Tag: Collaborative business models

Collaborative business modelsTourism trends

Sharing economy and tourism: seeing the elefant in the room

With the aim of monitoring the growth and influence of sharing economy in the wider field of travel services, many institutions such as the Institute for Tourism Planning and Development from Portugal in their ‘Tourism Trends Review‘ have highlighted the impact and evolution of this phenomena:
As a new style of peer-to-peer (P2P) commerce, sharing economy does not merely involve an unusually large number of options for transport, accommodation, and recreation activities. It has also provoked a shift in role of service user and provider. In this environment, contemporary consumers can openly express their individual interpretations of tourism product uniqueness and authenticity as well as indulge themselves in an imaginative manner while moving around well-known and emerging destinations.

This issue was also discussed in 2015 during the 1st Semi-Annual Meeting of the European Travel Agents’ and Tour Operators’ Association with ECTAA and HOTREC representatives and Ms. Elżbieta Bieńkowska, European Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs of the European Commission.

In the European Cities Marketing Annual meeting of CEOs of Capital and Major Cities 2015, was an occasion to examine latest destination trends at an influential policy level and focus on the respective impact of sharing economy stakeholders. In two sessions, brainstorming between ECM members and a vivid debate with Airbnb also shed light on what it takes for destination authorities and P2P platforms to work together and deal with issues of common interest over the provision and consumption of travel services. Particular emphasis was also given in exchanging views with representatives from Barcelona and Amsterdam, two cities which have already developed approaches to sharing economy and monitor their results.
It is a fact, however, that both these influential events were only the tip of the iceberg during a busy 2015 including relevant speaker engagements in countries such as Israel, Montenegro, Belgium, Estonia, Croatia, Greece, Portugal, Latvia, and the UK. In all these cases there were moments of great empirical value, especially when we were given the opportunity:

– To realize how market dynamics together with latest statements of UNWTO/EC officials put sharing economy on the spot in this year’s World Travel Market, while only on the sidelines last year.

– To take a look at the actual results of Tel Aviv’s recent partnership with Airbnb to promote the city in joint manner and exchange views with representatives from Barcelona and Amsterdam, two cities which have already developed approaches to sharing economy and monitor their results.

– To learn under what conditions sharing-economy friendly legislation has been in place for decades in Croatia and how hotels team up with BnB apartments and offer them concierge services.

To concentrate for the purpose of this blog post on HOTREC project, the key objectives of the policy paper were to understand the various issues that arise due to the fast growth Short-Term Private Accommodation Rentals (STR) and contribute to the development of a suitable regulatory environment to level the playing field.

When traveling for business or leisure, booking a private house or apartment to stay in via a P2P platform is seen as a trendy and affordable choice: booking, arriving, collecting the key and making oneself, quite literally ‘at home’. More importantly, a simple fact is already common knowledge.

Although the Global Economic Crisis reinforced an interest towards the more effective use of existing resources and the development of new sources of income, advances in technology such as social media and mobile devices accounted for the strongest driver of the sharing and trading of private assets particularly in the case of travel and tourism services.

To examine how the STR have evolved in recent years and transformed the ‘playing field’ for all those involved in offering visitor accommodation, HOTREC policy paper takes into account the following perspectives and international trends.

Business growth: From 2010 to 2015 venture capital firms have invested billions in the “sharing” economy start-ups, with the sectors of transportation and accommodation receiving the biggest shares of funds. Major companies such as Facebook and Amazon are also included lately among potential entrants to the “sharing” economy through the development of peer-to-peer services and partnership-building with existing start-ups.

Consumption patterns: Younger generations (Millennials are commonly identified as those born between 1980 and 1999, and who entered their teenage years as from the year 2000, putting them currently in the 18-35 age group) appreciate a lot customization in customer service at a global level as enabled by technological advancements. P2P Platforms have been effective in using global tools to enhance interaction between service providers and users at local level as well as in providing affordable options for value-seeking Millennials.

–  Entrepreneurial mobility: P2P platforms are  also providing a range of products and services for a new type of footloose global entrepreneur, often freelancing or part of a SME (of which there are now many more, in the wake of technological developments and the global economic crisis). “The way we think about long-term residents versus an emergent and more globalized and mobile population” is actually changing due to the growing appeal of P2P services in transportation, accommodation, and all sectors defining the business travel experience.

–  Forms of employment: P2P platforms provide alternative sources of income to individual service providers, who opt to work as micro-entrepreneurs of the freelance economy. A gradual transition from contractor to employee relationships is however less likely to happen in the accommodation sector, where properties are managed by their owners or tenants. The issue lies in that the sum of individual and commercial activity undercuts hotels on price. When there is also a negative effect on hotel revenues and jobs, it might be another case where technological progress has not yet proved to be a driver for jobs creation.

