MIT Platform Report 2022

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RIDING<br />

THE<br />


WAVE<br />

The <strong>2022</strong> <strong>MIT</strong> <strong>Platform</strong> Strategy Summit tracked<br />

where we’ve been and where we’re heading.


Ellen Herlacher, principal at LRV Health, was<br />

among the speakers at the first healthcare<br />

platform summit event.<br />

<strong>Platform</strong> Summit co-chairs, from left, Marshall<br />

Van Alstyne, Peter Evans and Geoffrey Parker<br />

04 A Ripple Becomes a Cresting Wave<br />

The 10th annual <strong>MIT</strong> <strong>Platform</strong> Strategy Summit reflected<br />

on a decade-long rise of platforms that have upended<br />

traditional markets and created whole new ecosystems.<br />

06 <strong>Platform</strong>s Opens Up<br />

What a difference a decade makes. Summit co-chairs<br />

Peter Evans, Geoffrey Parker and Marshall Van Alstyne,<br />

along with Elizabeth J. Altman, outline the key trends to<br />

watch.<br />

09 The Tide Turns for Healthcare <strong>Platform</strong>s<br />

Can digital platforms cure and create opportunities for the<br />

U.S. healthcare sector? A half-day program explored both<br />

the tech progress and the regulatory challenges keeping<br />

healthcare on a slow but steady path to platform adoption.<br />

10 <strong>Platform</strong> Review and Forecast<br />

Network effects have played a key role in the rise of<br />

platforms from B2C to B2B sectors. Are the metaverse<br />

and Web3 the next frontiers?<br />

12 Keynote Address<br />

Dr. Alex Ng, VP of China’s Tencent Healthcare, described<br />

a new platform designed to accentuate valid healthcare<br />

information to encourage and improve patient care.<br />

13 The New Digital Divide<br />

Panelists discuss how geopolitical powers differ on the<br />

best ways to approach the digital layers of marketing<br />

systems and platforms.<br />

14 MyLearning NFT<br />

The trouble with training is that people forget much<br />

of what they’ve learned. A new, non-fungible token,<br />

demonstrated by co-founder Hari Abburi, aims to fix this<br />

by financially rewarding continuous training.<br />

15 Web3, Tokens, and <strong>Platform</strong>s<br />

The debate is on: Is Web3 just a collection of niche<br />

products? Or will technologies, including blockchain and<br />

the metaverse, permeate today’s marketplaces?<br />

16 <strong>Platform</strong>s Fuel Enterprise Talent Strategy<br />

<strong>Platform</strong>s promise to connect organizations with qualified<br />

workers. Panelists including Tapaswee Chandele of<br />

Coca-Cola Co. and Anant Argawal of 2U discussed their<br />

progress with internal and external talent platforms—and<br />

what still needs to be done.<br />

17 Fireside Chat: Fidelity Investments<br />

Joanna Rotenberg, president of personal investing<br />

at Fidelity Investments, explains how her group is<br />

adapting to big shifts—technological and otherwise—<br />

in the finance business.<br />

19 The Future of the Retail Experience<br />

Customer data is the big wave in retail. That’s leading to a<br />

new business model that’s based not on selling products,<br />

but instead on providing unique customer experiences.<br />

Executives and analysts take a deep dive into these<br />

immersive ideas.<br />

19 Technology that Serves Society<br />

For a different perspective, Dava Newman, director of the<br />

<strong>MIT</strong> Media Lab, led a journey that brought the internet<br />

deep into the ocean, made oxygen on Mars and implanted<br />

AI into human brains.<br />

20 Resources for the Next Decade<br />

Prepare for the next 10 years of platform revolution with<br />

these books and articles to read and IDE links to explore.<br />

Look for the<br />

icon to watch full sessions<br />



Global platforms have become so ubiquitous we barely take<br />

notice: engaging with social media, online shopping and—even<br />

for the reticent—banking and conducting business on sprawling<br />

ecosystems of partners have become the norm.<br />

The <strong>MIT</strong> <strong>Platform</strong> Strategy Summit has tracked this swift economic<br />

transformation for the past 10 years. This year, we look at the past,<br />

present and future of digital platforms, examining how they can<br />

continue to broaden access and opportunities in every sector.<br />



The <strong>Platform</strong> Summit on July 14, <strong>2022</strong>,<br />

marked its 10th anniversary as a go-to<br />

source of information, analysis and<br />

forecasts about the rapid-fire changes<br />

of the platform economy. More than<br />

1,000 online and in-person attendees<br />

learned how digital platforms continue<br />

to transform industries, the economy<br />

and workers.<br />

<strong>MIT</strong> IDE Associate Director Devin Cook<br />

welcomed in-person attendees to the 10th<br />

annual <strong>Platform</strong> Summit.<br />

2<br />





The <strong>MIT</strong> <strong>Platform</strong> Strategy Summit celebrates its 10th anniversary this<br />

year. Here’s a quick look at the last decade of Summit events and all-star<br />

participants, courtesy of Summit co-chair Geoffrey Parker.<br />

2013<br />

The first <strong>MIT</strong> <strong>Platform</strong> Summit was organized by<br />

