The power of platforms

Ron Jonash (Founder and head of Innovation Management, Inc., a Monitor Group company)
Holger Koehler (Senior Member of the IMI leadership team in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA)
Iason Onassis (Senior Member of Innovation Management, Inc., a Monitor Group company)

Business Strategy Series

ISSN: 1751-5637

Publication date: 1 January 2007



Every CEO has one core mandate from investors – to profitably grow the company. But this is easier said than done. Why have so many undoubtedly great firms like IBM, Digital Equipment, AT&T, GM, McDonald's and Coca Cola to name just a few with such potential been unable to sustain their growth, while the likes of Apple Computer, Pepsi and Starbuck's have been able to virtually reinvent their industries?


This article, based on both primary and secondary research, walks the reader through several case studies of companies we have had personal professional experience with, and some that have been written about widely in the media.


Our findings show that “growth platforms” are a beneficial way for companies to generate sustainable, profitable growth.

Practical implications

These companies are just a few out of many that have discovered the power of platforms. Not in the old‐fashioned way of using similar parts to enhance their products, on the one hand covering a broad range of the market, while on the other keeping development time and cost low; but these companies are demonstrating the next generation of platform thinking, creating and acting on sustainable growth and innovation opportunities from a combination of well‐established internal capabilities and accessible external market opportunities.


By reading this article, the reader will gain insight into what a growth platform is, how to create one in their own organization, and what other companies' growth platforms look like, and how they bring about real sustainable growth through innovation.



Jonash, R., Koehler, H. and Onassis, I. (2007), "The power of platforms", Business Strategy Series, Vol. 8 No. 1, pp. 26-34.

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Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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