Appetite for Innovation
The name elBulli is synonymous with creativity and innovation. Located in Catalonia, Spain, the three-star Michelin restaurant led the world to "molecular" or "techno-emotional" cooking and made fantastic creations, such as pine-nut marshmallows, rose-scented mozzarella, liquid olives, and melon caviar, into a sensational reality. People traveled from all over the world if they could secure a coveted reservation during its six months of operation to experience the wonder that chef Ferran Adrià and his team concocted in their test kitchen, never offering the same dish twice. Yet elBulli's business model proved unsustainable. The restaurant converted to a foundation in 2011, and is working hard on its next revolution. Will elBulli continue to innovate? What must an organization do to create something truly new?
Appetite for Innovation is an organizational analysis of elBulli and the nature of innovation. M. Pilar Opazo was with elBulli's inner circle as the restaurant transitioned from a for-profit business to its new organizational model. She compares this moment to the culture of change that first made elBulli famous, and she describes the novel forms of communication, idea mobilization, and embeddedness that continue to encourage the staff to focus and invent as a whole. She concludes that the successful strategies employed by elBulli are similar to those required for innovative achievements in art, music, business, and technology, proving the model's value across organizations and industries.