McDonald's new co-creation business model is allowing users to call the shots and drive product development in Australia.
During her keynote speech at the 2016 Connect Expo event in Melbourne, Intel’s managing director for A/NZ Kate Burleigh described how the popular fast food chain supports co-creation with technology as part of its move toward ‘digital convergence’.
“The digital convergence is actually happening in Australia, from banks to burgers, every industry I can think of,” said Burleigh.
Co-creation was described as just one example of how sharing-based businesses like Uber, Airbnb and LiquidSpace have spurred the digital convergence, where a business has both a strong digital and physical presence.
“Co-creation economies ask ‘how can we put the customer into the seat of the solution?’ Allow them the opportunity to tell us what they want, and we can create it,” she said.
Burleigh cited the example with McDonald’s ‘Create Your Own Taste’ service, which provides a digital menu option for consumers to configure the type of burger they want made.
“[McDonald’s] has had a huge increase in sales because they put the control in the consumers' hands. No one sells-up better than the customer themself, so instead of the old ‘would you like fries with that?' this guy will say 'I’d like five burger patties, bacon, extra sauce and some salad in my burger' – so that’s co-creation.
“What’s more, McDonald's now have the data and they know that people specified exactly what they wanted, and now they can do product development around the most popular selections.”
Burleigh also cited an example with MLC Insurance and its efforts to put more control into the hands of their insurance holders. MLC is now trialling data gathering via health and fitness trackers, and offering its customers the chance to reduce their premiums by reaching a certain activity level.
Burleigh said that it was crucial that today organisations are working to achieve digital convergence, but they have to act quickly and not assume a business cannot adapt because it wasn’t born digital.
“My challenge to everyone is that we all now have to think digital, it doesn’t matter if you were born digital or not. We need to look at those companies understand what they’re doing so well and discover how we can actually embrace them.”
Though businesses and industries need to work out the right standards and regulations to adhere to so digital and shared economies are a safe space, Burleigh advised against waiting for regulators to take action.
“We know there are debates around regulation, tax, etc…but we can’t really wait for the regulators to catch up. Companies can spend a lot of time working with the regulators trying to get it right, but the reality is industry is always going to move faster.
“Our advice to everyone is to set your own standards, set those standards really high, and don’t wait for the regulators to define things because you’ll be waiting too long and someone will figure it out before you.”
For those seeking a strong example of the importance of digital convergence to convince a CEO or Board of its relevance and growing presence, Burleigh pointed to Amazon as “the ultimate proof”.
“This is digital convergence going the other way – Amazon has actually opened up physical bricks and mortar bookstores in the US,” she said.
“They were born digital, but they’ve done things differently. Yes, you still transact and buy your books online, but they now have a physical presence.”
Bonnie Gardiner travelled to The Next Big Thing Summit as a Guest of Intel.
Follow Bonnie on Twitter: @Bonneth