Innovation in the concepts of intercultural
communication and resistance to changes in
Prof. Alain Pillet
Institute of Tourism, HES-SO Valais, CH-3960 Sierre. firstname.lastname@example.org
Prof. Manu Broccard
Institute of Tourism, HES-SO Valais, CH-3960 Sierre. email@example.com
Prof. Jérôme Baratelli
Dean of Faculty, Geneva School of Art and Design, 1201 Geneva. firstname.lastname@example.org
1 Introduction 3
2 Concepts and methodology 4
2.1 State of the art from a marketing point of view 4
2.1.1 State of art in tourism communication 4
2.2 Methodological findings (quantitative survey) 5
2.2.1 Main findings 6
2.3 Organizational innovation 7
2.3.1 State of the art 7
2.3.2 Process 12
3 Results 15
3.1 Innovative organization model of a company 16
3.2 Results on intercultural communication 17
3.3 Degree of innovation in relation to the state of the art 17
3.4 Theoretical contribution 18
4 References 18
4.1 Publications 18
4.2 Electronic references 20
2 Prof. Alain Pillet, Prof. Manu Broccard
The original objective of this project was to reinvent a way of communicating
destinations to specific targets. However, resistance to change by politicians and
tourists oriented the research challenge towards organizational and human
approaches. The question of levers and resistance to change became central, the
hypothesis being that the development of an organizational innovation makes the
communication strategies of destinations more effective within Swiss tourism
We assessed that the differences in the perception of promotional messages were
confronted with a rich and nevertheless self-centered iconographic positioning:
Switzerland seen by its own citizens. The scientific objectives of this project attempt to
demonstrate that a type of organization managing a co-creation process with all
stakeholders can enhance a new communication paradigm by significantly reducing
resistances to change within Swiss touristic organizations.
#governance #communication #interculturality #organisational_innovation
ICTB Lucerne 2017 3
Globalization has opened new markets to the most important Swiss destinations. They are
now looking for customers in markets as diverse as China, the Middle East, Brazil or Australia.
These changes imply a questioning of how to communicate on the part of the destinations.
Targeted marketing for local markets will not work with different culture receptors. These can
lead to lasting misunderstandings due to a very different approach to travel and a wide variety
of expectations about the destination and its services.
One of the main characteristics of communication is to adapt to its target (receiver), this is all
the more so as in the intercultural context. Messages prepared with a European or North
American vision and sensitivity will have little impact on an Asian or African target. According
to Mkono, companies or destinations that will become aware of these differences and will tailor
their messages will have a certain competitive advantage. "A 'one size fits all' approach is
outdated in the today’s globalized world of business" (Mkono, 2010, Tourism Analysis).
In addition, recent developments in marketing demonstrate that the barrier between companies
(issuers) and customers (receivers) is becoming increasingly permeable (Jaakola and
Alexander, 2014). The concept of customer’s commitment in communication adds up to the
many other opportunities available to the client to influence the development of the company.
This tends to prove all the interest a message sender can find in co-creating it with his target
in order to ensure a successful communication.
In the tourism sector, the evolution of overnight stays in Switzerland clearly demonstrates the
advent of new, culturally distant markets (Suisse Tourisme, 2014). The Chinese market, for
example, grew by 521% between 2000 and 2013 to set up at 994 546 overnight stays,
representing 5% of the total (Suisse Tourisme, 2014, STNet, Market_Analysis). In comparison,
the Gulf States market (GCC) grew by an annual average increase of 19.8% between 2005
and 2013. It now represents 3.2% of all markets (Suisse Tourisme, 2014, STNet, Market
analysis). This forces destinations to rethink their communication and adapt new techniques
that can guarantee their competitive advantage.
Opening a door to a new era in destination marketing at the global level is a challenge as
traditional models have reached their limits. The economic challenge is to open up new market
shares while providing coherent communication for message recipients, ie. new clients of
culture distant from our own.
This "strategic" objective, based on the notion of innovation, does not take into account the
human impact of the tensions from the point of view of the collaboration generated by the
confrontations between representations and ideas. This tension reveals that few managers are
truly aware of the strategic management of change and that company executives are content
to manage change from a strictly operational point of view, obscuring a logic strategic and
cognitive yet necessary for the successful conduct of change (Bareil, 2008).
An innovative organization requires a managerial transformation that relies on both emotional
and intellectual skills. “En tant qu’élément du contexte, d’un contexte intangible, les
représentations structurent les comportements des acteurs mais elles sont également
révélatrices des structurations de l’organisation sur les acteurs. Sans croire à une causalité
linéaire entre représentation et action, nous soutenons l’idée qu’il existe une relation forte entre
ces deux pôles et que l’analyse des représentations est un élément essentiel, bien que peu
développé dans la littérature sur le changement, dans la compréhension du processus et des
difficultés de gestion du changement organisationnel” (Perret, 1996, p.4).