–  High-level policy making: The activity of the “sharing” economy start-ups has also drawn the attention of national governments and supra-national agencies. Elements of innovation are not rejected in principle, yet political parties in countries such the UK and Canada already participate in a vivid exchange of both positive and negative views on the “sharing” economy.

As these perspectives frame the discussion of various issues including terminology and scales of activity together with suggestions for legislative work, you can a have a look at the HOTREC Policy Paper if you’d like up-to-date knowledge on the agenda of Short-Term Private Accommodation Rentals or even share your thoughts with us.

This blogpost is from  http://www.toposophy.com/insights/insight/?bid=418

Business model innovationCollaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureInnovationTourism trends

Serving up a storm

What the sharing economy has done to accommodation and transport, it is now doing to food and fine dining.

Peru has been top of my wish-list for many years, and while the country’s stunning landscapes and rich Inca heritage were an obvious attraction, my main motivation to fly for nearly 13 hours from London to Lima was the country’s food.

The country may be seem quite remote for those of us in Europe or North America, but its cuisine has been undergoing a steady rise in popularity in big cities around the world. With a heavy emphasis on fresh produce, unique flavors and local ingredients, Peruvian food (and drink) really does stand out as one of the world’s finest.

By designing my trip around opportunities to try as many different foods in as many different settings as possible, I joined the many millions of travelers globally who are putting food at the center of their travel plans. This megatrend has certainly caught on around the world, to the extent that in its 2016 Megatrends report, Skift declared food as ‘the leading hook in travel’.

Increasing numbers of destinations and travel businesses are responding to this demand by using food to transform their brand image: just think of Copenhagen’s promotion of Danish cuisine on the back of the top-rated restaurant Noma, or the many airlines that are upgrading the food and drink they offer on board, flying dedicated chefs between continents to keep their customers happy and well-fed. Brand transformations and new food-tourism concepts are springing up on a daily basis, all fueled by mobile devices, P2P platforms and social media. Events that bring new places to eat and drink to the fore, such Dine Athens Restaurant Week by Diners Club bring locals and visitors together to share new food concepts every day. With so much going on, it can be hard to keep track of it all!

It’s time to come to terms with the fact that, just as with accommodation and transport, more and more individuals are starting to offer services and experiences directly to visitors, bypassing traditional tourism businesses such as bars and restaurants. Examples include meal-sharing platforms such as Withlocals or Eatwith, but there are many other platforms offering other concepts that connect travelers with food and drink. Just as we’ve seen with accommodation, the rapidly-growing numbers of travelers who go to strangers’ houses for dinner do it not for the novelty, but because they see it as part of their way of life. Consumers are also increasingly interested in their own diet, fitness and where their food comes from. These provide just a few reasons why this phenomenon is here to stay.
If increasing numbers of travelers are buying experiences directly from local people, and discovering the destination through the eyes of a local, then doesn’t it make sense for destination management and marketing authorities to get involved? Local people are rapidly becoming part of the destination’s brand and are taking on the promotion themselves.
While we believe that this is definitely something to be celebrated, it does raise some difficult questions over the role of local authorities in formally involving these local people in their destination marketing and management, as well as how they can ensure quality and safety for visitors. We understand that these are big questions to handle for DMOs that are short on time and resources, especially since the world of P2P platforms, their listings and partnerships grow and change so quickly.

To help answer these questions, last month Toposophy in partnership with European Cities Marketing produced a free, practical guide for DMOs on how to successfully integrate sharing economy services into what they do, and use it as a tool for improving how they manage destinations. It also gives tips on how to form partnerships with existing platforms, something which can potentially cause conflict with ‘traditional’ tourism service providers if not handled properly.

With this in mind, here’s a summary of the presentation to the CityFair audience in London:

  • Get involved: The sharing economy is here to stay, and consumers are rapidly converting to using the many services on offer. It’s in your interest and theirs to join the conversation.
  • Do an audit: Do a deep analysis of P2P platforms to understand how your destination is being promoted by local people, and how this fits (or not) with what you’re already doing
  • Set your policy goals: Thinking beyond tourism, what are your organization’s policy goals for local people, and how can you use P2P platforms to help support these through providing tourism services?
  • See the sharing economy as a useful management tool: Check out our detailed infographic to discover how the sharing economy can boost the visitor experience, as well as improving city management and local social cohesion.
  • Build partnerships based on your goals: Work with platforms and partners that are aligned with the policy goals (note: they’re not always directly linked to tourism experiences) that your organization wants to achieve. It’s fundamental to put local people first.
  • See tech as a way of putting your local cuisine on the world stage: Whether through events such as the Restaurant Week we ran in Athens or working with tour-guide apps to bring people to specific places, tech is providing a window for something that’s unique to your destination: the food, drink and the people who create it.

