Drivers for Platform Business Model Innovation: Individuals in Control over their Personal Data

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Laura Kemppainen
Minna Pikkarainen
Timo Koivumäki
Yueqiang Xu


Personal data has become an important resource in today’s market and in platform business models. In fact, the essence of many platform business models is to create value for an individual by offering a free service and to capture value by collecting and selling collected data. In this study, we analyse the drivers for platform business model innovation in the context of personal data used in the healthcare sector. Platform business models are shaped and designed with respect to the internal and external drivers in the market. However, few studies have increased our understanding of the drivers for platform business model innovation. For that, we conducted an exploratory study for five personal data platform providers that enable individuals to control the use of their personal data in digital services by interviewing the personal data platform providers and using company presentation material. The findings show that by adopting a human-centred approach to personal data, giving control over data to the individual, personal data platform providers change how value is created and captured. This research has managerial implications and contributes to the business model innovation literature by extending the current knowledge about drivers for personal data-based platform business model innovation in the healthcare sector.

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Author Biographies

Laura Kemppainen, Martti Ahtisaari Institute, Oulu Business School, University of Oulu, Finland

M.Sc. Laura Kemppainen is a Doctoral Candidate at Martti Ahtisaari Institute of Global Business and Economics at the AACSB accredited Oulu Business School, Finland. She holds a M.Sc. in Marketing from Oulu Business School. Laura's research interests include platform business models, human-centered personal data management, digital innovations and value creation. 

Minna Pikkarainen, Martti Ahtisaari Institute, Oulu Business School, Research Unit of Medical Imaging, Physics and Technology, University of Oulu, Finland; VTT, Technical Research Centre of Finland

Minna Pikkarainen, is a joint Connected Health professor of VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland and University of Oulu / Oulu Business School, Martti Ahtisaari Institute and Faculty of Medicine. As a professor of connected health, Minna is doing on multidisciplinary research on innovation management, service networks and business models in the context of connected health service co-creation. Professor Pikkarainen has extensive record of external funding, her research has been published in more than 90 journal and conference papers e.g. in the field of nursing science, innovation management, software engineering and information systems. During 2006-2012 Professor Minna Pikkarainen has been working as a researcher in Lero, the Irish software engineering research centre, researcher in Sirris, collective “centre of the Belgian technological industry”  and business developer in Institute Mines Telecom, Paris and EIT (European Innovation Technology) network in Paris and Helsinki. Her key focus areas as a business developer have been in healthcare organizations. Previously, Minna’s research has been focused on the areas of agile development, software innovation and variability management.

Timo Koivumäki, Martti Ahtisaari Institute, Oulu Business School, University of Oulu, Finland

Dr. Timo Koivumäki is a professor of digital service business at Martti Ahtisaari Institute, University of Oulu. Previously he has worked as a research professor of mobile business applications at VTT and at University of Oulu, as a professor of information and communication business and as a research professor of electronic commerce at the University of Oulu. All in all, Koivumäki has over 20 years of experience in the field of digital business. His research interests include consumer behavior in digital environments, user-driven innovation, digital service business, digital marketing and strategic networking. Koivumäki has been active in various duties (e.g. planning, managing and conducting research) in many national and international research and development projects. Koivumäki has also published in numerous top-level academic journals.

Yueqiang Xu, Martti Ahtisaari Institute, Oulu Business School; M3S, Empirical Software Engineering on Software, Systems, and Services, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering University of Oulu, Finland

Dr. Yueqiang Xu received his D.Sc. degree (2019) from Oulu Business School, University of Oulu, Finland. He is a Post-doctoral researcher and project coordinator at the Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering (technical innovation research) as well as Martti Ahtisaari Institute (business innovation research), University of Oulu. He has also been a System Engineer at Nokia, focusing on 4G/LTE and 5G implementation for the large-scale mobile networks.

His research has been focused on the digitalization of various industries through software, business model, data and AI (artificial intelligence). On the business research side, his research focus is on the digital business model, platform thinking, business ecosystem, and data-driven innovation. On the technical research side, his research areas are related to data analytics, AI, heterogeneous data integration and architecture, and digital twin. His research domains include smart energy and smart grids, smart city, telecommunication, digital healthcare, and smart mobility.

His professional experience in the industries includes conducting research and development projects for ICT solution providers and regulatory organizations, for instance, World Energy Council, Microsoft, EDF (France), ABB (Global), ADEME (France), Australian Renewable Energy Agency (Australia), BEAMA (UK), Dong Energy (Denmark), Opower (USA) and the European Union.