“Platform” describes the business model of many of today’s fastest-growing global companies. Such platforms provide a single-entry point for the services, products or capacities of many diverse providers. Famous examples include Alibaba and Amazon
Likewise, innovation platforms aim to provide single-entry point access to a broad range of competencies, technologies and services in order to facilitate innovation and solve industrial problems. Such services could include benchmarking, prototyping, testing, modelling or characterizing new processes, materials or devices. There are an increasing number of such platforms across Europe, and their creation will be increasingly supported as the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme evolves toward Horizon Europe. Notably, the tentative Open Innovation pillar (€13.5 billion) will be very relevant for funding platforms such as Open Innovation Test Beds and Digital Innovation Hubs (refer to this article for more information).
Industries can use such platforms strategically for gaining and protecting market share. For instance, many diverse manufacturing industries must eliminate harmful chemicals from their products and processes (due to REACH and other standards and regulations). Furthermore, many industries must increasingly ensure that their products are recyclable and that they avoid using critical resources. Companies must therefore find alternatives or risk losing market share. Another example applies to emerging products, such as printed batteries, which require performance, cost or process improvements in order to create very large, new markets. A good technology platform is the perfect partner for solving these types of complex challenges, which require a knowledge-based approach and industrially relevant workflows to solve problems quickly and efficiently.
In addition to the advantages for industry, platforms open new markets to research organisations and universities, enabling them to earn more income directly from their intellectual property, know-how and R&D technologies.
There are many open questions surrounding such platforms, including how to ensure their sustainability, which business model to deploy and how to best manage the complex relationships behind the single-entry point.
There are currently several open call topics requesting proposals to find solutions to these questions and to develop such capacities, and winning projects could be funded up to 100% of eligible costs via the H2020 programme. For more information, please contact Wavestone’s IMF team.