An Introduction to Design Thinking — Coming to Fall Curate 2019!

By Christopher Durso, Vice President of Content Development, Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI)

Curate is all about making connections. An Executive Insights Forum exclusively for HSMAI Organizational Member companies, Curate brings together thought leaders in hospitality sales, marketing, and revenue optimization for interactive, cross-disciplinary conversation around priority issues and emerging trends. At Fall Curate 2019, being held on Sept. 4–5 at The Breakers Palm Beach, that will include a focus on design thinking, which has potential applications for convergence and collaboration — one of the priority issues Organizational Members identified when we launched Curate last year. 

What is design thinking? Simply put, it’s a human-centered approach to creative problem solving. According to IDEO, the influential design and consulting firm that’s done pioneering work in the field, “Design thinking utilizes elements from the designer’s toolkit like empathy and experimentation to arrive at innovative solutions. By using design thinking, you make decisions based on what future customers really want instead of relying only on historical data or making risky bets based on instinct instead of evidence.”

What are some examples of design thinking at work? Design thinking has been applied across industries, from health care and education to manufacturing and food service. A recent article in Harvard Business Review offered a variety of examples, including a health system in Australia that used design thinking to reduce relapses — including drug overdoses and suicide attempts — among its mental-health patients. Fast Company reported on consultants who helped Oral-B streamline an Internet of Things–enabled electric toothbrush. And The New York Times profiled IBM’s efforts to use design thinking to “to change the habits of a huge company as it tries to adjust to a new era.”

What does any of this have to do with hospitality sales, marketing, and revenue optimization? You have customers, whether they’re guests staying on property, planners who are bringing meetings and events there, or even other teams, departments, or functions at your company whom you support. Design thinking can help you create products, services, and systems that answer their needs as opposed to the structural needs of your own organization. You also can use it to solve intractable problems — such as convergence and collaboration.

How will design thinking be incorporated into Fall Curate 2019? We’re not sure! We do know that we’ll have signature Curate elements such as interactive, small-group brainstorming and visionary outside experts — but beyond that, we’re committed to presenting something entirely new. We’ll keep you updated. Meanwhile, keep thinking about design thinking, and check with the primary contact on your Organizational Membership to see if you might be able to join us at Fall Curate 2019.

Categories: Marketing
Insight Type: Articles