HVS Monday Musings: Collaborative Innovation

The term ‘collaborative innovation’ is frequently used in the context of technology or software development, but hardly ever with the Indian hospitality industry. Read on to know more.
The term "collaborative innovation" is quite often associated with the fields of technology development or software development, where companies prioritize innovation to succeed and stay ahead of the competition, even encouraging collaboration with people and organizations outside the company. As Bill Joy, Cofounder of Sun Microsystems, once said, ‘No matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else’. The point is that even marquee organizations organize open competitions from time to time to find solutions to their challenges.

Why do we, then, believe that the challenges and problems in the Indian hospitality industry should be solved only internally?  Why are we so averse to taking a fresh, outside view on our operations or to developing new thoughts, ideas or even holding competitions to generate new ways of doing things or to seek out new solutions?

We rarely see hotel organizations employing consultants to acquire an external perspective or even larger collaborative efforts in the industry that could still co-exist with competitiveness. For instance, is it not possible for all hotel chains to come together and create a neutral platform for selling rooms or any of their products/services for that matter, rather than relying on third parties? Hotel companies can join forces with other organizations to offer products/services such as sightseeing tickets, taxis, movie and theatre tickets, and even streaming music, all of which can be sold on a common platform along with hotel products. The ability to collaborate and bring together a platform that integrates both internal and external needs of a traveler when visiting a city can help enhance the guest experience.

A platform in the future could provide qualified and trained personnel available part-time to the sector on an hourly basis as needed, as well as attract more qualified resources who want the flexibility to work in an open environment. A way of thinking that goes beyond the current paradigm in the sector. These are only a few examples, and the possibilities remain endless. However, these initiatives need bigger and broader thinking and necessitate a riskier approach compared to the way we run our business today.

The digital world of the future will be a collaborative one. The faster we learn and incorporate greater collaboration on our platforms, the more customers we will attract and the better we will understand them, helping us to align and remain relevant in the ever-changing world.

In other words, the more external connections you can bring in, the more you will be able to innovate and think beyond the box.


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