“platform evangelists”– young academics who<br />

developed a theory to solve the pricing puzzle of<br />

“free” software and related business models. Google,<br />

Facebook, Amazon and Netflix were testing the<br />

platform waters.<br />

2017<br />

As platforms gained traction, the Summit attracted<br />

speakers from the mainstream finance industry<br />

and incumbent organizations, including GE Global<br />

Research, Philips, SAP and Schlumberger.<br />

2020<br />

Due to the COVID-19<br />

pandemic, the Summit<br />

pivoted to an online-only<br />

format. Nevertheless,<br />

platform leaders from<br />

Intuit, Mayo Clinic and<br />

Ping An Bank addressed<br />

global concerns and<br />

challenges.<br />

2014<br />

Gaining global momentum and sharing knowledge,<br />

the Summit attracted Ming Zeng, chief strategy<br />

officer of China’s (then) leading platform, Alibaba,<br />

and speakers from Deloitte, Upwork and others.<br />

2018<br />

This Summit highlighted the platform-transformation<br />

vanguard, including Airbnb and Uber, and also legacy<br />

brands Kaiser Permanente, Rolls-Royce and Siemens.<br />

2021<br />

The Summit was online-only for a second year.<br />

Mainstream organizations continued to make the<br />

platform transition, while others—such as EVgo<br />

and entertainment platforms—took the plunge as<br />

platform natives.<br />

2016<br />

2015<br />

Drilling down into infrastructure issues, the Summit<br />

drew a diverse group of executives from Cognizant,<br />

Duolingo, edX and Samsung as well as other<br />

platform innovators.<br />

The tide continued to rise with the publication of <strong>Platform</strong><br />

Revolution by Geoffrey Parker, Marshall Van Alstyne and<br />

Sangeet Paul Choudary—heading to a second edition.<br />

Peter Evans and Annabelle Gawer also published “The<br />

Rise of the <strong>Platform</strong> Enterprise,” the first global survey of<br />

platform companies.<br />

2019<br />

Policy presentations by the U.S. Army and the<br />

Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency<br />

added some sobering perspectives to the heady pace<br />

of change. In addition, Amazon Web Services, eBay<br />

and Facebook offered insights on staying afloat.<br />

<strong>2022</strong><br />

The Summit goes hybrid, returning to <strong>MIT</strong>’s campus<br />

with in-person and virtual attendees. As platform<br />

ranks swell, panels examined what’s next for<br />

Web3, regulation, labor markets and healthcare.<br />

Investments continue to break records.<br />

4<br />


Summit co-chair Geoffrey Parker took attendees<br />

through 10 years of platform progress and<br />

examined where it’s headed in the next decade..<br />

reassure ourselves we weren’t crazy. These business<br />

models are real, and they will have a significant impact on<br />

the world economy.”<br />

Fast-forward 10 years and the accuracy of the hypothesis is<br />

undeniable. As more than 150 in-person plus nearly a thousand<br />

online attendees of this year’s summit heard, platforms are<br />

now transforming—or poised to transform—entire industries<br />

as well as HR and marketing.<br />

“In this environment, which is changing at unprecedented and<br />

unexpected levels, agility and the productive use of data is<br />

more important than ever,” said Svenja Falk, managing director<br />

of Accenture Research and one of the day’s moderators. But<br />

new issues have surfaced as platforms proliferate, too.<br />

Stretching the Global Boundaries<br />

Falk’s panel explored several regulatory and geopolitical<br />

barriers to sharing data. One factor raising these barriers: The<br />

U.S., European Union and China each have very different ideas<br />

about how—or whether—data should be shared.<br />

Panelist Peter Weckesser, chief digital officer of Schneider<br />

Electric, pointed out that in a traditional business like his,<br />

data operates in two dimensions: internally, where data needs<br />

to be accessible for insights across the organization; and<br />

externally, as part of an open platform. That’s why Schneider<br />

is experimenting with a new practice it calls “power couples,”<br />

in which data projects are co-owned by both business-process<br />

and IT platform leaders. “The data layer,” Weckesser added, “is<br />

the foundation for any business process.”<br />

Far from daily business constraints, prognosticators<br />

anticipated what Web3 might bring in the not-too-distant<br />

future. Led by Peter Evans, managing partner of the <strong>Platform</strong><br />

Strategy Institute and a Summit co-chair, the panel debated<br />

blockchain, the metaverse, AI, virtual reality and more. To date,<br />

they’ve attracted both advocates and skeptics.<br />

“The metaverse is a set of possibilities and promises, but it<br />

doesn’t exist yet,” said Lauren Lubetsky, co-author of a recent<br />

Deloitte white paper on the topic. “It’s hard to imagine a world<br />

of complete decentralization, where everyone owns everything<br />

and no one is the central owner. That scares CIOs.”<br />

At the same time, others noted that many businesses are<br />

already experimenting with Web3 technologies. “We’re always<br />

looking for new technologies that could displace current<br />

technologies,” said Adam Schouela, head of emerging tech at<br />

the Fidelity Center for Applied Technology. “Then we roll up our<br />

sleeves, try it, and figure out what it means for us.”<br />

The Retail Experience<br />

The platform landscape varies among industries and follows<br />

economic trends. For example, a panel on the future of retail<br />

included a fascinating emphasis on experiential marketing. To<br />

Jonathan Yaffee, a former marketing executive with Red Bull<br />

and currently co-founder and CEO of experience relationship<br />

management agency AnyRoad, “We’re transforming from a<br />

‘things’ economy to an ‘experience’ economy.”<br />

Yaffee and others cited Dick’s Sporting Goods, which has<br />

turned its stores into sports places; Nike, which has outfitted<br />

some of its retail stores with basketball courts; and Michaels<br />

Companies, which created an online arts-and-crafts teaching<br />

platform that reaches more than 1 million students a year.<br />

These platforms not only create communities of loyal (and bigspending)<br />

customers, they also provide the companies with<br />

all-important data about those customers. As Yaffee explained,<br />

businesses can then use that data to predict a customer’s<br />

lifetime value, the new metric of success. The physical stores<br />

are less about product sales—which can be done online—than<br />

building on these experiences.<br />

REVIEW<br />


OPEN UP<br />

It’s taken a decade for organizations to stop hoarding their<br />

data and start sharing it. After years of watching and waiting,<br />

mainstream organizations in a wide range of industries—<br />

including education, manufacturing, finance and retail—are<br />

finally getting on board with platform markets that unlock<br />

data’s value.<br />

That was a central theme of this year’s <strong>MIT</strong> <strong>Platform</strong> Strategy<br />