4 Prof. Alain Pillet, Prof. Manu Broccard
2 Concepts and methodology
2.1 State of the art from a marketing point of view
Marketers and other commercial message providers have a responsibility to define the image
they give of themselves and their companies (positioning) through their speeches. This refers
to their credibility and the confidence they should rise among their targets (receivers). As stated
by Barthes (1957), this communication is linked to three key elements: the issuer, which must
have an ethic to be credible; the message, which must include good arguments; and the
receiver, which can be ‘touched’ or not by the message (Viallon, 2013).
The issuer is essentially the one who wants to convey a message and therefore the taker of
initiative. He is responsible for the communication strategy and the choice of channels. It is
also the one who has the most to lose in case of communication failure to the receiver. The
target of a message is commonly referred to as the receiver. The message must be designed
for its attention and the strategy must ensure that it is understood.
2.1.1 State of the art in tourism communication
“The rapid expansion of international tourism as we know it today, with widespread business
and leisure travel driven by continued deflation of travel prices, increased transport speed and
comfort, and aging of the population, is often related to the general globalization of our society.
This fact leads us to more and more frequent cases of relations and interactions with
civilizations of different cultures. Under these circumstances, intercultural communication
becomes a strategic issue for multinational economic enterprises and major tourist
destinations” (Tsiotsou and Ratten, 2010).
In a context of highly diversified international markets, it must be recognized that some actors,
such as Suisse Tourisme, are beginning to take these cultural elements into account, but only
As a matter of fact, if we compare for example the campaign "Cities 2011" (ST China, Beijing,
2011) and the campaign "Grand Tour of Switzerland 2015" (ST, 2015a & b), we already see a
great evolution. Indeed, the videos that can be found in the 2011 campaign to promote the
“Swiss Cities” featured the same messages and codes on all markets (ST, 2011, promotion
‘City’). Only the text and logo of Switzerland Tourism differed at the end of the video while the
script, the actors, the traditional 'Paul & Sebi', etc… were the same for all markets.
To mark the evolution, we can here clearly point out, on the campaign of the Grand Tour of
Switzerland in 2015 in China for example, a promotional video featuring a famous Chinese
man experiencing activities that match their expectations better (ST, 2015b, YouTube), such
as simply drinking water at a public fountain.
Thus, in comparison, it can be noted that the video for the European markets has a totally
different 'storyboard' with more representative and traditional actors (ST, 2015a, YouTube).
However, these examples are still exceptional and the message communication strategy is too
rarely adapted to the receiver (target audience). By this we mean of course the channels used,
but also and especially the signals adopted. Although the texts are generally translated into
different languages, the content of the message remains the same and does not take into
account the various receptors cultural difference.
ICTB Lucerne 2017 5
The complexity and above all the variety of the markets concerned and the means at the
disposal of the tourist organizations can partly explain this state of affairs. According to data
from the Swiss Federal Statistical Office 2014, the Chinese market continues to grow with
nearly one million hotel overnights in 2013, making it the fifth largest foreign market after
Germany, United Kingdom, USA and France.
However, some good practices have been observed in recent years, such as the initiative of
Suisse Tourisme and Swiss Snowsports (Delessert, 2013), which led to an effective
intercultural communication with the arrival of Chinese ski instructors and bloggers at various
Swiss ski resorts during the winter of 2013 -2014.
During that winter season, not less than eight Chinese ski instructors were invited to come and
train in eight Swiss destinations (Davos, Engelberg, Grindelwald, Gstaad, St. Moritz, Verbier,
Villars and Zermatt). They first attended the Swiss ski instructor training while occasionally
accompanying Chinese tourists.
The role of these professors was not limited to activities on the slopes, but also to link
information to China. According to Simon Bosshart, director of the Asia-Pacific region for
Suisse Tourisme, "the eight ski instructors proved to be excellent mediators to facilitate
communication with Chinese hosts."
The impression left by the visited country on these instructors is so good that they are delighted
to continue to share their impressions in China. Among other things, they used the "Feichang
Huaxue" application to share with their compatriots their impressions and advices on
Switzerland as a winter holiday destination. This application has been downloaded 7000 times
in China during winter’s last four months and remain absolutely unknown in Europe.
The impact of the media coverage of this operation is also very pleasing with 48 articles spread
over more than 100 pages and 45 minutes of video reports have been broadcast in the Chinese
medias. The pilot project was also closely monitored by the medias in Germany, France,
Austria, Norway, Sweden, Finland, the United States, India, Singapore, Hong Kong and New
Zealand (Switzerland Tourism, 2014). That only shows how important this topic is nowadays.
