Tag Archives: weekender

A Defining Moment Issue 24: Vana Retreats. A New Paradigm in Wellness

Posted on Thursday, May 16th, 2013, by Betsy Isroelit | Leave a Comment








If this newsletter arrived with special effects, right now you would be listening to a cacophony of natural sounds drifting from the pristine Sal forest, a paradise for nature lovers surrounding Vana Retreat’s hotly anticipated, soon-to-be-opened Vana, Malsi Estate, which is located near Dehradun, on the lower foothills of the Himalayas. Vana has pledged to become a Titanium Sponsor (the highest level of sponsorship) of the seventh annual Global Spa & Wellness Summit (GSWS) and is also offering invited Summit delegates the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to experience Vana before it opens to the public. The visionary new property, which is poised to become one of the world’s leading destinations for holistic wellness, Ayurveda, and yoga, promises not only to be a defining moment for India’s wellness and spa industry, but will redefine how classical Ayurveda and yoga are experienced.

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A Defining Moment Issue 5: Wisdom of The Crowds

Posted on Friday, December 14th, 2012, by Alexandra Plessier | 8 Comments


How many spa and/or wellness associations do you think there are around the world?
I will give you the answer in a moment…but first, I want to introduce you to a great resource on the Global Spa and Wellness Summit (GSWS) website where you can find a pretty good list of associations for starters. You can find it under the “Spa Resources” tab and the subheading “Associations.” Continue reading

GSWS Weekender Issue 18: Find Out if Caffeine Helps You Innovate

Posted on Saturday, July 14th, 2012, by Alexandra Plessier | 1 Comment

“2012 Summit Keynote Speaker Taps into Innovation and Imagination”

There were two talks at this year’s Global Spa & Wellness Summit (GSWS) in Aspen that I think really “nailed it” when it comes to innovation and imagination: Dr. Daniel Friedland’s presentation, “Let’s Neurovate: Know Your Brain to Imaginate and Innovate” and Dr. John Kao’s talk, “Jamming: The Art of Getting Innovation Done.”

In this Weekender, we are sharing with you Dr. Friedland’s talk in its entirely, and in several ways (transcription of the presentation, video and PowerPoint presentation). Trust me, by reading through this talk, flipping through his PowerPoint presentation, and watching the video, you will be on the cutting edge, not only of innovation but of innovation for the spa and wellness industry.

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GSWS Weekender Issue 16: Innovation Quotes and Visual Snippets from the 2012 Summit

Posted on Saturday, June 23rd, 2012, by Alexandra Plessier | Leave a Comment

Summit 2012 “Innovation through Imagination” Snippets

Last Weekender, we shared with you GSWS keynote speaker John Kao’s thoughts on innovation, spa and wellness. This week, we’re sharing a few additional tidbits of imagination and innovation from this year’s gathering in Aspen:

Sound Bites from our Speakers:

“True innovation never comes from consumer focus groups. You can’t just give people what they SAY they want, you have to IMAGINE what they would most desire. Disney didn’t invent theme parks by surveys.” – Philippe Bourguignon, vice chair, Revolution Places

“Health care systems are truly sick care systems. The spa industry can be a major player in this space.” – Dr. Richard Carmona, 17th U.S. Surgeon General & vice chairman, Canyon Ranch

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GSWS Weekender Issue 15: Innovation Guru John Kao Explains Innovation to Spa and Wellness Leaders

Posted on Saturday, June 16th, 2012, by Alexandra Plessier | 6 Comments

This year’s Weekenders are dedicated to understanding Innovation and Imagination – something many in the spa and wellness industry agree is a critical need. Thus, this recap of John Kao’s keynote presentation at last week’s Global Spa and Wellness Summit (GSWS) could not be more perfectly timed. Beth McGroarty, one of our Summit’s bloggers, did an excellent job in capturing the content and the spirit of his presentation. After this short summary of John’s impressive bio (see full bio to the right) you will find Beth’s description.

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Issue 14: You are in for a Weekender treat

Posted on Saturday, May 26th, 2012, by Dulcy Gregory | Leave a Comment

You are in for a Weekender treat! In the past we shared a few early briefing papers that were contributed in preparation for the upcoming Global Spa and Wellness Summit taking place in Aspen, Colorado.

