Category: Innovation

Business model innovation, open innovation and co-creation practices and case studies

Co-creationInnovationOpen innovationStrategyStrategy planning & execution

Enhancing competitiveness through open innovation

As explained in many previous blogposts, the Open innovation system is one of the key features that set destinations 3.0 apart from competitors. One of the outcomes of the innovation system is the generation of ideas for improving competitiveness at all levels: product, cluster and cross-destination.

Product

  • Ideation bank for developing new products
  • Product development contests
  • Forum discussions to detect weaknesses and new ideas
  • Professional advisory on improving product competitiveness

Cluster

  • Forum discussions to detect weaknesses and new ideas
  • Professional advisory on improving cluster competitiveness
  • Mission driven innovation challenges to tackle cluster competitiveness issues

Cross-destination

  • Forum discussions to detect weaknesses and new ideas
  • Professional advisory on improving cross-destination competitiveness
  • Mission driven innovation challenges to tackle cross-destination competitiveness issues

Further, it is important to remember that the Monitoring system is to gather information that eventually should help in determining competitiveness improvement priorities and orientating improvement direction. This information is obtained as a result of the following research goals:

  • Tourists’ needs, problems, and concerns in view of identifying insecurities and discomforts to be addressed through improvement or development of new services and facilities.
  • Tourists’ motivations and concerns to sense the convenience of developing new products or mission driven tourism activities.
  • Tourists’ opinions to pre-test ideas on new products or marketing initiatives, to ensure their viability and adequate development.

Beyond these outcomes, both the open innovation and monitoring system are flexible and so permanently open to add new features and activities to tackle new challenges in the most appropriate way, and so the variety of outcomes may increase constantly. The Whitepaper “Envisioning Open Innovation in destinations” is to explain further details on these issues.

How else do you think that the Open Innovation could contribute to enhance competitiveness?

InnovationStrategyStrategy planning & executionTourism marketing

Product development programs

There are certain types of products that may be developed in many destinations:

  • Events calendar: there should be an Events committee in charge of designing an attractive calendar of events, both to cover seasonality gaps and to strengthen the value during the high season, when there is the toughest rivalry among destinations.
  • Theme routes: leveraging both material and immaterial natural or cultural heritage may be achieved by creating theme routes. These may consist of visiting places related to a story or a historical character, or just linking related resources.
  • Shopping streets: streets with a sufficient number of attractive stores could be marketed as shopping streets creating a brand, attracting new ones, and enhancing the stores service competitiveness to guarantee a premium shopping experience.
  • Attraction of DMC to the destination offering special interest experiences that are being developed in other destinations to broaden the product portfolio. Some DMCs know-how may be highly appreciated and even have a market prestige that attracts visitors themselves.
  • Souvenir product line: all destination brands may be leveraged through the creation of a merchandise product line, encompassing typical branded products (t-shirts, caps, etc.) and also genuinely local souvenirs related to the unique destination assets.
  • Destination smart card: specially conceived for city destinations, the smart card encompasses public transport allowance, free entrance to many sites and discounts for many other sites, along with some vouchers for restaurants and other services.

Which other product development programs would you consider?

 

Co-creationCollaborative business modelsInnovationMarketing 3.0Open innovation

Product development through co-creation

Beyond customization right before or during the experience, co-creation may take place in many 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 on own 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 working to generate and refine ideas leveraging all group members’ creativity.

Attendance should be mandatory for local DMC like the micro-entrepreneurs from the base of the pyramid, but also the participation of all other community stakeholders should be encouraged. Other interesting targets could be school students as part of their education, members of mission driven organizations such as NGO, etc.

Do you think of other ways to develop products through co-creation?

Business model innovationCo-creationInnovationMarketing 3.0Strategy

How to develop new products

Beyond the cluster’s and cross-destination conditions, product competitiveness is no doubt a key factor to consider in the overall assessment and strategy. Product competitiveness strategies entail sometimes developing new products and others just improving the current ones. In this regard, this section explains the key product development strategies and methods, some product development programs that are used in most destinations, and also the product competitiveness strategy and most common programs.

