Tag: Innovation

Business model innovationCo-creationTourism trends

Innovating in a religious center to create life-changing experiences

Innovation is not a transforming element exclusive to the business world. Promoting innovation in another ambit such as spirituality is not only possible but it can also teach us many useful lessons which are actually applicable to any kind of organization. The changes carried out in Cova St. Ignasi house of spiritual exercises, a Christian Catholic center in the Barcelona Area, prove that innovation is applicable in absolutely all fields. Actually, innovating in the field of spirituality is itself a disruptive innovation.

It took around 7 years for a group of young Jesuits led by Xavier Melloni to introduce a series of new activities among the programs developed in Cova St. Ignasi. Those activities were open to the participation of all kinds of people regardless of their religious confession or practice. These programs offer the chance to experience the inner search introducing both oriental techniques and elements of body expression.

Among the new internalization techniques there are yoga and tai-chi. Self-knowledge practices incorporate also elements from the Sufi tradition and have a base of both spiritual and psychological dimension. To these spiritual experiences some components related to body expression like dance have been added.

As you may guess, the introduction of these activities among the usual programs in this house of spiritual exercises was much more than mere novelty in an institution dedicated for centuries to the prayer and spirituality from the Catholic practice and doctrine. Years after offering these new activities, the novelty has positively surprised both the local population and the institution.

Key takeaways

From the success of an innovation in a rather conservative environment there are many interesting lessons to take away:

WITHOUT RADICAL BREAKING OFF. The introduction of new programs has not led to the disappearance of the traditional activities. This circumstance helped the transition by diminishing the anxiety in front of novelty.

CONVINCED PEOPLE, THE MAIN CHANGE MOTOR. The main characteristic of the group of people who led this innovation was the strong conviction in the ideas they were proposing and wanted to put into practice. Nobody had the obligation of getting involved in an activity which they did not feel comfortable with or did not believe in.

MULTI-CONFESSIONAL TEAMWORK. To develop the Project they decided to mix both catholic and non-catholic members, cooperating at the same level since the first day.

CONFIDENCE IS KEY. The proposal of Xavier Melloni and the rest of the team responsible for the Project generated many kinds of negative reactions at the beginning. For instance, one of the main concerns was fear that people could think that they were abandoning or relaxing the principles of the organization. But any innovation process requires a certain audacity to overcome the fears that arise with any change. For Xavier, this audacity has been as crucial as the necessary confidence not to be questioning the project over and over again. With the confidence shown by Xavier and his team it was easier to assume their own responsibilities and be patient with the development of the project.

THE BEST OF EVERY PRACTICE. Successful innovations in any field are not absolutely original. They do not start from scratch, but rather from combining elements of the best practices in a new way. The spiritual exercises designed by Xavier Melloni claim to integrate the most positive elements from both oriental and western cultures, attracting people who are distant from the Catholic practice, probably due to the Church’s official message. Many people want to work on their spirituality but consider that Christianity is too inflexible and excessively moralized. On the other hand, seriously introducing elements from other religions requires going through an educational process encompassing language, mythology, etc. which may be quite long and demanding. Xavier’s proposal consists in offering the chance to rediscover spirituality through the local language.

INNOVATION AS AN ELEMENT WITHIN A VISION. Changes coming from a concept or a vision that goes beyond that particular change have more chances to be successful than those that are made as a result of a short term challenge. The new proposals from Cova St. Ignasi come from considering the various religions as different vehicles to achieve the same destiny, the philosophy which Xavier Melloni has been working on as an expert in inter-religious dialogue for many years.

POSITIVE CONTAMINATION. Innovation usually comes from the merge of ideas and practices from different fields which are barely ever in touch. Xavier Melloni thinks that it is crucial to distance yourself from the small and closed worlds in which we usually are. Why not create the glocal (global-local) also in the religious ambit?

This post has been inspired by an article in www.infonomia.com , the leading Spanish Forum on innovation.

What life-changing experience do you envision inspired by these 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?

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?

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?

Business model innovationCo-creationInnovationMarketing 3.0Open innovation

Story innovation framework and guidelines

Based on the trends mentioned in previous posts, we have envisioned some innovation guidelines to integrate storytelling with real world tourism experiences. To do so, we have identified seven variables that define each of these story-driven tourism experiences. By playing with different combinations of values for each variable, we can develop an innovation method.

Type of experience refers to the variables that shape the way the experience is delivered, such as individual or group activity, ongoing availability or scheduled availability (the case of events), location based or route based, game based or journey based, etc. In this regard, there have been envisioned four main types of experiences:

  • Walking route, to be experienced by oneself or in group
  • Stay in a location, to be experienced by oneself or in group
  • Crowd gaming event
  • Crowd gaming ongoing experience (24/7)

Type of story authorship refers to how many people have contributed to the creation of the story. In this regard, there have been envisioned three main types of authorship:

  • Individual
  • Group co-creation, referring to a limited group of people
  • Crowd co-creation, referring to a story where everybody is entitled to bring in their ideas

Type of location refers to the kind of setting where the experience is to be delivered. In this regard, there have been envisioned five main types of settings:

  • Theme park or resort
  • City
  • Nature setting
  • Cultural or Theme route
  • Cultural destination (other than a city)

Type of value proposition refers to the core of the experience, its aim and its value. In this regard, there have been envisioned four main types of value proposition:

