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Creators, Influencers, AI Top July 13 Platform Strategy Summit

July 07, 2023

The rise of AI, the huge impact of social media influencers and platform creators, the lingering effects of the pandemic, and the demands of a new “circular economy”—which aims to keep materials, products and services in use for as long as possible—are all forcing platform businesses to rethink their core models and practices.

Even in the relatively youthful world of platforms, transformation is constant. The leaders of just a few years ago may not lead their markets today—or tomorrow.

These and other changes will be discussed during the 2023 MIT Platform Strategy Summit, held live and online on July 13. Sponsored by the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy (IDE), the summit will feature a full day of panel discussions and keynotes.

Speakers include academic researchers, business leaders and regulators representing a range of organizations that include MIT, Stanford, Dartmouth, Ogilvy, SAP and the European Union.

Among the developments on tap for discussion is the emergence of sub-platforms and adjacent businesses that have evolved from the platform economy. For instance, panelist Lindsey Gamble sees “a deeper integration of influencers” taking place in marketing. Gamble and his company are prime examples: He’s the associate director of influencer innovation at Mavrck, a company that offers an all-in-one influencer marketing platform. These influencers, he says, are moving beyond social media to be hired by brands, either as consultants or full-time employees.

Lindsey Gamble

“A fintech company might hire a creator to explain how Gen Z views financial services,” Gamble said. “Since creators are domain experts, they can offer a lot more value. They know how to create content, they can build and engage audiences, and they know the trends of both popular culture and technology.”

Joining Gamble on the creator economy panel will be speakers from Mekanism, a creative agency that focuses on storytelling; mega-ad agency Ogilvy; and electronics manufacturer Knowles Precision Devices.

Chatting on ChatGPT

Another Summit panel will explore how the platform ecosystem is being affected by the rise of AI, especially generative AI systems such as ChatGPT. Up for discussion will be how generative AI could affect competition with other platforms, and how the technology will likely affect jobs, value creation and value capture.

This topic will be discussed by Jackson Broshear, product management and design lead at DeepMind, an AI research organization recently merged with Google Research’s Brain team; and Long Chen, director of Luohan Academy, an open research institute founded by the Alibaba Group of China.

“The Machine-to-Machine equation is about defining the limits to the emergence of an advanced Machine-to-Machine interaction, which could potentially give rise to a new form of life at its core,” according to Hamilton Mann, Group VP of Digital Marketing and Digital Transformation of Thales, who also will be on the panel. “I think this hidden part of the AI competitive landscape is the most crucial aspect for the future of humanity,” he added.

Moderating their discussion will be Marshall Van Alstyne, a professor at Boston University, visiting scholar at IDE, and one of the MIT Platform Summit’s three co-chairs.

Circular Economy

Another panel will dive into the topic of the circular economy, which aims to create a closed-loop system where products and materials are continually cycled through the economy, reducing the need for new resources and minimizing waste. It’s a new concept that’s getting help from platform organizations. The panel, “Powering the Circular Economy with Platform Business Models,” will feature:

  • Kenny Arnold, senior manager of service design at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, a charity dedicated to creating a circular economy
  • Maryam Al Mansoori, general manager of Rebound Plastic Exchange, a platform that enables the trading of recycled plastic
  • Julia Vendramin, CEO and cofounder of Labell-D, a B2B2C platform using blockchain technology to authenticate second-hand clothing
  • Deborah Weinswig, founder and CEO of Coresight Research, market researchers specializing in retail technology

The panel will be moderated by another conference co-chair, Peter C. Evans. He’s the chief strategy officer at McFayden Digital, which plans to soon launch a multi-client study on circular platforms.

Review & Forecast

The Summit’s three co-chairs: Geoffrey Parker of Dartmouth College and the IDE, along with Van Alstyne and Evans will offer an update, review and forecast at the annual event.

For those looking to invest in platforms or raise funds, Parker will host a fireside chat with Scott Sandell, chair, CEO and chief investment officer at New Enterprises Associates (NEA). This venture-capital firm, in operation for over 40 years, manages assets worth more than $25 billion for clients that include Cloudflare, and Tableau Software.

Scott Sandell

Other Platform Strategy Summit panels will focus on end-to-end visibility, an important supply-chain capability for manufacturers; and the new platform regulators, including Europe’s Digital Markets Act. These panels will feature speakers from, among others, SAP, SightMachine, The Stanford Internet Observatory and The European Commission.

The 2023 MIT Platform Strategy Summit will convene in person at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Mass., on Thursday, July 13, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. EDT. Attendance is open to the public for a fee; it’s free for IDE stakeholders and MIT students and academics. The summit proceedings will be streamed online live and later made available on demand.