This blog post is from     www.toposophy.com/insights/insight/?bid=428

Collaborative business modelsIntelligenceTourism trends

How Airbnb has given local restaurants a boost

The AirBnB phenomenon was not a completely ground breaking concept. The concept of staying at a guesthouse and kipping in a spare room has been around for for centuries. The Pubs and Inns of the 1600’s often had a room for weary (and drunk) passers by to rest their tired souls in exchange for a shilling or two.

What AirBnB has done so well is use technology to make it easier for this to happen in advance of a stay and allow those who have not thought about renting out a spare room or making a little extra cash, to do so.

The slogan they use of “ Live Like a Local” is something that I really like and something that I certainly did when I backpacked through south east Asia. I stayed in a lot of guesthouses which not only made me feel at home, but also gave me an authentic experience that i talk about to this day.

If you look at my home city London, there are over 20000 beds available to rent on AirBnB and although it is a threat in many ways to the hotel and hostel sector in regards increased stock, I think it has led to a new positive shift for other hospitality businesses.

For me living like a local doesn’t mean just your accommodation…
It means the full experience. For me this starts with food (I am a food lover after all). Back in 2003, in the first guesthouse I stayed in , in Hanoi, the first thing I did was sit with the mother of the household, and have a cup of tea and a bowl of freshly cooked Pho. Amazing… and experience I still talk about to this day.

Fast forward to 2016, and you look at the boom in street food, food markets and pop-up restaurants in London and you can see the shift in food culture which in turn creates a new form of tourism where people want to eat, drink and sleep like a local! The full “Living like a local” experience.

I found an awesome BBQ joint when on a business trip to De Moines, Iowa (Called Jethrows in case your interested, 8 types of BBQ sauce, amazing Ribs & featured on Man Vs Food!) by going on Facebook and using the “Near Me” functionality and could see great ratings by people who I didn’t know but were probably “locals” . I in theory asked the local crowd where was good to go and that answer was delivered to me.

Those restaurants and food outlets that are aware of the shift in travelers demands, and are active in their restaurant marketing , must be finding a new wave of different tourists (not always from abroad!) that find their local venue through the web, word of mouth, social media or food bloggers insights. Restaurants and other foodie places offering unique and authentic experiences, alongside quality service and food, will be a success in my opinion.

I think there is an opportunity for more strategic thinking between the likes of AirBnB and gastronomic outlets in regards encouraging the “eat like a local opportunities” to their customers rather than traveler being lured into the big branded places.

I think the opportunity is there for smaller restaurant operators to really fly, as long as they make themselves accessible through simple marketing and provide consistently authentic experiences to their customers to make them feel like a local, whether they are or not.

This blog post is from  www.toposophy.com/insights/insight/?bid=433

Business model innovationCollaborative business modelsMarketing 3.0StrategyTourism trends

It’s time for DMOs to take the leap on the sharing economy

The sharing economy is booming, but until now most European DMOs have largely stayed out of the conversation, seeing this new economic model as a cluster of problems, rather than as a useful tool to meet their policy goals. It’s time to turn the tables and get involved.

For many European destination marketing & management organizations, the sharing economy is regarded variously as a source of conflict, a fascinating (if frenetic) economic model, a shadowy way for some to make money, or just a plain headache. This is quite understandable, given the near-weekly emergence of new products and platforms, the anger expressed by many of those running traditional tourism businesses, and the uncertainty around rules and regulations. Activities such as short-term apartment rentals don’t just concern the city tourism board: housing, planning and taxation departments also have good reasons to be interested in what’s going on.

While the challenges can at times seem overwhelming, it is still a fact that the sharing economy is really just becoming the new rental economy or, in some respects the collaboration economy. Consumers love it, and the types of people who are getting involved are becoming more and more diverse. Private tours, home-cooked meals, apartments and other tailored experiences for travelers are becoming more exclusive every day! The main thing however, it that it just works. Barriers to becoming a ‘user’ or a ‘provider’ in the sharing economy are low, and the platforms are generally attractive and user-friendly. As a movement, the ‘collaboration economy’ is enabling citizens to cooperate, meet, solve problems and share local resources like never before.

This month’s Annual General Meeting of European Cities Marketing in Madeira took the theme ‘Dare To Share’ reflecting the desire of ECM members to engage with the sharing economy. With DMOs facing so much pressure from all sides to do more with less, engaging in a serious way with the whole concept of the sharing economy can sometimes seem too daunting for a simple city DMO to take on. At the same time, it’s perfectly clear that it isn’t going to go away, and that consumers are using it as a normal part of their daily life at home, and while traveling.

