Radical Innovation - Defining Hospitality - Episode # 130

Dan Ryan: Again, one of the things I love about this podcast platform is I get to experiment. So I can't believe it was just last week. I went to the 2023 Radical Innovation Awards in New York on top of the new museum down in the Bowery. And if you're not familiar with the event, it's put together by the Hardy Group and focuses on driving new ideas within our industry.

Radical innovation. It was my first time attending in a really long time. And it's always amazing to see this like incubation, A la Shark Tank, a la, you know, design crit event going on with some really powerful ideas. And I think they got, I don't know how many countries they got submissions from, but it's a very internationally, subscribed to event with really great minds working on really cool challenges within hospitality.

the thoughtful feedback from the judges and the sponsors as the finalists were presenting their ideas were really Just amazing. And the back and forth banter, it reminded me of just being back in college and sitting through a crit. And while the event is a hotbed for innovative design and thinking, this year was no exception.

there was an amazing collection of winners that highlighted fresh ways for the industry to embrace sustainability. There were these pods that would roll through, um, the forest, maybe go over. Some body of water that was done by Populous, Joel at Populous. He was really cool. I'd love to have him on the show too.

Um, Totally sustainable, off the grid, battery powered, um, like these glass bubbles. This amazing, uh, kind of sustainable houseboat concept that would float around the Bahamas and constantly changing, um, perspectives. And then... Jun Aizaki, the founder of CREM, had this really simple, but beautiful gourd concept for an earth friendly and sustainable alternative to current recycling practices.

So imagine like these beautiful gourds that could be drinking vessels or accessories. And actually I just went on their Instagram page. I'll put it in the notes. It's turned into a Kickstarter campaign. So check it out because you could help become a part of it, whether you were there or not. And it's a really just simple, beautiful, elegant, uh, concept with respect to sustainability.

So whether it was kind of building hotels in a natural cliff faces, or like I said, making cups out of dried gourds, or the use of paper based RFID tags, that was actually really cool too. Um, each idea really embraced the ethos of radical innovation. And while at the event, I got to speak to a few people who helped make the event from its founder.

to attendees, to jurors, and I just compiled a bit of interviews in that experimental podcast fashion to provide you with a bit of the behind the scenes of radical innovation. So you'll hear from the founder, John Hardy, who's been doing it for 17 years and other members of this year's juries and a couple of other sponsors as well.

and they kind of all talk about like what it means to be a juror to found the event or kind of, I guess, like really what excites them about the, the awards show. Um, we'll dive into what make this year's winners stand out and how the events grown over 17 years in these little interviews as well.

But also I'm going to track down some of the, uh, the people who submitted event or who submitted ideas, um, so that we can get a more full rounded picture. It was a great way to just get content to share with you guys. If you couldn't be there. So hopefully you enjoy it. If any of you guys are considering being a juror or a sponsor or an attendee next year, or even submitting an idea, um, I think it would be amazing.

I know I brought Bruce Becker, who will be a guest here soon, who was the developer of that, the first passive house. rated hotel and hopefully it'll be the first net zero hotel in the United States. Um, I know it's the first zero emissions hotel, um, up in New Haven, the Hotel Marcel that was designed by Dutch East design.

It's a Hilton tapestry by Hilton project. It's really cool. Right off 95. I was there a couple of weeks ago. So again, I think this whole thing is helping. Seed a lot of, and has helped seed a lot of really incredibly innovative ideas to keep moving forward. So I hope you enjoy this experimental episode and thank you for listening.

Dan Ryan: Standing here with John Hardy at the Radical Innovation event here on top of the new museum. You've been doing this for 17 years. Yeah, I know. It's

John Hardy: crazy. I don't know how this happened. Well,

Dan Ryan: Well given the 17 years... What keeps you coming back? What keeps invigorating you and exciting you about this

John Hardy: event? The people that we meet, they're amazing.

I mean, this is very global. I can't remember how many countries we've had submissions from. Probably 80 plus. There's 100 this year, 18 countries. The people are amazing. One thing that's really cool about the globalization of this is that there are really nice, smart people everywhere who want to do something cool.

