Over the last two years, COVID-19 on one hand, has been for some airline companies an era of stagnations, and on the other hand an era of innovation and continuous improvement for others. In fact, some airline companies faced this disruptive change as a threat and a risk, while others as an opportunity to seize for reinvention.
However, we cannot deny that COVID-19 was a catalyst of the digital transition and a stimulator for innovative leadership. In this context, it’s worth mentioning that Royal Air Maroc (RAM), one of Africa’s leading airline organizations has set the bar high by making a pioneering initiative with its Digital Open Innovation Program that spread out worldwide in a few months.
Indeed, this Program is a great example of self-leadership application. During the pandemic, RAM’s vision evolved from 2.0 to 3.0, and the Open Innovation Program was a successful strategic recovery initiative for the year 2022. The Program was a great initiative for the company to open to the startup ecosystem worldwide, seeking innovative ideas.
In fact, more than 300 applicants varying from students, startups, and scaleups from around the world: Asia, Africa, America, and Europe, participated to the RAM’s challenges. Challenges include real time information, enhancing customer experience and operational efficiency, leveraging sustainability, etc., and led to building new organizational capabilities. In this context, the program has spread out globally, thanks to the synergy between RAM and their strategic partners, such as Innova Conseil which accompanied RAM’s teams with a self-leadership approach.
Applicants and external teams were already seen as winners by participating in this outstanding program. In fact, the Open Innovation Program enabled them to unleash their full potential by filling the role of a business co-creator and experiencing an inspiring journey. Not only for the thrill of winning, but also for the pioneering experience itself. The journey was rewarding and exciting at all levels. In other words, in 2022 as recovery year for the airline,
RAM will be remembered as the first airline company to take the open innovation initiative to engage people in a creative and bold way. When it comes to internal teams, they found themselves working in a bootcamp where everyone and everything is within hand’s reach. Without realizing, teams have started collaborating in a transversal and a cross-functional way and being leaders in their position. Teamwork, collective intelligence, synergy and harmony between team members was noticeably present. Consequently, all this has made and developed more agile collaborators, in both operational and emotional aspects, and has fostered a sense of empowerment in what they are doing.
Innovation is undoubtedly necessary to any organization; it is even considered crucial to its success especially in an ever changing environment, notably the airline industry. As a matter of fact, airline organizations always need to have an evolving strategy that not only focuses on technicalities but also aims to continuously improve their capabilities. Self-leadership matters more than ever. A shift toward greater agility and resilience involves more self-awareness and empowerment. The successful RAM Program and its pace of transformation achievement are a great proof of self-leadership as a pillar of innovation.