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Innovative Airlines

November 4, 2014 BE_Post, Blog No Comments

 

TOPIC: INNOVATIVE AIRLINES

LEVEL: easy

1. Read the text about some of the innovative ideas in aviation business following links for additional reading material.

 Innovative ideas in aviation business, as experience shows, can either be a great source of income or a never-ending source of criticism. Lately many airlines have been focusing on “innovative ideas” that would help them climb out of recession (http://www.eyefortravel.com/news/airlines/ryanair-responds-criticism-stresses-its-customer-service ), and they hardly had anything to do with their customers’ comfort. 2010, however, looks very promising, with a few brilliant ideas that might actually fly.

This year seems to be all about passenger comfort. Although many airlines have stepped forward with new concepts, Air New Zealand’s raised the stakes introducing what they call “a revolutionary new way to travel long-haul” (http://www.futuretakingflight.com/) and what the media have already labeled as “the cuddling class”.

Skycouches – the 3 seats that actually transform into a bed (in economy!) – is indeed a new concept that may completely revamp long-distance travel in the future. The unique seating option will be available on Air New Zealand’s Boeng 777-300s due for their first take-off with the airline in November (http://www.business-strategy-innovation.com/2010/03/airline-innovation-cuddle-class.html )

Air Qantas and Virgin Atlantic (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/terry-gardner/more-comfy-skies-ahead-fo_b_436448.html ) have also been very innovative with their aircraft interiors, but when Qantas introduced “boarding pass and baggage check for life” idea and Virgin Atlantic rolled out a beta version of their partnership with Taxi2 (http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2009-11-16/travel/orl-travel-perkins-111609_1_taxi-idea-baggage ), that news gave hope for a completely transformed traveling experience to many international passengers.

2. Read this article http://www.ideaconnection.com/open-innovation-success/Taxi2-Website-00120.html about how Virgin Atlantic works on innovative ideas and answer the following reading comprehension questions:

1)   Based on what you read about Virgin Atlantic’s VJam program, whom does the airline attract to participate? (answer: VJam program involves Virgin Atlantic employees, passengers, web developers and social media experts to brainstorm ideas and share insights)

2)   Why is open innovation a good solution for Virgin Atlantic? (answer: For Virgin open innovation is an easy way of enhancing its value to customers, without massive demands on their staff.)

3)   How long does the Vjam workshop last? (answer: It’s a day-long workshop).

4)   Who keeps the intellectual property rights in case an idea is selected? (answer: The ‘Vjammers’ as they are known keep the intellectual property of their ideas whilst Virgin has first refusal on licensing the products.)

5)   Is taxi2 a collaboration project or is it Virgin’s new idea? (answer: Taxi2 has been developed as a co-innovation project with Ed Maklouf)

3. Determine whether the following statements are true or false:

1.   Virgin Atlantic is the only airline that has rolled out taxi2 to its customers (t/f) (answer: F)

2.   To share a ride via taxi2, one must fill out a taxi2 form while on board (t/f) (answer: F)

3.   Vjam program participants are called Vjammers (t/f) (answer: T)

4.   Virgin Atlantic welcomes ideas from company employees only (t/f) (answer: F)

5.   Open innovation helps Virgin foster long-term relationships with customers (t/f) (answer: T)

4. Define these words in context:

a.

1)   According to the context, “to flirt with an idea” means: a) to try to attract attention to an idea; b) to toy with or think about an idea in a casual way; c) to implement an idea (Answer: 1b)

2)   “Open innovation” is: a) a project management concept where all innovation ideas are open to the public; b) an idea when companies are open to innovation at all times; c) a project management concept where innovative ideas should be generated both, internally and externally (2c)

3)   “To boost one’s bank balance” means: a) to create a bank account; b) to increase profit; c) to engage in a fraudulent activity (Answer: 3b)

4)   “To roll out a scheme or idea” means: a) to introduce or implement them; b) to criticize them; c) to put them through a trial period (4a)

5)   “To see the light of day” in this context means: a) to get some sunshine, b) to become known; c) to be implemented (Answer: 5c)

b.

1)   When you team up with somebody to bring an innovative idea, you…………………………………..(verb) (answer: co-innovate)

2)   When you come up with an idea and it is implemented through a website, this idea is ……………………………….. (adjective) (answer: web-based)

3)   When you possess the necessary qualities or qualifications to be chosen for something, you are……………………………. (adjective) (answer: applicable)

4)   When you develop a working model of something that is going to be implemented, you develop a……………………………… (noun) (answer: prototype)

5)   When you are in a competition to win a project, at some stage you submit a……………………………….. (noun)(answer: proposal)

5.  Fill in the gaps:

1)   Our expectation is that this simple, sensible way of saving money and ………………………………………………….and ……………………………………will become common activity for air travelers worldwide (answers: cutting down congestion and carbon footprint)

2)   The Vjam program opened with a day-long ……………………………… involving Virgin Atlantic employees, passengers, web developers and social media experts to …………………………………… ideas and ………………………. insights. (answers: workshop, brainstorm, share)

3)   It was the ………………………………of startup entrepreneur Ed Maklouf and the scheme not only saves money, but it also cuts………………………. (answers: brainchild, ground carbon emissions).

4)   The scheme is not just limited to Virgin as it has been ……………………………… to customers on other airlines. (answers: rolled out)

5)   ………………………… innovation is a way for companies like the aviation giant to narrow those odds to get a much better ………………….on investment. (answers: open, return)

6. Role-play

a. Imagine you’re a Vjammer. Describe the step-by-step procedure of an open innovation workshop at Virgin Atlantic. Use the text to help you single out the steps.

b. Imagine you’re a representative of Virgin Atlantic. Using the text, name the advantages open innovation gives to your company.

c.   Imagine you’re working for taxi2. How does this service help your customer and the environment?

d.   Imagine you’re a first-time user of the taxi2 service. Use their website’s Help Section (http://www.taxi.to/help.php) to find out what you need to do. Write down the steps you have to take to share a ride.

 

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