So that's, that's what makes it great. I think

Dan Ryan: also since starting this for me starting this podcast over the past two years what's so exciting we're just talking about some of my past non quote hospitality guests. Hospitality really touches everything it it's a it's a laboratory for humanity if

John Hardy: you will.

Everybody likes it too right everybody likes what we do it's fun not boring.

Dan Ryan: And what do you think John the biggest change from the first one you did till today is?

John Hardy: That is a great question. It has to be technology. You know, whether it's drones or sustainability or, um, you know, the product category.

That's the biggest change, I think. And

Dan Ryan: that's for the actual things within our industry. But for you, as far as putting on this event and the interest, what's been the biggest change?

John Hardy: Uh, well, we've learned how to put on a really great global party every year, which is probably not what I should be doing with my time and money.

But you know, it's one of those things that got a life of its own. It was just an experiment. We started, it was a way to avoid being on a panel. I should have just done the panel or a podcast, much cheaper. Um, so that's

Dan Ryan: cool too. So I used to live around the corner from here when they were building the new museum and then it opened while I was living over on 2nd between C& D.

It's really kind of helped change this whole neighborhood around here. It's

John Hardy: a cool spot. I really like it. How

Dan Ryan: did you find this place and what do you love the most about it?

John Hardy: Well, I like the fact it's a non profit and it's, it's creative. It's the arts. So when you look for a venue in New York for like what we need, it's very hard to find.

They're either too big or they're boring or they're not, not interesting. Terms of the space. So this has really everything. It's in a kind of edgy neighborhood. It's kind of a radical idea to even have it here. So this is, this is where we came in the first year in New York. The first time we were on our own doing this whole event and it was just a great spot.

I like the fact that it's non profit. And

Dan Ryan: I love how you work the word radical into the description.

John Hardy: Oh, really?

Dan Ryan: And also my, so working here also As an entrepreneur, my first, one of my first offices was right around the corner here on Christie Street. Yeah, 195 Christie. Actually, I think it's right there.

Um, but it's just good. There's such a great creative energy down here and there has been since New York was founded,

Thank you.

Dan Ryan: Standing here with Mark from Bayer Brown. Hey, Mark. How are you? I'm good. How are you? Great. Awesome. I'm glad to be here at the new museum up top for the radical innovation awards ceremony You've been attending this for a few years, correct? Correct. Yeah, and you are currently as Bayer Brown you and Mark Bayer Brown a sponsor here That's right.

So going from an attendee to a sponsor, like what, what caused you to become a sponsor? Like you must be, this must excite you. This must drive something within you. What tipped you to become a sponsor of this event? I

Marc Friessen: think the competition, um, that exists with, with, uh, within this, this group is pretty exciting, just seeing all the different ideas that come at us from around the world.

Always interested to see the next, uh, year's participants and submissions and, uh, get into the conversations, especially when we're dissecting the, uh, the, uh, all the different applications and, and seeing who they are and what they're thinking. It's, uh, it's just a great incubator.

Dan Ryan: I agree, and I think, like, where hospitality touches everything, innovation touches everything, and I feel like hospitality used to be, kind of, uh, it would follow, but now I really believe, like, through the lens of hospitality Hospitality is actually leading right now, and leading innovation, so what are your thoughts on

Marc Friessen: that?

Uh, yeah, I think, and also on the product side, like, there's a product division here as well, and some of the ideas that they're bringing forward are, uh, can be applied to hospitality as well as residential, or a lot of other applications, and it's really exciting to see what these guys are coming up with.

Dan Ryan: Thank you, Mark.

Dan Ryan: I'm standing here with Iran the emcee of the radical innovation awards ceremony atop the new museum with ODA So as the emcee for the past two years and observing all of the innovation that comes through here plus as being a innovative architect What keeps you coming back?

Eran Chen: Well, I think it's just incredible and commendable for the Hardy Group to be able to initiate innovation every year consistently for so long, uh, kind of putting all us in check that the hospitality industry is not just a business. It's really a platform by which, uh, we help the world experience different places, nature, different cultures, and being, uh, Innovative and consistently on top of technology and other things that are changing.

It's the right thing to do. It just allows us to adapt our industry to the needs of today.

