Self regulation in the sharing economy is vital: Intel

Rather than waiting for regulation to be put in place by governing bodies, Kate Burleigh, Intel Australia managing director, believes that a business must set its own standards when it comes to the sharing economy.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

When it comes to the sharing economy, the onus is on a business to determine what regulations should be put in place to make it a trustworthy space, according to Kate Burleigh, Intel Australia managing director.

Speaking at the Next Big Thing Summit in Melbourne on Tuesday, Burleigh urged her audience to take the risk and put their own rules and regulations in place, rather than waiting for regulators to do it for them.

"My premise would be that we can't really wait for the regulators to catch up," she said. "It's definitely our jobs as companies like Intel ... but the reality is, industry is always going to move faster than the regulators.

"So our advice to everyone is set your own standards. Set those standards really high and start running ahead of the regulators because if you wait for the regulators to define it, you'll be waiting too long and someone will work it out before you."

When talking to organisations about their transformation into a new business economy model such as the sharing economy, Burleigh said a lot of them would share a common belief that companies like Uber and Airbnb are going to be successful in a digital world because they were born digital and it is easy for them.

"All companies have to think digital, it doesn't matter that you weren't born digital," Burleigh said. "We need to look at these companies and understand what they're doing so well and discover how we can actually embrace them."

Burleigh said the "cool thing" about new and emerging business models is that they are now moving beyond the sharing economy and into digital lifestyling economies, such as a co-creation economy, which aims to put the customer in the seat of the solution in a bid to drive information out of the customer.

A personal favourite of hers, Burleigh used the McDonald's Australia platform of Create Your Taste burger to explain the concept of a co-creation economy. Create Your Taste is a large touchscreen kiosk inside McDonald's restaurants that allows the customer to choose the ingredients for their own burger.

"The Create Your Taste phenomena has just gone nuts in Australia," she said.

"I won't spill the stats on this from a McDonald's point of view, but the reality is that they have had huge increase in sales because when you put the controller in the consumer's hand, no one sells up better than the consumer themselves.

"I might add it's got Intel inside."

Additionally, Burleigh said the data McDonald's retrieves from customers using the platform is invaluable, with the fast food giant owning the data of what people specifically want from them.

"Data is often referred to as the new gold," she said. "I'm completely on board with that, but the other thing I would be completely on board with is how we treat that data and how we protect people's privacy is critical to every business.

"Trust is won in drips, but lost in buckets."

Although still thought of in a negative light, Burleigh said disruption actually brings with it a lot of opportunities as well as challenges, adding that she could no longer think of an industry that is immune to digital disruption.

Disclaimer: Asha Barbaschow travelled to Melbourne as a guest of Intel.

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