Airbnb disrupted the hospitality industry through innovation. In 2008, cash-strapped Founder Chesky and Gebbia rented out the extra room in their apartment to design enthusiasts visiting the Annual design conference in San Francisco. The Airbnb founders continued to innovate and build a product that has found sustained favor of their customers.
Based on interactions with initial hosts, Airbnb Founders made a flurry of changes to their products. The website was improved. Payment systems were made simple to use. Professional photographs of properties on offer enabled customers to better understand the offered accommodation.
Airbnb growth shot up and continues to date. Each innovation has made the product slicker, better targeted, and easy to use.
Airbnb products are now segmented to meet the specific needs of different customer segments. There are now properties customized for people who want to work in an exotic location. A luxury category of properties is now on offer, where personalized valet service is on offer. The exotic locations at competitive prices continue to be offered to customers. Each product caters to a specific customer segment.
Innovation follows a cycle. The steps in this cycle can be divided into:
1. Identify a problem to solve.
2. Identify a process that works best in the prevailing condition. Available options are analyzed, and the optimal solution is identified for implementation.
3. Engage others in leveraging collective intelligence to solve the problem.
4. Empower groups of people to throw up ideas
5. Evaluate, prioritize, and implement those ideas that will deliver the best returns.
6. Implement the best options