Category: Collaborative business models

Case studies and visions on how to shape collaborative models and partnerships, envisioning its benefits

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?

Collaborative business modelsMarketing 3.0StrategyStrategy planning & execution

Destination models’ partnership & ownership related variables

Partnership structure: even if most destinations –cultural destinations- are driven by many DMCs and one DMO, there may be many different formulas to structure their relationship in terms of partnership. In most cases the DMO is controlled by the government, but there may be different levels of participation from the private operators (DMCs) in the strategic direction, funding and management of the DMO. In some cases the operators are just listened to during the definition of the destination strategy in order to consider their valuable inputs, whereas some other models are more integrative. More integrative models are those where both the private sector and government provide funding for the DMO activities, both have the power to appoint members of the DMO board, and have to agree on the DMO strategic direction and management. In some cases, the DMO is exclusively run by the private operators.

Ownership structure: even if most destinations are run by many operators of all kinds –accommodation, activities, food & beverage, transportation, etc.-, in some destinations there is one operator dominating the business, and in some cases –ski resorts, theme parks, etc.- the destination has only one operator, or many operators belonging to the same owner or holding. Regarding the composition of the operators’ ownership, there are many models:

  • Integrated resorts: all businesses are controlled by the same owner. This is the case of some theme parks, ski resorts, golf resorts, etc.
  • Resort based destinations: one resort is the main attraction but many other operators can also take advantage of the tourist flows.
  • Cultural destinations: their natural and/or cultural heritage is the main attraction, with many operators of different sizes but without a dominant one.
  • Destinations 3.0: it may correspond to different kinds of attractions, and the ownership may be shared between government, investors and small stakeholders, in partnership with other small businesses and other types of organizations.


Would you consider other variables concerning partnership and ownership?

Collaborative business modelsStrategyStrategy planning & executionSustainability

The destination model as a key factor for competitiveness and sustainability

The competitiveness of a tourism destination is not just a matter of tourism operators’ performance. Instead, the potential of a destination for competing in the travel market is determined from the top government policies regarding urban planning, public services, territory planning –protecting natural interest areas-, and tourism development planning, determining tourism related regulations, license policies, investments in facilities and infrastructures and also cross-destination marketing planning and execution.

So long as the tourism activity affects not only the tourism operators, but also the residents’ lives, other business sectors and the image of the territory, it is necessary to elaborate a thorough model attending to the needs and aspirations of all stakeholders. The complexity and challenge of tourism development planning is namely in the need for reaching a balance point, considering all the stakeholders’ interests.

A destination model is to provide answers to three main questions:

  • What can we do to develop tourism in the destination?
  • How can we do it?
  • What vision do we want to strive for?

Finding answers to these questions means choosing among different alternatives related to the tourism to be developed: the development pace, intensity, the limitations to the business growth, etc. Furthermore, a development model works like a guide and reference framework for the activities of both public and private agents, and to articulate cooperation between different public bodies and between public and private ones.

Other advantages and benefits of defining a destination development model are:

  • The territorial structure –cluster definition- of the tourism development is clearly defined.
  • The destination takes advantage of the market opportunities more effectively.
  • The destination’s resources and attractions are leveraged more adequately.
  • Government leaders and local operators have a reference framework to orient their strategy.
  • The need for infrastructures, facilities, financial, technological and human resources are clearly defined according to established goals.
  • Investors have a reference framework that provides them with valuable orientation.
  • Resources are assigned more rationally, effectively and profitably.
  • The tourism management has a reference framework to orient the decision making.
  • The reaction versus certain changes in the market is faster and more effective.

Once the model is defined, if this is brought into practice, there are even more benefits:

  • The destination creates and develops solid and sustainable competitive advantages.
  • The destination positioning and image is stronger.
  • The tourism businesses operating in the destination are more profitable and increase revenue
  • The service quality and tourists’ satisfaction increases.
  • The destination inhabitants perceive the positive impact of the tourism activity more clearly.
  • All stakeholders have more confidence in the future of the destination.

