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The Buzz for 2014

This issue of HT highlights insight from our advisory board for a look at what’s trending in 2014. We’ve asked them to offer their outlook for top technologies, must-have skill sets, and general industry buzz. Here is a prediction from HT to add to that mix.

There’s a new term being tossed around in the hospitality tech world, and like all buzzwords, there’s usually a valid concept buried in there somewhere. Here is HT’s pick for the buzzword of 2014: Disruptive Innovation. We’ve heard this term trickle out from a few technology vendors lately, and I’m going out on a limb to say there’s some real meat to this one.

Here’s the fast overview of disruptive innovation: it takes place when an innovation aimed at introducing capabilities or efficiencies that previously didn’t exist, through its growing implementation, ultimately transforms the status quo and redefines the industry. The term was coined by Harvard prof. Clayton M. Christensen, circa 1997. In 2014, it’s gaining traction.

For hotels and restaurants, there’s no doubt that a handful of technologies — chief among them mobile and cloud solutions — are already changing standard operating procedures for those who have adopted them. Extending that notion out a bit, disruptive innovation in our industry implies that mobile devices and cloud-based solutions have the potential to be so far-reaching, that they will have a redefining impact on the way hospitality businesses operate. What that looks like remains to be seen.

Our board agrees that the skills required of IT leaders must go well beyond IT savvy ­— in answering HT’s questions, they call out skills such as change management, marketing, and clearer communication. If disruptive innovation is indeed poised to redefine hospitality operations, then as IT leaders this is your moment to shine.

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