smart-productsFive years ago, venture capitalist, Marc Andreessen, famously described why software was “eating the world”. In short, software is at the heart of an order-of-magnitude improvement along three dimensions: reduced cost, expanded market access, and shortened development cycles.

But if software is the “how”, then the “what” invariably involves platforms. A recent article from The Economist shows why. Whether it’s the Internet of Things, cloud data, or big data, platforms always play a role. A platform strategy helps solutions stretch to accommodate the unknown and unknowable. Platforms can help companies:

– Claim value further up or down market channels,
– Enlist outside resources in the form of platform users, and
– Create future options to connect needs and means not yet known.

When “bits” are involved, an innovation strategy is incomplete it if lacks an accompanying platform strategy.

The Economist’s Schumpeter column, “Smart products, smart makers” can be read here:
http://www.economist.com/news/business-and-finance/21678748-old-form-capitalism-based-built-obsolescence-giving-way-new-one-which

Andreessen’s prescient words from 2011 are here: http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424053111903480904576512250915629460

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