Facilitating the development of a Brand that fosters effective creative

CROSS-CULTURAL COMMUNICATION

A BOUTIQUE HOTEL, KINGSTON JAMAICA

Facilitating Creative Thinking | Spring 2013 | Professor Mariah Hay
Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) Susan M. Bernard

index
1
purpose ¬ intro
¬ scope ¬ about ¬

2 3

evaluation ¬ culture concept development ¬
knowledge acquisition ¬ warm up activity go to them, warm, perception, association and the mood board ¬ things I'd have done differently

4

brainstorming ¬ concept development

5

¬ procedure ¬ intent and outcome ¬ value proposition ¬ things I'd have done differently ¬ framework for customer journey

summary ¬ conclusions
¬ infographics

purpose

1

intro
What is creative thinking ?
Creative thinking reshapes how people aquire knowledge by using hands on creative exercises thereby applying Lateral thinking strategies. This transforms material (facts and information) into longterm memory through critique and powerful verbal, visual associations that bring text, images and numbers to life ! ¬ new markets ¬ guests ¬ properties

scope
The hotel industry is vastly changing due to changing technology and culture. An article by David McMillin dated April 29th 2013 on the pcma.org website1 states that 3 trends will redefine hotels: There were 3 key areas that determine the travellers choice of where to visit: ¬ Technology ¬ Eco-friendliness ¬ Loyalty programs

With this study, one hotel was examined specifically as it related to the customer's experience when having a function at their facility.

1

http://pcma.org/be-in-the-know/pcma-central/pcma-news/news-lan ding/2013/04/29/3-trends-that-will-redefine-hotels#.UZ6FAZUZfFx

about
This hotel is a boutique hotel open to business travelers and offers a Spanish styled exterior with contemporary interior, a pool, gym, spa, restaurant and meeting facilities. The hotel’s commitment to bring “exceptional guest service in the tradition of true Jamaican hospitality” proves to be most relaxing and comfortable to their guests and the hotel has coined the phrase “Real Service”. Real Style1

This Hotel has promised to make their guest's stay “as effortless, authentic and memorable as possible”. 2

1 www.spanishcourthotel.com/hotel/about 2 http://www.spanishcourthotel.com/hotel/events-meetings/

evaluation

2

culture
understanding the culture of the hotel
In order to best understand the culture of the hotel two months were spent observing the working relationship between the employees and the other departments as it related to the banqueting and events where I was located.

cultural system
There were issues that most organizations have, however, the most consistent and evolving was poor and delayed internal communication

work style
All the employees were extremely pleasant, and being that they were brought together by various hospitality channels, were knowledgeable based upon their previous experiences as opposed to this hotels promise to their customer. All members of staff were leaders in their own right and as a result preferred to be involved in a decision based upon their expertise or insight.

motivators
At this point it is most important to have managers and other executive staff provide support, be available for even the simplest questions, give guidance and always be approachable to ensure that the staff is comfortable in their environment and trusts their employer. This fosters a necessary bond, understanding of the brand, interdepartmental teamwork, creates a “no blame” environment and a sense of accomplishment

concept development
3

knowledge aquisition
The cognitive process of perception, learning, communication, association and reasoning
In this activity, the Warm up, observations were made and information gathered. The following was excellent in translating the feelings and opinions of many that participated as well as a thought for all to consider

¬ ¬

There needs to be effective facilitation and concept development as well as an allowance for "more accountibility and less victimhood"1 This gives way to exploring inno- vative ways to solving issues. Value leadership. We all have moments that change someone elses life and allows us to be leaders . It's up to us to improve others lives2

7

1 2

Jim Bearden, Accountability (Paraphrased) Drew Dudley "Leading with Lollipos" (taken from)

go to them
warm up activity
In order to clear the group’s minds from frustrationsin their work environment, prior to begining the warm up exercise I requested that they write their thoughts and concerns on paper and issue it to me to go with other observations over the 8 week period ¬ 'Constant Crisis Management re quired' ¬ ¬ ¬ ¬ ¬ 'Interdepartmental communication inadquate for efficiency' 'No Solid Structure' 'No Human Resources' 'No fixed hours for some staff' 'No Standard of Procedures' ¬ ¬

warmth
tools required
¬ Magazines Paint Swatches Textile samples (Mosaics, Fabrics etc)