It’s time for DMOs to turn the powerful aspects of the collaboration economy to their advantage and take the leap. After all, many DMOs are under pressure from reduced budgets and higher expectations to participate in local economic development. They’re also increasingly expected to manage the destination, rather than concentrate purely on marketing. As we illustrate in the infographic below, the sharing economy can, in fact, provide a very useful tool for managing cities in a smart way, while improving social cohesion and enhancing the visitor experience.

While we believe that the sharing economy can offer real opportunities for city tourism authorities, it is however vital not to ignore one group of people: local residents. Local people provide the secret ingredient to great, authentic product development and marketing. At the same time, it is essential to ensure that sharing economy activities don’t impact negatively on their quality life or cost of living for the wider population. P2P platforms can open up the destination to new types of travelers and provide a valuable source of income for local people, however there is a darker side to this activity. Many are used by unscrupulous companies and individuals to evade safety rules and taxation, and platforms are accused of unfairly hoarding data when it could help in enforcing compliance with local laws.

Therefore, working closely with other government departments, DMOs have to ensure that when building partnerships with platforms, or even building their own, that they put their local people and policy goals first. To help DMOs understand how to ‘take the leap’ in a responsible, informed way, we’ve set out a seven-step guide.

This blog post is from    www.toposophy.com/insights/insight/?bid=427

Business model innovationCollaborative business modelsInnovationTourism trends

Guides that are not guides

As has happened with the accommodation business, namely with Airbnb, the collaborative platform business model is also developing in the tourist guides business. I have personally experienced one of these platform’s services in the city of Prague.

Thanks to these platforms it is no longer strange that the tourists are offered free guided tours in great urban destinations, without any trick. In my case, I used the services of Sandeman’s New Europe, which is already present in 18 cities. At the beginning of the tour, the guide explained that his income comes from tips, and so it was not mandatory to pay even 1 Euro.

The tour lasted more than 3 hours and it was really entertaining, with good quality content. The guide was brilliant and received quite a lot of tips. But, attracted by the quality of this Guided tour, the day after I did another one, but paying. This business works actually like a freemium model.  In fact, there are many more businesses offering free guided tours in Prague. And they have their rivalry moves, like guerrilla marketing actions, competing for the best locations, etc.

But this new fashion not only takes place in the large cities. The Greeters movement is emerging also in smaller cities, like Bilbao. The first company operating this business model in Bilbao is actually called Bilbao Greeters, and is part of the international network Global Greeters Network. The Greeters are locals offering guided tours with the authenticity of a local resident’s knowledge and perspective, who knows the traditions, habits and secrets beyond the usual tourist information available. In the Basque Country the Tourist Guides are not regulated, and so there cannot be any conflict in this case. Unlike in the previous case of “New Europe”, the Greeters are not professional guides and do not accept tips.  However, to make a booking you need to be registered as partner, which costs 12€ per year.

Finally, there are many online platforms allowing people to offer their tourist services worldwide. Besides platforms such as Vayable, Viator or Isango, marketing all kind of experiences –from guided tours to cooking lessons-, there are many others offering guided visits by the destination’s residents.

Local Guiding is a platform oriented to “changing the way people travel, experiencing the local life as it is, not like the conventional tourism agencies pretend it to be”. They are already offering guided tours in more than 20 Spanish destinations.

Tours by locals are the veterans in this sector, as they have been operating since 2008 from their headquarters in Vancouver. They nowadays offer guided tours in many countries worldwide.

Like a local is the concept developed through a mobile application. Destination residents contribute to editing the local guide with recommendations, advice, routes, etc. and obtain revenue from the application’s management firm.

Finally, there is the Spanish portal called Ciceroner , promising to offer “unique and personal experiences, the only ones that can be really different and memorable”. It is still in Beta development phase, but it already offers a considerable amount of products in many destinations. It gives the option to gift the guided tours just like Smartbox and many others, but promising a superior experiential value.

As we can see, it is an emergent business model, with many suppliers and intermediaries operating in the market. However, this new fashion business model arouses many questions:

  • Is it just a fashion or a new reality?
  • Are these services for specific segments or for all types of visitors?
  • Is it necessary to further regulate this type of businesses to ensure a fair competition with the traditional models, or should they be given free regin instead?
  • Are these new models going to operate in urban destinations only, or they are likely to operate in beach destinations traditionally dominated by tour-operators?
  • Do these business models affect somehow the destinations’ image? Should the DMOs do something to get some profit from it or to manage it for branding purposes?

I invite you to reflect upon these questions, and encourage you to give your opinion

This blogpost is from http://www.visionesdelturismo.es/guias-que-no-son-guias/

Business model innovationCollaborative business modelsCollaborative culture

Collaborative tourism: is it an original business model?

