A good idea to get to the airport, a Co-Innovation with Virgin Atlantic

BY Fernando L. Mompó on 09 / 04 / 2014

As a believers that the future is Co-, it is nice seeing how a growing number of initiatives of any kind are labeled “a Co-Innovation with” the same way some others have been traditionally “powered by” or “produced by”  implying just one player. This is the case of Taxi2, a platform enabling passengers to link up easily with other travellers who may be on their flight and traveling to a similar part of a city, so they can share the taxi ride.

As shown in their home page, Taxi2 is a Co-Innovation with Virgin Atlantic. The airline started some years ago VJAM, a UK government-backed program with NESTA, the UK’s National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts. The international flyer launched the VJAM initiative to co-innovate with its passengers.

The program opened with a day-long workshop involving Virgin Atlantic employees, passengers, web developers and social media experts to brainstorm ideas and share insights. Participants were then left with an open invitation to submit their proposals. A grant funding was available to those that were applicable to Virgin’s business needs. About a third of participants submitted their ideas, and funding was finalized for the best eight. The airline worked closely with each successful participant to develop prototypes and prepare for future investment. The participants keep the intellectual property of their ideas whilst Virgin had first refusal on licensing the products.

One of the first proposals to be put into action was the Taxi2 website, which helps passengers find other travelers to share taxi rides into city centers all over the world. The co-innovator of Taxi2 was Ed Maklouf who runs the technology startup “Siine”. The scheme is not limited to Virgin Atlantic customers, passengers on other airlines can share rides also. The system also match female customers who only want female traveling companions.

Some other results from VJAM program were:

Virgin Flight Tracker iPhone Application 

Virgin Atlantic’s first operational iPhone app. The free app provides useful information about flight status and Flying Club accounts, and also adds a couple of simple games and a handy global view of our network.

Flying club and facebook flight status app

This Facebook application was the first of a kind in the airline world and allows Flying Club members to view flight information and their Flying Club account through their Facebook Account.

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