2.2 Methodological findings (quantitative study)
In order to try and verify our theory in the most representative way possible, our methodological
choice tended towards a quantitative survey with the 'sphinx' software. We wanted to analyze
the communications for two target countries (China and the Middle East) by identifying the type
of themes chosen and what kind of “Swissness” we communicate to our interlocutors. The aim
here is to identify the marketing impacts and the possible consequences in order to justify an
improvement in our ways of communicating by considering cultural differences. The use of
images seemed relevant to collect information by the insertion of visible and fixed objects.
According to Moscarola (2011), the wall of images makes possible an experiment by
immersing the respondent in the interrogation of the survey: "Experience shows that these
images facilitate the expression and enrichment of the multiple interpretations they may
Various image walls on subjects closely linked to the Swiss economy were selected and
classified according to their topic. Each respondent had to choose for each wall the image he
preferred (best) and the one he liked the least. For each of these two categories feelings were
associated and it was asked to define for each of the chosen photographs the feeling closest
6 Prof. Alain Pillet, Prof. Manu Broccard
to what the image made the respondent feel. In addition, when choosing best or least, the
respondent still had to define the area of the photograph that prompted his choice.
With this strategic vision, the Geneva School of Art and Design has been able to consolidate
its preliminary research on “Swissness” and to offer a considerable number of images on the
main economic themes of our country, defined by the same institution in advance.
In addition to studying the relationship of potential clients to the images, our methodology also
allowed us to check the emotions aroused by the different images. The assessment is based
on personal values and it is they who define well-being or unhappiness, and thus determine
the qualitative content of an emotional experience and its intensity. For our survey, it is an
intuitive appraisal of the aspects perceived here and now, in situation. The information will
allow us to draw conclusions about what is undesirable or favorable for the respondent. We
are therefore inspired by emotional theorists who confirm that we cannot dissociate the
motivational, affective and emotional components in the study of adaptive processes.
According to Frijda (1993), emotions are motivational states underlying certain modes of
interaction with the environment.
There were, however, limitations to this study. In fact, thirty-four observations mentioned to
some walls of images twice best or twice least, which shows that part of the panel did not
understand the question or was mistaken in manipulation.
The total sample of respondents consists of 280 questionnaires completed to completion. Of
these, 87 come from Switzerland, 78 from China, 64 from the European Union and 51 from
other regions of the world in disparate ways. Given the lack of cultural ties, they could not be
used for this research.
2.2.1 Main findings
The first observation that has been made is that the degree and the importance of the bias in
the differences of vision depend strongly on the themes and is neither linear nor strongly linked
to one culture rather than another. In other words, we have been able to observe a certain
standardization of representations, proportionally counteracted by linearity ruptures displaying
totally different representations on the same theme, depending on the origin of the
respondents. Among the most appreciated images, all themed walls confused, one finds much
the elements related to the water, the mountain and the well-being. For European customers,
however, the family and the presence of the human are at the top whereas for the Chinese it
is rather the elements related to the soil and culture. It should be noted, however, that only
identifiable cultural elements, such as traditional dance, have been acclaimed. On the contrary,
they showed a certain restraint in the face of unknown elements (i.e. Alphorns).
The part of this survey that gave rise to the biggest differences concerns emotions related to
images. Among the positive emotions, the word "happiness" is first among Chinese nationals
(34.4%). For the Swiss, it is the word "surprise" with 39.3%, whereas for the Europeans it is
the term "desire" which was acclaimed with 29.7%. If we now consider the negative emotions,
or related to the images mentioned as the less liked of the test, it is here the word "fear" which
stands out for 41.4% of the Swiss. The Chinese, on the other hand, felt much more "sad"
(32.6%) at the sight of certain images whereas for the Europeans it is the "anger" which
predominates for 33,1% of the respondents. From a cultural point of view, it is very interesting
to note that there is very little feeling of anger among Chinese respondents.
ICTB Lucerne 2017 7
These first findings, mainly those related to feelings, already show a certain statistical
difference between participants' perceptions depending of their origin. There is undoubtedly
already a clear lesson to be learned here.
Among the various themes proposed, there was of course the gastronomy. In view of the Swiss
traditions and habits, the "cheese" element appeared on several walls of the survey and in
various forms. It is not surprising that this element is each time strongly rejected by the
Chinese, whereas it is highly praised by the Swiss and Europeans. This ingredient raises
feelings of “fear” and “disgust” among the citizens of China, while it is the “desire” for the Swiss
and a sense of “happiness” among Europeans.
