June 22, 2021
How does a modern conference hotel reach its target groups? How do you make sales more agile in order to attract new business and meeting customers? This is what students at the Hasso Plattner Institute for Digital Engineering gGmbH at the University of Potsdam are exploring as part of a challenge at the School of Design Thinking (HPI D-School). The HPI D-School is entering into a project partnership with Seminaris Hotels. Jochen Swoboda, Director of Operations at Seminaris Hotels, explains: “In the Corona pandemic, the hotel industry is facing unprecedented challenges, with many establishments having to go on short-time working. We are looking ahead right now and have this study done to look at the distribution of the future. I firmly believe that it will take an agile sales process to continue to be successful.”
The assignment is open-ended to allow students to be completely creative. They are asked to design an “agile selling experience for new business and meeting clients” incorporating “new work in a process of internal service transformation and cultural change for a small urban hotel chain.” “The Design Challenge is also very exciting for us, as we as HPI D-School are developing our analog, digital and hybrid creative spaces massively right now,” says Claudia Nicolai, Academic Director of HPI D-School.
About two years ago, Seminaris Hotels began transforming all internal processes toward agility and New Work. As established conference hotels, they offer their guests not only newly renovated rooms for overnight stays, but also everything they need for meetings and training sessions based on the “New Work” concept: creative rooms, professional materials, and a sustainable network of keynote speakers, moderators, and trainers. Seminaris Hotels act as Service Solution Provider (SSP), offering not only accommodation, catering and conference rooms, but also methods, trainers, materials, speakers and even initial consultation on the design of the seminar itself. In this way, companies that want to change find the best possible conditions and exactly the place they need to think differently, make new plans and plan them in a targeted manner.
What the HPI D-School students come up with as part of the Design Thinking Challenge is completely open: The result of this process, which they are currently going through, can be an app, a website or a completely different tool, for example. “We are very excited and curious to see what ideas the project participants come up with,” says Jochen Swoboda. “And we look forward to implementing the results with our sales team in order to address existing customers in a fresh way and win new ones.”
The HPI School of Design Thinking (HPI D-School) was founded in 2007 by Hasso Plattner based on the model of the Stanforder d.school in Potsdam. Since then, it has become the European center for design thinking education. Each year, the HPI D-School offers 400 places for additional study in the innovation approach. In small, multidisciplinary teams, students from a wide range of disciplines develop innovative and human-centered solutions to complex real-world problems. In doing so, they are in close exchange with project partners from companies, NGOs and political institutions.
Under the leadership of Professor Ulrich Weinberg and Dr. Claudia Nicolai, Design Thinking is successfully taught, lived and developed at the Hasso Plattner Institute.
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For reasons of better readability, the simultaneous use of gender-specific forms of language is omitted.