Summit, a hybrid live/online event hosted on July 14, <strong>2022</strong>,<br />

by the <strong>MIT</strong> Initiative on the Digital Economy (IDE). Leading<br />

organizations have tapped into the power of platforms, using<br />

open APIs and other applications to share data in internal<br />

and external ecosystems. As a result, they’re benefitting from<br />

The <strong>2022</strong> <strong>MIT</strong> <strong>Platform</strong> Strategy Summit<br />

tracked the rise of open data and<br />

business transformation.<br />

network effects and revolutionizing markets as diverse as<br />

social media, electric vehicles and healthcare.<br />

While platforms are still emerging in a few sectors, they’re<br />

vastly more accepted than they were a decade ago. That’s<br />

when Geoffrey Parker, a professor of engineering at Dartmouth<br />

College, and Marshall Van Alstyne, a professor of information<br />

economics at Boston University, realized that the rise of online<br />

companies such as Amazon, Facebook and Google resulted<br />

from their new business models based on platforms.<br />

“One reason we launched this event,” said Parker, a Summit cochair<br />

and research fellow at the IDE, “was to create a forum to<br />

Hard platform problems have one underlying<br />

cause: Network effects (NFX)<br />

Understanding NFX gives power to explain, predict and control<br />

1<br />

2<br />

3<br />

4<br />

Structure/ Why do platforms have such high market cap but so few assets or employees?<br />

NFX drive inverted firms that harness external products and assets not usually counted on balance<br />

sheets.<br />

Strategy/ Why does traditional product strategy fail in platform markets?<br />

NFX mean community is a key asset. <strong>Platform</strong>s want community, permissionless entry, not<br />

competitor barriers to entry.<br />

Regulation/ Why does antitrust fail in platform markets?<br />

NFX increase in scale, not in breakup or splitting across competitors.<br />

Fake news/ Why is misinformation such a hard problem?<br />

NFX cause market failures, which need interventions not allowed by First Amendment speech<br />

protections.<br />

5 Future/ Can decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) dethrone platforms?<br />

NFX require governance, which most DAOs don’t provide.<br />

6<br />





During the inaugural healthcare platform summit, speakers bemoaned the industry’s<br />

lack of platform progress, but expressed hope for future investments and regulations.<br />

More than 150 in-person attendees were able to interact with peers and<br />

appreciate the lessons learned during two days of sessions.<br />


Learning New Lessons<br />

Additionally, platforms for education and training were a<br />

hot topic—and one close to home for the academics at the<br />

event. “Can universities become platforms?” asked moderator<br />

Marshall Van Alstyne, a professor at Boston University and a<br />

Summit co-chair. “Or are [universities] doomed to shrink?”<br />

Chris Dellarocas, Associate Provost for Digital Learning at<br />

Boston University, thinks the big brand universities will win<br />

and small universities will only survive by specializing in niche<br />

content. The university trump card is a deep relationship with<br />

students that they should continue as lifelong learning centers.<br />

The question is more than hypothetical. Anant Agarwal is<br />

the founder of edX and now chief open education officer of<br />

2U, a global online learning platform. His company’s more<br />

than 4,000 courses have reached over 44 million learners<br />

worldwide. There should be fewer universities, he believes.<br />

“The teaching model is changing,” Agarwal said. “The old<br />

lecture model of a ‘sage on a stage’ can be done more<br />

effectively online.” But coaching of students is still done<br />

side-by-side in person. That hybrid approach is “the future of<br />

education,” in his view.<br />

Tapaswee Chandele, Coca-Cola Co.’s global VP of talent<br />

and development, provided a corporate perspective. The<br />

giant multinational company takes its platform approach so<br />

seriously that it has created a platform services organization<br />

and is now launching an internal talent marketplace. “Skills<br />

have become currency,” Chandele said.<br />

Investing in the Future<br />

A chat between co-chair Geoffrey Parker and Joanna<br />

Rotenberg, president of personal investing at Fidelity<br />

Investments, showed how high the platform stakes are for<br />

legacy corporations. Rotenberg’s group handles investments<br />

for one in every six Americans and is responsible for some<br />

$4 trillion in assets under management.<br />

Rotenberg and her associates find many traditional<br />

transactions at the 75-year-old company are outdated.<br />

Today’s young customers won’t phone a Fidelity agent, nor<br />

will they personally visit their local office. Instead, they expect<br />

to transact with Fidelity via their PCs, tablets and smartphones,<br />

often over social media. “We’ve got to meet our clients of<br />

today—and tomorrow—where they are,” Rotenberg said.<br />

The Summit was capped by a mind-expanding presentation<br />

by Dava Newman, director of the <strong>MIT</strong> Media Lab. She<br />

discussed such far-out topics as the search for life elsewhere<br />

in the universe, making oxygen on Mars, a concept known as<br />

Earth Embassy (complete with its own operating system), and<br />

plans to surgically implant AI systems in the human brain. “It’s<br />

all about design and action for the future we want to live in,”<br />

Newman said.<br />

Searching for life in outer space certainly isn’t among the<br />

daily concerns of most businesspeople. But it illustrates that<br />

when data is open and shared, it can finally deliver on its<br />

promise of value.<br />

The U.S. healthcare sector could use a dose of its<br />

own medicine to cure its high costs, poor access and<br />

bureaucratic lethargy. Could the elixir involve digital<br />

platforms?<br />

That was a main topic at the inaugural <strong>Platform</strong> Revolution<br />