Developing new products is not an easy challenge. Once the product portfolio strategy is defined, the product categories to develop are established. Then, from the product category to the marketable product is where creativity and product development mastery make the difference. The main steps of the product development are the following:

  1. Conceptualization
  2. Business model design & test
  3. Feasibility study and assessment of social and environmental impacts of the product
  4. Business Plan
  5. Launch
  6. Monitoring performance & improvement

Even if the Product Manager is solely responsible for the product development, in Tourism 3.0, the co-creation and the ideas coming from the open innovation bring support in the steps 1, 2 and 6. Steps #1 and #2 are supported by the contribution of the co-creation workshops and the Open Innovation System through various types of contributions: professional and non-professional; whereas the step #6 is supported by the visitor’s creative reviews after their experience with the product.

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 of life-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
  3. Business model design & test
  4. Feasibility study and assessment of social and environmental impacts of the product
  5. Business plan
  6. Launch
  7. Monitoring performance & improvement

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 & refine them, and to invigorate contribution. The Product Manager is also in charge of selecting and managing channel partners, organizing 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. These two are the most inspirational sources for product improvement and new products development. The capacity of the product to be customized for every tourist makes it more productive in terms of stories created and creative reviews.

Would you consider other steps in the product development process?

InnovationStrategyTourism marketing

Developing destination’s emotional value: feelings

There are also many kinds of feelings that the destination atmosphere may create in the visitor. Such sensations can be created through adding several kinds of features or extras that provide feelings of life, authenticity & harmony, magic atmosphere, variety, fun, etc. Such extras may be, for every kind of feeling:

  • Harmony & authenticity: urban aesthetics, people /employees dressing in traditional costumes, architectural style, souvenirs, cultural monuments & sculptures, natural smells, open kitchen in a restaurant, religious ceremonies, artisans handcrafting products, etc. Charming destinations are famous for their identity reflected in their architectural style.
  • Life: wildlife (birds, butterflies, squirrels on trees, flying fish, ducks and swans on water canals or lakes, etc.), artists performing outdoors (human sculptures, musicians, painters, acrobats, etc.), street markets, water springs, liveliness of local population, plants and flowers on balconies, people performing traditional arts (dancing, Tai chi, etc.), and everything else that turns sightseeing into life-seeing and feeling.
  • Magic feelings: Night illumination with different colors, attractive smells, fireworks, inspiring music, dancing springs, permanent nice surprises, sophisticated street performances, etc. and the synchronicity between all these elements.
  • Variety: different kinds of shops in shopping streets, broad range of courses in a menu, facades of different colors, markets with wide variety of products, gardens with many types of plants and flowers, options for amusement, architecture, etc.
  • Hospitality: cleanliness, proper indoor temperature, kindness of the local population, proper condition of the cultural and natural heritage, interior design and materials, service customization, etc.
  • Relax: birds singing, water flowing, relaxation music, green areas, silence, etc.
  • Safety: cleanliness and good conservation of the urban landscape, kindness and honesty of the local population, peaceful atmosphere, lack of beggars in the streets, illumination at night, police in the streets, smooth traffic, good functioning of public services, etc.

Besides, there are some feelings closely related to Tourism 3.0:

  • Customization: making the tourist feel as a unique person, being called by one’s name by service suppliers, being able to tailor the service experiences, small personalized gifts, etc.
  • Contribution: letting people know how their contribution in the open innovation or content marketing system is useful for the destination, letting people visualize the result of their contribution, letting visitors provide ideas and opinions on as many issues as possible, etc.
  • Growth: learning new skills, opening one’s mind, gaining personal and social awareness, acquiring new good habits, and all that results from the life-changing experiences.
  • Recognition & reward: being mentioned in a public place or document for your contribution, receiving an award, receiving a tangible reward, etc. for your contributions.

Do you think of other ways to create positive feelings for the visitors?

