Cristiano Antonelli and Pier Paolo Patrucco
Platforms are a major organizational innovation that builds upon the new opportunities provided by information and communication technologies (ICTs) to improve efficiency in the generation and exploitation of technological knowledge. They are organizational devices that support the integration of complementary knowledge in the generation of new technological knowledge and increase its scope of exploitation and appropriation. In this chapter platforms are defined as hierarchical networks in which the interactions do not emerge and evolve spontaneously, but in which key players exercise a guiding role in the behavior of the other actors. Moreover, they enable the active search for knowledge complementarity and exploitation of variety between different activities. Hence platforms are institutional arrangements to internalize knowledge spillovers and externalities. The focus here is on innovation platforms that are emerging as new means to manage the recombinant generation of new technological knowledge and to coordinate the introduction of technological innovations exploiting the organizational opportunities opened up by technological innovation in ICTs and the Internet. At the same time, the innovation platform is itself an organizational innovation, widely diffused and adopted in the ICTs and Internet industries.