Listen to the kids

Posted on June 13, 2010


The reason why innovation is such a challenge for most companies is because our life revolves around preconceived ideas and concepts that we have learnt since young age and accepted them as being the norm. Innovation is a change in thought process, so looking at something from a total new angle does require to put aside all that we take for granted. It is for sure a violent exercize as our brain is not built to work that way.
We all grew-up being taught that 1+1=2; it therefore takes our brain to go upside down to accept that 1+1 (could) =11.

But kids’ brain (up to 10?) is not formatted yet and is still free to think in whatever direction possible. Consumer surveys should make better use of it.
If you remember Tom Hanks’s movie BIG, which could easily be seen only as a fun kids’ movie, it is actually a very interesting take on the way we should all look at business and innovation. Forgetting all the norms and business rules.
Listen to the kids. They will come up with ideas and approaches that will fight the status quo thinking.

Walking around a hotel, they may ask some good questions. At a glance: Why is there a Fax sheet in our room without a Fax machine? What is a Fax machine anyway? Why is there a DVD player but no DVD disk? Why the bath towel always have to be white? Why can’t I have breakfast at 11.00am while I am on holidays? Why do we have to pay for internet access but not for cable TV? Why the bathroom is always next to the entrance door and not by the window? Why do we have to stay in a 5-star hotel to get more than 2 electrical plugs in the room? Why the bellboy has a funny hat? Why all this people carry their name on their jackets?

It is common to hear entrepreneurs or successful CEOs, irrespective of their age, saying they are still young in their mind. Being carefree, that’s what it takes.

Innovation in the hotel industry will only happen when someone will make the (financial) effort to tear-up the whole thing and build it again from scratch. Like a Lego.

Fabrice Burtin – June 2010