As far as the landscapes are concerned, none of the three provenances liked virgin landscapes
with sober colors and without human presence, be it a mountain restaurant or an agricultural
plain in winter. For a landscape to be enjoyable, it would seem that soft and shimmering colors
(white, green) and a presence of human activity are more appreciated than the mountain (gray)
or the winter lower valley (brown).
The traditional Swiss chalet could not, of course, go unnoticed in this study. The associated
images were particularly pleasing to our Chinese contacts who have felt “happiness” in front
of these representations, whereas for Europeans it is rather “wonder”. The Swiss were slightly
less sensitive to this argument.
Culture has of course also been treated from various angles. For the Chinese, it was the
images related to dance and traditional costumes that attracted their favors. An image with
traditional dancers even provoked a sense of “happiness” for 89% of them. The Swiss and the
Europeans were much more sensitive to the elements of traditional music, especially to the
alphorn, which was not at all put forward by the Chinese.
2.3 Organizational innovation
There is no single definition of organizational innovation. In his thesis, Dubouloz (2013) defines
it as a non-technological process innovation that includes new practices, tools, processes,
techniques and organizational structures for the company adopting them to improve the
efficiency and effectiveness of internal organizational processes. The lack of academic interest
in this form of "non-technological" innovation is paradoxical if we refer to the Community
Innovation Surveys’ results. Indeed, the Oslo Manual defines it as the adoption of new
organizational methods in company practices, both in the workplace and in external relations
(OECD, 2005). This is why we are interested in the sources of creativity in the innovation
process that we consider as original forms of knowledge and experience rather than the
emergence of ideas.
2.3.1 State of art
Setting up an organizational innovation requires thinking of the organization as an "improbable"
experimental space combining two distinct, opposing but evolving, operations: learning and
unlearning. The literature distinguishes two approaches.
The first one is behavioral and is characterized by a modification of the actors’ behavior
according to sequences stimulus - responses adapted. The contributions of Scharmer (2012)
and Sarasvathy (2001) show that this type of learning is dependent on the past and is based
8 Prof. Alain Pillet, Prof. Manu Broccard
The second stream is cognitiv; Here the representations determine the actions of the actors.
It is therefore the treatment of information which guides the actions of the people according to
their knowledge and their mental representations. This option validates non-routine situations,
experiences in which actors must "reformulate" reality, or challenge the values that are the
foundation of actions. This posture seems to be the most relevant to us in the face of the
changing economic context in the touristic field as we see it today.
From then on, it seemed appropriate to integrate the concept of "cognitive capitalization" into
our organizational model. This implies an ability to develop learning permanently, both
individually and collectively. This participatory approach is therefore of real interest from the
governance point of view. We have shown that the interest in the development of an innovative
design is obvious and requires a collective dimension of the project. However, we are doubtful
about the actual capacity to hybridize today’s resources among various partners. This raises
the question of the formal framework of our organizational model, the explanation of the stages
and the mode of decisive collaboration for the innovation process success.
Indeed, when a company innovates, the main source of uncertainty lies outside the
organization, whereas, on the other hand, it is a process whose management will depend, the
internal representations of the leaders of the company. Two clash management models: a
traditional "linear" model and a "vortex" model. The latter is more appropriate for
experimenting, dealing with actors and increasing the ownership of the project by a large
number of actors (Alter, 1996).
Durand notes that contemporary and western organizations struggle to manage the complexity
of the issues they face. Leur modèle d’action est souvent basé sur une logique de gestion qui
se concrétise par l’omniprésence du contrôle (2012, p.163). To remedy this, the author
proposes to transform organizations to promote "the emergence of collective intelligence". This
requires the development of specific skills such as managing uncertainty and exploring the
unknown. From a managerial point of view, this is a questioning of the modes of governance
focused on the control procedures in order to try to exercise a "collaborative leadership" and
find a collective way appropriated to the current challenges. This is what Scharmer (2012) calls
"co-creation," a thought that belongs to a group, a community, emerging from personal and
collective experience. We will develop this perspective of organizational transformation by
focusing on Sarasvathy's (2001) research on "achievement" demonstrating how
entrepreneurialism is unpredictable, the goals emerging with the deployment of the project.
The innovation process
In a highly competitive environment, there is usually a strategic tension between the
"operation" of existing activities and the "exploration" of new areas of activity (March, 1991).
The aim is to strike a balance between preserving the best skills of the company and its ability
to change in order to cope with rapid changes in the environment (Chanal and Mothe, 2005).