When we talk about collaborative tourism or tourism peer to peer, we refer to a new trend in the way of traveling based upon sharing basic resources such as accommodation, transport means or personal experiences with other travelers through platforms where the host publishes his/her offer and the tourist makes the booking.

Theoretically, this phenomenon comes from the collaborative economy model, where consumers may also become suppliers by sharing their means with other consumers, also operating on a global scope, prioritizing human relationship above competition and selfishness. The presentation results in being attractive to more and more tourists, who do not really know the business model completely.

Due to the constant transformation of the virtual economy, the task of identifying and describing virtual business models has turned to be quite hard. However, since this P2P platform business model usually determines it’s success, it is no longer unknown: platforms meet the needs of both supplier and buyer, and take a commission from the booked services price.

Checking the four main collaborative platforms operating in Spain for the four types of services available (eating, accommodation, transport and experiences), we find that their revenue sources are not so different from the traditional tourism intermediation models:

  • AirBnB: charges a commission between 6 to 12%, plus 3% of the conversion rate.
  • BlaBlaCar: depending on the amount of the transaction, it charges 1,60€ for transactions from 1 to 8€ or a commission of 20% for transactions of more than 8€.
  • EatWith: it takes a commission of 15% of the transaction.
  • Trip4Real: it takes 25% of the transaction.

A similar procedure is used for any other tourism intermediary, such as a travel agency, a tour-operator, broker, etc. The difference remains in that these intermediaries comply with the regulations in terms of safety, health and taxes, whereas most of the accommodation and transport means offered in the collaborative platforms do not comply with them.

Therefore, the consumer of collaborative platforms pays a lower price due to the non-compliance with the aforementioned regulations, and takes the risk of suffering any kind of accident without the safety prevention means. Furthermore, despite the social sharing philosophy upon which the platform is created, many suppliers operate for profit rather than for the aim of sharing cost or experiences. However, this is difficult to prove and control.

The hospitality sector’s opinion. The outburst of the tourism collaborative platforms has transformed many housing apartments into competitors for the hotels and regulated tourist apartments, and so it has turned into an important issue for the Public Administration.

According to the Spanish Confederation of Hotels and Tourist Apartments, there are only two possible solutions to this conflict: the total banning of the platform operations –as has happened in many major cities-, or the obligation for the apartments to comply with the same regulations as the current regulated tourist apartments.

It is necessary to take into account that the tourism sector in Spain is hyper-regulated. There are around 250 regulations at the European level referring to intellectual property, consume, safety and payment means, plus those from the local administration. All in all it entails a great deal of costs that do not apply to the collaborative platform operators, including the VAT, the police files, fiscal and sanitary costs. This is clearly a case of unfair competition. In this regard, there are many points to consider:

  • The regulations applying to these tourist housing apartments are different for every region in Spain, for it is necessary for the destination regulators to study them all in detail.
  • It is necessary to consider the product separately from the platform, taking into account that the platform operation is similar to the traditional channels such as the travel agencies, and so the same regulations should apply.
  • The evolution of the global society is likely to propel this paradigm beyond the current conditions, demanding solutions in terms of adapting the new regulation and policies.

This blogpost is from  http://www.visionesdelturismo.es/turismo-colaborativo/

Collaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureCulture change

Collaboration is a Science. The good news is the MIT is researching on it

Collaboration and collaborative intelligence are deeply ingrained concepts within Tourism 3.0. However, there is a lot to be learnt about how to collaborate effectively and how to optimize the leveraging of the collective intelligence for the benefit of the organization. The good news is that MIT is researching about it through various research lines, as explained in this article.

Are we smarter when we work collaboratively?

Depending to who (and probably when) you ask, a very different answer could be given. Several years ago, James Surowiecki popularized the “wisdom of crowds” effect in the book that coined that term, arguing that the aggregation of information in groups results in decisions that are often better than could have been made by any single member of the group. But, on the other hand, we all have also painfully experienced how is possible to have very ineffective groups made up of very smart people. In another bestseller, Quiet, author Susan Cain argued about how organizations undervalue the work and potential of introverts because the social and business cultural obsession with “teamwork”.

So, as usual, the more correct answer to that question is “it depends”. The problem is, we do not know enough about the factors involved in this “it depends”, which is a big ignorance considering we are entering an era in which the concepts of “crowd” or “co-“ are becoming so critical for business and organizations. As we know, different factors push into the direction of making everything more “open” and collaborative, including of course innovation. New communication technologies now allow huge numbers of people all over the planet to work together in new ways. In an increasingly networked world, strict hierarchies are becoming less viable. A new decentralized “bottom-up” management model is needed. And nevertheless, we still do not seem to pay enough attention to understand how collective intelligence works.

