Chapter 15. Pods need platforms

What we need to do is learn to work in the system, by which I mean that everybody, every team, every platform, every division, every component is there not for individual competitive profit or recognition, but for contribution to the system as a whole on a win-win basis.

W. Edwards Deming

A podular organization requires support structures that network the pods together so they can coordinate their activities, share learning, and increase the company’s overall effectiveness. Platforms are support structures that increase the effectiveness of a community.

What is a Platform?

A platform is a support structure that increases the effectiveness of a community. Some platforms are public. For example, a local farmers’ market or swap meet clusters sellers together so they can attract more buyers. Like local swap meets, eBay and Craigslist provide platforms for people to buy and sell used goods or unique items. Amazon’s Mechanical Turk provides a marketplace for buyers and sellers of human labor at a micro scale—tiny bits of work for tiny bits of money. The Internet is another public platform. So is the Global Positioning System (GPS) that allows you to track your location by satellite.

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Companies can provide platforms that are more restricted in their use. For example, platforms may be available only to employees. Nordstrom provides a platform for salespeople who ...

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