Sustainable industries are becoming increasingly important, but to entice companies to seek sustainable industries, barriers to market entry must be lowered. Platforms have become a well-known and used service from consumers space, and consumerization is increasing the desire for familiar experiences for businesses. To increase the sales and consumption of Norwegian local food, Matmerk, a social-maximizing organization, has established a B2B multi-sided platform, Lokalmat, to provide services to help producers and buyers sell and purchase local food products. A local food platform that can positively enhance its members’ activities and accelerate problem solving initiatives can provide the industry with a valuable and constructive tool, which erodes the barriers to growth. This thesis aims to investigate how a social-maximizing organization can create a valuable B2B platform for an industry. To reach these objectives, our investigation focuses on uncovering the needs and challenges of producers and buyers within the Norwegian food industry. Simultaneously, we explore how these players currently mitigate these challenges and investigate the inter-firm relationships. In this exploratory study we leverage open innovation and platform theories to explore if services to aid the expressed needs, challenges and collaborations can be feasible on a B2B platform. To provide insight on how to create a valuable B2B platform, in-depth interviews were performed with sixteen industry players including buyers, producers and geographically dependent networks. To support the qualitative data, questionnaires were issued to all current members of the platform. This was done in the attempt to acquire both a broad and in-depth understanding to adequately explore and provide suggestions to contribute to research. We find that platform members are heterogeneous, and thus hold widely differing needs. To provide a valuable B2B platform, a social-maximizing organization thus has to be able to identify the needs which are perceived as both important and difficult. Our study reveals that these needs are attempted to be solved through collaborative efforts. Thus we find that a social-maximizing organization can create a valuable B2B platform by facilitating collaborations on needs perceived as both important and difficult.
|Uddannelser||Cand.merc.mib Management of Innovation and Business Development, (Kandidatuddannelse) Afsluttende afhandling|