The adoption of technology in its different forms, has become a key differentiator in how businesses gain an edge, extend on a lead, enter or reinvent the market. Markets are in a constant state of flux and no executive can rest on the success of yesterday or become overly confident on the ace up their sleeve.

With that said, many of the strategies drawn up in today’s boardrooms in pursuit of the next big thing, whether a product or service, are inclined towards an absolute zero-sum strategy, the game theory where for one party to win, the other must lose – market share, customers, profits, brand perception et al.

Products and services have become commoditized and there is little if any differentiation while consumers are better informed due to growth in the access of traditional media and in the uptake of digital mediums. This environment simply means that businesses must start looking at ‘sustainable competition’, if there was ever such a term.

Disrupting business models

The lines that separated industry verticals have since blurred and we now see banks dip into traditional telco waters, FMCG concerns rethink their relationship and connection with the end consumer, farmers skipping open air markets, transit operators reinventing mobility, the gig economy picking up, hospitality getting turned on its head among many other micro and macro status quo disruptions.

"Products and services have become commoditized and there is little if any differentiation while consumers are better informed due to growth in the access of traditional media and in the uptake of digital mediums."

The battle for the consumer wallet is real, with strange competition matrixes hidden from plain sight.

As such I would understand why a business may want to and plan for a winner takes it all scenario to deliver on shareholder value. Many executives would be surprised at what product or service the market sees as a displacement alternative for what they have on offer.

It is with this context that I advocate for open platform thinking for any business looking to improve on or change entirely the modus operandi of the space they occupy. Platforms, if deployed correctly and made sufficiently open have a net growth effect on the addressable market, even in crowded spaces.

In parallel, it is important to craft balanced business models, that while achieving returns for the primary platform, allows others connected to it to prosper, dropping barriers to entry and making hitherto inaccessible or unprofitable niches worth the time and effort and helping to reimagine roles of major ecosystem players whose roles may be upended.


Cover image credit: Adeolu Eletu/Unsplash