Comes to Healthcare event, held on July 13 as a new spinoff<br />

of the <strong>MIT</strong> <strong>Platform</strong> Strategy Summit.<br />

The upshot? “Healthcare is more than a decade behind<br />

other industries in [platform] adoption,” said Vince Kuraitis,<br />

principal and founder of consultants Better Health<br />

Technologies. He cited a 2015 study by consultants<br />

McKinsey & Co. showing that when it came to digital<br />

adoption, healthcare ranked a poor 19 among 22 industries.<br />

One serious hurdle to greater adoption is the simple force<br />

of habit. Pharmaceutical salespeople are used to freely<br />

walking into doctors’ offices, patients are used to going<br />

to doctors they know, and doctors are used to making<br />

referrals to their peers. “It’s all very personal and hard<br />

to break,” said Adam Grossman, a partner in healthcare<br />

investment firm Deerfield Management Co. Tight regulation<br />

is another longstanding obstacle.<br />

Sea Changes Coming<br />

Nonetheless, the industry’s tides are turning and evolution<br />

is under way. Healthcare is “beginning to understand<br />

the economic power and value of exchanging data,” said<br />

Randall Williams, managing director of consulting firm<br />

Digital Care Advisors.<br />

Evidence comes in the form of growing investment. Nearly<br />

$30 billion in capital worldwide was invested in 2021, an<br />

increase over the previous year of 25%, according to seed<br />

fund Rock Health.<br />

Even the U.S. government, known for its sluggish<br />

bureaucracy, understands the value proposition platforms<br />

offer for better medical care and data access. Starting later<br />

this year, the U.S. Fast Healthcare Interaction Regulation<br />

(FHIR, pronounced “fire”) will require all certified healthcare<br />

providers to make their electronic health record APIs<br />

available to others.<br />

“We’re still a long way from perfect integration,” admitted<br />

Micky Tripathi, national coordinator for health IT at the U.S.<br />

Dept. of Health and Human Services. “But standardization<br />

is improving, and the ecosystem is opening up.”<br />

Rapid Growth<br />

of <strong>Platform</strong><br />

Investments<br />

12%<br />

41%<br />



2017<br />

2021<br />

88%<br />

59%<br />



In 2021, platforms accounted for 41% of digital<br />

health investments compared with 12% in 2017.<br />

In additon, one-third of the CB Insights Top 150<br />

digital health companies are platforms.<br />

Source: Summit Health, <strong>Platform</strong>s in Digital Health, 2021<br />

Year-end <strong>Report</strong><br />

8<br />


PANEL<br />



Elizabeth J. Altman Assistant Professor, Manning School of<br />

Business, University of Massachusetts, Lowell<br />

Peter C. Evans Managing Partner, <strong>Platform</strong> Strategy Institute;<br />

<strong>Platform</strong> Strategy Summit Co-Chair<br />

Geoffrey Parker Professor of Engineering, Dartmouth College;<br />

Visiting Scholar, <strong>MIT</strong> IDE; <strong>Platform</strong> Strategy Summit Co-Chair<br />

Marshall Van Alstyne Questrom Professor of Management,<br />

Questrom School of Business, Boston University; Visiting Scholar,<br />

<strong>MIT</strong> IDE; <strong>Platform</strong> Strategy Summit Co-Chair<br />

