Aviation innovation: Tips from Airbnb, Google, and Nike

A child holds a toy plane in front of a large window, showing the sky with clouds.

1. Airbnb’s lesson: Taking “Cereal Entrepreneurs” on board

To be working in aviation means to be highly adaptable and always ready to navigate the unpredictable.

(There are the everyday challenges of weather, crew issues, and maintenance. And then there are unexpected happenings, as the COVID years have shown!)

How do you find people who are willing to keep trying, failing, iterating, trying again, and pushing for a solution with an unyielding spirit?

These were exactly the questions that Airbnb’s founders Brian Chesky, Joe Gebbia, and Nathan Blecharczyk were faced with.

When they started hiring employees for their homestay startup in 2008, they needed professionals who were ready to take action.

They called these people “cereal entrepreneurs”.

The founder of Airbnb poses with cereal boxes. They sold special edition cereal to fund their startup. In the same way, aviation innovation requires a open mindset.
The founders of Airbnb funded their startup by selling cereal. This innovative mindset became crucial for the company’s success.

(This was an inside joke among the founders, referring to their first year when they sold limited-edition cereal boxes to raise funds and launch their platform.)

In tackling the unique challenges of aviation innovation, having a team that embodies this spirit of “cereal entrepreneurs” is invaluable.

Whether integrating cutting-edge baggage tracking technologies or ensuring passenger satisfaction and safety.

Only through working with people who are willing to iterate, adapt, and innovate can you move forward.

(There is a bonus. If your team gets to solve a lot of problems by themselves, the “IKEA effect” kicks in.

This process refers to a study by Dan Ariely. He showed that the more involved a person is in making a product or service, the more attachment they have to it.

And — as such — the more proud they will be of the product or service.)

2. Google’s insight: Building the perfect crew for aviation innovation

Cooperation is key in the aviation industry. Everyone, from ground handlers to pilots, plays a critical part in operational harmony.

What if you could find an algorithm that predicts how to create a culture of collaboration and open communication?

With a simple formula, you’d be able to elevate operational efficiency and enhance the passenger experience through mutual collaboration.

That’s exactly what Google set out to do.

They wanted to find something like this:

“X years of experience and X degree with a GPA of more than 3.8 would result in a good team player.”

But it turned out there wasn’t a golden formula that could ensure the perfect fit for a team.

A team at Google is sitting and working together.
The most productive teams at Google share five crucial dynamics.

Their research revealed something surprising:

Who is on a team matters much less than how team members work: how they interact, structure their work, and view their contributions.

They identified five dynamics that were crucial for top-performing teams.

They found these dynamics across all types of teams, from sales to engineering, and all regions, from San Francisco to Singapore.

People on successful teams share these five dynamics:

  1. They feel safe to make mistakes.
  2. They can be dependable.
  3. They know how to provide structure and clarity.
  4. They find a sense of purpose in their work.
  5. They believe their contributions make an impact.

In other words, a good team hinges more on its dynamics than on the individual capabilities of its members.

This discovery by Google underlines that a successful company doesn’t drive on experience alone.

A growth mindset, a willingness to learn from feedback, and the humility to recognize that there is always more to learn are also important.

For aviation innovation, this principle is especially pertinent for revolutionary projects that have a lot of potential for long-term growth, such as Bob’s baggage tracking system.

3. Nike’s vision: Believing in the destination of aviation innovation

Two runners in Nike gear, completing a race. Aviation innovation requires dedication and perseverance.
Nike has become synonymous with running — but it took them some time and a lot of team work to get there.

Philip Knight managed to set up a team of shoe fans that followed his vision of starting a running shoe company. But when Nike started out, running wasn’t really a thing.

“In fact, in 1965, running wasn’t even a sport. It wasn’t popular, it wasn’t unpopular — it just was. To go out for a three-mile run was something weirdos did, presumably to burn off manic energy. Running for pleasure, running for exercise, running for endorphins, running to live better and longer — these things were unheard of. People often went out of their way to mock runners. Drivers would slow down and honk their horns. “Get a horse!” they’d yell, throwing a beer or soda at the runner’s head. Johnson had been drenched by many a Pepsi. He wanted to change all this. He wanted to help all the oppressed runners of the world, to bring them into the light, enfold them in a community.”

— Phil Knight, Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of Nike

Nike’s team was united by a belief in the potential of running.

In the same way, a successful aviation innovation team has to share a common belief in their mission.

Whether it’s enhancing passenger experience, improving operational efficiency, or revolutionizing baggage handling with solutions like TravelTag.

This shared vision is crucial for maintaining motivation and focus. Especially in an industry that is faced with so many challenges.

Driving innovation in this sector requires dedication and loyalty to the project that might borderline on what some might call “craziness”.

But in the end, the team’s success lies in this determination.

Working with a visionary, resilient, and collaborative spirit is essential for navigating the complexities of aviation.

How to chart your course in the aviation industry

Can the lessons from Airbnb, Google, and Nike serve as beacons to chart an innovative course in the aviation industry?

Their approaches definitely serve as reminders to keep an open mindset, focusing on your company’s specific needs instead of following the crowd.

Do you want to learn how we implement this mindset at Bob?

Book a free demo to learn more about TravelTag and our team, and find out how we are committed to driving change, enhancing passenger experience, and elevating the industry standard.

Get more information about Bluetooth baggage tracking solutions

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