This approach has been confirmed by Sarasvathy's (2001) theory of realization, which defines
entrepreneurship as "non-predictable" and "emerging" objectives as the project progresses:
Effect is a model of non-predictive decision making. The theory of performing offers a
relevant transformation model in an innovation process that focuses on analyzing the
resources available in relation to the opportunities available to the organization rather than to
ICTB Lucerne 2017 9
a previously defined target. This vision, described below, starts from the "inside" and only
works through interaction with other stakeholders: You begin with the world as is, merely
the small part of it that is accessible to you in particular, and perform a series of
effectual transformations on it that ends be creating imagined, unimagined and even
unimaginable new worlds. In effectual logic, it is understood that ends exist in
hierarchies and that ends and means are dialogically intertwined. (Sarasvathy & Germain,
The realization approach integrates uncertainty as a variable in the development process of
innovative projects. Nevertheless, causation and enforcement do not conflict, as soon as the
right target has been identified, we must be able to resort to "causal" processes, such as
Immersion in the management of "complexity" becomes a sine qua non condition. Within the
framework of our protocol, we have found that it can also be the source of "reactive tensions"
between the partners when it comes to developing "creative tensions" in the sense of Senge
(2006). This property is essential in the management of our model. It takes into account the
dialogical relationship between order and disorder because an innovative organization is a
place where organized phenomena can arise from disorder. (Temri, 2000)
Resistance to change
Theory defines the process of innovation as an accumulation and destruction of knowledge,
the renunciation of certain practices of the past, and the elimination of certain options for the
future. This process generates "resistance to change", a process that is seen as a force
opposed to the reorganization of behavior and the acquisition of new skills.
Our assumption is that a type of organization can favor a new, more effective communication
paradigm by significantly reducing the resistances to change present in Swiss tourist
organizations. Our experience has shown that despite the praise of leadership, talent
management and "agile" methods, the resistance to change within the leaders of tourism
companies remains high even as they look for alternatives to the dominant models!
10 Prof. Alain Pillet, Prof. Manu Broccard
It should be noted that the barriers created by managers and employees in the face of the
change engendered by organizational innovation are "internal" and that they would be the most
difficult to thwart. The results of research carried out by Dubouloz (2013, p.272) are also
promising: contrairement aux conclusions de Tourigny et Le XXXX (2004) selon lesquelles les
rigidités organisationnelles [résistance au changement] sont des barrières infranchissables,
nos résultats montrent que les entreprises qui ont réussi à pérenniser l’usage de l’innovation
organisationnelle, sont parvenues à les minimiser (voire même à transcender le processus
d’IO) à l’aide de pratiques de management (participation des salariés à l’élaboration des plans
de mise en œuvre, démonstration par la formation, démonstration par les résultats sur le
It is interesting to note that, today, literature agrees that organizations have faced major
changes over the last decade. These are called "reorganization", "restructuring" or even
"revitalization". This organizational dynamic is the repercussion of other changes such as
markets globalization, economy globalization or international competitiveness. These
organizational changes mean significant changes in the company to remain competitive while
adapting to specific industry and / or service environment changes. The analysis of compiled
statistics on the success rates of organizational changes shows that half of the transformations
(strategic change) do not reach the expected objectives (Bareil, 2008, p.89): Parmi les causes
connues, on trouve une faible capacité organisationnelle à soutenir les changements, un
leadership ambivalent ou évanescent, un manque de légitimité et d’ambition envers les
changements des réseaux de communication insuffisants, une inertie organisationnelle forte
causée par la culture et la structure en place et, bien sûr, la résistance au changement des
The classic approach to organizational change relies almost entirely on the notion of resistance
to change. Bareil (2008) shows that there is a variety of behavioral responses to organizational
change and that they may change over time. The "phase of concerns" model defines a
probable sequence of legitimate concerns, considering that each actor will experience normal
concerns generated by a tension between the need for security and the desire for change: Le
concept de préoccupation (ou d’inquiétude) réfère à un construit cognitivo-affectif qui exprime
une réalité émotionnelle vécue et un état inassouvi de l’esprit qui est orienté vers un objet. (…)
Il faut se rappeler que ce n’est qu’une fois rendu à la phase 5 (préoccupations centrées sur
l’expérimentation), que le destinataire est ouvert à l’apprentissage et à la formation, c’est-à-
dire qu’il est disponible et disposé à faire des efforts pour changer ses habitudes. Avant ce
stade, il doit trouver des réponses satisfaisantes à ses inquiétudes des phases 2, 3 et 4 (Bareil,
If individuals learn from their experience, this does not mean that the organization learns.
Process is neither sequential nor hierarchical, but organizational learning has its roots in that
of the actors of the organization. It is therefore our own mental schemas that prevent
individuals and organizations from expressing new modalities of understanding. Trapped in
their cognitive net, the organization and its actors are limited to performing "simple loop"
learning, which modifies the strategies that underlie it without undermining the fundamentals
of these theories of action (Gravel, 2010). These cognitive impediments can be removed from
the moment when we introduce a reflection and deeper change actions in terms of the
underlying values of the organization: double-loop learning.
