07 October 2020
“Innovation is not something that can be pronounced. A manager cannot suddenly say, ‘This company is now innovative’ and expect to see things actually change. It cannot be decreed from the top: instead it must be the result of the work of the company as a whole, in each of its components and in its processes.” Vincent Bedouin in ‘Impactful Transformations: Stories of Successful Change’ by Helmut Reisinger, CEO at Orange Business Services.
Discover the key factors for accelerating innovation within your company through the eyes and the experience of three employees.
“First key premise: learn how to fail. In a company of 4,000 employees, where processes are also a Group strength, it is challenging to initiate such a shift in mindset. And yet employees must be allowed to explore, take risks and question established practice, sometimes completely. This is indeed a change in the corporate culture, one that is necessary to unleash employee audacity. They must be able to believe that the impossible becomes possible and that error is now an encouraged part of the learning curve. After 30 years at LACROIX Group, I have experienced this transformation in just a few years, not only in our technological innovations but especially in our work methods, which multiply experience-sharing and exchanges.”
“One of the objectives of the LACROIX Lab, created in 2016, is to open up prospects for what is feasible between employees. This is a key starting point for boosting innovation. Thus with the 40 employees who started the Lab, we created the role of catalysts. Their aim is to foster innovation within the Group, whether on the production lines or in design offices, by taking active part in innovation initiatives. The idea is to boost a reaction, without seeming to take part in it. This creates a kind of testing ground built around the power of ‘design thinking’, and leads to a first observation: innovation helps people bond! With the Lab, we are committed to creating bonds with the outside world: our customers, our partners and our community in the broadest sense, are true sources of inspiration. From now on, seeking out expertise, skills or ways of thinking outside the Group’s ecosystem is considered a genuine strength that we will increasingly cultivate.”
“An R&D strategy must meet solid and consistent specifications. In this context, we are generally relatively clear about the use of the technologies to implement. This strategy does not differ at LACROIX Group, which is used to conventional processes. However, I discovered a radical difference when I joined the Group: its appetite for and its ability to draw inspiration directly from social issues. The teams want to solve major societal issues, particularly concerning the environment and mobility. R&D brainstorming therefore starts from cases of use of products to be delivered to customers, with regard to current and future societal issues. If we only draw information from the needs expressed by our customers, our innovation will remain incremental. And if we only look for breakthrough innovation, we risk being ahead of the times, which does not allow ideas, however brilliant, to come to fruition. Combining market reality with the will to meet society’s challenges guarantees sustainable innovation and radically transforms a group’s R&D.“