HTM symposium fosters curiosity and collaboration through exploration of service innovation

Written By: Rebecca Hoffa,

Jay Kandampully speaks to crowd

Jay Kandampully speaks at the HTM Service and Experience Symposia on Feb. 24.(Tim Brouk)

“What you have given will live for eternity; what you forgot to give is lost forever.”

Jay Kandampully, professor of service management and hospitality at the Ohio State University, has built his career teaching and researching service on that very idea, working to build relationships and networks that help others around him to grow knowledge in the ever-changing service industries.

As the inaugural speaker of the White Lodging-J.W. Marriott, Jr. School of Hospitality and Tourism Management (HTM)’s Service and Experience Symposia, Kandampully came to Purdue University’s College of Health and Human Sciences to speak on collaboration in service research, drawing on what he has learned in his career in service management and hospitality.

Kandampully’s keynote address and subsequent networking event on Feb. 24 launched the new symposia series, which aims to drive collaboration and innovation within HTM and the broader Purdue community by welcoming renowned and emerging scholars from around the nation to campus.

“Novel and innovative things come from when we actually bring our different perspectives together to look at the same phenomenon,” said Ceridwyn King, HTM professor and White Lodging Services Head. “That’s the vision we have for the symposia: to provide a platform that multiple people can plug into, and hopefully from them coming with their different perspectives, innovative ideas come from the intersection between those various spaces.”

Kandampully was chosen as the first symposia speaker because of his extensive experience and connections within the academy, from serving as the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Service Management to building up the next generation of hospitality and service scholars during his 20 years at Ohio State.

“I knew that he was the right person,” King said. “He has been a leading scholar for a very long time. He’s extremely well connected and respected in the service research academy. I knew he would set the right tone for what I wanted the symposia to be. Jay’s presentation was very much about how to work together. That’s why I think it was a great way to start the symposia because he was talking about collaboration and coming together, and that’s what I hope the symposia stimulate in some way, shape or form.”

Connecting with HTM faculty and students throughout the day, Kandampully worked to share his knowledge and help shape individuals’ perspectives toward transformation and accepting that innovation is found beyond the individual.

“Service will give them that feeling of safe haven to allow all the different components of this school to be able to work together because none of them can say ‘I’m not in service,’ whether they are consumer behavior, retailing, healthcare, hospitality, tourism — they’re all service people,” Kandampully explained. “That’s a unique opportunity. It will help them to see the connections between each other.”

Two individuals stand next to a research poster and chat

Two event attendees chat at the networking event following Kandampully’s presentation. (Tim Brouk)

Kandampully said he hopes individuals will come away with a common goal to drive knowledge forward together and with new ideas to work collaboratively.

“The takeaway is really to think broadly and to think collectively,” Kandampully said. “The individual strength is often incremental in nature; collective strength is transformational strength. I transform you, and you transform others, and we are never going to be the same again, and that’s powerful.”

While King noted the planned symposia speakers will align with innovation happening in the school’s focus areas, including hospitality, service, tourism, sales, retail and more, their relevance spans beyond simply HTM, offering valuable insights to Purdue disciplines, such as the College of Engineering; the Mitchell E. Daniels, Jr. School of Business; and the Purdue Polytechnic Institute to name a few.

“My desire is to create a space where the intellectually curious can just come and be. We get so focused — and rightly so — on doing our research or teaching in our classroom and doing our various service roles,” King said. “The one thing that unites us is that we are intellectually curious human beings. It is why we’ve come into the world of research, but we often don’t give ourselves the luxury to be able to do that. Each symposium is an invitation to come and be intellectually curious. Every speaker is an   exceptional scholar. We have placed no boundary on what they talk about because we are pretty confident that they will provide the audience with food for thought.”

At the networking event following Jay’s lecture, King discussed the presentation with various faculty and graduate students in attendance, noting each cited something different that they took away from Jay’s keynote and were left pondering.

“If everyone walks out with a nugget, whatever that is to them, then I feel that we’ve achieved our objective — that those little nuggets, over time, will form something,” King said.

The next symposium will be held from 4-6 p.m. April 21 in the Marriott Hall atrium, which will feature marketing scholar Laurie Wu. Anyone in the Purdue community is welcome to attend.