5 design principles to make impact with your connectivity business model.


Are you in the business of digitally connecting people and systems through the creation of shape-shifting technologies or platforms? Amazing! You are probably at the forefront of changing the game for a lot of people. Whilst we were working with some of your fellow-innovators in the industry, we realized that there are a few common denominators that the most successful companies have. Let’s take a look at 5 design principles you and your team should definitely take into account when you are designing your next big innovation.

1. Design for access.

One of the big business model shifts we see happening because of improved connectivity technologies is the move from pipeline to platform business models. Platform business models are there to stimulate frequent interactions and transactions and attract new people to participate in exchanging value. These platform businesses have been popping up everywhere and in almost every industry, from financial services to education and from tech to entertainment. Giving consumers access to a product or service that elsewhere would be more complicated to get access to. Malaysian company Grab, for example, is connecting consumers, driver partners and merchants for everyday services. LinkedIn is giving you access to professionals from all around the globe. Etsy is connecting makers and buyers of unique items. While Khan Academy gives access for free to education on their platform. The powerful platform engines are not only extremely scalable but are potentially cheap and effective to maximize your impact by reaching the many.

But they do come with the chicken- or the egg dilemma. You need to be able to attract customers from both sides in order to drive network effects and economies of scale. To attract customers and retain them, it’s key to crack the code to drive adoption. Beyond a functioning platform engine one should create compelling value propositions for all users on the platform and more Importantly create a smooth and easy-to-use user experience. How are you going to mobilize your audience and give them access to your platform?

2. Design for confidence.

In a more digital world, the way we interact with customers is different. Interaction will become increasingly through digital means and less through personal face-to-face contact, which results that for some building a relationship with your customers is quite challenging.  Yet people are looking for companies, technologies, and platforms they can trust. We even dare to say there will be no adoption without the trust of your users. Therefore, the success of your business model largely depends on the level of confidence you can give your customers when they are choosing your product or service.

One way to design for confidence are user reviews and ratings. Good examples are the reviews on Uber (click here for their business model) and Vinted. For many users, this is the first stop on the platform before they proceed with a transaction. The mutual ranking of providers and applicants, which you often see in platform models, is also an example of cultivating that trust. Besides rating mechanism, another powerful way is using the verification of the identity of the users base. Airbnb offers this functionality to create a trusted users base for its hosts.

In the end, just like in a “human” relationship building trust comes from open and honest communications. You have to make sure mechanisms you leverage aim for just that. So, imagine what your business model would look like if most touch points with your customers are digitally, how would you establish confidence by design?

3. Design for exponential efficiency.

Ongoing technology developments allow us to design for scale and to maximize efficiency. Adopt an exponential mindset and think much, much, much bigger about your business. Challenge existing beliefs and assumptions about why things cannot be done. With this mindset your will figure out how to develop and use technology to do the impossible.

In this article we saw that the use of Robotic process automation (RPA) and artificial intelligence allow for hyperautomation. When designing think about how technology can drive optimization and reduce your harmful impact. And how can you leverage such efficiencies to drive growth and expand positive outcomes?

A company that has already taken far-reaching steps in this regard is Caterpillar. The USA based company is world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment. They are using IoT and artificial intelligence to predict when their vehicles need maintenance. This saves the company millions of euros every year. As such, utilizing these technologies help to optimize your business models to reduce cost. Thinking of your business model, in which ways could you leverage technologies to achieve exponential efficiencies?

4. Design for safety.

We don’t have to tell you that we are spending a large part of our days online. People in Thailand spend over 9.5 hours! a day online, more than anyone else in the world. Brits and Canadians are well connected with an average almost 6 hours per day. And the more we spend our lives online, the more digital safety plays important role. By design, we need to make sure that our digital spaces are well-protected and secure for its users.

This includes treating customer data with care to prevent misuse but is also about preventing certain behaviors. Consider the dating app Bumble, that aims to prevent fake profiles by design by implementing verification tools in the onboarding journey. This is one way businesses create platforms that are secure and protect its users. How are you going to protect your users privacy and identity? And how do you make sure they are protect against cyber threats?

5. Design to empower collaboration.

The digital adoption accelerated during the pandemic. We are all able to connect and meet through platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. While the platform like Fiverrr enable a new type of workforce, your next talented, designer, video editor etc. one click away. These platforms enable businesses to work and organize in different ways. Simply put, the ease to organize enables us to take barriers away and collaborate more and better, and more efficiently than ever more.

When designing your next business model, think again how your organization is designed and how you could facilitate collaboration in new ways. Consider how you want to connect people with each other. Fast, simple and without barriers. Because bringing people together and empowering them to participate will make them coming back for more.

If you really want to design the next big business model in tech or connectivity you need to look beyond your financial goals. The 5 design principles can help you and your team in the early design phase. In this crucial design phase, you need to question yourself how you are going to design for value and positive impact for your business, our society and our planet.

Are you thinking of your next big innovation in the metaverse?

Download our metaverse playbook and let’s get digital.