policy and regulation (with particular focus on US, EU, China).


    To create a global platform for dialogue - leading to actionable suggestions, recommendations and outcomes - to bring together public and private stakeholders to address questions arising around the dynamics of the platform economy, to create an environment of sustainable socio-economic gains. This analysis will leverage a global community of experts to agree on and provide scalable approaches for balancing complex business model, digital governance, and interoperability challenges within the Platform Economy.