Excerpt from course description

Managing Digital Platforms and Ecosystems - SUMMER COURSE


This Summer course belongs to "Global Innovation Challenge". The course is open to BI MSc in Business students only, and international students.

The rise of the platform economy has brought on radical changes to the way we work, socialize and create value. Digital platforms such as Airbnb, Google, Amazon, Salesforce, GitHub and many more act as service-providers, marketplaces, sales-channels, mediators or hubs for data, code and tools. Platforms may be global enterprises or local niche players. They may follow a pure online strategy or be part of a hybrid business model. They may be for profit entities or embody community-based prosocial movements. They may be value drivers themselves or channels in the marketing mix. What all players in the platform economy have in common is their basic building block – the platform. Good platforms are rooted in a consistent strategy, they are intuitive in their architecture, convincing in their design with content that is highly accessible through organic web searches and they fit seamlessly into the broader platform ecosystem. Today’s decision-makers will not only have to engage with platforms as a part of their daily work, but they also need to be able to understand, develop and manage digital platforms. This course will take you through all stages of a platform development project combining theory on platform and content strategizing, insight from practitioners and hands-on work with user experience management tools.

This course takes on the perspective of a decision-maker on the business-side of a platform project and will enable you to initiate, plan and manage a platform development project. Participants will gain a fundamental understanding of the platform economy and its basic building block – the digital platform. In particular, they will learn how to set up their own platform strategy and which steps to take on the way to a deployable platform. Furthermore, they will learn to go beyond the launch of their platform and maintain a digital innovation pipeline for their digital product.

Key Question

Focus of Module

What are digital platforms and why are they so disruptive?


  • Introduction
  • Platform Economy
  • Platform Ecosystems

Which are the elements of a consistent platform strategy


  • Understanding the Audience (gains, pains, goals)
  • Understanding the Market (learn from best-in-class)
  • Setting up an effective PMO
  • Sharpening Vision & Goals

How can we build a convincing user experience?


  • Defining and prioritizing key features
  • Building the structure (getting from sketch to wireframe & prototype)
  • Considering a design approach

What are effective ways to building the platform within constraints of time, budget and scope?


  • Agile vs. Waterfall Development
  • Self-Development vs. integrating partners
  • Cornerstones of successful Collaborations
  • Pitfalls to avoid

How can we ensure the relevance of platform content?


  • Setting up the editorial plan
  • Setting up a SEO Strategy
  • Setting up a SEA Strategy
  • Working with Content Creators (e.g. Influencers, Journalists etc.)  

How can we ensure continuous performance through monitoring, maintenance and refinement?


  • Defining key-metrics and KPIs (quant)
  • Setting up a measurement dashboard
  • Continuously learning from user behavior (quant and qual)
  • Maintaining an active innovation pipeline

How to incorporate fair design principles into the platform, and to account for sustainable practices regarding power, privacy and participation.

  • Ensuring Accessibility to the Platform
  • Designing Privacy and Participation Mechanisms (User Democracy)
  • Principles of Frugal Innovation

As part of the continuous evaluation, students are required to ‘build’ their own platform or platform element (website, app or feature). Based on the course modules, they will complete bi-weekly assignments where they will develop a basic platform strategy, develop a wireframe and choose a design approach, define a content strategy, set up a project plan and a hypothetical performance dashboard.

Course content


  1. Platform Strategy
    1. Understanding the Audience (gains, pains, goals)
    2. Understanding the Market (learn from the best in class)
    3. Vision & Goals
    4. Setting up the PMO (Timing, Resources, Scope)
  2. Architecture and Design
    1. Defining and prioritizing key features
    2. Setting up the structure/architecture
    3. Defining a design (CI/CD)
  3. Building and Scaling the Platform
    1. Agile vs. Waterfall Development
    2. Testing and Prototyping
    3. Pitfalls to avoid
    4. Self-Development vs. integrating partners (build, partner, invest)
    5. Cornerstones of successful Collaborations
  4. Creating the right Content
    1. Setting up the editorial plan
    2. Reaching the right audiences
      1. Setting up a SEO Strategy
      2. Setting up a SEA Strategy
    3. Working with Content Creators (e.g. Influencers, Journalists etc.)
  5. Monitoring, Maintenance and continuous Refinement
    1. Defining key-metrics and KPIs
    2. Setting up a measurement dashboard
    3. Continuously learning from user behavior (quant and qual)
    4. Maintaining an active innovation pipeline
  6. Incorporating fair design principles
    1. Ensuring universal Accessibility
    2. Designing Privacy and Participation Mechanisms


This is an excerpt from the complete course description for the course. If you are an active student at BI, you can find the complete course descriptions with information on eg. learning goals, learning process, curriculum and exam at portal.bi.no. We reserve the right to make changes to this description.