InnovationMarketing 3.0StrategyStrategy planning & executionTourism marketing

Developing emotional value: experiences

The value created by the experiences and feelings in relation to the discomforts and risks lived by the tourists during their holiday in the destination is referred to as emotional value. In this point, there are many types of experiences, feelings, discomforts and risks to talk about, for each of these four factors is explained through the development of many categories.

When classifying experiences, there are many possible criteria that can be used. According to the relationship established between the tourist and the destination:

  • Edutainment: to learn while entertaining in an active relationship that keeps the tourist mentally absorbed.
  • Entertainment: to see, listen, smell, touch in a rather passive relationship that keeps the tourist mentally absorbed.
  • Escapism: to do some kind of sporting or physical activity that keeps the tourist active and physically immersed in the destination.
  • Esthetic: to be there, rather sightseeing entailing a passive relationship that keeps the tourist physically immersed in the destination.

Furthermore, the life-changing experiences leading the development of tourism 3.0 could also be classified in many categories depending on the type of transformation or change experienced by the tourist:

  • Personal awareness & discovery, and spiritual development
  • Social awareness and cross-cultural understanding
  • Environmental consciousness and education
  • Skill development in arts, communication and leadership
  • Transfer of values and wisdom
  • Personal transformation by discovering the fulfillment of contributing to the greater good

Finally, the experiences may also be classified according to the product or service they are generated by. In this classification, we distinguish many kinds of experiences:

  • Restaurants: food-street markets, panoramic restaurants, underwater restaurant, show cooking, boutique restaurant in a special location like a boat, self-cooking, terrace with view, cave restaurant, restaurant with live music & performance, etc.
  • Sightseeing with original & charming transport systems: gondolas, old fashioned tramway, rickshaw, seaplane, tourist train, dogsledding, snowmobile, camel/horse/elephant ride, hot balloon, helicopter, cable-car, transparent bottom boat, charming old boat, etc.
  • Accommodation: huts in trees, Ice hotel, monastery, boutique hotel, boat hotel, huts in the jungle, transparent ceiling igloo, cave hotel, castle, underwater hotel, etc.
  • Shopping: street markets, theme markets, shopping villages, artisans show-crafting, educational shopping –explaining how the product is done, or/and its benefits-, etc.
  • Culture & entertainment: Imax/3D cinema, charming villages & old towns, botanical garden, zoo, aquarium, wildlife watching, storytelling performance, museum, religious ceremony in a temple, visiting a Palace or a castle, theater, opera, music festivals, music & fireworks & springs, street theater, acrobatics show, etc.
  • Fun: adventure park & zip lines, roller coaster, party boat, water park, amusement park, etc.
  • Iconic experiences: these take place in an iconic building and may consist of many different types of activities such as sightseeing from a privileged position, attending events, museums, accommodation, etc. The iconic buildings may be a telecom tower, big wheel, Congress Center, Opera House, Wellness & Spa center, Sporting events venue, Imax Cinema, bridge, hotel, museum of science, national theater, temple, stadium, etc.
  • Special interest: cycling, hiking, learning to cook, bird watching, climbing, diving, snorkeling, sailing, learning languages, marathon, Sport events, learning about art, Cultural events, pilgrimages, wildlife discovery, skydiving, etc.

Do you think of other types of memorable experiences?

Co-creationMarketing 3.0StrategyTourism marketingTourism trends

Cross-destination competitiveness programs: enhancing marketing

Route partnering with neighbor destinations. Regardless of whether nearby destinations are within the same country or not, for some tourism sectors such as International touring or Fly & drive, marketing an attractive route encompassing a selection of interesting destinations is likely to be far more efficient and effective than marketing these destinations independently. Further, it makes the product far more competitive.

This partnership may be also attractive for some types of Special Interest travel, especially in the case of the long haul markets, whose tourists are more likely to do long routes once they land at the destination. The sum of Special interest attractions of the same kind within a route makes it an attractive product to justify a trip for many of these long-haul travelers. This is also an opportunity to develop new products for many destinations in the same area, making it a win-win development project.

