CHANGE BY DESIGN: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation by Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO
NEW YORK TIMES: Business Section Front Page “It’s My (Virtual) World …”
In September 2006, Starwood Hotels became the first company in history to open a new hotel brand inside of a virtual world with the opening of the virtual Aloft hotel in Second Life. The Aloft brand was created on the DNA of W Hotels but was positioned to be a more affordable version of the W experience.
A virtual hotel to learn how to build a better real one
Virtual Aloft was built over 2 years before any real hotels eve started construction to be the brand concept and get real feedback on the proposed architecture, environment and in-hotel experience. Based on virtual guest feedback there were many design changes and updates made to the plans for the final hotels. After 6 months we had all the feedback we needed, closed the hotel and donated the virtual land to TakingITGlobal which is an international organization that reaches over 1 million young people in over 200 countries.