The Center for Collective Intelligence at MIT represents an important exception. This first-of-its-kind research effort draws on the strengths of many diverse organizations across the Institute, including the MIT Media Lab, the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, the MIT Sloan School of Management, and the Dalai Lama Center for 21st Century Ethics and Transformative Values. The Center is laying the foundation for a new multidisciplinary field that involves research challenges impossible to deal with if not from a variety of disciplinary and methodological perspectives. This is why works and projects currently developed by the Center involve leading researchers from as different fields as computer science, biology, economics, psychology, social psychology, organizational theory, law and communications.

Understanding collective intelligence

The mission of the Center is to understand collective intelligence at a deeper level that we do today, answering the question of how can people and computers be connected so that collectively they act more intelligently than any person, group, or computer has ever done before. The answering of this question leads to a view of organizational effectiveness that is very different from the prevailing wisdom of the past. It also suggests different ways of thinking about issues as collective productivity, teamwork or leadership, opening up other new questions as what would it mean for a group of people to be “intelligent” or what can we learn from the ways human brains are organized that might suggest new ways to organize groups of people to perform intelligently.

Basically, the Center for Collective Intelligence develops three types of activity. The first one consists in studying collective intelligence in organizations. These studies include different research projects as, for instance, “Sensible Organizations”, a project using new sensors embedded in wearable “social badges” to systematically analyze organizations at a much finer grained level than has been done before; or “Collaborative Innovation Networks”, a research to help organizations increase knowledge worker productivity and innovation.

Secondly, the Center is also developing theories of collective intelligence by observing the new organizational design patterns that arise, especially in the business world. They have looked at more than 200 examples of what they consider interesting cases of collective intelligence, including Google, Wikipedia, the Linux community, Threadless, and InnoCentive. They call this work “mapping the genomes of collective intelligence”, and includes developing a taxonomy of organizational building blocks that can be combined and recombined to tie together the intelligence of crowds. These works also include examining the factors that affect the “collective intelligence” of a group and using the same statistical techniques used in individual intelligence tests to measure the intelligence of groups.

Finally, the Center for Collective Intelligence is also creating new examples of collective intelligence. The biggest project in that area is called the Climate CoLab, where they’re harnessing the collective intelligence of thousands of people all over the world, to come up with new ideas for solving the problems of climate change. As of February 2016, nearly 50,000 people have registered as members and over 1,500 proposals have been submitted.  In addition to members of the general public, the community includes over 200 experts on climate change and related topics who serve as Advisors, Judges, and Fellows.  The 2015 activities included 15 contests on a range of topics from how to reduce emissions from electric power generation to how towns can adapt to changes brought on by climate change.  Nearly 400 proposals were submitted.

This blogpost is from:

http://www.co-society.com/collaboration-science-good-news-mit-researching/

Co-creationCollaborative business modelsCollaborative culture

Essential reads about collaboration

Collaboration has been on the spotlight of business literature throughout the last years, and so it is difficult to make a good selection when searching for good literature on business collaboration. This article proposes 3 outstanding books that will help you get further insights on this issue.

The Silo Effect

From award-winning columnist, journalist and senior editor for the Financial Times Gillian Tett, The Silo Effect shows the importance of cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural collaboration for organizations to succeed. It also shows how the lack of this collaboration sends organizations into deep trouble. Probably this is the book on collaboration with the most interesting case studies.  Readers will find cases of organizations getting collaboration right but also of those felled by the lack of it. Specifically, the book includes eight different tales of the silo syndrome: Bloomberg’s City Hall in New York, the Bank of England in London, Cleveland Clinic hospital in Ohio, UBS bank in Switzerland, Facebook in San Francisco, Sony in Tokyo, the BlueMountain hedge fund, and the Chicago police.

Beside the cases, the book also includes some specific suggestions on how some people and organizations can break those silos down to unleash innovation. Author Gillian Tett’s background in anthropology is present when she examines our tendency to create functional departments (silos) or when she answers questions as why do humans working in modern institutions collectively act in ways that sometimes seem stupid, or why are we so often “blind to our own blindness”.

An interesting twist to highlight. Tett does not consider silos as the “evil” player to eliminate. She recognizes silos can also be beneficial, especially in a world as complex as it is today. Silos in the business world can indeed be uniquely valuable containers in terms of organizational efficiency and productivity. But they can also be, of course, major barriers to communication, cooperation and, especially, collaboration. So essentially everything comes to know how to get their benefits but also avoid or prevent their downsides. And Gillian Tett explains how.

Collaborative intelligence

Collaborative Intelligence is the culmination of more than fifty years of original research that draws on Dawna Markova’s background in cognitive neuroscience. Markova and her “Professional Thinking Partner” Angie McArthur are experts at getting brilliant yet difficult people to think together. They share a consulting practice in which they serve as “thinking partners” to clients who need insight in how better to achieve synergistic collaboration within their firm, a group of “patients” that includes some of the world’s top CEOs and creative professionals.

