Seminar : Digital Platforms: Decoding the business model

Over the past decade, platforms have spread across many sectors, generating a growing share of the global economy. Many of the world’s leading companies have adopted a platform-based business model. This training course offers an analysis of the complexity of platforms, and provides practical advice and tools to help you manage this complexity.

This seminar is organised by the HEC Executive School  and the Digital Lab.


  • 08:45 DAY 1 (10/04) - Welcoming the participants
  • 09:00 Introduction: 'Platforms', what are we talking about? ▶ A phenomenon that is far from recent: a brief historical overview of the platform economy ▶ How has digital technology helped amplify the movement? ▶ What economic models does the platform economy oppose?
  • 10:45 Understanding the theoretical fundamentals to better grasp how a platform works ▶ Network externalities and multi-sided markets ▶ The 'positive feedback loop' principle ▶ Sub-group exercise: drawing up a 'linkage map'
  • 14:00 To be or not to be a platform? ▶ Finding the right mix of several business models in parallel ▶ From the 'pipeline' model to the 'platform' model: how to go about it? ▶ Tactics proposed in the literature, illustrated by case studies
  • 15:30 To be or not to be a platform? (continued) ▶ Sub-group exercise: identify a new platform idea, represent its operating model and linkage map.
  • 17:00 END OF DAY 1 (10/04)
  • 08:45 DAY 2 (12/04) - Welcoming the participants
  • 09:00 Building a value proposition for your platform ▶ Traditional models and their limitations ▶ Platform specificities in terms of value proposition ▶ Exercise: filling in the 'platform value proposition canvas'.
  • 10:45 Competition in the intermediation market ▶ Decentralized and substitute offers ▶ Competing and complementary offers ▶ Sub-group exercise: the 'platform value net' model
  • 14:00 The 'Chicken and Egg' problem of nascent platforms ▶ Which side of the market to attract first? ▶ What pricing? The principle of subsidy side VS. money side ▶ Sub-group exercise: using the 'Lever selector' tool
  • 15:30 Growing your platform over the longer term ▶ The central issue of trust ▶ The number of sides of a so-called multi-sided marketplace ▶ Performance indicators for a platform
  • 17:00 Conclusions and closing discussions


  • Nicolas NEYSEN

    Digital Transformation Lead // HEC Liège

Nicolas Neysen is currently Digital Transformation Lead at HEC Liège. He is in charge of coordinating various initiatives involving digital technologies and skills – from education to research, to projects and partnerships with external stakeholders interested in developing strong ties with the business school. In 2017, Nicolas published Stratégie des organisations (DeBoeck Supérieur).

In 2023, Nicolas co-wrote a book entitled Platform Strategies. Each course participant will receive a copy of this richly documented practical guide.

For more information on the seminar, visit the HEC Executive School’s website.