Platforms that connect individuals and organizations in a value chain where an organization has expertise, brand equity, or close partnerships is a great way to explore service-based innovation. Usually, these platforms give access to a breadth of data and interactions that allow the platform-controlling organization to profit from transactions, needs, and even advertising or third-party revenue.
However, creating a platform is challenging especially in manufacturing-heavy industries where suppliers and the final consumer are so distant. Incorporating the customer in the process to attempt to accomplish this is one way in which organizations can become closer and deepen ties with customer-bases in different regions. These interactions can result in actionable insights about how the supplier can be connected to the customer and the ways in which a company can create an open business as a result of that connection.
A platform is not necessarily about control or access but more so about enabling partners to add value to each other and capturing some of that value in the process. It is fundamental for the company to think about the long-term and short-term impacts of how stakeholder relationships are more collaborative since these ideas can be replicated. A first-mover advantage (with a strong budget) and important existing relationships are some of the differentiators that established companies have that could support its role in innovating.
For more information, see Ch.5 Open Services Innovation (pg. 107) by Henry Chesbrough