¬ Thumbtacks ¬ ¬ 1 Foam core board Stick glue, Scissors, Paper, Computer and Printer

¬ 'Not enough training or cycles for training' ¬ ¬ ¬ ¬ 'Not enough attention to detail' 'Proactive Management lacking' 'Job Description not provided' 'Furniture insufficient for staff' The Swatch Basket

participants
¬ ¬ 4 members of the Marketing/ Sales Team 1 member of the Spa team

¬ 'Rules are not set and vary depen dent on the day' ¬ ¬ 'Staff members not aware of their rights within the organization' 'No sense of brand awareness' 'No sense of accountability among staff members' 'Employees don’t feel that the com pany cares about their well being'

¬ 2 members of Food and Beverages ¬ 1 Member of IT

¬ ¬

perception
intent
to observe and improve teamwork To facilitate a means for the team to express themselves through a visual channel relieve stress improve communication and reasoning

association
outcome
the group worked together yet individually and without conflict The group enjoyed the opportunity to express themselves without having to worry about making mistakes Overall the exercise was a stress reliever One member in particular was extremely attentive to the composition and use of materials, others, though interested were not as detail oriented

procedure
1. 2. 3. I collected the notes of job related concerns . I requested that using the word WARMTH they take the materials supplied, to create a mood board After gathering the materials, the members were asked to pin the items to the board as they saw appropriate

warm up exercise in progress ¬ ¬ ¬ This activity was used due to it’s pace and use of senses that are not used by the members on an everyday basis. This can indicate patterns and habits that may be reflected in their work environment The concept of the mood board was ex-tremely welcome by the group. Many described the thirty minute exercise as fun. Having the members write any frustrations anonomously related to their job, prior to particition eased some frustration which provided a lighter environment for the activity

the mood board
things I would have done differently
I would have had the workshop in a less cluttered environment Having the exercise in this environment did however, create insight into how the members have to interact within the space normally

Provide the exercise in a less rushed environment

The workshop (exercise) had to be spontaneous due to the schedule of the team and their office duties

brainstorming

4

TOOLS USED:
- Cartridge Paper - Markers, Sharpie pens - Sticky notes - Thumb tacks - Stick glue, Scissors, - Paper - Camera, Video - Stickers - Stickie Flags - Tracing Paper

concept development

Members of the team for Visual Story Telling Activity and the Warm Up : Harry (Left) Sylvia (Center) Janet (right) Sales Professional Sales Professional Sales Professional

The team was kind enough to allow me to take the photo and interviews at the end of their workshift a few days after the exercise had taken place.

procedure
intent
improve teamwork The task was to prepare a customer journey diagram as well as to establish a possible Value Proposition for the hotel. create a means to express visually to facilitate staff members by examining one activity in the department and analyse it to see the possibility for improvements

outcome
the group showed tremendous teamwork and each shifted responsibilities of team leader. All provided significant input. They successfully created a framework for the customer journey map we were able to identify areas that needed attention and research was later done to support that insight

By creating the customer journey map, we would be able to identify areas that needed attention if needed. Preparing a Value Proposition, establishes a constant, a promise that the employees make to their guests. For these purposes three charts were drawn and printed:

¬ ¬ ¬

Company Activity: Description of Touchpoints Framework for Customer Journey Insights with Qualitative graph

Each chart had guildelines for the participants to consider when working through them (see appendix).

activity that focuses on reThis activity successfully sponsibility, teamwork, identifi- identified and organized all cation of stakeholdes and the mentioned concerns Clients experience, re-framing a problem, identification of important touch points as well as identifying any additional problems that may be evident Contribute to possibly preparing an office manual The preparation of a manual would need further surveys and information, however, this is an adequate start

The group got together and scanned through the sheets making clarifications necessary before proceeding. They went through a typical routine, identifying the touchpoints and began the clients journey. Together they described each touchpoint and placed on the chart provided.

