In this post, we present the five types of digital platforms that support innovation. Let's first define the term platform as a cluster of digital technologies (with some shared affinity) that can drive innovation in the organization.
Each platform expresses a distinct aspect of how digital technology can be used to support innovation. The diversity of the five different platforms highlights the richness and depth of digital platforms, and their potential to serve as an infrastructure for innovation.
Grouping the various digital technologies into five platforms is designed to help digital leaders to first understand and then harness the potential of these technologies to drive innovation. Managers need to familiarize themselves with these five platforms and understand their relevance to their organization's strategy and the creation of its competitive advantage.
- Platform 1: Supporting Innovation (Big, Med., Small) – the first and most common platform talks about the direct role of digital enabling big, medium, and small changes to business processes or products.
- Platform 2: Generating Innovation – talks about the use of digital to support the process of making innovation (on the individual, organizational, and mainly on the network level). (e.g., Slack as an internal tool).
- Platform 3: Analytics for Innovation – talks about the use of data to find and experiment with newer innovations. (e.g., A/B testing, analytics for micro-segmentation, etc.).
- Platform 4: Sub-Systems for Innovation – talks about harnessing the innovation value of common platforms like LinkedIn, Google, and Facebook, & modern technologies like the cloud, mobile, and data. (e.g., think of how Waze is using mobile connectivity, IP, mapping, and GPS to bring the unique value of user-based mapping.)
- Platform 5: Building Innovation Platforms – Last, but not least, what we call the 21st-century innovation – a unique type of innovation that in itself generates even more innovation (e.g., think Apple apps or Google Youtubers ecosystems.)
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