ICTB Lucerne 2017 11
In summary, to develop a willingness to innovate, leaders must create communities that share
a motivation, values and rules of engagement. In terms of innovation, classical process-
oriented procedures are detrimental to exploration innovation: tourism is experiencing this
tension very strongly. We must therefore be aware that innovation implies change and that, by
definition, the change that emerges is not a priori known in advance. By performing this step
collectively, we assume that this will facilitate the creation of a community feeling, which is the
key that innovation needs. It is only when leaving the security zone that a source of creativity
can be revealed.
The co-creation process
This process is not just a creative realization between a few people. For Scharmer (2012), "co-
creating" requires the continuous integration of feedback from key partners to "dialogue",
mainly with clients. It is a matter of exploring, as Scharmer says "the future through action",
which calls for a qualitative change in thought. Scharmer relies on the Baetson theses of the
Palo Alto School and Peter Senge, which demonstrate that a change of "type 2" necessarily
implies a learning process that affects and modifies the system itself.
In this sense, the process of co-creation implies a managerial change. Because it summons
not only all parts of a system to effect a dynamic of change, which is already a structural break,
but above all it fosters a dynamic where unlearning precedes a phase of new learning. This is
what Scharmer calls "letting go" and "letting come”: l’émergence de nouvelles images de
nouvelles expressions ; surprendre est toujours une bonne façon de faire, suspendre le
jugement. La panoplie est sans fin, des arts classiques aux nouvelles technologies (The
emergence of new images of new expressions; Surprise is always a good way to do, suspend
the judgment. The range is endless, from classical to new technologies). The generation of
atypical situations or environments facilitates this process of unlearning because participants
must adopt a new role, involving new forms of organization.
Figure 2 : the ‘U’ shaped mode (Sharmer)
Although the literature seems unanimous on the commitment of all stakeholders, the
transposition of this concept in the management of an organization tended to innovation
requires the use of several dimensions: collective, exploration and sociocognitive conflict2. The
2 Within the framework of collective intelligence in interactions, the sociocognitive conflict triggers imbalances in thought, thus making the
process of elaboration necessary. It is the source of both social and cognitive imbalance. It is then said that the sociocognitive conflict is
reabsorbed by the transition to a more complex cognitive model of the situation.
12 Prof. Alain Pillet, Prof. Manu Broccard
role of the leaders of innovative organizations is not only to define and then control the direction
to be followed but to create and nurture an ecosystem favorable for the emergence of creative
interactions. This is a crucial evolution of the perception of managerial responsibility in the
service of a creative community.
In summary, the cognitivist approach we have chosen makes possible these non-routine
actions. The development of an atypical organization becomes, in itself, a context of learning
from breaks that the participants will experience during the co-creation process. The
management and the management system are then fundamental to secure the actors.
They become aware that they are not doing what they usually do and that "something is
happening". It is the transition from a model of causal decision to an effective logic (Sarasvathy,
Relation with LGM / ST / CMT >> change of strategy
In the more specific area of tourism that faces economic, social and environmental challenges,
we believe that the innovation process emanates more from one form of organization than from
the development of new communication technologies. The literature often refers to the concept
of "cluster", which is defined as a grouping of firms in the same networking sector to transform
economic challenges into opportunities rather than threats. This is a systemic response to the
challenges that this industry faces with all the players of a territory.
However, this does not create a paradigm shift in the way we imagine new commercial
communication strategies. Clergeau & Violier (2012) show that the transfer of such a scientific
tool developed in the industrial field cannot be transposed as such in the field of tourism: the
production of a tourist experience is done by the tourist who mobilizes resources and services
to live its experience on the territory where they are co-invented and co-produced. To take into
account the specificity of tourism activity, the research must integrate the co-creative and co-
productive dimension of tourism, and in fact enrich the concept of "cluster". The latter must
therefore be revisited today in the sense of trying to understand "territorial organization" as a
co-production of experience, the client becoming a "service co-producer".
The question of the role, and therefore of the relational modes between the actors, is
preponderant. We were able to check with organizations like Lake Geneva Matterhorn Region
(LGMR), Suisse Tourisme or Crans-Montana Congrès that these were either organizations in
cluster or networked arrangements, as Ménard (1997) clarifies a partial transfer of the power
to allocate resources without simultaneous transfer of property rights. The consequence was
straightforward: as soon as it was a matter of modifying their organization and investing
resources in a logic of the effective type, we were faced with a refusal, despite the obvious
interest of the various leaders.
