The Research Platform

Digital, platform-based businesses (the likes of Amazon, Airbnb, LinkedIn, et al) are among the most powerful forces of transformation and disruption across many industries in the early 21st century. Investors are becoming aware that these business models are at an early stage of evolution and dispersion (with, in many cases, the potential for extraordinary returns on investment).


But what are “platforms” and “platform business models?”  In the year 2013, the answer could be an elusive one.  But it needn’t be.  There is an extensive body of management science research stretching back over the last two decades which helps to clarify the original concept of a “platform” in product development and manufacturing to a broader concept of the “platform business model.”   While “platform business models” are as old as physical marketplaces and shopping malls, it is only in the past 15 or so years that “digital, platform-based business” have begun to emerge and evolve.


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Business Platform models