Can a multinational company really function like an agile startup? How can large organizations nurture innovation from within? These are questions Amadeus wanted to tackle when the Horizon 3 team was formed.
Inspired by the three horizons framework featured in The Alchemy of Growth, the Horizon 3 team is dedicated tackling the long-term challenges our customers may face.
Although employees across Amadeus are encouraged to pitch innovative ideas, our team – made up of experts in fields such as artificial intelligence, user experience, full-stack development, art history, entrepreneurship and more—gets to trial, tinker and test new ideas full time, with our eyes firmly set on problems that may disrupt the status quo.
Having just launched Amadeus Video Solutions, the Horizon 3 team’s first fully formed “solution” into the marketplace, we wanted to reflect on how a multinational organization like Amadeus was able to adopt a startup mentality to make this project come to life.
1. Start with a problem
Taken together, these two statistics inspired an idea: wouldn’t it be cool if we could book our holidays more easily during the inspiration phase? We didn’t want to make another trip planner, but rather, a video player that allowed travellers to book flights, hotels and activities.
That’s where it all started, but the road to developing Amadeus Video Solutions was a winding one; over the last couple years there have been a few pivots to get the media player to where it is now.
2. Be ambitious enough to fail
In its original form, Amadeus Video Solutions was conceived as an inspiration tool that could be integrated with movies. The idea was that one could be watching a beach scene in a James Bond film, find out where it was shot, and look up flight details to that destination to book their next holiday.
Rather quickly, the reality of working up business deals with the big players of Hollywood seemed rather complicated, and we realized that audiences watching the latest blockbuster aren’t necessarily interested in booking a trip in that exact moment anyways.
So we thought, let’s take a closer look at those watching travel videos – just travel videos, not cat videos, and not movies. This solved two problems: easier access to video content, and more access to people who actually want to travel.
3. When it doesn’t work, pivot and pivot again
When we realized using blockbuster films wouldn’t be a viable option, our next Big Idea was to create a YouTube that would aggregate travel videos.
After more testing and trials, there was one final pivot. In the process of building this YouTube for travel, we realized we didn’t actually want to become a media company, and we didn’t have to: the world is chockfull of video content. Instead of competing with media makers, we decided to partner with them instead.
Today, Amadeus Video Solutions is a media player that allows travellers to discover new destinations and book their holidays all in one place, with interactive videos that display live airfares and hotel booking details. Travellers benefit from easier holiday planning and booking, and travel brands benefit from new and engaged audiences, because we partner with travel influencers, like bloggers, from around the world, to create original video content targeted specifically to audiences who are planning their next holiday.
4. See if it will scale
This is the story of how Amadeus Video Solutions became the first Horizon 3 project to make it to market as a full on Amadeus solution.
But our journey isn’t over. The next and final step is to see if this is a solution that will scale. To become relevant we need to demonstrate tangible results for our customers that can be industrialized on a wide scale. Once this is proven, we hope that Amadeus Video Solutions will fit nicely into our business, or be strong enough to spin off into its own entity.
Rinse and repeat
So can a large company succeed in nurturing innovation from within? With enough room for trial and error, we’ve shown that we can. Our world is constantly changing, and so are our customers. No matter what happens with Amadeus Video Solutions, I know we will continue to evolve and grow in an effort to anticipate our customer’s changing expectations. Innovating for a future we can’t predict will take a few more pivots, but that’s an investment worth making.