Therefore it is convenient to explore partnership agreements with neighbor destinations which are suitable for adding value to the final product, so as to share marketing costs while creating a more attractive product. Even if many tour operators create these routes themselves, the marketing activities not only directed to tour operators (fam-trips, workshops, etc.), but also to the final client, are likely to increase the results of the marketing efforts.

New flight connections. A key program to develop is connecting the destination with all target markets, by all possible means, but mostly focusing on flight connections. Accessibility is a key factor for competitiveness, and so enhancing the capacity and the competition among transport operators benefits also the destination competitiveness.

Attracting new flight connections is not at all an easy challenge. First, and most importantly, the destination has to arouse sufficient demand to make the airline operator identify a business opportunity. To do so –whenever the destination is also an outbound market for the other- it is convenient to join efforts with the other destination’s DMO and Government in order to boost demand to clearly creating a profitable opportunity.

The Government and DMO should share with the airline operator the Tourism development plan, to build confidence and make them envision the business growth they can take advantage of, highlighting the marketing activities planned for their market. It is important to highlight that the intervention of the Government executives is very recommended, even in the cases when it is not strictly necessary, so as to build trust from the very beginning.

Destination App. Apart from the tourist information offices and guides, modern tourists like to have all or most of the information in their smartphone. Apps provide excellent information services, being able to provide tailored information on demand, high quality pictures and videos, downloadable maps, and many other features.

In the case of Tourism 3.0, Apps may be also a tool to foster tourist contribution to the content marketing system and product co-creation. Apps can operate like a channel through which the tourist provides service reviews and ratings, creative reviews about products, pictures, videos and text based stories, etc. It is important to point out that the destination should count on many free wifi areas to empower the Apps in providing all the possible services and up to date information.

Finally, Apps may also be a sales channel, providing access to the destination branded souvenirs online store, booking service, and also offering special deals near the location of the tourist through the geolocalization technology. Altogether, it is a very powerful tool, which is actually likely to become the main information supplier and the main channel to connect tourists with the destination operators. Closely related to the App services, the new technologies for augmented reality should also be included to provide a higher experiential value to the tourists through their mobile devices.

Which other programs would you consider to enhance the destination marketing?

InnovationStrategy planning & execution

Cross-destination competitiveness programs: developing feelings

Enhancing urban aesthetic harmony. As stated in previous sections, urban landscape is an important part of the destination attractiveness and therefore is something to consider in competitiveness plans. Elements such as the construction style, facade colors and materials, urban aesthetics style –dustbins, benches, fountains, etc.- and premises signs determine the aesthetic experience of the visitor by enhancing the character of the destination.

Destinations lacking this kind of style harmony should carry out a Plan stating the colors, materials and designs of all urban aesthetic elements, the intended illumination atmosphere banning premises signs that shine disrupting the atmosphere, the creation of green spaces, the style, range of colors and materials allowed in the buildings facades, the need for cleaning the facades, etc.

Implementing such a kind of program is a serious challenge, so long as it entails sometimes enforcing the house owners to clean or carry out work on their houses facades, which usually goes beyond their obligations stated by law. In these cases, it is advisable to plan an incentive system together with a subsidy or soft credit plan not to charge private owners with the whole cost of the Plan. So long as the result is a much more attractive destination, this is a profitable investment to carry out.

Consciousness and hospitality campaign. It sometimes happens that tourists are regarded as aliens by the local residents, not making them feel welcome during their stay. Connection with locals is indeed very appreciated for many tourists, and making them feel welcome is likely to increase their satisfaction and therefore the destination competitiveness.

The solution to that challenge is to carry out a campaign informing the local inhabitants about the importance of the tourism industry for the local economy: the amount of businesses and jobs that are directly and indirectly created and sustained thanks to the tourists. It is necessary to make them understand the importance of their attitude towards visitors to keep the business developing in favor of the economy.

