Submit your article to the workshop [1 April]

This workshop targets digital platforms for realising public interests. Public sector organizations around Europe are introducing platforms as part of their digital strategies, but we still have a limited understanding of the challenges associated with establishing platforms in the public sector (Fishenden & Thompson, 2013; Brown et al., 2017), and with realizing public interests.

Platforms leverage dynamics of multi-sided markets and exploit network effects (Balwin and Woodward, 2009; Tiwana, 2013; Constantinides et al., 2018; de Reuver et al., 2018). In addition, they are adaptable, scalable and extensible technologies. However, network effects of platform ecosystems (i.e. the self-reinforcing process where more customers trigger more suppliers, which attracts more customers, and so on) may be facilitated towards different aims than the ones found in market situation and especially for realizing public interests. Monetising network effects is not a key interest for such platforms (Bygstad & D’Silva, 2015). A key interest is to leverage network effects for mobilising more resources from inside and outside public organisations, and to trigger decentralised innovation and co-creation of value. Network effects can for instance contribute to better synergizing rather than competing (Vassilakopoulou et al, 2017). These mechanisms and dynamics need to be better understood in order to leverage the potentials of platformization towards a better society.

Current research has mainly addressed platforms in the commercial sector and for private interests (Parker et al., 2016). While the insights from this research are highly relevant, there are also important areas where platformization for public interests can be expected to differ as the technical, regulatory and organisational complexity can be much higher. The notion of `public’, is broadly defined to include governmental, non-profit, and non-governmental organizations that act in the public interest, as opposed to private gain. The development of national and regional platforms for public interests can be undertaken as joint endeavour between public and private actors at multiple levels, to stimulate socio-economic benefits and innovation, involving a diverse portfolio of systems and registers. Furthermore, the role of the citizens not as mere service recipients but as contributors and co-creators is becoming more central while security concerns, government´s responsibility for citizens´ privacy and citizens´ demand for transparent use of data are rising (Linders, 2012; Nam, 2012).

  • The themes include but are not limited to:
    • Network effects of synergizing rather than competing in the public domain
    • How platforms shift work practices of public sector professionals with the inclusion of citizens
    • Empirical studies of platformization, including the gradual process of establishing a platform
    • How technical and organizational structures and governance regimes shape and are shaped by specific public interests concerns
    • Business models and governance models platforms for public interests
    • The role of the citizens not as mere service recipients but as contributors and co-creators
    • Security concerns, government´s responsibility for citizens´ privacy and citizens´ demand for transparent use of data
    • Core requirements for platformization strategies towards sustainability
    • Process theory on “platformization” that describes key steps and core challenges in the building of platforms for public interests and surrounding eco-systems
    • Theorising on the interdependencies between architectural (technical) design, organizational forms, and governance regimes

Plan for publications

We are in negotiations regarding a proposal for a special issue on the topic to a basket Journal.

Target audience and expected attendance

The workshop aims to attract researchers and practitioners who are interested in the topics of platformization at large. In the workshop, participants will share their knowledge about concrete cases and theoretical conceptualizations. We want to reach out in order to establish a community of researchers that can cooperate beyond the event itself. We seek to build on and extend the efforts of an ongoing, but not yet formalized, collaborative network of European researchers. The previous workshop, at ECIS 2018 conference, with the title “Platformization in the Public Sector” received 11 submissions by authors from 7 countries. At the workshop, 18 attendees contributed to a lively discussion around the dynamics of platform thinking.


Margunn Aanestad, University of Oslo, Norway

Polyxeni Vassilakopoulou, University of Agder, Norway

Miria Grisot, University of Oslo, Norway

Tomas Lindroth, University of Gothenburg, Sweden


Baldwin, C., and Woodard, C. J. 2009. "The Architecture of Platforms: A Unified View," in Platforms, Markets and Innovation, A. 
Gawer (ed.). Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Brown, A., Fishenden, J., 

Thompson, M., & Venters, W. (2017). Appraising the impact and role of platform models and Government as a Platform (GaaP) in UK Government public service reform: towards a Platform Assessment Framework (PAF). Government Information Quarterly.Bygstad, B., & 

D'Silva, F. (2015). Government as a platform: a historical and architectural analysis. In NOKOBIT (Norsk konferanse for organisasjoners bruk av IT), 2015.

Constantinides, P., Henfridsson, O., & Parker, G. G. (2018). Introduction—Platforms and Infrastructures in the Digital Age. Information Systems Research.
Fishenden, J and Thompson, M. (2013), Digital government, open architecture, and innovation: why public sector IT will never be the same again, Journal of public administration research and theory, 23 (4), 977-1004.

Linders, D. (2012), From E-Government to We-Government: Defining a Typology for Citizen Coproduction in the Age of Social Media, Government Information Quarterly, 29 (4), 446-454.

Nam, T. (2012), Suggesting frameworks of citizen-sourcing via Government 2.0, Government Information Quarterly, 29 (1), 12-20.

Parker, G. G., Van Alstyne, M. W., & Choudary, S. P. (2016). Platform revolution. How networked markets are transforming the economy and how to make them work for you. WW Norton & Company.

de Reuver, M., Sørensen, C., & Basole, R. C. (2018). The digital platform: a research agenda. Journal of Information Technology, 33(2), 124-135.

Tiwana, A. (2013), Platform ecosystems: aligning architecture, governance, and strategy. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers.

Vassilakopoulou, P., Grisot, M., Jensen, T. B., Sellberg, N., Eltes, J., Thorseng, A., & Aanestad, M. (2017). Building National eHealth Platforms: the Challenge of Inclusiveness. ICIS 2017, Seoul, Korea.