This report, commissioned by Meta Platforms, Inc., assesses the role of digital platforms in enabling innovation in society, using Meta as a case study. It focuses on the role played by Meta’s digital infrastructure to drive the innovation of software developers and businesses in Europe.
Digital technologies have the potential to boost sustainable growth by increasing productivity and innovation in the economy. From 3D printing and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to the Internet of Things (IoT) and advanced robotics, new technologies are set to transform the production and distribution of goods and services. Digital platforms, such as Meta, have played a significant role in shaping digital change—not only through their own innovations but also through enabling innovation by software developers and businesses across various sectors in the economy.
To explore how Meta tools and technologies have enabled innovation among software developers in Europe, we conducted a survey of developers from eight EU countries that investigated Meta’s role in app creation, both on Meta’s own platforms and across other platforms in the wider ecosystem. We found that Meta helped the development of new apps on its own platform: 83% of third-party developers agreed Meta’s impact on their efforts to code had been positive. In addition, Meta supports open innovation—innovation not directly linked to Meta’s platforms—by providing open-source tools to the developer community, which 80% of surveyed developers rated as important for their work.
Further, combining a review of the academic literature with bespoke case studies and the survey evidence, we investigated how Meta impacts business innovation. We found that businesses used digital platforms, and Meta tools and technologies in particular, throughout the innovation process: not only to reach more buyers but also to gain input from employees and potential customers to help generate ideas for new goods and services, design new products and services, and to improve existing ones. We also found that digital platforms helped businesses reduce the costs of innovation at each stage of the process.
In the full report, we outline our framework in which we examine Meta’s impact on innovation and present the detailed findings of our analysis. We conclude the report by highlighting the implications of our research for public policy in Europe.
About the team
Our economic consulting team are world leaders in quantitative economic analysis, working with clients around the globe and across sectors to build models, forecast markets and evaluate interventions using state-of-the art techniques. Lead consultants on this project were:
Director of Economic Consulting, Continental Europe
Senior Economist, Economic Impact
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