UCL Faculty of Laws


(How) should we regulate platforms and ecosystems? (by invitation only workshops)

27 February 2020–28 February 2020, 5:00 pm–6:00 pm

LBS, UCL, World Forum

Organisers: UCL Centre for Law, Economics and Society in collaboration with London Business School and with the participation of the World Economic Forum - Project on Digital Platforms & Ecosystems

Event Information

Open to

Invitation Only


UCL Laws Events


London Business School
Sussex Place

About this event

The aim of these two linked workshops (one, with key regulators and opinion leaders; and the other, also with the participation of the World Economic Forum’s Working Group on Digital Platforms & Ecosystems) is to discuss in an informal setting the issues raised by the development of digital economy and the rise of digital platforms and what would be the appropriate competition law and policy in this context. The goal is to bridge the work done in the regulatory community, and researchers interested in the role of law and regulation, with work done by those who study platforms, ecosystems and digital competition from the strategy side. The workshop also aims to link key regulators and representatives of the business community, in the inter-disciplinary spirit fostered by London Business School, UCL’s Centre for Regulation, and the World Economic Forum, which brings select members of its working group on Digital Platforms and Ecosystems, part of the Digital Transformation Initiative. This event has been generously jointly funded by London Business School’s Knowledge Exchange initiative and UCL’s Centre for Law, Economics and Society. The workshop will culminate in a White Paper, and this discussion will also inform seven invited papers, which will appear in a Special Issue on regulatory challenges for a digital world in Industrial & Corporate Change.

Organised by Michael G. Jacobides (London Business School), Ioannis Lianos (Hellenic Competition Commission/UCL),  Despoina Mantzari (UCL).

The Programmes - 27 February 2020

Meeting for Regulators and Senior Academics -  Strictly by invitation only

Organised by London Business School and UCL

This meeting is reserved strictly for the senior regulators and academics as well as one or two representatives of the WEF’s Digital Platforms & Ecosystems’ Initiative Steering Committee members. This event, which is intentionally kept for a very small, select group is an opportunity to engage in a candid conversation on some of the key topics that regulators and opinion leaders have to address. There will be three short sessions, with brief presentations followed by moderated discussion, meant to continue over drinks and dinner. We will also have two brief dinner keynote speeches.

17.00 Registration and tea

 17.15 Welcome and introductions
Michael G Jacobides, LBS;  Ioannis Lianos, UCL / President, Hellenic Competition Commission; and Deni Mantzari, UCL

17.20 The end of markets and market definition? How should competition law deal with the assessment of anticompetitive effects in digital markets?
For this, and all subsequent sessions of the 27th, we will have a brief position from each speaker (6 minutes) followed by a discussion between the participants.

Chair: Alberto Heimer, Scuola Nazionale dell’Amministrazione.
Presenters: Cristina Caffarra, CRA;  Annabelle Gawer, U of Surrey; Damien Geradin, UCL/Tilburg; Geoff Parker, Dartmouth; Martijn Snoep, Netherlands Authority Chairman; Henri Piffaut, Vice-President French Competition Authority; Gönenç Gürkaynak, UCL/ELIG; Tembinkosi Bonakele, South African Competition Commission/UCL.

18.30 The nascent regulatory narrative(s). What should be next?
Chair: Frederic Jenny, Chair, OECD Competition Commission
Participants: Jacques Cremer, Toulouse; Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye, Department of Computing, Imperial College London; Ioannis Lianos, UCL/ HCC President; Andrew McLean, UCL; Wolfgang Kerber, Marburg U; Eliana Garces, Director for Policy, Facebook; Rahmyn Kress, Founder HenkelX Ventures; Steering Committee, WEF Digital Platforms & Ecosystems*; Mark Spelman, Head of Thought Leadership, WEF 

19.45 Dinner keynote address

Dinner Keynotes: Pierre Regibeau, Chief Economist, European Commission: keynote title tbc
Marco Iansiti, Harvard Business School: Regulatory challenges in a world of platforms & AI

In between courses, we will hear from two distinguished speakers on the opportunities and pitfalls of regulating digital endeavours, and in particular platforms & ecosystems and AI.