Do you think of other benefits of defining the destination development model?

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-creationCollaborative business modelsInnovationMarketing 3.0

Destination story based experience prototypes

Needless to say that many more possibilities for each variable may be envisioned, but these are just some examples to help the reader understand the innovation method. Based on these ideas, we have drafted four story driven prototype experiences to illustrate the type of result that the innovation method may produce.

  1. Personal awareness & Spiritual development journey, in line with pilgrimages and similar experiences. This is usually a journey that is carried out alone as of a process of self-reflection and discovery. The role of the protagonist is that of a tourist, so long as he or she is the only beneficiary of the experience, and may encompass both walking routes and static setting stays. In this case, the tourist is to write the story at the end of the experience, ideally with the support of a training workshop, but the protagonist should work on drafting the story from the beginning of the experience. The goals of writing the story are completing the self-awareness and discovery experience, and to inspire others in living their own transformational experience.
  1. Story driven development of a theme route, as in the cases where some novels or films have inspired the development of tourism routes for the fans of the story. This would consist of a story contest launched by the destination management organization (DMO) based on some constraints or even a story backbone. In any case, the story has to be developed based on the destination as the story platform. The contest should be open to both individual creations and group co-creations. At this point, many formulas could be envisioned to encourage the contribution of as many people as possible. The value proposition of the story driven experience should be in line with the tourism 3.0 principles, which means that it should have at least an educational or cultural transformation goal, without disregarding the fun or entertaining value.
  1. Crowd gaming ongoing experience consists of an ongoing story driven experience that takes place in a certain setting without a time limit. This experience takes the form of a mission driven game or challenge, and so the mission accomplishment is what keeps on driving the development of the story game. There is no foreseen end, as long as the mission is not fully accomplished. Such story would work like an MMO game where everybody is entitled to participate both in the virtual and the real world platform in the destination. The location could be any type of destination and the protagonists could either play the role of tourists, volunteers or contributors, depending on the type of challenge: educational fun for tourists, environmental protection challenge for volunteers, and creativity & cooperation challenge for contributors. In this story driven experience, the story plays the role of drawing tourists, volunteers or contributors to the story making and to visit the destination to participate in the real world experience.
  1. Crowd gaming event consists of a crowd sourced game driven story that is played like an MMO game with some real world experience along the story, but especially at the end of it. The events could take place in almost any type of location, including cities, nature settings, cultural destinations or theme parks –for instance- depending on the ultimate purpose and nature of the real-world experience. Such purpose could be for an environment protection challenge, creativity & cooperation challenge, or an educational fun experience. As in the case of the Crowd gaming ongoing event, the role of the protagonist is related to the purpose of the experience, and so could be a volunteer, contributor or tourist. In this type of story-driven experience, the story also plays the role of drawing attention, participation and contribution of individuals in the co-creation of the story, the contribution related to the purpose and in visiting the destination when the event takes place.

Out of the innovation parameters explained in the previous post, do you envision other story based experiences?

Collaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureInnovationInnovative cultureOpen innovation

The Marketing Plan 3.0: Developing a network of professional contributors

The development of a network of professional contributors should entail the following steps:

