The Platform Design Toolkit

Evolving Service Design & Business Modeling in the Age of Ecosystems

Platform Design Toolkit is based on the tradition of Service Design Thinking and was born to overcome the limitations in traditional, linear, Business Modelling approaches.

This methodology helps you model multi-sided, ecosystem based, platform models that are transforming the world of business and services.

What is a “platform”

The word “platform” is used to describe widely different things: internet marketplace business, strategies to shape particular markets, way to transform key processes in organizations such as innovation, IT development or HR.

Platform strategies can transform organizations and processes, rethink how places and community are empowered: for example by applying platform design to cities, for the creation of better policies and services.

A Platform is  a strategy, run by a shaper, to mobilize and help an ecosystem in creating value, with the aim of capturing part of this value.

A platform strategy is made of a combination of different elements: narrative, technologies, rules, channels, contexts, enabling services, protocols and more.

Why do platforms win?

  • Platforms are context for Scalable Learning: they support individuals and companies hone their capabilities, and improve performances providing an answer to the pressure coming from digital disruption.
  • Platforms help brands reach unthinkable results: empowering others in the ecosystems, creating channels for transactions and relationships, organizations can impact markets much beyond their traditional potential, ensuring high levels of service personalization.

Platform Design Toolkit

is a methodology that helps designers, founders and managers to design strategies, products and organizations “as a platform”.

By co-designing in teams you will:

  • envision and design how the system works, creating and exchanging value
    (e.g. a marketplace startup model, a large organization initiative);
  • prepare the validation by creating a prototype (Minimum Viable Platform) or assumption validation experiments.

It’s made of a logical framework, a set of design canvases, and a facilitation guide so that anyone can use it.

Our canvases are normally used in large wall prints as an aid for co-creation in teams.

What can you do with Platform Design Toolkit?

These are the key canvases that will help you model your whole platform

Map the Ecosystem

With the Ecosystem Canvas you will reflect on the ecosystem you’re looking to shape, and organise with your platform strategy.

Portray the Ecosystem’s Entities

With the Entity Portrait you will make a picture of the entities’ context: their potential, goals and the pressures they’re feeling.

Create the Transactions Engine

The Transactions Engine is one of the pillars of any platform strategy: identify the channels you need to create and the relationships you need to facilitate as a shaper, The Motivations Matrix and the Transactions Board will help you with this!

Create the Learning Engine

Design the Learning Engine: the Learning Engine canvas will help you envision how your platform strategy can help all the entities in the Ecosystem to become their best version, through continuous learning and improvement!

Consolidate and Design Platform Experiences

Use the Platform Experience Canvas to the design consistent, interactive experiences that you want to create for your entities, and how your strategy is going to be sustainable: what’s going to be your platform’s business model?

Setup your Validation Strategy and MVP

Use the Minimum Viable Platform Canvas to identify the riskiest assumptions and prepare to execute and MVP that tests and validate them, before investing more time and energy in your strategy development

Keep everything at a Glance with the Platform Design Canvas

Use the Platform Design Canvas as either a quick way to recap the ecosystem potential, and the platform strategy, or as a tool to explore quickly without diving into the full processes.

The Ecosystem Scan & the Platformization Patterns Library

This canvas can be used to map existing experiences in the ecosystem and is a good complement to the Pattern Library. You can use the tool to map what’s existing and see how your core assets can be used in the process of reinventing existing experiences through patterns of platformization. Note that, the pattern library introduced in (b) slightly differs and evolves le pattern library introduced in (a).

Platform Schema

The Platform Schema helps you explore advanced issues such as ensuring that the platform you are designing is fair and respectful, gives the ecosystem the right access to value creation and decision making and more.

Read more about this canvas on Stories of Platform Design:

Download the Platform Design Toolkit


Download the PDF files of the canvases and the User Guide

PDT v 2.1 has been released
14 MB .zip file

Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution –  Share Alike 4.0 International License

Get all the canvases, the user guide and start experiment

User guide
Essential Canvases
Advanced Canvases