The Programme - 28 February 2020

(How) should we regulate Platforms & Ecosystems? Competition Law and Policy in Digital Economy
Organized by London Business School and UCL; Supported by the World Economic Forum

This meeting, co-sponsored by the London Business School and UCL and supported by the World Economic Forum (and its Digital Transformation Programme, initiative for Digital Platforms & Ecosystems) is strictly by invitation. It brings together senior regulators and policy makers, academics and thought leaders, and practitioners, who meet under Chatham House rules to discuss key topics and help shape a White Paper that provides a conceptual roadmap and suggestions on ways forward. It will combine cutting-edge presentations with group discussion and interaction.

Workshop Schedule

8.00 – 8.30  Registration and coffee

8.30 Welcome and introduction for the day
Cristian Citu, WEF, Michael G Jacobides, LBS, Ioannis Lianos, UCL/HCC

8.45 What are the challenges of competing in platforms and ecosystems? Implications for Competition Law & Policy This session will consist of brief presentations from some of the key contributors in this debate, who, drawing from their research and engagement with firms, will provide a summary of the main changes to the economy and the challenges in maintaining a level playing field. Their presentations (summarized in a few brief slides) will be no more than 8 minutes, with two 4 minute commentaries from practitioners, leaving over 25 minutes for open Q&A.  

  • Michael G Jacobides, LBS (co-author, w A Sundararajan and M van Alstyne, of the WEF White Paper on Digital Platforms & Ecosystems, 2019). 
  • Geoff Parker, Dartmouth & Marshall van Alstyne, BU/MIT (co-authors, with S. Choudary, of “Platform Revolution” Norton Press, 2016.) 
  • Marco Iansiti, Harvard Business School (co-author, with K. Lakhani, of “Competing in the Age of AI: Strategy and Leadership When Algorithms and Networks Run the World”, HBS Press, 2020)
  • Annabelle Gawer, U of Surrey (co-author, with M. Cusumano & D. Yoffie, of “The Business of Platforms: Strategy in the Age of Digital Competition, Innovation, and Power”, MIT Press, 2019)

Commentary from practice: Martin Reeves, Chairman of BCG Henderson Institute, Benedict Evans, and Cristina Caffara, President, CRA

Moderated by Frederic Jenny, Chairman of the OECD Competition Commission

10.05 Coffee Break

10.20 Are the regulatory tools and frameworks fit for digital purpose? Tackling platform & ecosystem players and power-- and the validity of our approach

This session will also consist of brief presentations, no more than 7 to 8 minutes, and even briefer commentaries, to enable significant time for conversation with workshop participants- of over 20 minutes, to ensure a good level of interaction. Presenters include:

Amelia Fletcher, Non-Executive Director of the Competition and Markets Authority and Non-Executive Director of the Financial Conduct Authority and Payment Systems Regulator (co-author of the Furman Report ‘Unlocking Digital Competition’, 2019)

  • Jacques Cremer, Professor of Economics, Toulouse School of Economics (co-author of the ‘Competition Policy for the Digital Era’ Report for the European Commission, 2019)
  • Oliver Bethell, Director, EMEA Competition, Google
  • Ariel Ezrachi, Oxford U (author of “Virtual Competition”) (co-author of the Stigler Centre Report, 2019)
  • Tommaso Valletti, Imperial Business School (former Chief Economist, EU DG Competition)

Commentator: Vanessa Turner (Senior Advisor, BEUC), Martin Schmalz, (Saïd Business School, Oxford and co-author of “The Business of Big Data: How to Create Lasting Value in the Age of AI”)

Moderated by Cristina Caffara, President, CRA

11.45 Break-out groups: What are the key issues with digital competition and regulation of platforms & ecosystems in our sectors?

This session will allow participants to sit in non-designated tables, roughly along industry lines, to help provide a bottom-up view of what are the main issues that participants identify, to be debriefed after the networking lunch. Groups will follow sectoral lines. 

