What can a restaurant teach us about innovation? – Pilar Opazo

Pilar Opazo, Lecturer, Work and Organization Studies

From Modern Restaurant Management

When Chef Ferran Adrià shuttered his famed elBulli restaurant in 2011, foodie circles were stunned. elBulli was at the peak of its fame: it had three Michelin stars and a waiting list of two million diners. Adrià—widely considered one of the most imaginative culinary minds of the world—operated in an elite class of chefs. He kept his restaurant open just six months a year and served one meal a day, never offering the same dish twice.

Rumors circulated that the closure was due to a family feud or money problems. But the truth was that Adrià was petrified of repeating himself. (“Can you imagine this pressure?” he told The New York Times. “You cannot.”)

In 2014 Adrià reopened elBulli not as a restaurant, but as a foundation dedicated to studying and understanding the nature of creativity. It’s a subject in which Adrià has passionate expertise. When he arrived at elBulli in the early 80s, it was a French restaurant. By the 1990s Adrià was head chef and elBulli was transformed as a test kitchen for gastronomic invention.

But while he became known for dreaming up dishes like Escoffier’s classic peach melba and smoke foam, Adrià was engaged in a far more ambitious project—achieving and sustaining a culture of innovation. He and his team established a set of best practices for organizational creativity and systematic invention. The result: processes and structures that are applicable not just to restaurants but other organizations as well. Here are some elements of elBulli’s, ahem, secret sauce: Read More »

Let 2016 be the year we agree tipping is terrible for both workers and customers — Oz Shy

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Oz Shy

MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer Oz Shy

From Quartz

What’s an acceptable percentage to tip? The amount has been accelerating without any clear economic force driving it, and with unclear benefits for all parties involved. In the 19th century and during the first half of the 20th century, a 10% tip was common. By the 1980s, 15% tips had become the standard. Now we observe 18%, 20%, and even 25% tipping rates.

Perhaps as a result, tipping is a constant source of tension and debate, and a favorite topic for social and economic critique. And, like any controversial subject, it has its own little-understood rules and oddities.


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