From the perspective of our research, we were interested in a "hybrid" form of structures. This
mode of organization generates a form of governance in which dependence demands a
continuity of relations and requires mechanisms of coordination and a more powerful control
than those of the market, without, however, establishing an economically and legally
independent entity. The problem then arises of knowing what are the exact properties of such
structures (Ménard, 1997, p.742). This is exactly the tipping point that we have not been able
to overcome during our consultations.
ICTB Lucerne 2017 13
Steven's (2009) research on renewal of value chain and innovation models shows that modes
of association and governance are the key success factors for innovative firms making this
interesting observation: co-creation establishes a mutual dependence between actors of
innovation and the innovative firm. On the one hand, organizations are not in a position to fully
control the activity of developers who work outside of any relationship of hardship. On the other
hand, developers and users have the power to influence the choices and options taken
throughout development. There is thus a relationship of mutual dependence between
organizations and co-creators (Steven, 2009, p.240). Thus, the development of co-creation
practices generates a "functional rupture" in the sense that the actors contribute as much to
its development as to capture a part of its profit. The position in the creative process, the
substitutable nature of the competencies provided, the role in governance and the animation
of the network will determine the capacity of the actors to capture part of the value produced
or to use all or part of it in its own process (Steven, 2009, p.241).
The realization of a co-creation workshop aimed at several objectives: bringing together actors
from different cultures who participated in the analysis of the wall of images, creating a panel
of functions (management, marketing manager, site manager) and of various universes
(Chinese culture, gender and age), gathering different forms of organizations and diverse
industries (Anniviers Tourisme, Montreux Tourisme, Nestlé, Suisse Tourisme, Sunrise,
Yverdon Tourisme), in order to experiment the process of emergence at the service of
innovation and the change of an intercultural communication model.
We used the Goffin & Mitchell model to locate potential sources of uncertainty in the
implementation of an innovative organization generating a co-creation process.
Figure 3 : Comparison of audit dominance between tourism and other industries
The first observation is that companies develop an approach of "exploitation" rather than
"exploration", like a strategy based on acquired skills and cost containment rather than
Secondly, organizational culture differences are more pronounced in tourism, which uses not
much creative techniques, while other industries rely on Ra&D services.
14 Prof. Alain Pillet, Prof. Manu Broccard
It is interesting to make the link with research on the impact of creative techniques, which,
although they have not shown that they increase the emergence of entrepreneurship, allow
reflexivity. This metadiscours allows one to go further in the linking of the desirable and the
feasible: it reveals tensions and compromises to be found between these two beliefs.
(Hernandez & Redien-Collot, 2013, p.29). This analysis suggests that tourism companies
would benefit from their intentions, which would allow them to develop an effective approach,
thus marking the transition to a culture of innovation.
Figure 4 : management of creativity
Here again, the results suggest that tourism does not formally resort to creative techniques -
or knowledge. Two elements seem critical: the lack of prioritization and the choice of a
The evaluation of innovative projects:
The results are paradoxical. On the one hand, the notion of innovation projects is connoted
as "strategically important", in terms of developing new markets, better competitive
positioning and hence expectation of profit. On the other hand, they relate only to
indicators of profitability; so a causal logic of the process at the expense of an effective
The relevant mode of governance for the development of innovative projects:
Our survey shows that there are few skills identified by professionals to support innovation
projects. This situation raises the question of the implementation of an additional
organization within – or in parallel with – existing and traditional organizations. Not being
able to identify other visions could be the signal that companies want to innovate, but
without global change.
This point will be an important element for the presentation of our organizational model, in
particular in terms of risk reduction and maximization of the co-creation process.
ICTB Lucerne 2017 15
In the context of our research, we formulated the following hypothesis:
The natural resistance to change of organizations in place has significant inertia;
Figure 5: Gartner Hype Cycle
The technology adoption lifecycle passes through identified phases leading to a "peak of
waiting" followed by a "period of disappointment" and finally the "recognition" through a
recurring "set of productivity". This adopted cycle can be extended to any innovative project.
Participatory infatuation does not occur naturally.
Figure 6 : U-shaped process
The innovation process depends on cognitive aspects and social interactions. Engaging a
change in relation to past automations closes any possibility of "learning from the future".
However, innovation is characterized by uncertainty and therefore by the ability to reformulate
our mental patterns. The descent of the U-shaped process may correspond in the actors to a
feeling of "regression" or "resistance"; while in our model it is an opportunity to open up new
ways of thinking, to communicate, to collaborate and ultimately to create concrete applications
responding to strategic innovation issues:
The language of participatory narrative is still in its early stages.