  • Environment protection challenge or rally
  • Educational fun
  • Creativity and cooperation challenge or rally
  • Personal development and awareness journey

Role of the protagonist refers to the type of role developed by the person who is to live the experience. In this regard, there have been envisioned four main types of roles:

  • Tourist
  • Volunteer
  • Contributor
  • Brand ambassador

Type of story creation refers to the creation process of the story, in line with the aforementioned trends. In this regard, there have been envisioned four main types of story creation process:

  • Contest and crowd or group co-creation based on backbone story, with location and value proposition constraints
  • The author writes the story at the end of the experience, with the support of a storytelling training workshop, though he or she drafts the story for as long as the experience takes place.
  • The story-game is co-created in digital platform –like an MMO game- and the real-world experience takes place when the virtual story-game is already advanced or right at the end.
  • Ongoing open co-creation by the crowd contribution –under established rules- both online and on the real site, like a never ending MMO game that takes place simultaneously in the real and virtual space.

Role of the story refers to the relationship between the story and the experience, in terms of cause-effect and temporary sequence. In this regard, there have been envisioned four main types of story role:

  • Inspire the development of a new tourism experience or product, like a themed route
  • Draw a crowd to drive an MMO game based challenge that ends with a real world event
  • Tell the personal journey experienced in relation to an existing tourism product
  • Draw audience to follow a story driven game or challenge, learn from it, and inspire them to live their related on-site experience and contribute to the story building

Would you consider any other story innovation parameter to this method framework?

StrategyStrategy planning & executionTourism marketing

The Marketing Plan 3.0 Product strategy: improving competitiveness

Beyond the new products lines development, it is convenient to keep on improving the existing ones based on enhancing value and reducing efforts for the tourist. The value is to be brought by improving the experience, the feelings and the service quality; whereas the efforts may be reduced by eliminating discomforts and uncertainties. The Whitepaper “Tourism Competitiveness strategy” is to explain all these factors in detail.

To assess and improve these factors it is necessary to listen to the tourists to know their opinions. This may be done through polls on the site or more efficiently by stimulating and facilitating interaction with them through their smartphones while they are living the experience and right after to allow them to post critical and creative reviews on how to improve the experience. For such purpose it is necessary that free wifi is available in the critical spots.

Further, regular benchmarking trips should be sponsored by the destination –for instance, as a reward for outstanding contributors- to visit reference destinations where to learn best practices in management, marketing, product development, or just to live other life-changing experiences that may inspire the development of new ones in the destination.

The Product Managers are the responsible executives for the improvement of the product competitiveness. They are therefore responsible for organizing the tourist satisfaction surveys, monitoring the reviews of the visitors through the App or the social media platforms, as well as to organize the benchmarking trips and to train staff and service suppliers according to their need for skills development.

Would you consider other strategies to improve competitiveness?

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?

Business model innovationInnovationMarketing 3.0Open innovation

The Marketing Plan 3.0: Open innovation outputs from professional contributors

Even if the bulk of the open innovation activity is expected to be carried out by the non-professional contributors in content creation and product development, there are other outputs and players to whom it is necessary to pay attention to for their key contribution in improving the destination competitiveness and marketing system.

It is necessary to note that the open innovation system is likely to be applicable only in the case of large DMOs and large DMCs, though simplified structures and formulas could also be designed for smaller organizations. To envision the open innovation system, let’s consider some of the outputs that may result out of it other than content and product:

  • Innovation in marketing strategy: new marketing channels, targets, business units, etc.
  • Innovation in marketing operations like new infrastructure and tactics
  • Technological innovations to streamline operations or create more value
  • Technological innovations to tackle environmental challenges
  • Innovative strategies to solve socio-cultural issues related to the mission statement

 Do you think of other interesting outputs to be obtained from professional contribution?

Collaborative business modelsCollaborative cultureInnovationInnovative cultureIntelligence

Destination Intelligence 3.0: attracting talent to the open innovation platform

The innovation platform should market its value proposition not only to the whole industry stakeholders throughout the region, but also to all potential contributors in and outside the industry. The process starts by identifying a pool of champions who are willing to showcase the benefits of open innovation for both contributors –solvers- and receivers –seekers-.

By identifying a group of visionaries in both sides of the platform, the conditions are set to face the first challenges, the ones which have to showcase how the open innovation works, and how it may  contribute to improving the competitiveness of the whole industry. As soon as a few of these innovation challenges show successful results and satisfaction in both sides of the innovation process, a greater group of early adopters is likely to become interested and eager to participate to some extent.

As stated before, beyond rewards, the great motivators to take into account are the will for contribution to the community’s progress and well-being, and the will for recognition and prestige among industry peers. Such motivators suggest two main strategies to attract talent:

  • Promote innovation challenges for non-profit purposes. Such challenges may be focused on helping destinations in developing countries or having suffered natural disasters, or mission driven tourism organizations, mostly related to environmental issues, like in ecotourism. Such challenges could be sponsored by private companies to offer some compensation.
  • Organization of events to award best contributors and give them public recognition.

These and other strategies should be supported by marketing the open innovation platform to potential contributors in their communities and favorite media channels, which would entail social media, magazines, journals, public presentations, etc.

A more detailed explanation about the operation of an open innovation system is to be provided in the Whitepaper “Envisioning open innovation in destinations”.

Do you think of other strategies or tactics to attract talent to the open innovation system?