D&I Research Seminar by Arto Ojala | Weatherhead School at Case Western Reserve University

D&I Research Seminar by Arto Ojala



How does a digital platform “ignite” so that network externalities fuel the growth of a two-sided market? The ignition challenge remains a salient and unexplored research problem because conditions for platform ignition differ from those of launching a successful product or managing an incumbent platform. We investigate a set of sufficiency conditions for platform ignition by conducting a longitudinal (16-year) case study of how a start-up company ventured to build a digital gaming platform. The platform currently has a large user community and offers a wide variety of games across multiple national and vertical markets. In this sense, it can be viewed as having reached initial ignition conditions that could fuel growth on both sides. Our analysis focuses on the goals, targets, and range of competitive moves orchestrated by the platform owner over the ignition period, where a move is understood as any alteration in the components and relationships in the platform’s layered modular architecture. We identify six classes of competitive moves based on their primary targets and effects, analyze their sequencing conditions, and reveal logics that guide subsequent move selection. Early moves seek to identify a feasible technical home for the service and overcome technical bottlenecks and therefore target on both device and network layers. Later moves seek to create or bypass control points to overcome strategic bottlenecks and focus on service and content layers by configuring a more flexible and generalizable service stack. Overall, we identify nine non-necessary sufficiency conditions for digital platform ignition and demonstrate how the sufficiency conditions are established by the entrepreneur’s actions, reactions, and revisions of assumptions guiding technological and market choices. Overall, pricing decisions were not critical among the sufficiency conditions, while those concerned with quality of service, simplification of service channels, creation of boundary resources, and unique positioning dominated.

Thursday, April 12, 2018 from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
120 Peter B. Lewis Building
11119 Bellflower Road
Cleveland, OH 44106-7235
United States
Speaker(s): Prof. Arto Ojala, Univ. of Jyväskylä
Sponsored by: Design and Innovation Department


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