Dan Ryan: And speaking of our wonderful hospitality industry, so you have a multinational architecture practice. Um, what percent of your business is hospitality?

Eran Chen: I'd say about, today it's about 40 percent of our business, so it's a lot.

Dan Ryan: And is it your favorite part of the business? Of course! You say that to all your children.

Eran Chen: Yes, listen, design is design, we love it all. But one thing I would say about hospitality, it um, and I mean it, we do both architecture and interiors and landscape. It's the most dynamic profession. Or a sector.

Because, um, it needs to be upbeat with what people need today. And, um, when you think of hospitality, you think, what attracts people today? What is the right thing that would drag them out of their homes and get them to explore the world? And that's, that's a, it's a very interesting topic. When you design a building for a university, you're thinking 20 years ahead.

Being at the hospitality industry really makes you think about now. And I think that's, uh, it's unique.

Dan Ryan: I agree. The power of now and the power of caring. Right. Hospitality, trans caring. Right. Yeah. Hospitality transcends all . Right. Does Iran,

thank you. It was wonderful to meet you. Alright, thank you. Thank you.

Dan Ryan: So Raj, great to see you. What's exciting you most about this Radical Innovation evening here at the New Museum on the

Raj Chandnani: Bowery? I'm really excited to see the level of interest and the number of submissions that we received. I think it's indicating that more people are thinking about the human experience and hospitality and how design can have an effect on it.

Perhaps even more exciting is the record number of individuals that logged on to the website to vote. So we've created some real interest and buzz in the industry. And it's really just how important hotels are into the fabric of our lives. And people are excited to see new concepts that really resonate with them.

Dan Ryan: And I also love how, when you think of innovation, Innovation applies everywhere, but in hospitality, hospitality also Applies everywhere in every aspect of life. So to me, it's really exciting to see these two to come together.

Raj Chandnani: You're so right, because now we're starting to see how, for the longest time there was how residential design influences hospitality, and now we're seeing hospitality influence other aspects of the built environment in the real estate sector.

So, office spaces are now adding a hospitality component. We see that in residential now, adding more amenities. That are influencing where people will buy and what, what products they're interested in. So it's really come full 360 now. And the impact of hospitality is endless.

Dan Ryan: That was amazing.

Dan Ryan: Hello. Uh, I'm here with Damien Perrault.

Damien Perrot: Yes, Damien Perrault.

Dan Ryan: Damien Perrault from Accor. Um, and we are at the rooftop of the new museum on the Bowery and we are at the Radical Innovation Awards Ceremony for the hospitality industry. And Damien, you get asked to do a lot of panels, be a juror, and we all have to work.

We all have our life. We all have all, everything going on. What kept you coming back? What do you love the most about this event for, uh, to be a juror for the second year in a row?

Damien Perrot: What I really appreciate with that event is meeting people that, uh, I do not have the chance to meet in other regions. And, uh, in, in the U.

S., I must say that I do not know a lot of people. And here, a lot of things, uh, are happening in terms of innovation. People are really daring in that region. And it's very impressive all the Generosity, investment, people dedicate, uh, on hospitality as well on, on innovation. So that's, that's really why I like to come there.

It's all about, uh, discovering talent, meeting new people and, um, having good fun.

Dan Ryan: Wonderful. And then, um, how long have you been with Accor?

Damien Perrot: Um, I have, I've stopped counting after 20 years.

Dan Ryan: Okay. So that's a great question. I had no idea because my, I was I'm curious because of all of, from Intercon to Hilton to Marriott, you guys have grown naturally, I would say grown naturally, but also through some really awesome acquisitions over the past couple years.

What do you find innovative about Accor's acquisition strategy with respect to independent boutique hotels out there in the spectrum of hospitality?

Damien Perrot: What is, what, what is very important when you, when you want to grow is, um, is, is really to make sure that you are growing in the right, um, in the right segment and, uh, you are really bringing something that will help you to grow quicker, faster, and, uh, to, to, to also, uh, please our guests and our investors.

And those acquisition was really... Critical for us in order to learn faster because what we acquired mainly was new brands on some segment or different type of hospitality that it'll take too much time if we would like to, to, to, to do it ourself. So with those acquisition, we learn faster and we can grow faster.