“My goal today has been<br />

to give you one simple<br />

idea: Network effects give<br />

you the power to explain<br />

what has happened,<br />

predict what will happen,<br />

and control the outcome.”<br />

Marshall Van Alstyne<br />

The Summit’s academic organizers gave high-level<br />

overviews of the platform revolution and its impact.<br />

Geoffrey Parker described his own revelation around<br />

2005 when he and his colleagues noticed that a group<br />

of fast-charging new companies, including Amazon,<br />

Facebook and Google, were operating with new business<br />

models. And unlike the failed models of the dot-com<br />

crash, these models made sense and could be selfsustaining.<br />

They were platforms. Going forward, expect<br />

B2B platforms to adopt the same focus on reducing<br />

transaction costs and increasing network effects just as<br />

B2C platforms have done.<br />

Manning School professor Elizabeth Altman emphasized<br />

how platforms are transforming the workforce. Today, up<br />

to half an organization’s employees can be contractors,<br />

freelancers, consultants and gig workers. These workers are<br />

increasingly hired and connected on platform ecosystems,<br />

she noted.<br />

Peter Evans said the rise of Web3 is already playing a<br />

central role in three platform examples: crypto exchanges,<br />

NFT marketplaces and metaverse worlds. Many are growing<br />

rapidly. For example, tokens for just three metaverse<br />

platforms—Decentraland, Sandbox, and Otherside—have a<br />

market capitalization of $4.3 billion. Additionally, Web3 is<br />

beginning to reshape the way brands engage customers.<br />

Nike’s Nikeland store, set up in the Roblox virtual<br />

environment, attracted 6.7 million visitors in its first four<br />

months and is now an experience in Nike’s New York store.<br />

A combination of virtual worlds and non-fungible tokens will<br />

power new platform experiences, Evans said.<br />

Marshall Van Alstyne said that most platform roadblocks<br />

have a single underlying cause: network effects or<br />

“externalities.” For example, why is platform strategy so<br />

different from product firms? The orchestration of positive<br />

externalities means inviting value producers onto the<br />

platform rather than building barriers to keep them out.<br />

Why is fake news such a difficult problem to solve? Mainly,<br />

because the negative externalities occur off-platform.<br />

These externalities create market failures that in turn<br />

require intervention. The tricky issue is to address these<br />

concerns while maintaining free speech. To break this<br />

impasse, he expects, new forms of regulation or laws will<br />

be required.<br />

Emerging Trends<br />

Elizabeth Altman of the Manning School<br />

explained how platforms can transform<br />

the workforce.<br />

Web3/ The true economics of cryptocurrencies and<br />

the metaverse will become clearer in the next few years.<br />

Regulation/ Data privacy and security issues will remain<br />

top-of-mind. Labor markets/ Hiring and the nature of<br />

work itself will continue to transform. Sector growth/<br />

No industry or sector is immune to platform incursion.<br />

10<br />


The Tencent Healthcare platform provides<br />

impartial, fact-checked medical information<br />

using WeChat and other social media to reach<br />

hundreds of millions of patients in China. The<br />

platform also offers live streaming with doctors<br />

and medical professionals.<br />

Dr. Alex Ng<br />

Vice President, Tencent Healthcare<br />





Tencent Healthcare, a unit of China-based conglomerate Tencent<br />

Holdings and a service platform on that company’s WeChat service,<br />

set out to solve one big problem, then quickly found itself battling<br />

another. The first problem was the general malaise of Chinese<br />

healthcare. Dr. Ng, who is also a physician, explained that China is<br />

plagued by imbalances between supply and demand, long waiting<br />

times for care, complex processes, and crowded hospitals.<br />

But just as Tencent began testing its medical app, the COVID-19<br />

pandemic hit, accompanied by a great deal of medical<br />

misinformation. At that point, Tencent shifted its primary platform<br />

focus to establish an authoritative source of information as a way to<br />

fight misinformation. The new resource offers fact-checked travel and<br />

health information, including articles, videos and animations.<br />

“What we can<br />

actually do is drown<br />

out misinformation<br />

by offering a<br />

centralized source<br />

of good information.<br />

Everything has been<br />

verified and triplechecked<br />

by our<br />

editors and in-house<br />

doctors to make<br />

sure the information<br />

we provide is true;<br />

information that’s<br />

comfortable for my<br />

mom to read.”<br />

Dr. Alex Ng<br />

PANEL<br />

THE NEW<br />


Peggy Gulick Director of Digital Transformation Operations, Kohler Co.<br />

Peter Weckesser Chief Digital Officer, Schneider Electric<br />

Helmuth Ludwig former CIO of Siemens; Professor, Edwin Cox School<br />

of Business, Southern Methodist University<br />

Supheakmungkol “Mungkol” Sarin Head of Data and AI Ecosystems,<br />

World Economic Forum<br />

Svenja Falk Panel Moderator; Managing Director, Accenture Research<br />

This panel was based on research conducted over the past year<br />

with a simple premise: Every physical system has a digital layer.<br />

In addition, the major geopolitical powers—specifically, China, the<br />

European Union, and the U.S.—have dramatically different ideas about<br />

how this digital layer should be designed.<br />

Reflecting their diverse backgrounds, the panelists addressed global<br />

disparities with a wide spectrum of ideas. Among their common<br />

concerns and priorities are: How to scale innovation; how to monetize<br />

data; and what a successful platform ecosystem looks like.<br />

Svenja Falk of Accenture Research (at left) led<br />

a lively panel on scaling innovation, monetizing<br />

data and more.<br />

“We need to make<br />

sure that some<br />

of the largest<br />

companies share<br />

their best practices<br />

around data. What<br />

is the data principle?<br />

What is their data<br />

governance? Those<br />

best practices can be<br />

shared and learned.”<br />

Mungkol Sarin<br />

12<br />


Hari Abburi, co-founder of MyLearningNFT,<br />

explains why learning needs to be<br />

continual—and how it can be driven by a<br />

dynamic non-fungible token.<br />

Hari Abburi<br />

Co-Founder, MyLearningNFT<br />

Managing Partner, The Preparation Co.<br />



“You have two challenges.<br />

Challenge number one is how<br />

do you know the participants<br />

[of a training event] keep on<br />

learning? We have no idea.<br />

The second challenge is<br />

that you have the forgetting<br />

curve. And it’s very real.”<br />

Hari Abburi<br />

Every year, nearly $200 billion is spent in the United<br />

States on employee training and development.<br />

However, the results aren’t obvious when it comes to<br />

what people learn in those trainings, how much they<br />

actually remember and use, and how much value<br />

businesses get from their huge investments.<br />

Hari Abburi and his colleagues at MyLearningNFT<br />

(including Peter Evans) believe they have the answer.<br />

They’ve created a dynamic non-fungible token (NFT)<br />

that motivates holders to learn something every 90<br />

days. The approach is now in pilot testing, and Summit<br />

attendees were invited to join the limited, free test.<br />

The underlying idea is that the most effective way<br />

to address the “forgetting curve” is with continual<br />

training. In other words, receive basic training, then<br />

augment it with additional learning, whether by reading<br />

a book or article on a related topic, attending a class,<br />

or listening to a podcast or webinar.<br />

Participants in MyLearningNFT receive tokenized<br />

certificates that gain or lose value based on the<br />

learning actions they take after a training course<br />

or event. If a participant takes no action, their NFT<br />

degrades. But if they take learning actions, such as<br />

listening to a relevant podcast or reading a related<br />

article, their NFT appreciates. The NFT provides a<br />

mechanism to reward continuous learning and ward<br />

off the depreciation of knowledge associated with the<br />

natural effects of forgetting. All participants at the<br />

<strong>MIT</strong> <strong>Platform</strong> Strategy Summit were eligible to receive<br />

