In 2009, Coca Cola set out to refresh the way soda was dispensed at restaurants such as McDonalds and Moe’s. It aimed to put choice in customers’ hands. It intended to empower its customer with the act of artistry.
Designed with the automaker Ferrari, Coca Cola introduced Freestyle; a sleek new approach to do more than serve soda. Freestyle is a drink machine that can mix over 100 different kinds of Coca Cola products including soda pop, power drinks, and flavored waters.
In a modern twist on the 1950s soda-shop float, Freestyle brings choice and collaboration to customers’ fingertips. Strangers and groups of diners alike, standing in front of this modern marvel, teach one another what they’ve created and introduce new possibilities in long-established mealtime patterns.
As thirsty consumers mix new flavors, Coca Cola, through built-in business intelligence, tests the new creations, deciding whether to bottle and market these drinks for others to enjoy.
Freestyle shows a glimpse into the future of customer expectations. It offers a vision—and even a model—for corporate learning.
Education represents a more complicated process than soda making, however it is also an inefficient business in need of creativity, choice, collaboration, and courage.
Today trainers serve a few dozen employees at once in expensive classrooms at frequently inconvenient times. Learning management systems disseminate and track courses that capture a small fraction of what’s learned across the enterprise. These characteristics pass as necessary until organizations reimagine and redefine success. Instead of educating a few hundred or thousand people a year, what if the learning function aimed to impact hundreds of thousands?
In a new paper out today entitled “Revolutionizing Corporate Learning” that I wrote with Dan Pontefract (author of the fabulous new book Flat Army) and Kerry Brown, we propose the concept of Learning Nouveau. It can offer both branded and personalized options that can be consumed in the precise manner that suits all the people served. Learning records can be tracked to provide and predict what people seek and how they wish to learn it. These options should reach far beyond that which was created by any one department and announces to the organization, “We provide a palette to learn most anything, anytime.”
Not only could learning managers become artists, they would lead organizations that are modern, well designed, simple, and fun.
[photo credit: April Bennett Photography]