Positive Platforms


A concept promoted by the Institute for the Future, Positive Platforms are described as follows:

The design of “Positive Platforms” — platforms that not only maximize profits for their owners but also provide dignified and sustainable livelihoods for those who work on them, plus enrich society as a whole — is one of the most urgent tasks we are facing today.

– “Design It Like Our Livelihoods Depend on It: 8 Principles for creating on-demand platforms for better work futures” by Marina Gorbis and Devin Fidler

Further reading, via the Positive Platforms Design Jam Pre-Readings:

10 Strategies for a Workable Future – Institute for the Future https://workablefutures.org/publications/reports/10-strategies/ 

This report outlines ten strategies for immediate action for policymakers, platform developers, and labor and educational organizations.

Voices of Workable Futures: People Transforming Work in the Platform Economy – Institute for the Future (Oct 2016)


A recently completed in-depth ethnographic study of people working in the platform economy. The report identifies 7 archetypes of on-demand workers.

Work, Interrupted: The New Labor Economics of Platforms – Devin Fidler, Institute for the Future (Dec 2016) https://workablefutures.org/publications/reports/work-interrupted-the-new-labor-economics-of-platforms/ 

An executive summary of the full report (to be released in December) examining the new labor economics of platforms. This includes an infographic of opportunities that can be amplified and challenges that can be mitigated by platforms.

Workable Futures Op-Eds


A collection of articles, essays, and other materials related to transformation in work and jobs and pathways for building a Workable Future for all.

The Sharing Movement in its Maturity – towards a ‘Disruptive Normality’ – Ezio Manzini – http://bit.ly/2apxRiA

This post helps reader understand the potential that platforms have to scale new behaviors that can create scalable social impact and create new social capital.

A Review of Methodologies for the Design & Incubation of Collaborative Platforms – https://goo.gl/Vn5h1V 

An extensive report on strategies to design, incubate and fund Collaborative Platforms with positive impact. The first part also includes a confrontation of several “positive platforms” approaches.

Networks and the Nature of the Firm – Tim O’Reilly – http://bit.ly/2aqU5ho

This post introduces the motivations why platforms are disrupting the existing players. Essential to understand why the platform model is so impactful.

Business ecosystems come of age Deloitte’s report

An excellent review on the role of platforms in the digitally enabled market.

From Social Networks To Market Networks – James Currier – http://tcrn.ch/1W33hwA

An explanation about how platforms are gradually entering smaller markets, niches where numbers are smaller but value produced is higher. 

Geoffrey Moore “The Nature of the Firm, 75 years later” https://goo.gl/RCr2Kp

An explanation of the difference between the traditional firm model (emerged from the 20th century) and the platform model and of the impact this model has on existing company structures.

4 Things You Should Know About Platforms http://www.forbes.com/sites/gregsatell/2015/05/17/4-things-you-should-know-about-platforms/#588bb3a52bb5

A key read on few essential aspects that platforms have and that you should know about.

“Gig Work, Online Selling and Home Sharing” – Aaron Smith, Pew Research Center (Nov 17, 2016)


A new Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults finds that a relatively substantial share of the public has earned money recently from a digital commerce platform. 

“Independent work: Choice, necessity, and the gig economy” – McKinsey Global Institute (Oct 2016)


The McKinsey Global Institute examines all the ways people are earning income, as well as the challenges independent work presents.


The Platform Design Toolkit


It’s a set of tools you can use to prototype a design of a platform. It’s composed by 5 essential canvases (and one advanced one) and it also features a step by step guideline. 

General Website http://platformdesigntoolkit.com/  

Can be downloaded here: http://platformdesigntoolkit.com/toolkit/#download 

There’s a list of publications available at:

Stories of Platform Design.

A focused story within the context of positive platforms is a available here.

A release note of the toolkit is available here.



Service Design Tools is a repository of tools, methodologies and case studies, related among each other that designers can use when approaching complex systems design.



Service Design Toolkit is the outcome of a partnership between Namahn and Design Flanders, is released in Creative Commons and consists of a collection of 16 self-explaining canvases for service co-design.



IDEO DESIGN KIT is a well explained and easy to adopt, set of tools and methods for the design of product and services in Human Centered fashion.It relates with the field of service design and user experience design. A number of learning courses is also available on Design Kit.



DIY TOOLKIT (Development Impact & You) provides several design tools to support development practitioners and social innovators in developing, implementing, and scaling innovation within their organizational context.

It is an initiative of Nesta and Rockefeller Foundation, designed by STBY and Quicksand, licensed under the Creative Commons.



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