  • Set innovation goals and metrics to track results. Considering all kinds of desired outputs, set innovation goals and objectives in accordance with the executive board and innovation advisors. Formulate specific, measurable and time-bounded objectives, and prioritize them to build the innovation system according to the real needs and guide the innovation efforts. Then, design a set of metrics to monitor the project’s results.
  • Draft a comprehensive list of the needed profiles encompassing researchers, idea generators, producers and experts in all fields, as long as innovation is to be carried out by groups including these four contributor profiles. Some of them may be Strategy consultants, IT consultants, environmental experts, without disregarding some professionals for content creation such as writers, graphic designers, photographers and audiovisual developers.
  • Research networks and identify potential contributors. Get to know them well to create a database including their skills, experience, education, achievements, professional interests, associated network, and personal remarks regarding their concerns, values and aspirations. Invite them to a business oriented presentation explaining the goals and operation of the Open Innovation System, also to sense their interest and vision.
  • Identify potential leaders. As the open innovation has to work as a decentralized system with many leaders, it is necessary to have one in each field of expertise at the very least. These should have collaborative mindsets and empowering leadership style to further engage other contributors. Further, there should be some key influencers and destination executives championing the open innovation development to involve new contributors.
  • Market contribution as an opportunity to showcase their skills, connect with like-minded professionals, build reputation within their professional community, get rewards according to their contribution, achieve visible results that may bring them more professional credit, etc. Collaborate with professional associations to search for contributors and to market open innovation contribution as a professional opportunity.
  • Design reward system. Research on the market fees for each type of contributor to have a comprehensive fee list considering field of expertise, experience, achievements, proven skills, and other relevant variables. As long as innovation challenges are to be driven by collaboration among contributors, there has to be a way to assess the value of each contribution, as the final result may be a mix of ideas coming from different innovators.
  • Organize a kick-off workshop and open challenge to showcase how the system works. Pose an easy challenge in which most contributors are likely to be rewarded. An initial success story is crucial to motivate contributors in engaging further. Listen to their opinions, reviews and suggestions for improvement. Thank them for their feedback and let them know how useful it has been to streamline the system.

Beyond these initial steps, there are other key success factors that should not be disregarded:

  • Building a culture of trust, innovation and collaboration
  • Searching and connecting with external innovation networks to cooperate
  • Encouraging contributors to travel to bring in new ideas from other destinations
  • Organize workshops to train in co-creation, marketing, leadership and other subjects
  • Identify needed infrastructure to facilitate and enhance collaborative innovation

Keep in mind as an innovation mantra that “those that will succeed are the ones that embrace creativity and experiment with different ways of reaching and engaging their customers”.

Do you think of other necessary tips or key success factors?

Collaborative business modelsStrategy

The Marketing Plan 3.0: Managing the stakeholder network

Beyond the strategies to expand and engage new stakeholders, it is necessary to manage the network members who are already engaged or supposed to be engaged. For such purpose it is convenient to collect the network members’ contact data as soon as possible in the engagement process, either by asking for their email when downloading a piece of content or the mobile number to send information to their cell phone. Once the data is collected, there are many ways to keep them engaged:

  • Ask them about their preferred types of content, to send them only what they are interested in. Ask them to update their preferences regularly, also to introduce destination news.
  • Ask them about their opinions and assessment about destination content, activities and various issues, encourage them to give suggestions and give them feedback on their ideas.
  • Ask them about the frequency and preferred means of communication (email, SMS, etc.)
  • Send them Christmas and birthday gifts depending on their contributions or other variables
  • Try to identify disengaged individuals and ask them about why they have disengaged
  • Give them daily visible gadgets or content materials such as calendars so as to make them keep the destination brand and the mission purpose at their top of mind

Would you consider other tips to keep the network engaged?

Collaborative business modelsStrategyStrategy planning & execution

The Marketing Plan 3.0: Engaging local community members, value-driven communities and individuals

The last group of stakeholders to be engaged in contribution, content delivery and brand advocacy are the local community members and value-driven communities and individuals. This is the group with the highest potential in terms of dimension and geographical scope, as they encompass all the consumer communities, and value-driven communities led by the creative activists. As explained in the targeting strategy section, they are the main targets to attract as tourists, but to engage them as contributors and brand ambassadors the following tips should be considered:

  • Develop many communication tools to convey the kinds of contribution they can make, the rewards and the ultimate purpose of their contribution.
  • Train them with storytelling, graphic design and product co-creation workshops to empower them in creating valuable contributions.
  • Monitor their conversations in the social media to find out possible mistakes or pain points in the communication strategy or tactics.
  • Identify community leaders to focus the communication efforts and prioritize attention and support. Allow them to control the brand integrity by being transparent in all activities.
  • Ask them about the prizes or recognition they are motivated by in order to develop an effective incentive system for their contributions.
  • Explain to them how to develop their personal brands with their content and build thought leadership to communicate and to be convincing of their visions and ideas.

