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 MidRail 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.”