Nick Whitehouse of McCarthyFinch is ‘digital disruptor of the year’

AI law startup founder got three of the six awards in IDC’s annual Digital Transformation (DX) event

Kiwi Artificial Intelligence (AI) Law startup McCarthyFinch tops three of the six categories at the Digital Transformation (DX) Awards for Australia and New Zealand organised by IDC.

McCarthyFinch founder and CEO Nick Whitehouse is named DX Leader of the Year, Talent Accelerator, and the overall awardee for Digital Disruptor of the Year.  

The other winners are: 

  • New Pizza Chef with Augmented Reality by Domino’s Pizza named as 2019 Omni Experience Innovator for Australia and New Zealand.

  • Chain of Origin by Nestlé Australia named as 2019 Operating Model Master for Australia and New Zealand.

  • 10Zing - Real Time Personalisation at Scale by Sportsbet named as 2019 Omni Experience Innovator for Australia and New Zealand.

    Credit: IDC NZ

The winners will represent Australia and New Zealand in the regional awards during IDC’s Digital Transformation Summit in Singapore October 23 to 24.

IDC defines Digital Transformation (DX) as the approach where organisations drive changes in their business models and business ecosystems by leveraging digital technologies (e.g. cloud, mobile, big data/analytics, social and IoT) and competencies.

Tehmasp Parekh, chief operating officer of IDC Asia Pacific, commends the winners and finalists for their outstanding work.

“There is clearly an increasing adoption of third platform technologies and innovation accelerators as enterprises race to transform for the future,” he says.

“The winning projects mirror this trend with inclusion of AI, blockchain and analytics to achieve operational efficiency and customer satisfaction. 

“These organisations are successfully thriving with a digitally-native culture, using insights at scale, and deliver new models of customer engagements, all of which are enabled by an intelligent, empowered and agile workforce to evolve into the Future Enterprise.”

From the judging panel:

 McCarthyFinch  - Digital Disruptor and Talent Accelerator

"McCarthyFinch was launched as a joint venture between law firm MinterEllisonRuddWatts and tech VC, Goat Ventures, to explore the impacts of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on the legal industry.

The team of leading PhDs, legal engineers, and award-winning lawyers built a legal AI platform, Author, to read, write and reason like a lawyer. These tools are helping industry leaders reimagine their businesses, create superior technical oversight, speed through tactical and operational decision making and deliver unrivaled transactional efficiency.

The idea of AI lawyers is controversial and law remains a highly regulated area of practice. AI is going to disrupt the industry so the role of a lawyer is going to change, McCarthyFinch are addressing this head on. They have introduced the role of Legal Engineer, which helps to bridge the gap between the worlds of law, technology and design.

They have introduced a talent development programme and are working with Universities, interning students and mentoring programmes, with the aim of creating the largest legal engineering talent pool in the world in the next two years."

At the global launch of authorDOCS in Auckland: CEO Nick Whitehouse and Chair James Schellhase of McCarthyFinch; and CEO Andrew Poole and Partner Tom Maasland of MinterEllisonRuddWattsCredit: MinterEllisonRuddWatts
At the global launch of authorDOCS in Auckland: CEO Nick Whitehouse and Chair James Schellhase of McCarthyFinch; and CEO Andrew Poole and Partner Tom Maasland of MinterEllisonRuddWatts

McCarthyFinch CEO and founder Nick Whitehouse

"As the co-founder and CEO, Nick constantly pushes the boundaries of innovation and is very good at pulling together support from stakeholders that don't normally work together. He has a very hands on approach and he has a crystal clear vision which he articulates to both decision makers and DX teams.

Law is not something that shifts easily so it is a real achievement to be seen as a DX leader in the use of technologies, like AI, that will have a significant impact on the shape of the workplace and workers.

