“My mouth shall speak of wisdom; and the meditation of my heart shall be of understanding.” – Psalm 49:3

My last column concluded that the Caribbean could emerge as a global leader in sustainable tourism with appropriate training interventions.

I am going to examine the action and impact of two training interventions in greater detail. Today, we will focus on HIGS Ideation Workshops. Next week, we will look at Investor Incentive-led Equity Funds with Shepherding Squads as Collateral.

The tourism economic gearing system conceptually consists of three wheels with interlocking cogs designed to transfer the action from the “Arrivals” wheel to the “Infrastructure” wheel to the “MSMEs” wheel.

The first wheel represents the flow of tourists into the Caribbean by increasing airlift capacity and cruise arrivals. It is the responsibility primarily of Caribbean nations and territories, which market their respective destinations, along with supporting agencies such as the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO), the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association (CHTA), the Florida-Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) and their respective members.

The second wheel seamlessly engages with the large wheel and represents infrastructural facilities (hotels, restaurants and attractions) in response to the primary demands of tourists. This infrastructure established by entrepreneurs may be augmented by intrapreneurship, which is the responsibility of the private sector and can be supported further by local hotel associations and the umbrella CHTA.

The third wheel represents job creation through direct employment with the infrastructural facilities and ideas nurtured through entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship. This is supported by micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSME) to complete the tourism sector.

At the same time, job creation gives a sense of pride and self-satisfaction by reaffirming that individuals can support themselves as tourism contributes to economic growth.

Destination marketing drives the system. The existing private sector has responded through entrepreneurs (with stellar ideas) and intrapreneurs with ideas for expansion, which they can continue to promote from within the existing facilities.

Ideation is a common requirement for all three wheels in the economic gearing system. HIGS Workshop training interventions sponsored by the public and private sectors and combining the wisdom of education, experience and common sense, can generate ideas for increasing the flow of tourists, expanding infrastructural facilities and developing MSME enterprises.

The High Impact Growth Strategy (HIGS) workshop tool has been developed under my watch over the years. It is an innovative and interactive tool that generates several sustainable new ideas from a blank sheet of paper in two days of interactive sessions led by skilled facilitators with a balanced selection of stakeholders. The power of HIGS to generate ideas is generic and may be used in the tourism industry.

Here is a synopsis of the HIGS workshop process:

The HIGS facilitators will have access to a well-documented HIGS workshop manual.
The local coordinating committee seeking to generate ideas submits a proposal to the facilitators for review.
Six teams will develop six new ideas (one per team) in a destination’s tourism sector and prepare business opportunity profiles (BOP) for each idea.
The workshop is held on two consecutive days at a venue selected by the local coordinating committee.
Sixty participants from a balanced cross-section of interests are invited (with the expectation that at least 48 will attend).
The participants are divided into six groups in a roundtable setting.  All of the participants are expected to attend 100 percent of the time.
Over the two days, a new idea is nurtured at each table, under the guidance of the facilitators, and the corresponding business opportunity profile is developed.
Participants sign off on six initial business profiles with a guarantee, on the development and sale of the corresponding full action plan, of an equitable financial reward for their intellectual property associated with the plan.

The HIGS Tourism Ideation Workshops represent a forward-thinking and innovative initiative toward enhancing Caribbean tourism. Participants develop an appreciation of how to continually generate new or convert existing business ideas that link Caribbean tourism supply and brand opportunities with the global niche market demand, and subsequently turn them into commercial realities and economic growth.

Any takers?

(Dr. Basil Springer GCM is a Change-Engine Consultant. His email address is basilgf@marketplaceexcellence.com. His columns may be found at www.nothingbeatsbusiness.com).