Would you consider other tips to engage community members and value-driven communities?

Collaborative business modelsStrategyStrategy planning & execution

The Marketing Plan 3.0: Engaging partners

A key group of stakeholders to be engaged are the destination partners, all those associated businesses and organizations with whom the destination will establish a long-term business deal including also a co-marketing agreement. These should encompass all the needed business partners along with other value driven institutions which may contribute as brand ambassadors or in other roles (channel partners, NGOs, suppliers, educational institutions, cultural institutions, etc.). To search and engage the most appropriate partners, consider the following tips:

  • Assess their technical capabilities, but also their scope of influence within their community to evaluate their potential audience for delivering contents.
  • Assess their reputation and their current practices and values to prevent them from spoiling the destination’s brand integrity.
  • Sense their concern for the issues that the mission intends to address, to evaluate their potential engagement. You may do this when calling participants for the mission definition.
  • Elaborate a shortlist of reputable partners to be engaged first in order to use their name when trying to engage other partners.
  • Invite potential partners to a business oriented presentation of the new marketing model to let them know and assess the partnership potential of business development.
  • Design at least two partnership formulas, like “Premium partner” and “Official partner” offering co-branding agreements in exchange for delivering content, where the Premium partner has an exclusivity deal within their sector but have to comply with more obligations than the Official ones.

Would you consider other tips to engage partners?

Business model innovationCollaborative business modelsCulture changeMarketing 3.0Strategy

The Marketing Plan 3.0: selling the vision to community stakeholders

The challenge of engaging the local community stakeholders requires its own marketing plan, usually known as internal marketing plan. This should be focused on the target stakeholders aimed at attracting in the first phase, encompassing the key partners and the local community. The Plan’s goals are to explain the vision, mission and the value propositions of the Destination Marketing Plan 3.0, encompassing the community related issues to be addressed through the destination development, the sociocultural transformation through life-changing experiences and the values that have to drive the organizational standards of behavior and the stakeholder community.

The Plan should distinguish between the different target audiences to assess convenience for targeted communication strategies. For instance, the professional audience and target partners may require a business oriented presentation, whereas for the bulk of the community members the presentation would be rather storytelling oriented.

Considering that many of the key partners and community leaders have been engaged since the mission definition, most of the effort should be focused on the local community members who have not yet been engaged with the project. For such purpose it is convenient to explain to them the project vision through a compelling story that connects first with their emotions and human spirit, to awaken interest for a deeper understanding of the marketing system.

Once these community members are interested, it is necessary to explain to them the operational functioning for them as potential contributors, and a series of communication tools should be developed to help them understand what their contribution experience is likely to be about. Such communication tools could be brochures, CD with video showcasing contributor’s fiction stories, web-based interactive presentation, social media based forums to solve queries, customer service hotline, etc. Finally, co-creation and storytelling workshops should be organized to empower potential contributors to participate in a first content creation contest with prizes for contributions in many categories so as to reward all valuable contributors proportionally and boost engagement.

To make a compelling story for this purpose it is convenient to use one main character similar to the audience profiles as the protagonist. Such a character should have similar problems, needs, concerns, fears and aspirations as most local community members, to allow them to identify with him or her and connect with the story. Then, the story shows the character finding out how the new destination model addresses all their needs and concerns, and how the open innovation system gives them an opportunity to contribute, showcase their skills and gain social reputation.

What other points would you consider when drafting the internal marketing strategy?