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It Takes a Village (Including our Customers)

community_circus

Say, if you had a restaurant or hotel tech startup, you would probably want to test-market your new product, to ensure what you are building meets actual market needs.

Turns out, inside METRO’s HoReCa.digital innovation unit, we have built a ‘community of customers exactly for that purpose. Our “it-takes-a-village approach” is unique among corporates, and certainly unique for our industry. It comes in form of a structured restaurant and hotel pilot and lead generation program that crowd-sources answers to pretty much every question you care to ask your future customers (and then some).

In the past, for a startup to get even a handful of restaurant owners to provide real-world feedback about their digital product was pretty good. Fast forward – for startups entering our program today, they actually get literally hundreds of prospective customers to pay attention.

And it doesn’t stop there. The true power of ‘smart communities’ lies in all sides sharing about what they know best. It is every bit as much about our hospitality accelerator companies learning from our HoReCa customers as it is about our customers learning from up-and-coming startups what innovation can do next. And it is about METRO itself learning from both sides, all while sharing our core competency with everyone involved.

 

Metro_Accelerator_2016_cohort_photobooth

The 2016 cohort having fun in the photo booth

 

So, yes. Our customers are a crucial part of our ‘community of innovation. It takes a village –where everyone is part of this important conversation.

If you care to share, comment, or otherwise engage around this post, join the conversation on Twitter (@andreaswuerfel) or drop me a line on LinkedIn.

 

About this series: Plenty around us relies on ‘digital’. METRO’s own wholesale and retail industries are adapting to new technology trends. As more of our customers’ customers rely on available digital solutions, the way business is conducted is changing rapidly. Our ‘communities of innovation’ series seeks to help explain this transitory path. Not to decipher the underlying technologies, but rather to introduce you to tomorrow’s shapeshifters today, and to provide insights into the communities of innovation’ that make change happen.