In this point it is necessary to point out that some tourists do not behave properly while they are visiting their holiday destination, and so contribute to create a feeling of rejection by the local population towards visitors. In these cases, the hospitality campaign should be preceded by a redefinition of the targeting strategy to prevent certain types of tourists coming, and at the same time controlling the tourists’ behaviors by the local police.

Conservation of natural and cultural heritage. The cultural and natural heritage is the bulk of the destination landscape and also the core of many tourism experiences. A proper conservation is therefore essential for the tourism competitiveness and sustainability, and so this type of program should always be among the top priorities.

The conservation of the natural environment entails not only cleaning, but also managing the risks like fire or epidemics in forests, water depuration, installation of the proper systems to manage waste, and prevent people from littering and damaging the environment. In some cases, when there is some heritage of special value, it is convenient to create a protection area to prevent visitors from entering and spoiling the natural life.

With regards to the cultural heritage, there may be many types of assets to consider: historic buildings and monuments, where restoration is necessary; traditions, to be leveraged by creating events marketable to the tourists; local gastronomy, arts and crafts to be leveraged through the creation of outdoor markets; history, to be leveraged through the creation of ethnographic and history museums.

Which other programs would you consider to develop new feelings?

Business model innovationCo-creationCollaborative business modelsEnvironmental sustainabilityInnovation

Story innovation concepts: added value & crowd game driven experiences

Beyond the explained details of the four prototypes, there may be many other added value experiences to support the main one in fostering its popularity and conveying new contributions both in virtual and real world platforms. Some of these story related experiences could be video games (in the case of the prototypes 3 and 4 the video game is an essential component), comic based stories, theater plays, board games, movies, spin-off stories, merchandise products, etc. This is actually what film series such as Harry Potter, Star Wars or Lord of the rings have done to some extent, trying to satisfy the desires of their followers for more story related experiences.

With regards to the crowd game driven experiences, the environmental challenges would be driven by volunteers, usually entailing some kind of field work to achieve a certain goal in relation with the environment protection in the form of a game driven experience to make it more fun and stimulating. In the case of the creativity & cooperation challenge, it would be driven by contributors willing to prove their creative skills, in the form of a game driven experience where participants also have to prove teamwork capacity by solving one or more innovation challenges related with the mission purpose, which also serves as an educational experience in collaborative innovation. Finally, the educational fun experience is for tourists willing to entertain while taking away some significant learning outcomes related to skill development or social consciousness, for instance.

In the case of contributors in creativity & cooperation challenges and also in the case of story making contributors, there should be a system that not only facilitates but also rewards contributors based on a reputation and incentive system, in order to stimulate talented followers to bring in their passion and imagination to build the story world. This is not only crowd sourcing but also providing the audience members an opportunity to live a life-changing experience by exploiting their skills. The Whitepaper “Envisioning Open innovation in destinations” is to further develop the idea of the incentive and reputation system for contributors.

Do you envision other story innovation concepts to enhance the aforementioned ideas or to inspire new story based experiences?

Business model innovationCo-creationInnovationMarketing 3.0Open innovation

Story innovation concepts: story platform

A key idea to understanding the aforementioned prototypes is that of the story platform. In this concept there is one principal author who drafts the main guidelines of the story, like the location, the value proposition, a basic plot, and some of the main characters. This could also be called the story backbone or the story constraints.

 Taking this platform story as a starting point, the free contributors –working individually or in groups- may create their version of the story by filling all the gaps that the backbone leaves to develop the contributors’ imagination, adding new characters and sub-stories that shape its uniqueness. As a result, there end up being many different stories with a common purpose related to the mission for which tourism is being developed in the destination. This is the case of prototype 2.

In the case of prototypes 3 and 4, there would also be a platform story with constraints and pre-determined ingredients. But the difference is that they are game driven experiences applicable to many kinds of missions that are created to draw flows of contributors, volunteers or tourists in taking real action in benefit of the mission purpose.

 Further, in these cases the roles of the participants are all pre-determined and every individual decides what type of role he or she wants to play in the story, with freedom to develop the role with his or her skills, ideas and knowledge.

Do you envision other types of story platform to develop story based experiences?