CEMS Block Seminar: Managing Multi-Sided Platforms and Innovation in a Global Era



Sergey A. Yablonsky, Can.Sc., Associate Professor, Department of Information Technologies in Management, Graduate School of Management, St.Petersburg University


Esko Penttinen, Dr.Sc., Professor of Practice, Aalto University
(Visiting Professor)


The seminar is held jointly at Aalto University (Helsinki, Finland) and Graduate School of Management, St.Petersburg University (St. Petersburg, Russia)




3 ECTS, 30 contact hours


Goals and objectives:



The aim of this blocked seminar is to provide students with a broad understanding of the challenges related to and ways of advancing multi-sided platforms management, cooperation, and innovation within multinational firms that have subsidiaries spread across cultures and economic regions.

Multi-sided platforms comprise a large and rapidly growing share of the world digital economy. MSPs are increasingly prevalent: 60 of the world’s 100 largest global companies earn most of their revenue from MSPs.

MSPs concepts are new: first academic papers on “two-sided” networks published in 2003.

The seminar is appropriate for:

1. Students planning entrepreneurial ventures in online business.

2. Students whose careers as managers, investors, or consultants will focus on online businesses.




Course Content:



The Seminar includes (but is not limited to) the following topics:

  • Introduction in MSP
  • Innovative international company: the case of Tieto MSP
  • MSPs business models – START UP plan
  • Ingria Business Incubator. The Adoption and Diffusion of various business models including MSPs
  • The Future of Business Innovation
Digital Platform and Infrastructure Dynamics



Teaching methods:



Lectures, group work, case studies.



Course reading:


Compulsory literature list (links/texts available on Blackboard course site in advance):

1. T.R. Eisenmann, G.Parker, M.Van Alstyne (2006). Strategies for Two-Sided Markets, Harvard Business Review, 12p.

2. A.Hagiu and J.Wright (2011). Multi-Sided Platforms, Harvard Working Paper 12-024.

3. A.Hagiu and J.Wright (2013). Marketplace or reseller? Harvard Working Paper 13-092.

4. A.Hagiu, D.B. Yoffie (2009). What's Your Google Strategy, Harvard Business Review,10 p.

5. G. G. Parker and M. W. Van Alstyne (2005). Two-sided network Effects: A Theory of Information Product Design, Management Science, vol. 51, pp.1494-1504.

6. P.Weill, S.Woerner (2013). Optimizing Your Digital Business Model, MIT Sloan Management Review.

Supplementary literature list (links/texts available on Blackboard course site in advance)::

1. Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur (2009), Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers, Wiley; A 72 pages preview free download:


2. Malmelin, Nando, and Mikko Villi (2015). “Audience Community as a Strategic Resource in Media Work.” Journalism Practice. 




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