Success factors in innovation, intrapreneurship and 21st-century organizations were the three topics discussed by Arnaldo Muñoz, senior vice president of Selina Hotels and former director-general of Airbnb Iberia. Muñoz spoke to 4th-year students of HTSI’s Bachelor’s Degree in Tourism as part of the course Business Strategies & Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
What are the factors for success in innovation or digital disruptors? For Arnaldo Muñoz, “understanding and anticipating key tendencies.” He used the millennial generation as an example, since an Eventbrite report notes that its members value experiences over material objects. Key customer trends in post-COVID-19 mobility, the age of platforms, the application of old laws to disruptive ideas and placing the user at the centre of innovation were other ideas that came up during the discussion.
Regarding users and KPIs, Muñoz announced that “customer satisfaction and feedback are key performance indicators” when starting a project or entrepreneurial activity, more so than issues of financial profitability. “The key is to think that you’re solving a problem, and to be obsessive about listening to customers’ responses.”
Beyond the functional department
Muñoz summed up his recommendations on intrapreneurship (acting as an entrepreneur while working in a big organization) in a “recipe for success” which included having innovation make up at least 10% of your income, having the CEO lead the innovation process, and having feedback as a basic KPI.
As for 21st-century organizations, Muñoz focused on the concept of liquid organizations (with Airbnb as an example) and on problem-solving. This type of company lacks separate or functional departments. So how do they work? By identifying ten big problems that Airbnb users face and solving them globally with multifunctional teams. Once the problem has been solved, the working team dissolves. “It’s more encouraging to solve problems in new projects with different teams than to be part of a traditional marketing team.”
The speaker, who recommended the book Team of Teams by General Stanley McChrystal, ended his presentation by reflecting on gender diversity. He announced: “I only work in projects where diversity is one of the five metrics.”
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