The global Spark innovation sphere by Les Roches has grown rapidly in a year, attracting important partners. Spark is specifically aimed at supporting promising projects in the field of hospitality through its platforms deployed on the academic institution’s Crans-Montana campus in Switzerland and the Marbella campus in Spain. The Valais innovation cluster now has its own facilities located in the heart of the famous Hospitality Management School.
In June 2020, Les Roches and the Association of Communes of Crans-Montana (ACCM) announced that they were joining forces to create an innovation cluster to develop the future of hospitality. Spark, a global sphere dedicated to fostering innovation – particularly among stakeholders in the hotel, tourism, luxury and catering sectors – was subsequently formed and is part of the region's economic development strategy which is attracting an increasing number of start-ups.
Spark offers consulting, research and support services for projects with advanced technological and digital resources. The sphere also provides pre-incubation and incubation services for young companies with innovative ideas.
The Spark ecosystem now brings together a significant network of experts both locally and internationally. More than 35 partner companies are already working together in the Swiss hub on large-scale projects, such as the collaboration with Nevomo on the definition and development of customer experience applied to hyperloop and magrail transportation.
The world of the Spark Hospitality Digital Center is composed of four completely redesigned spaces. Two of them are designed to facilitate collaborative work and creativity: the Development Centre and the Incubation Center. The other two serve as experimental laboratories: the Media Center for communication, and the Test Center for virtual reality projects.
Finally, Spark is also integrated into the entire academic program, placing innovation and entrepreneurship at the heart of the Les Roches school lifestyle; and inviting students, alumni and industry partners to work together to develop and test new hospitality solutions in live labs on campus. Students have the opportunity to work on real business consulting and academic challenges confronting authentic business or industrial cases provided by the industrial partners.
Christine Demen-Meier, Les Roches Managing Director Worldwide, who initiated the project, says: "The innovation center is an educational tool that we have placed at the core of our programs. It is a driver of inspiration and emulation in terms of creativity, involving real academic challenges. Les Roches aims to encourage an entrepreneurial and innovative spirit in our students. This is a crucial teaching objective to achieve in order to train those who will be the future leaders of tomorrow’s hospitality industry.”
Spark, Innovation Sphere by Les Roches is unique in the hospitality sector internationally. This specificity complements an academic sector where Switzerland is recognized for the excellence of its hotel schools.
Pablo Garcia, Director of Spark Crans-Montana, concludes: "Spark and Les Roches, with its partners, teachers and students, are already creating the future of the hotel industry, providing concrete and operational solutions to a sector undergoing a complete digital transformation.”
About Les Roches
Les Roches is a Swiss institution focused on creating the innovative and entrepreneurial minds of tomorrow. Founded in 1954, Les Roches offers both undergraduate and graduate degrees in Hospitality and Tourism Management following the Swiss model of education. With three campuses across Switzerland, Spain, and China; a student body of more than 100 different nationalities, the institution provides students with a unique culturally diverse experience. As of 2021, Les Roches also has an academic alliance with the Indian School of Hospitality (ISH) with a partner campus in Gurugram (Delhi NCR).
Les Roches ranks world’s four for higher education institutions in Hospitality Management, and three for Employer Reputation (QS World University Rankings, 2021). Part of Sommet Education, worldwide leader in hospitality education, Les Roches is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).
A few examples of projects in progress
Nevomo - Spark collaborates with Nevomo to define & develop the future hospitality customer services & experiences for hyperloop and magrail transportation.
VIMA - Spark collaborates with Vima to create a solution, supported by Artificial Intelligence, to better understand how hospitality employees are perceived by others, and how to ensure their well-being.
Simprosoft - Spark collaborates with Simprosoft to create a VR training solution for customer services.
Smyze - Spark collaborates with Smyze to create the hyper-personalization of their barista robot.
PRE:MIND - Spark collaborates with PRE:MIND to create an IoT solution to hyper-personalize customer services at hotels, restaurants, transportation, cruises etc.
FANUC & Supsi - Spark collaborates with FANUC and Supsi to create the first housekeeping collaborate robot.
One Visage -
Spark collaborates with One Visage to create the first GDPR compliance Facial Recognition Check-in kiosk.
DJI - Spark collaborates with DJI to research how DJI technology could be used at hotels to enhance this industry revenue and improve marketing.
Qiibee - Spark collaborates with Qiibee to create the first block chain loyalty program to enhance sustainability at hospitality properties.