Tools and Techniques for Co-Creating a Tourism Strategy
Co-creation sessions work best when each attendee is involved in the discussion and creation of ideas.
Creating an environment for open collaboration is a combination of the right location, the right people and the right tools.
Bringing together 10 people in a conference room and declaring that everyone throws out their best ideas to solve the problem is not co-creation. Often, these meetings end up becoming dominated by one opinion or by group silence.
There are numerous techniques for encouraging co-creation based in research, brainstorming and communication, but we have witnessed repeated success with three: issue cards, affinity diagrams and playing with LEGOs.
Issue cards help introduce difficult to discuss subjects while providing a visual to focus on. Depending on the client, we typically segment cards by principles that have been discussed previously or represent known challenges. For example, a recent digital strategy session contained cards for booking engines, reporting and mobile apps.
The cards themselves are usually index cards with a sketch and description.
Simple, visual and tactile.
A good first technique when working with a new group. Everyone receives a stack of Post-it notes and spends 10-15 minutes writing down ideas and solutions to the stated problem. Then, the notes are collected and grouped on a wall or board to identify correlations and relationships between the observations.
Often, we combine this technique with an observational visit to a physical location (common ones include airports, visitor centers and museums) so participants can align ideas with real-world behavior.
An ideal way to provide reluctant peers an outlet to share ideas.
LEGO Serious PlayTM
A technique upon itself, LEGO Serious Play is more than just playing with LEGOs…although it involves a lot of playing with LEGOs.
The basic idea is to use the bricks as a metaphor, allowing the attendee to articulate thoughts while building a representation of those thoughts. We have found that a bowl of LEGOs is the fastest way to unite a room (the CEO does not seem as powerful playing with LEGOs) as well as encourage communication among a reserved group.
Implementing a successful co-creation strategy for your tourism organization requires participants to share openly and build collectively.