Venture Capital (Corporate)

  • Corporate venture capital can allow larger companies to participate in agile startup ecosystems
  • Corporate VC sometimes used to distance large firms from risk, as in financial tech area
  • May be hard to integrate startups into larger enterprise 
  • Rationale for investment varies: investment portfolio diversity, intellectual property acquisition, talent acquisition, mergers with other companies or capabilities


  • VC efforts within large companies
  • GV (formerly Google Ventures)
  • Citi Ventures
  • StartupBootcamp

Upgradeable Vehicles

  • Vehicles whose functionality evolves after purchase through software or hardware upgrades
  • Upgrades may be difficult for core vehicle functions based for hardware or legal issues; comparatively easy for infotainment
  • Usually requires OTA (over-the-air) upgrade functionality, upgrade marketplace and strong data ethics foundation


  • Tesla
  • BMW ConnectedDrive (limited)
  • Automatic (brand) plug-in connected car tool

Uber + Didi

  • Various regulatory influences
  • Didi supported by Chinese government’s endorsement of ridesharing services
  • Uber variously blocked or actively supported by many local governments
  • Ugly wars with traditional taxi companies, etc, who fought over whether Uber should be defined as a taxi service or not
  • Lyft attempted to circumvent taxi rules by not charging riders, but asking for a ‘gift’ to the driver
  • Uber negotiates to pay airports for access to pick up riders
  • Uber will pay tickets for drivers in some jurisdictions if ticket is related to being a ridesharing provider

Thread, Weave and Brillo

  • Collection of three coordinated, core technology layers to make connected devices
  • Thread: IoT network protocol Google helped get started (and whose organizing group has many companies, not just Google)—creating a standard for mesh-based IoT connections
  • Weave: API layer for IoT with a micro-OS (here’s a bit more about the implications, from Verge)
  • Brillo: IoT-optimized variant of Android for embedding in devices (again, a bit more from Verge)

Third Places

  • Idea of having comfort and consistency in a place you do not own or inhabit all the time
  • May include increased privacy and luxury
  • Digital layer makes customization/personalization and scheduling easier, such as Uber + Spotify integration so a rider’s music plays through the Uber driver’s speakers automatically


  • Car as second home
  • Starbucks as global living room/meeting space
  • Plane and Hotel as third places
  • Car rental and hotel apps which allow frequent users to set preferences in advance

Software-Defined Products

  • Responsive design
  • Products where value is defined in part (or fully) by software, so that value evolves over time
  • Requires the ability to upgrade hardware devices over the air (OTA), usually via the internet and/or mobile networks


  • Smartphones
  • Tesla upgradeable vehicle features
  • BMW ConnectedDrive
  • Nest Thermostat
  • Software-defined networks (eg, upgradeable firewalls and routers)

Social Products

  • Products whose core value involves social functions
  • Smart, connected software layer for physical products
  • Usually requires access to existing social networks; may also require a ‘social network of things’ for hardware integration
  • Done well, creates pull for users to interact with the brand, minimizes ‘pushes’ of brand content
  • “If you want to build loyalty, spend less time using data to tell customers about you, and spend more time telling them something about themselves.”—Mark Bonchek


  • Instagram
  • Nike+/Nike Fuel

Shared Ownership/Sharing Economy

  • Shared ownership, usually of expensive or highly specific goods
  • Can be shared ownership between individuals or through ‘rent’-like services
  • Increases individual purchasing power by fractionalizing ownership, e.g. timeshares
  • Digital layer lessens convenience and cost impacts on individuals owners by coordinating access and service; may include insurance or expanded warranties
  • Barter or swap (either of goods or services) may be critical component to increasing usership


  • Getaround
  • Ford co-leasing
  • Tool libraries
  • Bagborrowsteal, renttherunway
  • Zipcar
  • Sharegrid



  • SDKs enable developers to quickly develop fast, stable, secure and consistent software for end users
  • Large companies provide SDKs to smaller companies developing on their platform for more consistent user experience
  • Takes form of toolkit of software elements (sometimes as a library or framework) and documentation; may have multiple contributors (in open source approaches)


  • HomeKit, HealthKit
  • Apple Human Interface Guidelines
  • jSON
  • Webkit



  • Reintroduction of sales/distribution layer, or reconfiguration of sales/distribution layer
  • Can happen when relationship with device manufacturer is more important than relationship with reseller as with Apple’s universal SIM strategy
  • Happens when companies introduce direct sales channel, such as e-commerce, or better bundled functionality


  • Apple direct iPhone sales & financing
  • Apple SIM
  • Tesla Supercharger network



  • Trend of customizing or even co-creating products and services
  • Digital layer for pre-manufacturing configuration
  • Can be made more affordable with digital, but can require paradigm change in manufacturing if changes are more than surface-level
  • Can heavily affect inventory management


  • Apple Watch (Faces, Complications, Bands)
  • MINI Vehicle Configurator/Built-To-Order


Open Source

  • Software developed by multiple parties
  • Shared/non-ownership of code
  • Promotes innovation by giving an incentive for developers who benefit from entire ecosystem
  • May be difficult to keep consistent and may have hidden technical costs
  • Can rapidly accelerate development across coopetitors (cooperative competitors) a la Linux 


  • Linux
  • Thread Group
  • Darwin
  • Raspberry Pi
  • OpenStack


Multi-Sided Platforms (and Platform Economies)

  • Establishment of platforms to enable creation of value by people other than those who developed the platform
  • Combination of shared central resources and develop-specific innovations
  • Core of modern business models behind iOS, Android ecosystems, many others
  • Allows innovation at both the core and edges of an enterprise
  • Allows solving of very complex problems at enterprise scale and often leaves market, distribution, integration or feature-specific innovations to smaller developers


  • iOS App Store
  • Google Play Store
  • Amazon
  • Etsy