Explore the world's #1 largest database of ideas and innovations, with over 500,000 inspiring examples.
Trend Reports
Discover why 900 brands rely on our AI-powered Trend Reports to get better, faster insights.
Join 298,220 subscribers who rely on our weekly newsletter to keep up with need-to-know trends and insights.
Consumer Insights
Uncover major shifts and emerging opportunities with our exclusive PRO research.
Trend Reports
Discover why 900 brands rely on our AI-powered Trend Reports to get better, faster insights.
Join over 250,000 subscribers who rely on our weekly newsletter to keep up with need-to-know trends and insights.
Get special access to premium content, topic tracking and customizable tools through our AI-powered Dashboard.
AI + Human Methodology
Learn how Trend Hunter harnesses the power of artificial intelligence.
Enhance your innovation potential with a deeper understanding of your unique innovation archetype and how your organization benchmarks.
eLearning (NEW)
Prepare for the year's ahead with 100+ lessons, tactics, tools and frameworks with our full learning database.
Advisory & Services
Accelerate innovation and ignite disruptive thinking with our award-winning programs and research.
Trend Reports
Get fast, customized trend reports, presentations and deep dives 20x faster than traditional research.
Get started today with a free consultation, our self-serve tools, or a dedicated program.
Jeremy Gutsche
Ignite your event or virtual event with our CEO, a NY Times Bestselling Author and one of the top innovation keynote speakers.
Our Team of Speakers & Virtual Presenters
Inspire your group with our most popular speakers on innovation, trends, change and futurism.
Custom Training & Events
Bring the Future Festival experience directly to your team or co-hosted custom event.
Get in touch to learn more, ask a question or submit a tip.
About Us
Learn more about Trend Hunter and how we accelerate innovation.
Get answers to common questions about Trend Hunter.
Stay on the cutting-edge with the help of the Trend Hunter community.
Meet the team trusted by hundreds of leading businesses worldwide.
Find opportunities to accelerate your career with the #1 Trend Firm.
Catch up on noteworthy Trend Hunter news and media mentions.
Build a portfolio and put your trend-spotting abilities to the test.
Supercharge your marketing by partnering with Trend Hunter.
Visit your public portfolio and browse your past articles.
Add a Trend
Write up an article and showcase your trend-spotting skills.
My Trends
Edit your articles and see how they stack up on the leaderboards.
Edit your profile, connect your social media accounts, and more.
Add a trend, customize your dashboard, or track topics.
Future Festival
Innovation Events
Join the world's top innovators at our FREE Virtual events.
Free Webinars
During COVID-19, learn to innovate through chaos, navigate the new normal and maintain work culture from home.
Custom Training & Events
Bring the Future Festival experience directly to your team or co-hosted custom event.
Search our database of 395,613 cutting edge ideas.

Innovating Indulgent Design (INTERVIEW)

Michael Tiedy, SVP Innovation at Starwood Hotels & Resorts
Gil Haddi
November 19th, 2013
Michael Tiedy, Senior Vice President of Global Brand and Innovation at Starwood Hotels & Resorts has been with Starwood Hotels for a little over five years and is in charge of overseeing all the design groups across all nine brands. Having previously worked for innovative brands like Nike and Nordstrom, one project Michael is currently working on is the Le Méridien hotel brand which has been going through some re-design, looking at the build and design process and its positioning with a focus on identity.

Four Questions with Michael Tiedy:

1. How does your team generate new ideas? What resources does your team use to spot trends and consumer insights?

So much depends on the individual project. We have an overarching design manifesto and ethos that we use to help keep us aligned philosophically. I strongly believe in collaboration and creating conceptual solutions to our problems so that we build stronger programs over all, not just single, one-off solutions. Outside the regular project process we use a lot of cross-discipline collaboration to drive innovation and different ways of thinking. We also meet periodically as a group and look for opportunities where we think there might be interesting problems to solve. This type of quick ideation allows us to come up with different ways of working and new solutions that can then be presented back to the brand teams. It’s essential to get people thinking outside of their normal discipline in order to achieve creativity.

One of the ways we go about identifying trends is through subscribing to different websites to expand our vision and get a good view of what is going on currently in the world. A designer sitting at their desk needs to be able to have access to things like the Milan furniture show in order to stay inspired. When possible, we encourage our teams to travel to our hotels to observe what’s really happening. We share projects, inspirations and influences on an internal blog amongst all our designers and that helps the team communicate on a different level, outside of the regular office structure. We get a lot of brand analytics that come back through the company, such as insights from guest interactions which gives us a sense of what people expect from us as a brand.

2. How do other industries influence innovation at Starwood Hotels?

Influences and opportunities come from everywhere and it becomes a process of understanding and distilling what makes sense from a design and financial standpoint and what will truly resonate with our customers. We are constantly looking and observing major trends happening in different industries, including the fashion world, automotive, product and the digital landscape, to help us understand the different influences on a guest and their travel. Looking outside the hotel industry is an opportunity for us to take ideas and interpret them in a different way. For example, as health and wellness have become a major life influence for a lot of customers, we have translated that idea into a new mindset for our Westin brand. Using inspirations from nature to influence everything from patterns and color to the actual orientation of the guest room.

Beyond other industries, our brands are really influenced by the local area where they are built. Each of our brands has a strong narrative process where we dive deep into the physical aspects of a location, looking at the neighborhood and social influences and sometimes even the historical insights. Using this information, we create a cultural narrative, a story about the hotel and use that as a lens to drive the vision for architectural and interior design and even styling and culinary offerings. These referential stories bring an alignment to all the different designers working on a property, helping to create a singular vision that everyone can work towards.

3. What is the biggest challenge you face when innovating?

Time is the biggest challenge. Everybody has a full plate of work, which can make it very difficult to dedicate the time and research necessary on a project in order to arrive at that one key insight. And in hospitality, we are working with hundreds of hotels and thousands of rooms so it can take a long time to implement a new strategy or solution through the renovation process. Momentum is essential for new ideas and rolling out across the portfolio to create consistency for our customer is important.

4. How will Starwood Hotels continue to be a leader in innovation in the future?

When I think of innovation, I don’t think of it as solely pertaining to the hotels themselves. It is often the small details that count when it comes to improving a travel experience or a guest’s stay in a hotel. As a company, we’re focused on the digital landscape and the idea of personalization. Digital innovation will allow us to better connect with our guests and deliver more personalized experiences in our hotels. Another part of innovation to me is the idea of persistent change. We built a road map across all our brands, looking at the cadence of change for each brand over the next 10-15 years. This pushes us to constantly review where we are today and reanalyze what we want for tomorrow. We are always looking forward.