“Create opportunities to fail.”
That was business expert Jeremy Gutsche’s opinion on how to innovate, the topic of Hospitality Design Summit (HD Summit) 2010 in Pebble Beach, California, February 24-26. Gutsche, author of Exploiting Chaos: 150 Ways to Spark Innovation During Times of Change, pushed responsible failure as the byproduct of experimentation. He was among six thought-leaders to address HD Summit participants—325 executives from companies including Hyatt Hotels Corporation, Hilton Worldwide, Marriott International, Choice Hotels International, IHG, Apple REIT, White Lodging, Inland American Lodging Advisor, Tavistock Group, and hospitality architecture, interior design, furniture/fixture providers, and purchasing firms.
Gutsche believes that hospitality design professionals can benefit from observing customers “in their zones” to deliver products and experiences that meet their needs, and he believes that true innovation requires a driving urge to get things done. It also involves the ability to remain open to possibility—and embrace opportunities for change.
Why do we reach for the Oreo when we want to achieve a bodybuilder’s physique? It is the disconnect between wanting to change and actually creating change. To realize change and, ultimately, innovation, Stanford University professor Chip Heath asked Summiteers to find the “bright spots,” focusing on what works and emulating the behavior that created success. It is part of the roadmap he shared from his newest book, Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, released February 19, 2010, and already a business bestseller.
Summiteers looked at current, mind-boggling innovation across multiple industries with Juan Enriquez, founding director of the Life Sciences Project at Harvard University. Enriquez says transformative innovation is moving from programming digital code to programming life code—essentially decoding DNA and reprogramming it for human benefit. From cloning goats for medical purposes to growing algae for fuel to growing new trachea and ears for transplant to humans, the promise of programming genetic code is limitless, according to Enriquez. His advice? “Keep your eye on the long term,” he suggests, for applications that matter to business. On adapting to such dramatic, rapid-fire change, he likes the slogans of Nike and Nissan: Just do it! and Enjoy the ride!