Designing positive platforms: a guide for a governance-based approach
As the labor market shifts towards an on-demand model, professionals are generating new sources of immediate income. Driven by realtime, highly customized expectations by clients and service providers, this technology fueled phenomenon is known as the gig economy. The gig economy runs entirely on online social platforms that connect people, knowledge, and opportunities for meaningful collaborative work. However, many of these platforms “have been accused of marginalizing workers, negatively impacting cities and nations by stressing existing regulations, behaving just like new middlemen, displacing the old ones.” 1 Despite these challenges, studies suggest that by 2025 up to 540 million people will participate in the platform economy2. This presents both opportunities and challenges towards establishing more flexible and fair working models: “Platform work is neither inherently good nor bad. It has both potential for upsides to be amplified and downsides.”3 Some of the downsides of platforms include unstable work schedules, job instability, and reduced access to benefits4. Regulation is one possible solution to these downsides, but it’s also important to bake-in positive aspects of platforms at every phase of their design and implementation. Moreover, the long-term sustainability of a platform depends on the individuals who contribute to it. This is why professionals will often be referred to as “contributors” in this document.