The Chinese Government strategy for tourism development planning biddings deserves a special mention. It consists of selecting a short list of consultancy firms and dividing the project in several phases. The firms selected to carry out the first phase compete to pass through the second phase and are paid according to three levels of rewards (the 1st, the 2nd, and the rest) depending on the quality of their outcome. Only half of them pass through the next phase. This process continues up to the final phase where only two firms compete. The winner gets the best reward and is assigned to lead the implementation, with the support of the other firm, as long as the final outcome also incorporates some of their ideas.

This procedure is expensive but manages to stimulate competition to the utmost and takes advantage of many qualified contributions, as long as some of the ideas presented by the eliminated firms may also be incorporated within the project. In addition, it reduces the bias that expertise and track records creates in many public biddings, where the most experienced firms overshadow other applicants which could do a better job or at least bring in interesting innovative approaches. Furthermore, in many cases only the projects carried out are considered when assessing the candidates, disregarding their achieved results.

It is a must to talk about the innovation platforms, which work as intermediaries between the innovators’ communities and the companies that require their contributions. Such platforms, like Innocentive, have gained a reputation among the communities of innovators, and so are quite successful at drawing the innovators’ attention with their calls. They also develop advanced tools and methods that optimize the efficiency and effectiveness of the process, working with the aforementioned Challenge Driven Innovation approach. They are likely to become key players in the near future of Open Innovation.

Beyond the approaches, two key ideas should be considered when putting OI into practice:

  • Whether you look for ideas or solutions to problems, being precise in the description of the problem, what you want to achieve, constraints or other conditions to make it feasible and viable, is a must to make the process efficient and effective.
  • Targeting the right innovators is obviously a key success factor. Targets should include not only industry experts but also special clients, suppliers, partners, and experts from related industries that are more advanced in product, business model innovation and technology.

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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