There is an interesting article at the Harvard Business review on ” The fall of Wintel and the rise of the Armdroids” .
It is interesting how history repeats itself. Only a few years ago, at the start of the PC-era, the Intel processor was not the only game in town, neither was the Microsoft Operating system. The Wintel combination won the PC wars, because they delivered a platform for innovation. They provided a reliable backdrop of operating system and processor, around which an evolving ecosystem of peripheral hardware and useful programs could be built.
Bad programs don’t get a chance, because someone else will come up with an alternative fast.
Now the same is happening in the Mobile and tablet world: the platform combining the ARM processor and the Android operating system poised to win the mobile platform war because it leaves most room for innovation on hardware and software. This is the strength of standards and platforms: the platform itself might be static, but only when there is a level playing field you can compete of quality and cost. Without a platform and standards, there is a confusopoly. In a confusopoly, innovation is not necessary, because products cannot be compared. The market is shared, not competed for.
In development and humanitarian assistance, the lack of a common platform for evaluating results and impact is notorious. This is why fragmentation doesn’t lead to evolution and division of labour, because the competition for resources is not based on measurable indicators such as the quality and cost/benefit analysis, but instead on “other” criteria, such as the nationality of the NGO, the domestic sensitivities of the donor, etc.
The more the focus moves to common platforms and results measurement, the more results and learning can be expected.