In the case of destinations willing to embrace the principles of Tourism 3.0, the main behaviors to foster within the culture change effort are collaboration, innovation, and engagement.

Recent research in psychology, sociology, and experimental economics suggests that people behave far more cooperatively than it is usually assumed. During experiments on cooperative behavior, only 30% behave selfishly, whereas 50% systematically and predictably behave cooperatively. Some of them cooperate conditionally, treating others in the same manner as they are treated, but there is never a majority of people consistently behaving selfishly.

Further, Neuroscience also shows that a reward circuit is triggered in our brains when we cooperate with one another, and that provides a scientific basis for saying that at least some people want to cooperate, given a choice, because it feels good.

These findings suggest that instead of controlling and setting individual achievement based incentives to motivate people, companies should use systems that rely on engagement and a sense of common purpose. Several levers can help executives build cooperative systems: encouraging communication, ensuring authentic framing, fostering empathy and solidarity, guaranteeing fairness and morality, using rewards and punishments that appeal to intrinsic motivations, relying on reputation and reciprocity, and ensuring flexibility.

The majority of human beings are more willing to be cooperative, trustworthy, and generous than the dominant model has permitted us to assume. If we recognize that, we can build efficient systems by relying on our better selves rather than optimizing for our worst.

Based upon these assumptions, destinations 3.0 can easily build a culture of collaboration by:

  • Inspiring them with a vision of change that is beyond their individual capacity to bring about
  • Convincing them that the other collaborators are necessary to overcome the challenge
  • Preventing any participant from benefiting unfairly from others’ efforts, balancing the rewards
  • Cultivating good relationships among participants through informal gatherings and activities

The success of a collaborative community requires four organizational efforts:

  • Defining and building a shared purpose articulates how the group sets itself apart from competitors and the value it intends to bring to its customers and the society. This should be agreed upon consultation of members to ensure that they all feel involved in it.
  • Cultivating an ethic of contribution is about fostering a set of values that rewards people who prioritize the advance towards the common purpose over their own.
  • Developing processes that enable people to work together in flexible but disciplined projects. Protocols should be written and revised with the contribution of people involved in the task.
  • Creating an infrastructure in which collaboration is valued and rewarded, a platform that centralizes all generated knowledge applicable to various projects, where it is possible to assess everybody’s contribution, working as reputation scorecard to reward contributors.

These organizational efforts into results, it is essential to provide a framework for collaboration allowing the connection between people based on what they know and in the context of the innovation challenges at hand. This also means giving employees tools to rapidly identify subject matter experts.

According to Harvard, there are 7 key factors to create a successful cooperative system:

  • Communication is an essential component for collaboration, so the system should facilitate communication among participants by all possible means.
  • Framing and authenticity. Framing a collaborative practice will help in engaging the participants at the beginning, but it will require authenticity to keep them committed.
  • Empathy and solidarity. As long as we feel socially linked to our community, we are more likely to cooperate sacrificing our interest for the group’s benefit.
  • Fairness and morality. People want to engage in what is morally correct, for which the main set of values should be defined.
  • Rewards and penalties. Incentive systems should be aligned with the inner motivations of participants rather than material rewards only. It should be social, rewarding and fun.
  • Reputation and reciprocity. A very powerful motivator is the expectation for reciprocity, which however may lead to corruption. Reputation is the best tool to avoid corruption.
  • Diversity. Cooperative systems need to consider motivation drivers other than money. So long as innovators have various motivations, incentive systems should integrate such variety.

The key factors for success in building a culture of collaboration are to be further developed in another upcoming blogpost, based on collaborative leadership.

This article is from the Whitepaper “Building a culture of collaboration and innovation” written by Jordi Pera, Founder and CEO at Envisioning Tourism 3.0 Ltd. You may download for free the full Whitepaper at www.envisioningtourism.com/whitepapers

Posted by Jordi Pera

Jordi Pera is an economist passionate about tourism, strategy, marketing, sustainability, business modelling and open innovation. He has international experience in marketing, intelligence research, strategy planning, business model innovation and lecturing, having developed most of his career in the tourism industry. Jordi is keen on tackling innovation and strategy challenges that require imagination, entail thoughtful analysis and are to be solved with creative solutions.

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