a dynamic learning NFT to encourage continuous<br />

learning about platforms.<br />

PANEL<br />



Lauren Lubetsky Strategy Manager, Monitor Deloitte<br />

Tim Rice Co-founding CEO, CoinMetrics<br />

Skip Roncal Global Lead, Salesforce & AWS Solutions, CME and Gaming<br />

Industries, Salesforce.com<br />

Adam Schouela Head of Emerging Technologies, Fidelity Center for<br />

Applied Technology<br />

Peter C. Evans Panel Moderator<br />

“There’s been $120 billion<br />

invested this year in the<br />

metaverse and Web3.<br />

That’s more than double what<br />

we saw invested last year.”<br />

Lauren Lubetsky<br />

Web3 enters the mainstream<br />

Crypto<br />

Cryptocurrencies held by 300 million<br />

people across Asia, North and South<br />

America, Europe and Africa<br />

Investment<br />

Venture capital firms invested $33<br />

billion in Web3 startups in 2021<br />

How will Web3—a catchall term for new<br />

technologies including blockchain and<br />

the metaverse—affect platforms? The<br />

conversation also addressed the related<br />

issues around Web3 products: are they<br />

niche only, or are they headed for<br />

the mainstream?<br />

Lauren Lubetsky at Monitor Deloitte sees<br />

both Web3 bulls and bears. And because<br />

Web3 technologies are still so new, she<br />

believes both sides can learn a lot from<br />

each other.<br />

Fidelity not only looks for emerging<br />

technologies but actually rolls up its<br />

collective sleeves to build them, said Adam<br />

Schouela about his group at the financial<br />

services provider. His team believes<br />

experimentation is the only way to determine<br />

whether a new technology can help Fidelity,<br />

and if so, how.<br />

CoinMetrics’ Tim Rice explained how<br />

blockchain technology can be used to verify<br />

the ownership of Bitcoin or other digital<br />

currencies, what he referred to as asset<br />

provenance. “If you want to understand if your<br />

address has Bitcoin on it, we have the tools<br />

for you to see that,” he said.<br />

Salesforce is exploring the use of eventstreaming<br />

architectures currently employed<br />

by gaming companies to better understand<br />

its own customers, according to Skip Roncal.<br />

The goal: a unified view of customers across<br />

both physical and virtual worlds. “If you look<br />

over the history of our platform,” he said, “you<br />

can see that most of our innovations were<br />

customer-driven.”<br />

NFTs<br />

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) transaction<br />

volume grew to $40 billion in 2021<br />

Mergers & Acquisition<br />

Microsoft acquired Activision Blizzard for<br />

$68.7 billion to enhance its metaverse plans<br />

14<br />


Panel moderator Marshall Van Alstyne (left) listens as<br />

Tapaswee Chandele describes Coca-Cola’s dedicated<br />

<strong>Platform</strong> Services organization.<br />

“Companies need<br />

to focus on lifelong<br />

learning for their<br />

employees. And<br />

individuals need to<br />

focus on continually<br />

refreshing themselves,<br />

rather than living on<br />

degrees they earned<br />

30 or 40 years ago.”<br />

Anant Agarwal<br />

Joanna Rotenberg of Fidelity tells moderator Geoffrey<br />

Parker, “We have to meet clients where they are.”<br />

PANEL<br />




Anant Agarwal Founder, edX; Professor, <strong>MIT</strong>; Chief Open<br />

Education Officer, 2U<br />

Tapaswee Chandele Global VP of Talent and Development,<br />

Coca-Cola Co.<br />

Chris Dellarocas Associate Provost for Digital Learning and<br />

Innovation, Boston University<br />

Patrick Petitti Co-founder and CEO, Catalant Technologies<br />

Marshall Van Alstyne Panel Moderator<br />

This panel discussed how platforms are changing<br />

education and what the implications for established<br />

universities are. Can they become platforms, or are<br />

they doomed to shrink?<br />

Chris Dellarocas is bullish on platform adoption.<br />

Universities not only match students with programs,<br />

they also develop deep relationships with those<br />

students. That needn’t stop with graduation, he said.<br />

Boston University, for example, has some 350,000<br />

alumni who could potentially become lifelong career<br />

coaches offering programs and support.<br />

Anant Agarwal agreed, but also argued against allowing<br />

each university to create its own platform. “That would<br />

just duplicate the crazy situation we’ve had for 300<br />

years,” he said. A better approach, he added, would be<br />

the creation of an open-source consortium.<br />

In the private sector, Pat Petitti explained Catalant is<br />

already creating a platform that matches independent<br />

consultants with organizations that need very targeted<br />

help. The company says its customers enjoy 30% to<br />

50% savings compared to what they’d spend engaging<br />

a larger consulting firm.<br />

At Coca-Cola, Tapaswee Chandele is committed to<br />

platform models via a dedicated <strong>Platform</strong> Services<br />

organization. The company is also about to launch<br />

a talent marketplace using a platform previously<br />

developed for another use.<br />




Joanna Rotenberg President of Personal Investing, Fidelity Investments<br />

Geoffrey Parker Panel Moderator<br />

Joanna Rotenberg explained how her group, which<br />

helps retail customers with their personal investments,<br />

is adapting to big market shifts caused by the rise of AI,<br />

blockchain, and 5G. On top of that, half of Americans<br />

are now millennials or younger, and they spend a lot<br />

of time on their connected devices. The days when a<br />

customer would call Fidelity on the phone or visit a local<br />

