Smart Tourism: Co-articulating tourism futures in the imaginative qualities of design thinking

Session in The 26th Nordic Symposium of Tourism and Hospitality Research

Technology in tourism is increasingly associated with interactivity, connectedness and smartness. In Smart Tourism, key concepts for enhancing tourism experiences are summed up in phrases like ‘value co-creation’ and ‘value adding experiences’ mediated by digital technology, real-time data and smart devices.

For tourism development ‘Big Data’ is a fast moving trend. Data can be transformative, but only if you know how to use it. Finding meaning in the relationships that emerge and transforming them into insights and plans cannot be solved without a level of human engagement and focus on design processes. Design processes are emergent and situated in particular settings. They rely on human aspects of continuously monitoring, fine-tuning and rethinking existing ways of doing things.

This change the question we put to the object of design as well as the expected outcomes of a process. Arguably: “how can we efficiently achieve a more or less known goal?“ could instead be; “how can we effectively explore and give sense to something new and engage in processes that encourage new things to emerge in the opportunistic nature of digital technology and Big Data?”.

The alternative may be to consider Smart Tourism as designing with rather than for the users that aims for explorations and co-articulations of the possible futures of tourism.

Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Design methods in Smart Tourism
  • Design fictions and speculative designs in Smart Tourism
  • Unraveling the notion of value co-creation in Smart Tourism
  • Transforming data into valuable insights and business opportunities 

Tanja Knoblauch Nielsen
PhD fellow at University of Southern Denmark
Department of Design and Communication

Mads Bødker 
Associate professor at Copenhagen Business School
Department of IT management

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