The case of the life-changing experiences is where co-creation and open innovation play the most decisive role, due to their complex nature, as they have to provoke some kind of personal transformation in the visitor far beyond the usual tourism experiences. Their development process is therefore more complex as well. The development oflife-changing experiences entails the following steps:

  1. Starting from the mission as an inspirational mantra, and listening to related stories to better understand the life-changing idea, define the experience concept based on its life-changing goals (effects or impacts), the constituents of the positive change (those who benefit from the activity), and the activity behind the experience.
  2. Try to include storytelling training as a part of the experience, to generate new stories

In this case, the Product Manager has to supervise the adequacy of the ideas being developed through the open innovation, the product development contests and the co-creation workshops, to help improve and refine them, and to invigorate contribution.

The Product Manager is also in charge of selecting and managing channel partners, organising the aforementioned events, benchmarking and managing customer feedback.

Once the life-changing experience product has been launched, the performance is monitored and creative reviews are encouraged, along with the creation of stories about the experience.

Product co-creation may take place –before or during the experience- in different ways:

  • Co-creation workshops, organized as a creative and educational activity open to all stakeholders, which in turn may provide valuable ideas to develop products.
  • Product development contests, organized to promote contribution to the Open Innovation System providing elaborated ideas on how to develop new life-changing experiences.
  • Ideation bank contributions, permanently accessible as a section of the Open Innovation System, where innovation needs are posted, and solutions are submitted and voted.
  • Product Manager’s creation based on inputs from creative reviews and new stories, permanently inspiring and nurturing the marketers’ creativity.
  • Local service supplier creation based onown creativity, inputs from reviews and stories, and the technical support of the Product Manager.

The product co-creation workshops play a critical role as both educational and productive events. There, Product Managers explain the product development process and the key success factors for creating life-changing experiences according to the destination’s mission. The workshops educate the attendants in the art of ideation and team-work in order to generate and refine ideas by leveraging all group members’ creativity.

The co-creation of experiences is carried out in close collaboration with the creation of stories, as long as both inspire each other continuously. However, due to the different development process and types of professional contributors it is preferable to set them separately. The White Paper “The Marketing Plan 3.0” explains the product development process in more detail.

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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