Risorse bibliografiche
Risorsa bibliografica obbligatoria
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativa
Scheda Riassuntiva
Anno Accademico 2022/2023
Scuola Scuola di Ingegneria Industriale e dell'Informazione
Insegnamento 058359 - PLATFORM THINKING
Cfu 5.00 Tipo insegnamento Monodisciplinare
Docente Trabucchi Daniel

Corso di Studi Codice Piano di Studio preventivamente approvato Da (compreso) A (escluso) Insegnamento

Obiettivi dell'insegnamento

Thinking about platforms we tend to think about the "usual suspects” like Airbnb, Uber, Facebook, and so on, digital companies that are often based on a light-asset structure and that mainly enable connections, exactly like Uber or Airbnb. Still, they are not the only companies that (successfully) managed to use the logic of platforms.

Neverthless, the power of platforms can go much beyond those cases. Think about companies in heterogeneous industries and with very different histories, like John Deere, Telepass, or Poste Italiane, that managed to find new innovative pathways….through platforms. This course aims to let you learn (also) from them!


The course is built on two main steps: using platforms as lenses to read the world around us and to find idle assets, resources, and skills within your organization, and then using Platform Thinking to identify innovative directions through “platform-enabled” opportunities!


The course has a strong “hands-on” approach being built around three workshops to apply the Platform Thinking process to an established company to foster innovation through platforms.


The course fits into the overall program curriculum pursuing some of the defined general learning goals. In particular, the course contributes to the development of the following capabilities:

• Understand context, functions, processes in a business and industrial environment and the impact of those factors on business performance
• Identify trends, technologies, and key methodologies in a specific domain
• Interact in a professional, responsible, effective and constructive way in a working environment, also motivating group members

Risultati di apprendimento attesi

In terms of Platform Thinking, students will learn to:

• Identify socio-economic mega-trends related to digital platforms, innovative business model and data-driven opportunities [Individual essay]
• Identify platforms models and their peculiarities in the reality around us, going beyond the shiny and apparent face of the usual big names in the platform world [Individual essay]
• Run an analysis of an established company to identify idle asset that can represent an innovation opportunity through a platform model [Teamwork/Workshops]
• Apply the Platform Thinking process to identify and exploit innovation opportunities [Teamwork/Workshops]
• Design a platform-based business model and a transformation roadmap for an established organization [Teamwork/Workshops]

Argomenti trattati

Overview of the Course

Over the last two decades, platforms have transformed the way, we search for information (e.g., Google), buy goods (e.g., Amazon), consume news and media (e.g., Facebook and Twitter) and travel and move around (e.g., Airbnb, Booking.com, Uber and TripAdvisor)...more broadly how we live our everyday life. 

This phenomenon is known as 'the power of platforms', defined as an innovative business model that relies on digital technologies to assemble people, knowledge and companies in an interactive ecosystem where value can be created, captured and shared. These platforms have a great ability to attract funds and grow rapidly, relying on external resources (e.g. private houses for Airbnb or private cars for Uber), with a significant impact on the market. These companies act as intermediaries, attempting to reduce frictions in the market and helping the supply and demand sides of a product or service to find each other.

As such, existing companies may be inspired by these fast-growing companies to at least partially capture the opportunities underpinning the model. Most of them are digital companies mainly focusing on the service field; nevertheless, recent cases show how platforms are having an impact in many different industries with the spread of the sharing economy and implications in the brick and mortar industries.


Still, we don't believe that platforms are only for the digital world, for start-ups or for ventures created in the Silicon Valley. We do believe that platforms are a powerful tool to foster innovation for every kind of organization - a new one, but also for established organizations - wherever they come from, anywhere in the world and focusing on digital or also physical assets. 


The course is based on two main pillars:

Reading: the chance to develop the ability to asses the reality around us, understanding the differences that platforms have in comparison to traditional linear value chain organizations, and more importantly to assess the various meanings (and typologies of businesses) that stay behind the wide label "platforms"

Writing: the chance to use those concepts and mechanisms to foster innovation, by designing platforms and highlighting the necessary steps to make the platform real. 


Main Topics

Therefore, the course covers the following main topics:

• The typologies of platforms (transactional, orthogonal, client-as-a-target, client-as-a-source)

• The characteristics of platform organizations (idle asset hunting attitude, pricing strategies, ...)

