Rise and fall of platforms: Systematic analysis of platform dynamics thanks to axiomatic design

DS 87-7 Proceedings of the 21st International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 17) Vol 7: Design Theory and Research Methodology, Vancouver, Canada, 21-25.08.2017

Year: 2017
Editor: Anja Maier, Stanko Škec, Harrison Kim, Michael Kokkolaras, Josef Oehmen, Georges Fadel, Filippo Salustri, Mike Van der Loos
Author: Legrand, Julien; Thomas, Maxime; Le Masson, Pascal; Weil, Benoît
Series: ICED
Institution: MINES ParisTech, France
Section: Design Theory and Research Methodology
Page(s): 051-060
ISBN: 978-1-904670-95-7
ISSN: 2220-4342


While platforms are multiplying across industries, the laws governing their dynamic are still poorly understood. The high diversity of disciplines covering the topic, spanning from strategy management to engineering design, made it difficult for any new model to integrate the numerous phenomena at stakes. In a new effort to bring them together, we exhibit Suh’s Axiomatic Design as an ideal framework to systematically analyse platforms dynamics when market and technology forces meet and interact. Exporting the current description of platforms from Design Structure Matrices to Design Matrices, our research enables us to systematically explore platforms potential evolutions. While the model leads us to rediscover classical behaviours, it also uncovers new results, such as situations of split leadership and platform overthrow, in which complementors challenge the platform leader. Both can be linked to two necessary conditions: functional generativity and technical genericity. We then identify those behaviours in several cases.

Keywords: Platform strategies, Design engineering, Market implications, Design theory, Innovation


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