Discussion leaders: 

  • Mark Cliffe, Chief Economist, ING (Group focus: Financial Services); 
  • Kunal Sachdeva, Executive Director, Microsoft (Group focus: Tech); 
  • Carsten Linz, CDO, BASF (Group focus: Industrials); 
  • Evangelos Avramakis, Head of Ecosystem Research, SwissRe (Group focus: Healthcare); 
  • Nicolas Verschelden, Head of Digital Innovation, AB-InBev (Group focus: B2C/FMCG); 
  • Niama El Bassunie, CEO, WaystoCap (Group focus: others, focus on developing world)

12.30 – 13.30 Networking Lunch (Garden Room)

13.30 Group debrief: Issues with regulating the digital economy- bottom-up
Presentation by the discussion leaders with a 4 minute recap of discussions in their groups – and areas of focus 

14.00 Deep-dive: Rethinking the future of mobile, platforms and data

This session will provide a specific illustration which is both very important, and at the foundation of further potential changes, looking at the challenges in a specific sector which will continue to be at the focus of policy and strategy interest. Participants will give a brief set of thoughts (of no more than 5-6 minutes) to allow for an interactive discussion. Participants:

  • Wolfgang Kerber, Marburg U
  • Yves-Alexandre de Montjoye, Department of Computing, Imperial College London
  • Damien Geradin, Tilburg University & UCL, Geradin & Partners
  • Eliana Garces, Policy Director, Facebook 
  • Fabian Biegel, SAP/GaiaX
  • Martin Creaner, former CEO TM Forum

Moderated by Michael G. Jacobides, LBS

14.50 Coffee break

15.10 The perspective from the Regulators/Judges: Challenges in re-shaping the field
This panel will leverage the presence of senior representatives of the European regulatory establishment (but also of representatives, in the room, of other jurisdictions such as the USA), and they will each provide their sense of challenges before engaging in a discussion both among the panel and with the audience (for a minimum of 15 minutes).

  • Jacques Steenbergen, President of the Belgium Competition Authority
  • Martijn Snoep, Chairman of the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets
  • Henri Piffaut, Vice-President French Competition Authority
  • Simeon Thornton, Director, Competition and Markets Authority (CMA)
  • Frederic Jenny, Chairman of the OECD Competition Commission
  • Simon Holmes, Competition Appeal Tribunal

Moderated by Ioannis Lianos, President, Hellenic Competition Commission

16.20 Stretch break

16.30 Reshaping the competitive field for the digital era: Key questions for the future - and the White Paper on managing competition given platforms & ecosystems

This session will include three parallel discussions, where participants, who will self-select their group, will consider three different sets of topics: 

Group 1: What are the new principles to consider for the Digital Economy? How can we enshrine the role of Neutrality, Interoperability, Portability and beyond?
Discussion starter: Michael G. Jacobides, LBS vs Eliana Garces, Policy Director, Facebook (corporate voice). Discussion leader Cristian Citu, WEF; Rapporteur: Mark Spelman, Head of Thought Leadership, WEF  

Group 2 : How should we revisit M&A activity and the role of “killer acquisitions”, or acquisitions that reshape platform power?
Discussion starters: Tommaso Valletti (regulator voice); Felix Staeritz, FoundersLane (corporate voice). Discussion leader: David Lancefield, PwC; Rapporteur: Annabelle Gawer, Surrey

Group 3: Should we break them up? Institutions and remedies for the digital economy
Discussion starters: Ioannis Lianos, Chairman, Hellenic Competition Commission/UCL (regulator voice); Lenny Stein, Splunk (corporate voice). Discussion leader: Martin Bruncko, Stream Capital (former Alternate Finance Minister and Research & Innovation Minister, Slovakia; former WEF Head for Europe); Rapporteur: Simon Torrance, Platform Economy Summit.

17.20 – 17.50   Synthesis of breakout groups and concluding comments

17.50 – 18.00   Next priorities for World Economic Forum, Mark Spelman, WEF

18.00 – 19.00   Reception