Finnair and Helsinki Airport invite ‘Quality Hunters’ to co-create new products

Finnair Qualit6Hunters 2013_b680x483

By Nikos Loukas, InflightFeed

In the past years, airlines and airports have teamed up with the general public in order to generate ideas for new and/or improved products and services, with several airlines implementing some of the co-created concepts.

Quality Hunters
Possibly one of the most innovative crowdsourcing initiatives is Finnair’s and Helsinki Airport’s ‘Quality Hunters’ program – which began in 2010 with Finnair seeking applicants from around the world to travel around the Finnair network, share their experiences and thoughts – with the aim to create new ideas to improve the passenger experience.  In 2010 Finnair received more than 5,200 applications from 90 countries from people wishing to become a Quality Hunter.

One of the innovations to come out of the Quality Hunters program is the popular second hand book-swap, which was implemented by Helsinki Airport after the 2011 program, whilst a popular idea that was shortlisted by Finnair and the community was ‘Meat Free Mondays’ offering only vegetarian meal options on Mondays.

Aku Varamäki, Social Media Manager Finnair explains “In 2010, [pr agency] Miltton initiated the idea of the program which saw Finnair participating alone in the project during the first season. We included Helsinki Airport the following year and have been doing this together since, to cover a more complete passenger experience.”

2013 edition
This year’s Quality Hunters program took a different approach than the previous editions and focused on group participation including brainstorming and idea generation. The Quality Hunters focus groups involve participants who genuinely care about the airline passenger experience, either as a passenger or a professional, and these Quality Hunters – active members in the Quality Hunters community engaging with the airline on Twitter or via their website – are invited by Finnair to come together over a weekend to create new ideas that improve the passenger experience.

Workshop topics such as ‘At Home’, ‘At the Airport’ and ‘Onboard’ (which I was fortunate enough to participate in) have been held so far this year. The ideas are treated as any normal business idea. Explains Varamäki, “We take the ideas seriously they are reviewed and the best ones will be presented to the Executive Board. The most feasible – that is, the ones with most cost savings/revenue potential/other business value – will be evaluated and we will make business cases for them and see how to move forward.”

‘On arrival’ is the next workshop that is set to take place soon in Helsinki, with one more scheduled for early 2014. Finnair is hoping to continue the successful program over the coming years. Says Varamäki,  “We have a community of people who is deeply committed to developing our services and I believe is the way to develop services in the future, together with our customers. We’ve already seen the program shaping during the past few years and it will likely continue to do so. We’ll see what happens, but I hope we can continue Quality Hunting in the future too”.

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