The one word answer to the question above is opening the innovation process to users and customers. The idea of using contests to stimulate innovation has a long history. Back in 1795, Napoleon offered an award of 12,000 francs to improve upon the prevailing food preservation methods. After 14 years of experimentation, Nicolas Appert claimed the prize when he devised the same basic technology that is still used to can food today. And yet, generating ideas for new services used to be the exclusive domain of top management, marketers, and/or designers. Not anymore. Many industries have been relying on open innovation as a source of strategic innovation to continue growing and to continue catering to ever-changing customer demand. Open innovation activities (co-design, co-creation, crowdsourcing and contests) are powerful instruments to stimulate innovations in diverse fields of application. These collaborative innovations engage a variety of external stakeholders, including users, designers, producers (management and coworkers) and suppliers. Employees are extremely knowledgeable about their business and their integration into the early phases of an innovation process brings in creativity while mitigating the not-invented here syndrome. Nevertheless, the average hospitality incumbent does not have proper training on the newest gadget/technology available. To be completely blatant, they do not know of certain existing technologies or how an application actually works. Using the same judgement, an IT person cannot understand the core of hospitality. What if they would be brought together and placed in a friendly, potentially unconventional, environment that fosters creativity, such as the suite of a hotel or a section of an art gallery/museum? Telling people to think outside the box won't actually make them do so, showing them how to think outside the box might. Get the full story at Hospitality.Net