Fidelity office are ending, Rotenberg said, replaced by<br />

a massive shift online. “We have to meet clients where<br />

they are,” she added.<br />

That’s a tall order, given that parent company Fidelity<br />

Investments manages $11 trillion in assets, employs<br />

tens of thousands of people, and does business on<br />

average with one in every six Americans. For being such<br />

a large company, it still feels like a family,” Rotenberg<br />

said. “Our ability to make the digital experience<br />

seamless, both person-to-person and across our<br />

platforms, is job one.”<br />

“Data is everything for us. We spend a lot of time on<br />

enriching our data, making sure it’s high-quality...<br />

because it’s such an important foundation.”<br />

Joanna Rotenberg<br />

16<br />


PANEL<br />




Tom McFadyen President, CEO and Founder, McFadyen Digital<br />

Mert Damlapinar Director, eRetail Strategic Insights and Tech<br />

Products, L’Oreal USA<br />

Jonathan Yaffe Co-Founder and CEO, AnyRoad<br />

Peter C. Evans Panel Moderator<br />

Tom McFadyen explained that there are now hundreds<br />

of huge global marketplaces—ranging from the trilliondollar<br />

Alibaba to the half-trillion-dollar Amazon to the<br />

$30 billion Mercado Libre in Latin America. Compared<br />

with conventional retailers, they are generally much more<br />

profitable, faster to market, and realize value and revenue<br />

much more quickly.<br />

By contrast, traditional product companies often know<br />

little about their end customers: Buy a bottle of shampoo<br />

at your local drugstore and the company that makes that<br />

shampoo won’t learn your name, age, address or much<br />

of anything else about you. But that’s changing rapidly as<br />

consumer-products makers lean into the power of data<br />

and platforms.<br />

L’Oreal, for instance, recently launched its own B2B<br />

marketplace, called SalonCentric. As Mert Damlapinar<br />

explained, the platform attracted some 500 vendors in<br />

just its first month. And it’s not only for hair products;<br />

there’s also food, furniture, fitness and more. L’Oreal is<br />

also exploring the use of the metaverse, he said.<br />

Jonathan Yaffe provided another example from The<br />

Michaels Companies. AnyRoad helped Michaels build<br />

a marketplace for arts and crafts classes that attracted<br />

20,000 art teachers who provide painting and other<br />

classes. Michaels has scaled this experience and<br />

learning platform to more than a million art students<br />

per year, who not only pay for classes but also buy<br />

their supplies through Michaels. The company handles<br />

fulfillment and gains critical new customer data.<br />

“Bucky [Buckminster<br />

Fuller] got it right when<br />

he said, ‘Make the<br />

world work for 100%<br />

of humanity in the<br />

shortest possible time,<br />

through spontaneous<br />

cooperation, without<br />

ecological offense<br />

or disadvantage to<br />

anyone.’ It’s a big ask,<br />

but we’re on it.”<br />

“I think traditional retail is completely dying. The retailers<br />

that will be around in 10 years will all be experiential<br />

companies that happen to sell goods on the side.”<br />

Jonathan Yaffe<br />

Dava Newman<br />

Director, <strong>MIT</strong> Media Lab; Apollo Program<br />

Professor of Astronautics, <strong>MIT</strong><br />

<strong>MIT</strong> MEDIA LAB<br />



The day’s final presentation boldly took Summit<br />

attendees where no attendees had gone before–<br />

into the ocean, off to Mars, and even into the<br />

human brain.<br />

<strong>MIT</strong>’s Media Lab is famous for its creative projects,<br />

and that tradition continues. One recent experiment,<br />

called Moxie, aims to make oxygen on Mars, explained<br />

Dava Newman, Media Lab director. Another Media<br />

Lab project created a 3D knitting machine that can<br />

make spacesuits for astronauts that are both flexible<br />

and lightweight (about 44 pounds vs. the current 260),<br />

yet still safe enough for trips to outer space. Also<br />

under way: creating an Internet of Things to be used<br />

in the oceans to determine the exact makeup and<br />

composition of the undersea world.<br />

Looking further into the future, Newman also outlined<br />

what she called “human augmentation”—the process<br />

of surgically implanting an AI system in a human<br />

being’s brain. It may sound like science fiction, but <strong>MIT</strong><br />

engineers believe this surgery could be achievable<br />

within the next 10 years.<br />

18<br />

Dava Newman<br />





Prepare yourself for the next 10 years of platform<br />

proliferation with these valuable resources.<br />

<strong>Platform</strong> Revolution: How<br />

Networked Markets are<br />

Transforming the Economy—<br />

and How to Make Them Work<br />

for You<br />

A book by Geoffrey Parker,<br />

Marshall Van Alstyne, and<br />

Sangeet Paul Choudary (W.W.<br />

Norton, 2016). Second edition<br />

(pictured) is in progress.<br />

Marketplace Best Practices:<br />

Transforming Commerce in<br />

the <strong>Platform</strong> Economy<br />

A book by Tom McFayden<br />

(McFayden Digital, 2021).<br />


This year’s <strong>Platform</strong> Strategy Summit was made possible by<br />

the generous contributions of our IDE Corporate Members,<br />

individual donors, and our foundation partners.<br />

Supporters<br />

Accenture (Founding Member) • 3M Company • Akkodis • AB InBev<br />

Autodesk • Boston Globe Media • Capgemini • General Motors • IRC4HR<br />

Meta • Netflix Inc. • Schneider Electric<br />

Foundations<br />

Ewing Marion • Kauffman Foundation • Google.org • <strong>MIT</strong>-IBM Watson AI Lab<br />

