Innovation booster Booking.com: the ethical dimension
From June 25 until June 29,2018, travel platform Booking.com organized an Innovation Week (hackathon). Almost 1,800 experts from the HQ in Amsterdam and overseas branches in Tel Aviv, Shanghai and San Francisco experts attended the event in Amsterdam.
The kick-off of the innovation week (‘booster’) consisted of a number of pitches on successful new products, innovation strategies, awards as well as ethical notions. This last part was presented by Joost Groot Kormelink on behalf of PRISMA.
Bookig.com aims to drive the tourism industry towards a more sustainable model with the launch of a new accelerator program titled Booking Booster Programme. This is an internal company initiative where employees partner with local NGOs on sustainable tourism initiatives that help improve destinations worldwide. It is created to support start-ups dedicated to sustainable tourism in the following areas: protecting the environment, preserving cultural heritage and/or promoting inclusive growth in tourism that supports and develops local economies and communities.
The booster program is also s part of the CSR-policy of the company To quote Gillian Tans, CEO of Booking.com: ‘ By identifying and funding these outstanding start-ups, sharing our expertise and working together, we can explore and learn how best to protect the future of the destinations we love so much so that our great-great-grandchildren can continue to enjoy them for years to come’.
The pitch by Joost was meant to give food for thought for the selection of new services and the hackathon:
- Why ethics is a compulsory subject for every engineering at TU Delft;
- Technology is never neutral. Programmers need to acknowledge their special responsibility and understand how their products and services are changing the way people live. These impacts can vary significantly according to how and the contexts within which the technology is used;
- Transparency is a key requirement for innovation and the targeted use of digitisation: People must know enough about technology to say what they actually want, and communities need the right information to recognise opportunities and threats.;
- Privacy and Inclusiveness as key values for new services
During the panel discussions and the dinner afterwards the need for ethical considerations as part of the innovation process was underlined. Also nice to note is that SF-movies like ‘Her’ are a great way to discuss moral dilemmas.