Airbnb’s approach to moving an organization toward a new future – a model for us all
Airbnb is the story of hard work and a company that challenges itself on a day-to-day basis by stepping back to ask tough, new questions.
Last month, Airbnb announced the birth of new division, an innovation lab, called “Samara.” It was tasked with identifying business opportunities for the organization, one of which they have also just announced – a new hospitality concept in Japan. Thank you, Chip Conley, for encouraging me to follow the progress of this interesting new business by reading some of the interesting articles on the topic.
Their discovery is ground-breaking on the one hand, because it is a concept that is new to both Japan and other countries. On the other hand, as one unpacks the discovery process, one realizes that the “ah ha” moment was the result of addressing an age-old business question, “What is a customer problem? How can we resolve it?”
Samara is hoping to tackle the issue of de-population among traditional Japanese villages by establishing cultural centers to attract international tourists. Can the model survive in Japan? If so, can it be translated to other countries?
Tracking their progress will provide an interesting way to observe how innovative industry leaders, such as Airbnb, among many others, continue to adapt to shifting industry dynamics and stay competitive.
…and even for those whose organizations who are not considered industry leaders, but who might look at themselves more humbly as community leaders and use the Airbnb – Samara discipline of looking at their business in structurally new ways by asking, “What is the customer problem we can solve?”