Now we get to share the entire 2012 Global Spa & Wellness Industry Briefing Report!

We had a record number of delegates submit briefings this year – there are 63 on the topic of innovation and imagination in the spa and wellness industry.

While we give a hard copy report to the delegates at the Summit, we decided (for the first time) to send out an electronic version ahead of time. You may find that this is a good way of “previewing” some of the discussions that will take place in Aspen in just a few days’ time.

And, as an extra bonus, we thought: Let’s share it with the entire Weekender audience!

…And please let us know which one is your favorite!


The Weekender Issue 13: Do you think that spas are good places to help spark people’s creativity?

Posted on Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012, by Dulcy Gregory | Leave a Comment

Are you up to date with the New York Times Best Seller List? Well, Imagine – How Creativity Works, by Jonah Lehrer was on that list in April and is currently the book promoting discussion on imagination. So if you are questioning your creativity or are simply interested to know more about it – read some of this book’s highlights at The Weekender.

Issue 13: Do you think that spas are good places to help spark people's creativity?

Posted on Saturday, May 19th, 2012, by Dulcy Gregory | 4 Comments

Back in April, Imagine – How Creativity Works – a book about imagination hit #1 on the NY Times Best Seller list. A surprise to you?

Praised by most for his writing and interesting examples that capture the reader’s attention, there has also been criticism regarding “elementary errors” and “Lehrer’s failure to grasp some fundamental principles of scientific thinking,” as noted by the NY Times critic, Christopher Chabris in last Sunday’s book review.

Nevertheless, Imagine – How Creativity Works is currently the book promoting discussion on imagination and, in our opinion, worth the read. It is also an encouragement for those who question their creativity. And of interest… one of his major points, “Relaxation often sparks creativity.”

From the Kirkus Reviews, “Think you’re not creative? Think again. The take-home message from this multifaceted inquiry is that creativity is hard-wired in the human brain and that we can enhance that quality in ourselves and in our society.”

For those interested in imagination – and especially those attending the upcoming Global Spa and Wellness Summit, where the agenda is now uniquely arranged around the theme of “Innovation” (day 1), “Imagination” (day 2) and “Industry Unleashed” (day 3) – this book might be a perfect one to peruse.

Description of the Book (from its jacket cover):

“Did you know that the most creative companies have centralized bathrooms? That brainstorming meetings are a terrible idea? That the color blue can help you double your creative output?

From the New York Times best-selling author of How We Decide comes a sparkling and revelatory look at the new science of creativity. Shattering the myth of muses, higher powers, even creative “types,” Jonah Lehrer demonstrates that creativity is not a single gift possessed by the lucky few. It’s a variety of distinct thought processes that we can all learn to use more effectively.

Lehrer reveals the importance of embracing the rut, thinking like a child, daydreaming productively, and adopting an outsider’s perspective (travel helps). He unveils the optimal mix of old and new partners in any creative collaboration, and explains why criticism is essential to the process. Then he zooms out to show how we can make our neighborhoods more vibrant, our companies more productive, and our schools more effective.”

A Question to Ponder:

We have embarked upon this journey of learning about innovation and imagination in order to facilitate exciting new ideas and help the spa and wellness industry move forward. Along the way, have we stumbled upon a revelation that might actually point us to some new opportunities in our businesses? After all, if relaxation sparks creativity, perhaps our spas can become known as incubators for imagination and innovation!

Do you think that spas are good places to help spark people’s creativity?
Let us know.


Issue 12: Play, Play, Play

Posted on Saturday, May 12th, 2012, by Dulcy Gregory | 2 Comments

Everyone is born creative. However, for many of us – whether it is from a fear of failure or from past criticisms – our innate creativity goes dormant.

The good news? It’s easy to wake up and get it going again! Learning some practical techniques to stimulate your creativity and imagination is the perfect jumpstart.