Nick is a great advocate of DX not just in the legal industry but for the New Zealand digital economy itself. He has won numerous awards and is not only recognised in NZ but also by global digital leaders by becoming the first New Zealand business to make it as a finalist in TechCrunch San Francisco's Startup BattleField, and coming 6th out of 1000 global startups.

He is also the global winner of Talent’s Most Disruptive Leader Award, as judged by Sir Richard Branson and Steve Wozniak and the APAC winner of Talent’s Best Leader Award, also judged by Sir Richard Branson and Steve Wozniak. Wherever he goes, Nick is a huge advocate for DX and the outcomes that can be achieved.”

Credit: Divina Paredes

 New Pizza Chef with Augmented Reality by Domino’s Pizza

“In a world first for the QSR (Quick Service Restaurant) industry, Domino’s New Pizza Chef uses Augmented Reality technology to allow customers to create their favourite pizza and experience it in their own space on their mobile device. They can choose from all of Domino’s toppings to create billions of possible combinations and see what the pizza would look like in real-life.

Developed using the Unity cross-platform game engine - an engine more associated with gaming than mobile retail – New Pizza Chef with Augmented Reality offers a high quality of realism in its images as well as incorporating gamification elements like funny characters, stickers and pop up’s to further engage customers.

The AR innovation is just one in a swathe of digital technology investments Domino’s has made in its bid to better engage customers. Other capabilities in recent years include Liza Pizza Tracker, OnTime Cooking, its GPS Driver Tracker technology and its artificial intelligence-powered delivery robot, DRU.

This was a great example of AR as marketing initiative in a very competitive market." 

Credit: IDC NZ

Chain of Origin by Nestlé Australia - Operating Model Master

Chain of Origin is Nestlé’s answer to complete supply chain transparency, from crop to cup and with technology at its heart. In collaboration with Amazon’s Managed Block chain, they have set up a Hyperledger Fabric network and invited partners to collaborate with their supply chain transparency efforts. This will allow customers and supply chain partners to track their products on the blockchain from the farm all the way through to consumption.

The aim is to set an industry benchmark for transparency in the supply chain,  and meet growing customer demand for provenance visibility, and Chain of Origin is a solution that will meet growing demands from customers to understand more about where the products they are consuming come from.

Part of the success of this initiative is added independent data to consumers and industry professionals to build digital trust into the model.  The judges felt that this was a very clever marketing campaign. It is clever [use of] language, because it doesn't mention blockchain, a term that many consumers don't understand. This is a model that is about full transparency for not only the supply chain partners but also end customers and it is this emphasis that makes it stand out from their competitors.”

Credit: IDC NZ

10Zing - Real Time Personalisation at Scale by Sportsbet - Omni Experience Innovator

“Sportsbet is an Australian internet betting and entertainment website that has been established for over 15 years. They are no stranger to digital transformation, being an online digital native.  At the core of their vision for DX is the customer and this has led to it becoming an information visionary, to create real time personalisation at scale through the 10Zing project.

This transformation initiative has shifted their betting applications from a one-size fits all to a personalised, easier to use experience for their customers, creating real time personalisation at scale. Taking raw customer data from source systems, it is processed, analysed and modelled to ultimately send relevant and timely decisions to the channels that directly serve the customer.

Beyond information transformation, which Sportsbet have been recognised for tonight, the organisation emphasises the role of its strong digital culture and focus on people to create and deliver brilliant digital experiences for its customers. 

Talent plays an enormous role and Sportsbet's focus on talent acquisition has included data scientists and across multiple disciplines and their approach and vision has proven attractive to the best talent, who would normally be secured by much larger organisations.”

This was a superb example of using DX to increase customer participation, experience and loyalty. Sportsbet’s approach to continuous improvement will see them continue to be seen as an information visionary.

Credit: IDC NZ

Sign up for CIO newsletters for regular updates on CIO news, career tips, views and events. Follow CIO New Zealand on Twitter:@cio_nz

Send news tips and comments to @divinap