Product Design Model
The process we present is essentially based on a set of “ROLES” we consider playable for the entities around a platform powered strategy and a few other “KEY ELEMENTS” that will help you understand what a platform is and how you can model it. Essentially you’ll see how – in our assumption – there is one dimension of the platform strategy that deals with the peer to peer (P2P) dynamics and another one that deals with the platform, centralised, vision.
The Platform Owners
This category refers to the “owners” of the Platform: this set of players owns the vision behind the realisation of the market, and is ultimately responsible to ensure that the platform exists in production. Normally we are talking about the firms – being them Startups or Scale-ups or corporate firms – that owns the platform but nothing prevents this to be a non-profit organisation, a foundation or a even a cooperative structure that is open to the participants. In the latter case, peers or partners could also be somehow owners of the platform: as an example, in the Bitcoin Blockchain ecosystem, peers collaboratively own the infrastructure that makes the platform.
THE PLATFORM STAKEHOLDERS
This category, normally includes public actors dealing with regulation and control of platforms on a local basis, representatives of the plurality of peers and partners involved in the value creation, pre-existing institutions that can help the platform thrive. Normally, we’re talking about entities that are hit by the positive or negative externalities of the platform.
Peers are individuals or small-medium ventures that behave as a single, identifiable entity with a specific interest and identifiable objectives that the Platform’s Value Proposition should meet.
Peer Consumers (PC) that we may also call users, are entities interested in consuming, utilising, accessing the value that is created through and on the platform.
They are individuals but can also be small/medium business and single representatives or teams in bigger organisations. Eventually they may evolve into peer producers, when they realise that beyond fulfilling a need they can seek evolutionary opportunities to produce.
Peer Producers (PP) that we may also call producers, prosumers and providers, are entities – most of the times individuals – interested in providing value on the supply side of the ecosystem/marketplace, usually seeking for opportunities to improve their profession and honing their capabilities towards a better performance.
Typically, these players produce value occasionally and not systematically. Often the same peer may behave as both consumer and producer in different phases of its relationship with the brand-platform. Like in the case of a traveller that also rents her house when she’s not at home, such a user may sometimes contribute to the value and other times consume it, depending on lifetime phases, contexts and more. Peer producers can as well be SMBs or individuals.
Partners (PA) are professional entities – individuals and SMBs, most of the times – that seek to create additional professional value and to collaborate with platform owners on a stronger level of relationship.
Typically, partners are professional value creators that tend to specialise in a niche or advanced/premium product/service and become better and better within time. Partners sometimes also facilitate, cater and enhance the value production by acting as brokers, facilitators, connectors. In particularly polarised platforms, where you substantially have two sides (supply and demand) the partner could be an evolution of the peer producer into a more professionalized entity. This evolution is typically well received from the platform since partners drive more value than peer producers and are able to pull many other players towards a better overall platform experience.