Using Platform Leadership in a Digital World

As Chairman at Digoshen, I had the opportunity to speak at some recent summits with 300 business leaders from the European outdoor industry and 200 business leaders from the retail industry.

They are truly engaged leaders and all work in an interesting industry, where the value however to consumer and their business models are changing at exponential speed. What is happening for them is truly relevant for most of us, and industries as Banks, Logistic Companies, Tech Companies as well.
Business Leaders

Photo Credit: Mikael Gustavsen

There are some valuable lessons to learn from, summarized nicely in a post by John Shirley from Hark who participated at the European Outdoor summit.

Included in the post are some of the critical actions leaders should take, as

  • Get started
  • Grow leadership and capability
  • Commit totally and expect resistance
  • This is the era of platforms and ecosystems
  • Open your mind and ask critical questions
  • Make the impossible possible

Read more at the featured post at

Key Takeaways from the European Outdoor Summit

We also have recent events making us think hard about the next industry going fast into the disruption era, as Sears with a likely troublesome future.
I was recently in US, and during the spring in China, and met with many business leaders including retail industry. You get the distinct impression that they are ahead in the transformation of the retail industry, yet to come in Europe. For logistics and shipping services, see here for options!
It is indeed a platform transformation race, where companies as Amazon, Apple, Google, Alibaba, Tencent and Bai.du are some of the spearheading companies, but they are also platforms for the industry. This makes it interesting as they are both the competitors for many, but also the solution as you can use different parts of their digital platforms to catapult your own business and business model. And they are also being sold into each others main markets as platforms, more than entering as retail companies. Additionally revolutionizing this are of course additions of Artificial Intelligence functions.
You will find, that one of the areas not fully visible to most of us are, is that most digital platform companies as Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Alibaba and Tencent quickly monetize their new capabilities as they grow, and sell them as separate offerings in the markets. There are many examples of platform capabilities the can be acquired, whole or in pieces, to jump-start capabilities and they are sold in both US and China, just entering into Europe.


The critical question would be, if you catapulted and used some of these platforms for your business – what would you add or develop instead?And what would you risk? 

Here are some of the separate platforms that can be considered to catapult the capabilities;

Payment platforms (competing with banks, payments etc)
  • Alibaba (Alipay)
  • Apple Pay
  • Tencent (WeChat Pay)
  • Google Pay
  • Facebook (WhatsApp Pay)
    Ref 1, 2 , 3, 11, 12
Retail and inventory platforms (competing with retailers)
  • Tencent
  • Amazon
  • Alibaba (Alibaba’s New Retail)
    Ref 1, 4, 5, 6
Logistics platforms (competing with logistic companies and postal services)
  • Amazon
  • Alibaba (Cainao)
    Ref 1, 6 , 7, 8
Communication platforms (competing with Telcos etc)
  • Tencent (WeChat)
  • Facebook (WhatsApp)
    Ref  1, 9, 10
Search engine and advertising management  platforms (competing with media companies)
  • Google
  • Baidu
    Ref 1, 13
Data storage (competing with technology services companies)
  • Amazon AWS
  • Alibaba Cloud
    Ref 8, 14
AI platforms (competing with technology companies)
  • Google (Google cloud prediction API)
  • Microsoft (Most Azur Machine Learning)
  • Amazon AWS
  • Tencent
  • Baidu
  • Alibaba (ET City Brain)
    Ref 8, 15,16,17

For more learning about platforms, which together with AI will further move many industries into the disruption carousel, you will find some valuable insights around the platform economy platform business models and the addition and integration of AI to the platforms in Ref articles 18,19,20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27

  1. Platform Economy Reshaping global trade
  2. Country as a platform
  3. 2018 Platform Strategy Summit
  4. Planning tomorrows platform markets
  5. Data Ownership, Regulation and Blockchain dominate Platform Markets
  6. Platforms and Infrastructures in the Digital Age