• The design variables of platforms (double value proposition, the role of trust, the role of personalization, the chicken and egg paradox)

• The data opportunities related to platforms (Business model transparency, data driven epiphanies, data driven innovation)

• The opportunities for an established organization (the idle asset canvas, the evolutionary matrix, ...)

Technological trends for platform businesses (blockchain, metaverse, web3, ...)

• The challenges of platform management (privacy issues, sustainability dimensions, ...)


Educational Process 

The course is based on a heterogeneous teaching approach, aimed at create a continuous debate on the world of platforms and helping students in developing a strong critical thinking attitude to consider both the bright side and the challenges of these organizations. 

The learning experience is characterized by various collaborative and different teaching approaches:

• Blended class (through MOOCs)

• Various international guests (live and recorded interviews)

• Hands-on experience through 3 collaborative workshops

• Critical reading of platform-related news 



During the course, students will apply the Platform Thinking process (in 3 workshops) to foster innovation in a real established organization based on a traditional linear value chain, the process is based on:

• Assessment of the established company (Value map and Business Model Canvas)

• Identification of the innovation opportunities (Idle Asset Canvas)

• Platform Ecosystem design (Platform Thinking Canvas)

• Roadmap definition

Each member of the class will be assigned through a collective workshop to self-managed learning team. During one of the first class, students will be asked to participate in a collective workshop to form the groups. The teams will work throughout the course. 

Obiettivi di sviluppo sostenibile - SDGs
Questo insegnamento contribuisce al raggiungimento dei seguenti Obiettivi di Sviluppo Sostenibile dell'Agenda ONU 2030:

The course is completely based on the fact that established organizations have idle assets that could exploited through Platfrom Thinking, generating more value out of existing resources. Moreover, it focuses on platform-enabling technologies that are the center of the industrial and innovation debates. For these reasons the course is completely (50 hours) focused on the SDG9 Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure. 


Suggested pre-requisite (for students which are not enrolled in the M.Sc. in Management Engineering) 

Strategy MOOC on the POK platform, this course introduces the key theories, concepts, models and approaches related to Strategy at a Corporate, Business and Functional/Operational level. (Available at: https://www.pok.polimi.it/courses/course-v1:Polimi+STR101+2017_M9/about)

Modalità di valutazione

The whole course is designed to propose simulated challenges that students will face in their professional experience, developing a theoretical and practical knowledge that may give you a new asset. Therefore, the entire course is based on the basic mechanisms used in most of the companies: team working. For this reason, the evaluation is going to be based mainly on the outputs presented during the classes. 

Moreover, a final individual assignment is going to be required.


Final Grade

The final evaluation will be based on:

  • 70% - The team-based project happening throughout the 3 workshops 
  • 30% - Individual assignment (a brief essay on the critical analysis of a real case to be delivered at the end of the course)

After the end of the course, the forthcoming exam calls are going to be based:

  • 30% - A new individual assignment
  • 70% - An oral exam

Risorsa bibliografica obbligatoriaDaniel Trabucchi; Tommaso Buganzas, Platform Thinking - Read the past. Write the future. Innovate the present., Editore: Business Experts Press, Anno edizione: 2023
Risorsa bibliografica facoltativaSébastien Ronteau; Laurent Muzellec; Deepak Saxena; Daniel Trabucchi, Digital Business Models - The New Value Creation and Capture Mechanisms of the 21st Century, Editore: De Gruyter, Anno edizione: 2022, ISBN: 9783110762556

Software utilizzato
Nessun software richiesto

Forme didattiche
Tipo Forma Didattica Ore di attività svolte in aula
Ore di studio autonome
Laboratorio Informatico
Laboratorio Sperimentale
Laboratorio Di Progetto
Totale 50:00 75:00

Informazioni in lingua inglese a supporto dell'internazionalizzazione
Insegnamento erogato in lingua Inglese
Disponibilità di materiale didattico/slides in lingua inglese
Disponibilità di libri di testo/bibliografia in lingua inglese
Possibilità di sostenere l'esame in lingua inglese
Disponibilità di supporto didattico in lingua inglese
schedaincarico v. 1.9.1 / 1.9.1
Area Servizi ICT