Dan Ryan: I won't ask you, which one is your favorite of all the acquisitions? Because, like our children, I believe you love them all equally. Um, but, I like the idea of learning the most from acquisitions. Of your recent acquisitions on your very steep growth path, which one do you think you learned the most from?

Damien Perrot: Um, I would, I would name two. Uh, one of the, of, of... The key acquisition that we've made is, uh, Mama Shelter, for example. Uh, so it's one of the first brands that really, uh, proposed something different in the hospitality. That's what we call lifestyle today. And, um, we learned very fast with that acquisition.

And we do not acquire only a brand. But also, um, the, the team that come with it, the founders, and the founders are still working with us. Even if we acquired, uh, 100 percent of Mama Shelter, the founders are still there, and we are still learning a lot from them. So that's Mama Shelter. The other one is Paris Society.

Paris Society is a F& B company, and they do F& B like nobody does. And, uh, it's very impressive. Um, the... The way they, they, they, they defined the F& B part and how we can really propose something different. And you know, F& B bring life into our hotels. It's very important and when you really would like to, to activate the spaces, to make hotels not only for the people.

Who's going to stay in the room and sleep in the hotel, but also for people living around the hotel, F& B is key. And Paris Society, it's an incredible society that we just acquired, and they are doing F& B like nobody does.

Dan Ryan: Wonderful, thank you, and it's so nice to meet you. Me too.

Dan Ryan: Here we are at Radical Innovation with John Edelman, a juror for this year's awards ceremony. Is this your first year being a juror?

John Edelman: It is my first year. Very proud to be a juror for Radical.

Dan Ryan: I'm proud that you're also a juror for Radical.

You're a serial entrepreneur, you have a family, you're busy, you're running all over the place. If someone were to be asked to be a juror next year, given all the life requirements we all have. Um, what do you think you got the most out of this year being your first year as a

John Edelman: juror? I mean, any opportunity to learn and see fresh ideas, to me is extremely valuable.

And everything from sustainability, to usability, to just ease of, of living through the hospitality, uh, side of our business is, is really good for me. So I, I learned, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Dan Ryan: And what do you think you got out of this the most, aside from learning? Like, specifically, was there anything that really inspired you?

On your journey.

John Edelman: I mean, there are one of one of the winners, which I can't say right now. You

Dan Ryan: can, cause this will be on tape delay. Oh,

John Edelman: well, I really enjoyed the, the, the gourd concept and you know, it's one thing to preach sustainability and try to move people towards your ideas, but to have an interactive concept that's related to a brand and ends up in sustainability and provides entertainment value to me fit all the boxes.

And I, and I would just. Move by it. It inspired me to do better in sustainability and not just preach about it and check the box, but to include my clients in the, in the quest.

Dan Ryan: Actually, I invited, my guest coming here tonight is a neighbor of yours in Westport. His name is Bruce Becker. I don't know if you know him.

I don't. But he is the architect and owner developer of the Hotel Marcel, that Breuer building up in New Haven next to IKEA. That's

John Edelman: excellent. I can't wait to go and have a cocktail and uh, have a new friend.

Dan Ryan: Yes. Alright, it's good to see you and thank you for your time. Thank you.

Dan Ryan: So, Vito, another question for you. This is your second year judging. What would you tell any people who, in the future, who may be asked to judge, but, or be a juror, but they might be on the fence?

Vito Lotta: Um, I think it's fun to judge. I think one thing about the judging that's very interesting is a lot of people have great ideas and they never do research on, as anybody else, ever explored that solution before.

So, one thing that's fun to do in the, uh, judging is when you see a solution, do a little bit of research and see if there are iterations of something that's been done before or if it's truly unique.

Dan Ryan: And then, we all have so many commitments, time, work, life, family. What did you get the most out of judging this Radical Innovation event for the past two years?

Vito Lotta: I think it's the fun collaboration with other juries of Uh, having dialogue and discussion with regards to what we're saying, and to hear their insights and perspectives, and then that turns your thought around on what you're seeing and critiquing. Thank

Dan Ryan: you.

Radical Innovation - Defining Hospitality - Episode # 130
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