Micro-Innovations Festival: Celebrating
improvements by School Leaders

Building an environment towards restoring agency

Ever booked a cab using Uber, or placed an order through Amazon, connected with your colleague over Zoom, or maybe shared the highlights of your latest hobby over some social media platform? Each of these platforms makes our lives a little easier by connecting us with people, services, and products that we need in our day to day lives.

Such Platforms are operating models that create value by facilitating exchanges between two or more interdependent groups, usually consumers and producers. In order to make these exchanges happen, platforms build and harness large, scalable networks of users and resources that can be accessed on-demand, thus meeting our needs of entertainment, healthcare, logistics, and beyond.

But not all platforms are the same, they also differ on the basis of how they empower their users by sharing data with them and by providing services that can enable agency of different stakeholders. Along these lines, platforms can be of two types: Private Platforms and Platforms for public service. The major difference that lies between the two is – IntentFor example, a platform that provides access to knowledge or process resources or tools to create the different types of resources without subscription barriers etc. can be considered a platform for public use, whereas platforms where barriers to access, such as paywalls, exist, are private platforms. Let’s understand how each kind of platform works.

First, there are Private Platforms that facilitate development, deployment, and operations on privately owned infrastructure or behind a protected firewall. These platforms provide many interactions among consumers and providers that allow them to get services/ products in exchange for money or access to their data. Private platforms include the likes of Google, Uber, Zomato, Tinder, etc. where these platforms also allow users to access a substantial amount of their own data but at the same time, manage the interactions in the ecosystem through the insights that the user behavior data provide.

For example, Uber is a ride-hailing platform that provides on-demand cab services. It is virtually a free service that connects passengers to drivers. However, in the course of providing this service, the platform requests for and gains access to our personal information such as email IDs, location, preferable modes of payment, etc, which they eventually use to design customised ad experiences for every individual user, as per the company policies. The customer-behaviour data also feeds into other initiatives that the company can design to provide other services such as food delivery, package delivery, etc.

Secondly, we have the other type of platforms: Platforms for public service also called Societal Platforms. Societal Platforms are created with the intention of serving the public for societal good with the focus of ownership by the different key actors in the ecosystem rather than one company/ corporation. These platforms can be publicly owned by NGOs or government institutions to address various societal challenges and they empower their users with data, nurture development within their ecosystem and connect problem solvers to each other. Societal platforms address issues in a not for profit manner purely for the benefit of the society rather than focusing on increasing profit margins.

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