March 23, 2015

Design to Disrupt: Ecosystems declare war

BY :     March 23, 2015

D2D2_headerInvolving everyone in a new service or product is a perfectly feasible venture nowadays. Simply because internet is invariably within arm’s reach and there is always some app available to make contact. More often than not this is the starting point for a new provision of services between producer, consumer and employee. Such digital competitors form the heart of what we call the platform economy. They derive their success from the network effect. We define platforms as:

Building blocks serving as a foundation on which a variety of companies or business ecosystems can develop supplementary services, technologies and services.

What it is like to be confronted with such a new digital competitor, was articulated expressively in a by now famous memo of 2011 by Stephen Elop, the then CEO of Nokia. The company had to deal with Apple and Google, which had never made a phone before and Elop experienced their success as fat in the fire of Nokia’s core activity. Nokia, our platform is burning,” he wrote to his employees. Their actions were wrong and trends were missed. With hindsight things should have been done differently, for Nokia’s brilliant innovations were far too slow in making their way to the market.

This can happen to any organization: you are doing a fantastic job within your own comfort zone but suddenly you come off second-best. A platform player enters the market and confronts your product – in the case of Nokia the traditional mobile phone – with a complete ecosystem of touch devices and mobile apps:

“The battle of devices has now become a war of ecosystems.”

Ecosystems are the reality everyone has to face sooner or later: taxis, music, software, meals, money. You name it, it can always be made into a platform.

In our networked society, markets are meeting places that are unlocked digitally. APIs and direct contact between the actors in the network determine the success. This questions any organization that operates as an isolated bastion. Anyone will be faced with platformization.

The new VINT report explores the new digital competition and presents:

  • A analysis of the success factors of disruption
  • 10 design principles of the new digital competition like Unbundle your organization processes, APIs first. Access over ownership and Building trust with social systems
  • The need for every business to develop a API-strategy
  • An appeal to the CIO and the IT department to use a leading digital approach and map out an offensive technological route.


download_icon Download Design to Disrupt: New Digital Competition


Download in Dutch

Also check out:

> Download Design to Disrupt: an Executive Introduction
> See all of our research projects

Menno van Doorn


Menno is Director of the Sogeti Research Institute for the Analysis of New Technology (VINT). He mixes personal life experiences with the findings of the 19 years of research done at the VINT Research Institute.

More on Menno van Doorn.

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  1. M Kreijveld · April 9, 2015 Reply

    Hallo Menno, hi Sogeti, interessant essay over Design To Disrupt.
    Graag wijs ik jullie lezers ook op het boek ‘De kracht van platformen’ (zie o.a. dat eind vorig jaar verscheen. Daarin wordt de opkomst van platformen in vrijwel alle sectoren van de economie beschreven. Het viel me op dat jullie het ondanks de betrokkenheid van Sander bij het onderzoek dat 2 jaar geleden al startte, niet hebben gebruikt of vermeld bij het rapport. Ik had verwacht dat we elkaar meer zouden kunnen versterken.

*Opinions expressed on this blog reflect the writer’s views and not the position of the Sogeti Group