Emirates, Cathay, Air New Zealand latest airlines to ‘crowdsource’ new products

Earlier this year we reported how airlines such as KLM and  Virgin Atlantic are using the Internet to co-create products with the general public. Recent examples from airlines such as Emirates, Cathay Pacific and Air New Zealand, who are introducing crowdsourced products such as loyalty card designs, inflight cocktails, snacks, desserts and eyemasks, show that ‘open innovation’ is here to stay. 

Emirates ‘Skywards Future Artist Programme’
In August 2010, Emirates launched the first edition of its ‘Our Future Artists’ competition, asking artist around the world to submit their artwork for a chance to be featured on the 2011 membership cards of the airline’s frequent flyer programme, Skywards. Entries needed to reflect and interpret the mood of each of the three membership levels of the Skywards program: ‘Luxurious, elite and precious’ for the Gold tier, ‘sophistication, intelligence and richness’ for the Silver tier and ‘bold, visionary and modern’ for the Blue level. All styles and sizes of art, including sculpture, photography and paintings could be submitted. 

Out of more than 3,500 entries, a panel of industry professionals and experts created a shortlist of 4 entries for each brief, with the winning designs voted for by Skywards members. The three winning artists were Nedim Kufi (Netherlands) for the Gold card, a 3-D computer-generated image of bronze nuggets, Amir Vafaei’s (Iran) silver geometric design motif of Turkoman rugs for the Silver card, and Kambiz Sabri (Iran) was the winner for the Blue card design, a sculpture of light and transparency featuring enlarged rain drops. The winners also receive USD5,000 and will be flown to Dubai where their portfolio will be displayed at the Art Dubai fair in March 2011. Distribution of more than 5 million cards with the new design to Skyward members will begin in January 2011. 

Cathay Pacific ‘The Art Of Dessert’ Contest
Cathay Pacific USA is currently holding a Facebook contest, in which it asks its Facebook fans to come up with an Asian-inspired dessert, snap a photo of their creation, and submit it online for voting. The winner will have his or her dessert served on the airline’s flights out of North America somewhere in 2011 (pending the airline’s catering department planning) and will also receive a Business Class trip to Hong Kong. Submission of desserts ends November 16 and voting ends November 19. The ‘Art of Dessert’ contest is open for U.S. and Canada residents only. 

Air New ZealandAviation Design Academy
At the end of March 2010, Air New Zealand (ANZ) invited the public to add a few finishing touches to the offerings in the airline’s all-new B777-300 cabin. Participants in the airline’s ‘Aviation Design Academy’ could sign-up to create a mid-flight snack for travelers in Economy; a signature cocktail for Premium Economy customers; or a stylish eye mask for Business Class passengers. ANZ said it would turn the winning ideas into actual products and the winner in each category received two free tickets on the inaugural flight of the new aircraft from Auckland to London in April 2011.

ANZ says it has received hundreds of innovative ideas from DIY designers, chefs and other creative types from around the globe. In early May 2010, the airline held a judging day where all the finalists’ cocktails and snacks were made on the spot (video here). The winners in each category were: The ‘Kia Pacifica Cocktail’ from Benedict Simpson (New Zealand), the ‘LambKam Feijoa Moa’ snack from Andy Maclean (New Zealand) and the ‘My Dream Shades’ eyemask from Jorge Garcia and Daniela Morales (Mexico). 

Related articles:
Airlines team up with the general public to ‘fly their ideas’
KLM and Schiphol Airport use social network for innovation contest

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