Rooted in the latest neuroscience on the nature of collaboration, Collaborative Intelligence offers tangible tools for those serious about becoming ‘system leaders’ who can close the gap and make collaboration real. This book is full of practical guidance to help the reader to discover his or her own “CQ” or Collaborative Intelligence Quotient. As explained in the book, each individual has a characteristic way of processing cognitive challenges (Mind Pattern), depending on the kind of attention that their brain utilizes: Focused attention, Sorting attention and Open Attention. There are also three languages of thought (Auditory, Kinesthetic and Visual).

Markova includes many worksheets and questions that readers can use to determine not only their own patterns, but those they work with as well. There are also plenty of tips on how to maximize that pattern for effectiveness in personal work and in collaboration with others. Subsequent chapters demonstrate how the knowledge of these languages and triggers can be used in building teams and in optimizing team interactions.

Collaboration begins with you

Collaboration Begins with You focuses on helping leaders at all levels to create and develop a culture of collaboration. Bestselling author Ken Blanchard and his co-authors show that busting silos and bringing people together is an inside-out process that involves the heart (your character and intentions), the head (your beliefs and attitudes), and the hands (your actions and behaviors). From authors’ point of view, clearly none of these “parts” can function without the other. You need your heart, head, and hands to bring about change and build collaboration with others.

An important fact for those who prefer novels to essays. Authors use the business fable as a format to explain a story about creating a collaborative atmosphere in a company, with a main character who is the leader of a cross-department project that fails because the units involved are too competitive with one another. The solution, he learns, is to shift his and other’s heart, head and hands toward collaboration.

This article is from  www.co-society.com/summer-time-reading-collaboration/

Business trendsCollaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureEnvironmental sustainabilityStrategy

The Collective Impact Framework

Tourism destinations 3.0 set themselves apart by defining a mission in accordance with the communities’ challenges and concerns. Beyond defining this mission based upon all the local stakeholders’ participation, it is necessary to define a common framework to properly align all stakeholders’ goals, strategies and correlated indicators ensuring the optimum impact and mission accomplishment.

As the idea of “coopetition” started to take root in managerial environments, several collaboration frameworks and methods have been tried putting in place. Probably few of them if any became so rapidly popular and inspired so many projects and enthusiastic followers as the one coined as “Collective Impact”.

An original article describing Collective Impact was published in 2011 in the Stanford Social Innovation Review, written by John Kania and Mark Kramer explaining how a much greater progress could be achieved in relation with increasingly complex social and environment problems if all different players involved in finding solutions (from governments and business to non-profits and public in general) were brought together around a common agenda. The framework described was quickly adopted by many foundations and government agencies as a new approach to community coalition building and collaboration. Six years after that first article was published, many social organizations are now declaring they are using a “Collective Impact” approach.

Collective Impact initiatives have been employed in a wide diversity of social issues and challenges including areas such healthcare, youth, education, homelessness or poverty.

Collective Impact is described as “a structured and disciplined approach to bring cross-sector organizations together to focus on a common agenda that results in long-lasting change”. The concept of “collective impact” was used in contrast to the “isolated impact” that organizations achieve when working primarily alone, acknowledging that most organizations lack the ability to solve (social) problems, especially in a context of increasing complexity. Collective Impact framework highlights how large-scale (social) change requires broad cross-sector coordination.

By applying Collective Impact framework companies can leverage the experience of dozens of initiatives and organizations already involving cross-sector coalitions in order to make meaningful and sustainable progress on social issues.

The Collective Impact approach is premised on the belief that no single policy, government department, organization or program can tackle or solve the increasingly complex social problems we face as a society.  The approach calls for multiple organizations or entities from different sectors to abandon their own agenda in favor of a common agenda, shared measurement and alignment of effort. Unlike collaboration or partnership, Collective Impact initiatives have centralized infrastructure – known as a backbone organization – with dedicated staff whose role is to help participating organizations shift from acting alone to acting in concert

“… we believe that there is no other way society will achieve large-scale progress against the urgent and complex problems of our time, unless a collective impact approach becomes the accepted way of doing business.

The original piece at Stanford Social Innovation Review and follow up articles distilled five key ingredients of successful community efforts that shaped the framework used in so many social initiatives so far. Going over them with business eyes and mindset would confirm if these ingredients or conditions can also be applied out of a social challenge too.

Common Agenda: All participants in a collective effort need to be on the same page. When different players are facing together a problem or challenge, it is critical to share a common understanding of this challenge and a common approach on how to tackle this challenge: It is necessary to clearly define the vision, define the goals that want to be achieved and create common grounds before attempting to address these goals.

