Apart from the most advanced approach (CDI), there is a second one, especially suitable for low budget cases, or just to get a first Open Innovation experience before tackling more ambitious challenges: open innovation through social media platforms. The idea can be just as simple as asking questions and getting feedback from your customers and other stakeholders.

But this simple idea entails a change of paradigm: not using social media just to gain awareness and reputation by getting people to talk about your brand positively, but getting also other kinds of information that are not so interesting to spread throughout the social networks, but which are critical for the product or service improvement. These could be:

  • Following up a query posed by a client to ensure that the issue has been solved, showing empathy and trying also to find out the root of the problem and to better understand the needs of the customer. Asking not only “what” but also “why”. This could also be done with a feedback form, and is a way to identify opportunities for improvement and innovation.
  • Asking the customers about several key attributes of the service, not just to make a quantitative assessment, but rather as an open question searching for qualitative insights that will drive the marketing team towards key ideas for improvement. However, as we will see later, it is convenient to contrast ideas with the stakeholders before going ahead.
  • Asking the customers for new ideas to improve or better market the product or service, in the shape of a contest or just as a next step when they are already engaged in one of the aforementioned conversations. Engaged customers like to be listened to so that they can share their opinions and ideas, and that these can be taken onboard.
  • Testing prototyped ideas with customers in order to collect their input. As it is usually done through market research institutes – not necessarily by substituting them, but complementing their services –, but in a much cheaper and faster way. It is always interesting to listen to the engaged customers’ opinions to the new product ideas before being launched on the market.
  • Asking about the kinds of uses given to the product or service, to discover new demand segments and better tailor the product to every need or use (segment). In some cases this could lead to the development of new product categories and new markets, the dream of most marketing innovators.

All these uses are actually bridging qualitative research and brainstorming, market intelligence and innovation, and this is how it always should be in order to better meet market demands and to catch market opportunities.

This article is from the White Paper “Envisioning Open Innovation in Destinations”, available for download in 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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