Nasdaq • New Venture Fund • TDF Foundation<br />

Individuals<br />

Nobuo N. Akiha • Joe Eastin • Michael Even • Wesley Chan • Aaron Cowen<br />

Ellen and Bruce Herzfelder • Reid Hoffman • Richard B. Homonoff<br />

Edward S. Hyman Jr. • Gustavo Pierini • Gustavo Marini • Tom Pappas<br />

Jeff & Liesl Wilke • and other individuals who prefer to remain anonymous<br />

Rise of the <strong>Platform</strong> Enterprise<br />

A global survey by Peter C.<br />

Evans and Annabelle Gawer<br />

(Center for Global Enterprise,<br />

2016).<br />

Electric Vehicles Are a <strong>Platform</strong> Business: What Firms Need<br />

to Know, an article by Edward Anderson, Hemant Bhargava,<br />

Jonas Boehm and Geoff Parker (California Management<br />

Review, <strong>2022</strong>).<br />

Can NFTs Spark Continuous Learning? an article by Peter C.<br />

Evans, Geoff Parker, and Marshall Van Alstyne (Medium, <strong>2022</strong>).<br />

Unlocking Business Model Innovation through Advanced<br />

Manufacturing, a white paper by Jag Srai, Geoff Parker,<br />

Nitin Joglekar, Maja Bärring, Jonas Boehm, Eric Enselme,<br />

Maria Basso, Francisco Betti, and Benjamin Schönfuß (World<br />

Economic Forum, <strong>2022</strong>).<br />

Q&A: How a Decade of <strong>Platform</strong>s has Upended the Global<br />

Economy, an interview with the <strong>Platform</strong> Strategy Summit cochairs<br />

(<strong>MIT</strong> IDE, <strong>2022</strong>).<br />

A Whole New World? The Metaverse and What it Could Mean<br />

to You, a white paper by Alan Blau, Lauren Lubetsky, et al.<br />

(Deloitte, <strong>2022</strong>).<br />

Will <strong>Platform</strong>s Cure Healthcare Ills? a blog post by Paula Klein<br />

(Medium, <strong>2022</strong>).<br />

Open Data Propels <strong>Platform</strong>s, a blog post by Peter Krass<br />

(Medium, <strong>2022</strong>).<br />

Preparing the Next Generation<br />

of <strong>Platform</strong> Leaders: Staffing<br />

and Training the Inverted Firm<br />

A paper by Peter C. Evans,<br />

Geoffrey Parker, Marshall<br />

Van Alstyne, and Dyan<br />

Finkhousen (SSRN Electronic<br />

Journal, 2021).<br />

Digital Transformation Changes How Companies Create<br />

Value, a digital article by Marshall Van Alstyne and Geoffrey<br />

Parker (Harvard Business Review, 2021).<br />

Making Sense of the NFT Marketplace, a strategy paper by<br />

Peter C. Evans and Pavel Kireyev (Harvard Business Review,<br />

2021).<br />

‘In Situ’ Data Rights, a research paper by Marshall Van Alstyne,<br />

Georgios Petropoulos, Geoffrey Parker and Betin Martens<br />

(Communications of the ACM, 2021).<br />

Free Speech, <strong>Platform</strong>s & the Fake News Problem, a research<br />

paper by Marshall Van Alstyne (SSRN, 2021).<br />

<strong>MIT</strong> 2021 <strong>Platform</strong> Strategy Summit Special <strong>Report</strong>:<br />

<strong>Platform</strong>s Mean Business (<strong>MIT</strong> IDE, 2021).<br />

Workforce Systems: A New Strategic Approach to the Future<br />

of Work, a survey report by Elizabeth J. Altman, Jeff Schwartz,<br />

et al. (<strong>MIT</strong> Sloan Management Review, 2021).<br />

The Future of Work is Through Workforce Ecosystems, a<br />

research highlight by Elizabeth J. Altman, David Kiron, et al.<br />

(<strong>MIT</strong> Sloan Management Review, 2021).<br />

<strong>Platform</strong>s and Ecosystems: Enabling the Digital Economy,<br />

a white paper by Michael Jacobides, Arun Sundararajan and<br />

Marshall Van Alstyne (World Economic Forum, 2019).<br />



Read articles on the impact of<br />

digital technology on business, the<br />

economy and society.<br />

Read ><br />


Check out cutting-edge books,<br />

research briefs, special reports<br />

and more.<br />

Browse ><br />

Content by Peter Krass and Paula Klein. Event photography by Andrew Kubica.<br />

The IDE explores how people and businesses work, interact,<br />

and prosper in an era of profound digital transformation. We<br />

conduct research, convene events, offer courses, and provide<br />

fellowships that let bright minds collaborate with our research<br />

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20<br />


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