OUTCOME: √ Assists with addressing issues that can be solved interdepartmentally √ Provides the participants with a sense of accomplishment • Provides the means to create

We then worked on the Value Proposition asking questions such as: Describe what do you consider professionalism ? If you were to visit a hotel such as this, how would you define execellent service ? How would you you like to be treated by the staff ? What would identify your hotel, making it stand out, from all other boutique hotels creating a unique brand ? The answers to these questions assisted greatly in both the Value Proposition and the Journey Map

The Value Proposition that evolved from the session was: The SPANISH COURT HOTEL provides Banqueting and Events services for Corporate and private clients thereby assisting with the growth of the Client's business as well as providing them with a "Home away from Home". We provide guests with excellent service, exquisite dining, attractive rooms, and a modern comfortable ambiance. We do this by going above and beyond the expectations of our guests with our warmth, professionalism, attention to detail and efficiency. This is what makes the SPANISH COURT HOTEL stand alone and has given us the pleasure to provide, "Real Style, Real Service" to our guests.

Having such a small group made it difficult for this portion of the exercise due to the time constraint. There were no conflicts nor did we go off track. Approaching this exercise using lateral thinking methods was new to them initially, however the team caught on quickly. The workshop was extremely laid back and informal which eased the environment. Based upon the requirements of the project I think my choice for this activity may have been a bit ambitious being that I had hoped to produce a document that may have been used as a sales department manual using their input. I felt this might address some of the issues staff members expressed, and present a way to be more proactive without the need for certain approvals. I also felt that (with the owners approval), the value statement, ideally created by a large group of staff members, would best create a consistent culture through out the hotel. Together they would have made an agreement which would in turn be a promise to their guests. The exercise with the team members took 2 hours and 30 minutes long.

things I would do differently
Unfortunately only 3 members were totally involved in this workshop. This exercise like the warm up exercise was rushed. Should we have had a total of 6 to 8 hours of solid participation or more team members present we would have achieved the results intended

19

summary

5

infographic

The organization uses a great deal of convergent thinking as opposed to divergent thinking . Initially my idea for this workshop was far less time consuming, however, by using a simple warm up exercise, gave me insight into what may be the best way to approach the group and at the same time be a new way of approaching problems. Due to the fact that the hotel hosts business meetings, an idea of the types of business travellers that the hotel may associate with in general would be helpful. I referred to a survey done on the types of business travellers1 and their characteristics. This survey gives great insigt into how business people travel, and what they would prefer for their convenience. Key Personas such as "the Veteran" traveler, "the Road-Weary", "the Wide Eyed and Anxious", "the Passionate High-tech", and "the recruits" were each described noting their prefences and habits when travelling. This plays a great deal into the possibilities for points of interest identified in the brainstorming session. I find like many other organizations, there is a fear of doing something incorrectly, of making the wrong decision. This approach I felt would best be served by using divergent thinking, brainstorming sessions with the employees that allow for work to be accomplished in a more playful atmosphere. Many I spoke with said they had numerous ideas that they were either nervous to put forward, didn't have the opportunity to suggest, or were put down by supervisors as it was seen as not suitable. It is understood that not all ideas are suitable, or will work, however, through reframing, non-judgement and research, much can be taken from the inital idea and as a team something tangible created. This gives a sense of accomplishment to everyone as well as motivation that will encourage further participation and accountability. Brainstorming will identify the source of the problem and place the side effects to one side which allows for a solid solution and foundation from which to proceed. Thinking outside of the box comes when all ideas are exhausted and the research begins. The infographic poster takes note of the study by the BTNGroup showing the veteran traveler and the journey that type of individual may take showing their experiences as they go along. It is not a solution merely a starting point and considers some of the employees input as well as the team's efforts on the day of the workshop.
1 Understanding your Travel Population: Traveller Segmentation and Customization can lead to increased compliance and enhanced traveler satisfaction produced by BTNGroup, Elizabeth West, Irene Kom, Mariza Moreira, Louis Magliaro and Tim Reid

appendix

reference
The Manager's Guide to Fostering Innovation and Creative Teams: Copyright 2010; ISBN 978-0-07-171347-4; MHID: 0-07-171347-6 Prather, Charles; McGraw Hill Companies Inc.;

How reframing a Problem Unlocks Innovation: Fast Company; Seeling, Tina Using a Customer Journey Map to improve your experience: Isaaccson, Dr Bruce; President of MMR Strategy Group

https://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2013/04/great_innovators_think_lateral.htmlutm_source=socialflow&utm_medi https://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2010/11/using_customer_journey_maps_to.html

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