16 Prof. Alain Pillet, Prof. Manu Broccard
Figure 7: risks of resistance to change during the innovation process
In this sense, our organizational model aims to reduce the risks of resistance to change by
identifying the concerns of all actors at three key moments in the organizational innovation
process. Our model:
1. Favors a collective approach upstream by defining a common intention and management
of the explicit commitment of the stakeholders;
2. is oriented towards a cognitive dynamic, namely the accompaniment of emerging
knowledge (process of individual and collective learning);
3. Renews collective learning with ease and efficiency.
The co-creation process corresponds to a learning flow within the framework of "meta-
organizations", which are experiencing new forms of coordination of activities: a scientific pole
that develops and codifies knowledge (cognitive capitalization), a technical pole that provides
products or services (intercultural communication, marketing) and a market pole comprising
users who express an expectation (agile approach).
3.1 Innovative organization model of a company’s dynamic innovation capacity
Figure 8 : company’s dynamic innovation capacity
ICTB Lucerne 2017 17
Since the main barriers to innovation are mainly built on the basis of human biases that hamper
exploration and learning, we pay particular attention to explaining the different stages in order
to reassure the actors during the process of innovation. This approach has several
advantages. First, it is compatible with agility, understood as iterative project management,
focusing on the roles of people and the interactions at the level of processes and tools. Then,
it tests its effectiveness and its effects on productivity and well-being. Finally, as a "black hole",
it has the effect of attracting to it successive parts of the company in a viral way. In conclusion,
it reduces the risk of non-learning, acts and encourages life-size experimentation. Here, the
back and forth between knowledge and organization is localized and allows the adaptation to
the particular conditions of each company.
3.2 Results on intercultural communication
On the basis of the results of our intercultural survey, we found that the image we show of
Switzerland is not necessarily meaningful for visitors from other cultures. We project a
stereotypical image of Switzerland. We have demonstrated that the success of intercultural
communication implies that the creation of a message relies on an interaction between
transmitter and receiver.
3.3 Degree of innovation in relation to the state of art
This project is the first one to focus on the simultaneous use of three diagnostic approaches:
Pentathlon audit, process of implementation and co-creation process in the field of
organizational innovation. It is difficult for companies with operating experience of innovation,
organized around procedures acquired in project management, to switch to an exploration
logic and develop this "strategic flexibility" in order to create a hybrid structure. Hence, this
project is innovative because it proposes a new logic of prototyping to companies willing to
innovate (product, service, business model, communication, organization).
The added value of this approach consists in taking into account and reducing risks. This
mitigation takes place at three levels: at the level of the market, at the level of costs and at the
organizational level. Indeed, the notion of rupture is here replaced by that of creative evolution
because even if the result can lead to a redistribution of the commercial priorities of the
company, it will only be the expression of its social and cognitive development. Thus what
appeared to be a danger, namely a radical modification of the whole organizational structure,
disappears in favor of an evolution of knowledge relations and working methods not only at
smaller scales but above all diffused on longer periods corresponding to those of
apprenticeships. Innovation is therefore no longer an "innovate or dies" type of injunction, but
an internal device for exploring company specific possibilities. The speed of exploration and
its intensity will no longer be evaluated in terms of the speed of integration of exogenous
models, but in terms of connectivity and savoir-faire. The advantages for companies are
considerable: firstly, a reduction in anxiety and therefore resistance to innovation, then a much
better development strategy, and finally a strengthening of the competitive advantages specific
to each company.
18 Prof. Alain Pillet, Prof. Manu Broccard
3.4 Theoretical contribution
Our concept is based on the possibility of designing new models of strategic flexibility in order
to improve the co-construction and creation systems. It is a question of responding to each
request in a targeted way in relation to each issue. This study confirms the organizational
learning studies developed by March (1991) showing that the survival and prosperity of an
organization leans on a clever balance between the exploitation of controlled activities and the
exploration of new paths. Our results will allow us to develop what Chanal and Mothe (2005)
define as a dynamic capacity of innovation, namely the ability to combine operating and
Figure 9 : Scharmer’s U-shaped curve (Scharmer 2009)
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20 Prof. Alain Pillet, Prof. Manu Broccard
4.2 Electronic references
Suisse Tourisme. [MySwitzerland]. (2015a, 15 avril). The Brand New Grand Tour of
Switzerland [Video]. Récupéré sur : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PfNBVz-RILo
Suisse Tourisme [MySwitzerland]. (2015b, 02 juillet). Grand Tour of Switzerland, [Video].
Récupéré sur : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gddg_ojyAMU
ST China, Beijing. (2011, 15 avril). City [video]. Récupéré sur :
emarketing.fr. (2015). Définition : Consommacteur (ou Consom’acteur). Récupéré sur :
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reisen zurück. Récupéré sur :