I learned this very important lesson when attending Shelley Berc and Alejandro Fogel’s Creativity Workshop in New York several months ago. The duo will be at the Global Spa and Wellness Summit in Aspen – offering aspects of their workshop to delegates who want to flip on their creativity switch. Personally, I feel as though this session is closest to the heart of our “Innovation through Imagination” theme.

In this Weekender, I will share some of my “ah ha” moments from the workshop:

  • We are all born creative, curious, and hungry to explore the world around us. The question is how to keep those qualities alive and flourishing as an adult.
  • Instead of looking at creativity as a product (like a painting, a piece of music, a poem, etc.) it’s better to look at it as a process.
  • Before you can get to innovation, you first need to have imagination and creativity.
  • There are practical steps one can take to spark creativity: give yourself time to play; start drawing (and toss away what you drew without showing it to anyone), tell stories, write creatively, take pictures, make visualizations, etc. Stimulate yourself by moving between these creative processes.
  • Establish a 15-minute creative practice a day to get the juices flowing.
  • There is brain science behind all of this: the right brain needs more stimulation and the left brain (for many executives) needs a little quiet time.
  • Creativity is a key to success in all professions. It also helps individuals feel more fulfilled, relaxed, and happier.
  • In Shelley’s words: “For a child, creativity is expressed in play and play is the way s/he learns. Life is just one big erector set that is to be snapped together and pulled apart in a thousand different ways. But as adults we often lose flexibility of mind and feel compelled to put away our toys as we acquire jobs, kids, and mortgages. We at The Creativity Workshop believe you can retrieve the child’s sense of wonder and it will help you live a richer, deeper life.”
  • Collaborating is another way of being creative; it can enhance one’s originality because it helps provide new ideas.
  • Quit thinking about creativity as needing to lead to something, like financial success. Enjoy the process for what it is.
  • Building on another’s creative – or even innovative idea – is a good way to take things to another level.
  • According to a major new IBM survey of more than 1,500 Chief Executive Officers from 60 countries and 33 industries worldwide, “chief executives believe that more than rigor, management discipline, integrity or even vision, successfully navigating an increasing complex world will require creativity.”
  • A recent Wall Street Journal article called “Doodling for Dollars” explains how putting down the Smartphone and picking up the crayons can spark creativity.
  • A 2009 study published in the journal, Applied Cognitive Psychology, found that doodlers retained more than non-doodlers when remembering information that had been presented in a boring context, such as a meeting or conference call.

What are your thoughts on creativity? Let us know.


The Weekender Issue 11: Should we award wacky ideas if they result in innovation?

Posted on Tuesday, May 8th, 2012, by Dulcy Gregory | Leave a Comment

More briefing reports are coming your way for discussion. On the most recent Weekender, we posted Sandhya Chipalkatti’s briefing paper as we wanted to introduce a little fun this time around. And I think we picked a good one… as the subject line goes, “Awarding wacky ideas”… What are your thoughts on wacky ideas and innovation? Read more at The Weekender. Do make sure to also check out the comments that readers have been posting.

The Weekender Issue 10: Do you agree that the spa and wellness industry has seen very little innovation?

Posted on Monday, April 30th, 2012, by Dulcy Gregory | Leave a Comment

As the 2012 Global Spa & Wellness Summit approaches, we will continue showcasing delegate briefing reports on this year’s theme, “Innovation through Imagination.”  This past weekend we shared a report by Sylvia Sepielli.  And, boy, did this stir up some conversation!  Sylvia narrows in on “true innovation” and how it is needed in the spa and wellness industry. Read more at The Weekender, and do let us know what you think.


Issue 10: Do you agree that the spa and wellness industry has seen very little innovation?

Posted on Saturday, April 28th, 2012, by Dulcy Gregory | 21 Comments

Do you agree that the spa and wellness industry has seen very little innovation?

If you aren’t quite sure how to answer that question, consider this very bold reply below, which was in response to one of the five questions posed to delegates planning to attend the upcoming Global Spa and Wellness Summit (GSWS) in Aspen, Colorado:

What do you see as the main innovations in the spa/wellness industry (existing and future)?