Shared Measurement: Measurement is key to guide effectiveness and track progress. Without agreeing on what success means to the collective team is difficult to enable collaboration and catalyze action. It is necessary to agree and manage common indicators used by every player or part involved in the project to ensure shared measurement for alignment and accountability.

Mutually Reinforcing Activities: It is necessary to develop a plan of action that outlines and coordinates mutually reinforcing activities for each participant. This will identify ways to work together better and capitalize on individual talents. For this plan of action to be efficient, it is worth first to invest time in understanding the different ways each participant contributes to the common effort.

Open and continuous communication: Communication between all players should be frequent and structured. Proper and fluent communication is a key factor to build trust and assure all goals are mutual and keeps being mutual as the project develops. A good and continuous interaction can also act creating a common motivator. It is important to set up a structured communication plan that can include all kinds of interactions formal and informal and use different tools available.

Backbone organization: all multiplayer initiative needs a group of people maintaining ongoing support for the project strategy, activities, shared measurements and coordinating participating agents. This “backbone organization” can take different forms, but effective leadership will always play a key role in the project success.

This blogpost is from www.co-society.com/collective-impact-framework-collaborate-beyond-social-challenges/

You may also find further information on www.collaborationforimpact.com/collective-impact/

Business model innovationCollaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureStrategy

Basque SMEs collaborate to get larger and more global customers

Effective cooperation between local stakeholders is one of the key success factors for Tourism 3.0 to thrive, but this cooperation needs to be well focused on strategic goals, in a way that many different types of cooperation may be developed. This article explains how SMEs in the same region create an alliance developing four types of cooperation to gain and advantageous position in the international market.

Smart Factory Alliance is a partnership of several SMEs created in order to gain the kind of visibility that just bigger companies can achieve. The collaborative initiative has internationalization and global customers as one of its main goals. The partnership takes place in the growing market of the so called Industry 4.0, one of those emergent contexts of new technologies and disruption in which we think collaboration supposes a core element for its development.

Five companies in the IT sector from the Basque Country (Spain) have set up the Smart Factory alliance aiming to boost their internationalization and being able to obtain contracts with large companies. The alliance will allow partners to offer integral Industry 4.0 solutions to manufacturing companies.

Four types of collaboration. Each of the five companies is specialist in several areas, so the alliance adds on the competence and solutions of each of them, promoting a more integrated, specialized and competitive offer. According to Tomás Iriondo, CEO of Gaia, an industry cluster promoting the initiative, “by working together, these companies can now address more distant, larger and more complex clients thanks to a collective solutions map and a portfolio that becomes one of the widest for Industry 4.0 demands”.

To strengthen the partnership, Smart Factory Alliance has established four types of collaboration. Shared knowledge is considered the most important one. And the most critical, as this sharing will only be possible if first a climate of trust among partners is created. Another two kinds of collaboration will involve common communication strategies to reinforce visibility, and detection of customers and projects. Finally, setting up the Alliance comprised also the technical integration of products and software developed separately by each of the companies partnering.

The Basque culture has collaboration as one of the key values that make it more competitive than its neighboring regions’. It has proved to succeed in many other cooperative ventures. For instance, three years ago, ten Basque companies in the designer furniture and equipment sector joined forces to grow in the retail market. This is a subsector in the world of specialized furniture and equipment for all types of shops in which customers include from a single store to chains, franchises and brands, and large commercial areas or the design of showroom. It’s a huge market but competing for global customers requires a wide range of services.

Creating a common brand, Basque Retail, they can now meet this challenge because each of the firms has a specialized portfolio (furniture, security lights, wood cladding, design lamps …). The alliance makes possible for them to offer complete projects, that is to say, to ‘dress’ from top to bottom a single commercial site or hundreds of stores from the same chain or franchise.

Each one of the companies partnering at Basque Retail keep its own activity coexisting with the one generated by the common brand. The alliance is been possible despite being very different businesses. Some of them are small companies and never worked internationally, some others have been exporting for years. Turnover, sales and products are quite different, but their goal is the same one: to be able to offer a comprehensive solution to both a customer with a single store and one that has a thousand.

Collaboration leading to more collaboration. Internationalization has been also a main driver. Just recently, Basque Retail and its solutions were presented in Düsseldorf during the main global trade show for this sector. For most of partners in Basque Retail, with their sales limited to Spanish market until recently, been able to have a stand in Düsseldorf would have been unthinkable just few years ago.

Currently, close collaboration between companies is working so positively and leading to so many new ideas that they are even considering to create a new collaborative sub-brand focused on “sensorial marketing”, an increasing demand from brick and mortar commercial sites competing with online e-commerce.

This post is from www.co-society.com/basque-smes-collaborate-get-larger-global-customers/