The Evolving Future of the Platform Economy

How Technological trends and a new landscape of Risk will reshape the network-based economy of the next decade.

Boundaryless Team

October 23, 2020

In this update, we share the latest research notes we developed in the process of revising our forecast about the future of platform-ecosystems thinking and its application. It was in January 2019 the last time we provided a relevant update on this and that post is still a relevant premise to this: we suggest the reader give it a read, especially as it introduces some basic elements such as the C-Z transformation of the Value Chain and the set of strategic platform plays that are adopted by aggregators for the transformation (moving away from mass-market to personalization by interaction, adopting standardized transactions, providing SaaS to simplify a business process, aggregating demand and supply, create identity and reputation systems). The blog post Understanding Platforms through Value Chain Maps and the Platform Design Example explained (here we use the same breakdown of six platform plays that we use below in the post) are also suggested read for the reader that approaches this for the first time.

Looking at the new Marketplace dynamics through the Value Chain

Control and Commoditization

We discussed the topic of Control and Commoditization quite widely with Sangeet Paul Choudary recently on our Boundaryless Conversations Podcast. Sangeet previously wrote widely about the topic in this ILO report. 

A Revised Marketplace Map

Assessing the impact of trends in technology, risk and narrative

AI impacts

Crypto impacts

Adapted from Chris Dixon in:


Other key technological impacts

Global Disruptions and emerging narratives

Putting everything together

These tools will, in turn, enable another evolution towards a more domain-specific infrastructure for niche organizing (light pink): instances of the standardized systems depicted above in the blue space will be implemented and run contextually (for example locally) to power the new aggregation strategies that also involve managing investments and assets and collective governance we depicted above. These contextual work coordination infrastructures will be powered by niche and contextual data and by Platform as a Service AI engines that will use specific domain models training. As an example, aggregation systems of co-investing and co-managing regional regenerative agriculture plans, or the development of shock resilient microgrids, or even city-specific systems of welfare and care will need AI to be trained on local specific data and local specific models.

A new landscape of scalable organizing

Boundaryless Team

October 23, 2020