True innovation, rather than progressive improvement, in spa/wellness has been stagnant since 1957 when Harold Zinkin (Muscle Beach!) patented his “Universal Equipment.” The next major innovative influence was when Dr. Kenneth Cooper taught us all how to take a pulse and kicked up the heels of “aerobics.” Everything else that has happened in the development, delivery and execution of spa and wellness since then has been (sometimes highly) creative and attentive, at best.

This answer is particularly interesting because it was given by Sylvia Sepielli, arguably one of the world’s most respected and successful spa designers. She is very much in step with what the agenda committee concluded while defining the theme for the 2012 Summit: There really hasn’t been much innovation in the spa and wellness industry.

Do you agree with Sylvia? Let us know. Read Sylvia’s very thoughtful answers in their entirety below:

What are the most significant global issues facing us today?

Poverty, economic uncertainty and the effects of economics are among the most significant global issues. Those issues affect decisions made regarding all the other topics, whether it be spending dollars for research, involvement that take time or money in a movement, charity donations and the like.

What do you see as the main innovations happening around the world, those which are game changing and/or disruptive?

Easily accessible, inexpensive means of communication and social media come to mind first. These are game changing and disruptive, as witnessed by global political events the past 18 months. It’s even possible to imagine a day when Microsoft looks passé.

The other field that is fascinating to me is biotechnology, particularly in the application of the health/medical arena. From nerve regeneration to prosthetic feedback, the era of the “bionic person” is no longer fiction. Coupled with advances made in agricultural development and sustainability, “fooling with Mother Nature” may not be so bad after all. Science and lifestyle are extending the limits of what we used to consider “longevity” to mean.

What do you see as the main innovations in the spa/wellness industry (existing and future)?

True innovation, rather than progressive improvement, in spa/wellness has been stagnant since 1957 when Harold Zinkin (Muscle Beach!) patented his “Universal Equipment.” The next major innovative influence was when Dr. Kenneth Cooper taught us all how to take a pulse and kicked up the heels of “aerobics.” Everything else that has happened in the development, delivery and execution of spa and wellness since then has been (sometimes highly) creative and attentive, at best.

Innovation in how we communicate with each other and our guests has changed, along with new marketing perspectives. In the future there will be more intimate means of caring for oneself in the home environment such as toilets that read your vital statistics. New communities will be developed with the intent of extending active lifestyles beyond what is happening in the so-called “active living” communities of today. In design, both architectural and interior, the major innovations will be designs that incorporate the practicality of accessibility, with visionary aesthetics.

What do you see as the greatest opportunities/challenges for the global spa and wellness industry?

Lifestyle changes take discipline. While there are some easy or effective interventions, there are still no single magic pills, procedures or other people who can do it all for you.

Spas are viewed as enjoyable endeavors, whereas the concept of “wellness” seems to evoke no similar sensations. Kinesthetic and emotional connection must be made by individuals to the state of well-being. Short-lived euphoria on one hand, or pain and suffering on the other are much easier to recognize. There would be greater compliance to healthy living if people consciously and willfully gravitated to the mid-range of the continuum of health, rather than mindlessly drifting to the outer edges.

If we are passionate about sustaining our industry, then it’s our job to nudge perception in that direction. Delivery of treatments, wellness protocol and time spent on spa/wellness must have value. And the participants and potential participants must acknowledge that value. A variation to the saying “money follows quality” is that “consistent money follows consistent quality.”

What are some practical ways for businesses to create a climate for creativity and innovation?

  1. 1. First, creativity and innovation must be core “living” values of a business. Every employee, guest, vendor, contractor and any other people associated with the business must know the values and support them.
  2. 2. Hire rebels.
  3. 3. Changes in hiring practices, pay, operating hours, purchasing and marketing, were made at a very grassroots level in order to survive and thrive during the recent economic downturn. Small changes like those, while not the exciting “wows” give owners and developers confidence to take greater risks with investments. Incite mini quakes on your own.
  4. 4. Keep your eye on the market, both current and desired. The untapped information from the entire staff, attendants, service operators, instructors, front desk is invaluable.
  5. 5. Reward the innovative mind-set.
  6. 6. Expose your team to non-spa/wellness related influences to avoid myopic vision.

Do you agree with Sylvia? Let us know.