Adding to the previous post on National Meeting of Innovation Directors held in Paris last June, we continue our tour with some more innovation stories based on pivot leadership, scientific corpus, and social and collaborative altruism.
Here we have some companies which succeed in reinventing their business model or management framework. Following their leaders impulse, they engage into a challenging and innovative pivot.
Since 1840, Remi James company has taken successive pivots from replicating antiques to being an R&D unit designing bespoke furniture for yacht and luxury shops, and then becoming an original furniture brand, James.
It tackles now an environmentally friendly innovation called Selun, a flour made of wood and cellulose. Selun is natural and enables creative design, as it is thermo-formable. Watching the stunning video below, you realize Selun is made of wood, but its capabilities unwinds infinite possibilities beyond traditional woodworking.
Somfy is moving from gate motorization and remote control to connected objects: now is the time for Somfy 2.0. Somfy has access to a wide range of objects that it radio controls remotely: doors, gates, shutters. The challenge is to turn them into intelligent things, to value security, energy savings, and healthcare, in a wider usage within the Connected Home.
How to shift time, to involve employees as agents of change? Somfy has to start over as a start-up operating connected objects. Probably will the innovation team need some free space somewhat away from the mainstream operations …
Products can be matched with a wide array of services, providing an overall support of the consumer: pre sales diagnostic, accessories sales, remote house control during holidays, after-sales maintenance, remote access and troubleshooting. Setting-up a dialogue with customers, learning to know them and capture their needs, encouraging a social network for sharing good practices, initiating co-innovation: it’s a brand new path for Somfy, both exciting and challenging, and Serge Darrieumerlou, Somfy CEO, doesn’t lack of creative ideas. ‘Future is an infinite resource’ he claims.
Biscuit manufacturer Poult is serious about innovation, but in a peculiar domain: innovative management. At Poults, employees’ empowerment means something:
- self-improving organization, leading to double productivity;
- no hierachical layer, no executive committee, a management board of 15 people inclufing 5 workers, support department shifted to field experts, capex and salaries monitored by a collective, external communication handled by everyone and for everyone;
- an engagement of every employee in ‘hyper innovation’, a move from vertical silots to team work and networking, thriving autonomy and strategic agility, open innovation with start-ups and clusters, and fast prototyping;
Poult strives to be a responsible corporate citizen enticing freedom and trust, bringing together social, economics and human welfare. What a lavish destination! Resilience, reward, renewal, dare to experiment, license to fail are his flagship values.
Discover more about Poult going through Jérôme Introvigne Prezzi splendid deck.
Our next innovation champions share a common basis made of scientific prowess and unstoppable entrepreneurship.
Cellectis know-how is ‘cut, repair and paste DNA’ explains Executive VP, Corporate Development, David Sourdive. While a cell can be rejected for 6 reasons, Cellectis looks for donors universally compatible. They will enter a clinical stage in 2015.
Philippe Hénon is Président and CSO of Cellprothéra, fighting against heart attack. Philippe has energy by the sackful and just as much heart. Heart attacks generate 35 000 deaths each year in France. Philippe addresses the disease in a new way: by spreading physiological blood stem cells from spin to blood, he provides a regenerating cure for the damaged cardiac muscle. So smart! Treatment cost is reduced to €20 per month. ‘We started from fear, and we end with hope’ concludes Philippe, smiling.
Christophe Vassal is CLS CEO: CLS collects environmental data by observing oceans from satellites: these data are further processed to protect animal species and marine resources: monitoring fishing by following 7 000 ships, setting sensors on animals to protect Mediterranean blue fin tuna and Hawaiian turttles.
Global bioenergies and his CEO Marc Delcourt commit to moving from petro-chemistry to bio-industry. They have faith in a disruptive innovation: enzymatic activities and glucose to produce olefines such as isobutene in the form of gas. An industrial pilot is currently on-going.
‘What triggers these ventures?’ I asked. ‘People, meeting with someone who will embrace the idea, the conviction to have something to accomplish, the vision of an undertaking, heading off the beaten path’ was the answer.
One will note optimistically that these four French companies are natively aiming at international markets: they behave uninhibited, are English fluent, and find it easy to knock at the door of large corporations.
Carole Cullier is the founder of La Tournee: it’s a simple service for Parisians to get their local orders delivered at home.
- One places a series of orders to the local retailers, who prepare the delivery, and apply a 2D code on the parcel;
- Deliverymen pick up the parcel and flash the code with their smart phone;
- Deliverymen are organized by neighborhood: they trade parcels according to their delivery area, exchanges are tracked;
- Parcels get delivered to customers who sign with their finger;
- Customers pay through the web application. Each delivery costs €2.
Such a refreshing frugal innovation! La Tournée doesn’t require any building, storage place, or heavy management: there is one deliveryman in charge per area.
La Tournée is a social commitment, providing jobs to people in reintegration stage: it targets 500 deliverymen jobs.
It is as well developing neighborhood’s life, creating social link, providing a precious service and contact to seniors and people who can not move easily.
Clean and environmentally friendly, La Tournée (meaning The Delivery) is completed by foot, it’s a urban pedestrian drive.
And her young founder is groundbreakingly generous: ‘We don’t protect our model, we would rather see other people replicate it’ she says. That was not the smallest lesson of these innovation days.
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Nicolas is a senior VP at Orange Innovation Group. Serial innovator, he set-up creative BU with an international challenge, and a focus on new TV experiences. Forward thinker, he completed a thesis on “Rapid Innovation”, implemented successfully at Orange, and further developed at nbry.wordpress.com. He tweets @nicobry