More and more companies are looking outside the organisation to benefit from innovation and digital: that’s what the second edition of the 2016 edition of the barometer of digital practices published on 4 October 2016 by Econocom, Sia Partners and Ifop revealed. This survey, based on interviews with over 400 decision-makers from 329 large French companies, features precise indicators on the systems and strategies implemented by major groups in order to foster innovation and speed up their digital transformation.
48% OF LARGE ORGANISATIONS HAVE SET UP PARTNERSHIPS WITH innovaTIVE COMPANIES
Whilst open innovation is slightly on the decline (40% of companies used it in 2016, compared with 48% in 2015), companies are using external ecosystems more to deploy innovation and digital. Aside from the main benefits of this approach (faster innovation cycles, availability of cutting-edge human and technical resources, etc.), such initiatives also have a positive impact on the company’s brand image.
A number of companies have partnerships with innovative companies (48%) or external incubators and talent pools (26%). Some have created their own in-house start-up incubator (12%) or set up a fab lab (21%, vs. 16% in 2015). Other initiatives include funding external startups (20%, vs. 11% in 2015) and buying out innovative companies (16%, vs. 13% in 2015).
Innovation strategies vary from one industry to another: telecoms/media favour partnerships with innovative companies (69%), whilst the construction industry invests more in startup incubators (59%) and banking and insurance companies choose to fund startups directly (49%).
In April 2016, we went behind the scenes of Credit Agricole’s Village. For Fabrice Marsella, the “mayor” of the banking group’s innovative startup incubator, it enables them to “push back boundaries.” The incubated startups can meet major groups and SMBs looking for innovation and sit down together in order to “create hybridisations that allow the companies to inspire each other, develop and create new offers.” Every effort is made to shorten circuits and focus on interesting events: “The Village is a place where new organisations can experiment. We’re trying to build a horizontal model whereby everyone can contribute to the adventure, in the spirit of intrapreneurship.”
Another example: the Shaker, created by venture capital firm Partech Ventures and a number of partners, including Econocom, which equipped the premises with digital tools. At this 2,200 m2 ’open innovation campus, startups rub shoulders with large groups. According to Bruno Grossi, Executive Director for Econocom Group, “This kind of collaboration shows how fast the digital transformation is sweeping over the French economy.”
digital EVENTS ARE BECOMING MORE POPULAR
Another sign that companies are opening up to the outside ecosystem is the success of events such as trade fairs and conferences on innovation, digital and new technologies. In 2016, 63% of respondents attended such events, 40% of which did so as speakers, exhibitors or sponsors.
The visibility provided by such events and the business contacts made were the main advantages cited by companies in the engineering/consulting and telecoms/media sectors.
how using digital tools can shake up the workplace
In 56% of companies, using digital solutions on a daily basis is changing the offices and physical workspaces. 36%, for example, have set up open-plan offices on the premises and 16% offer employees co-working spaces off the office premises.
In addition, over a quarter (26%) of companies have implemented teleworking, and as many as 50% of engineering & consulting firms.
“Teleworking is a way of familiarising employees with digital and collaborative working methods: they have to use them to be able to communicate remotely,” said Xavier de Mazenod, creator of Zevillage, France’s leading website on new ways of working, back in February this year. “In organisations, a lot of organisational transformations start with the introduction of teleworking,” he explained. “The number of teleworkers also depends on the company culture: in some groups, managers are more open-minded and enlightened where digital is concerned.”
“For big companies, the main issues associated with teleworking are legal compliance and overcoming a certain reluctance rooted in a working culture that’s governed by how much time people put in at the office,” said Frantz Gault, Managing Director of LBMG-Worklabs, a startup that designs solutions to enable organisations to adopt different ways of working. And the initiative has clearly paid off, with a 15% increase in productivity. “There are lots of obstacles to switching to telecommuting but once companies have taken the plunge, 98% of staff are satisfied.”
-> Also on our blog: “Tomorrow’s companies will be flexible.” Frantz Gault
The digital revolution is driving large organisations to change their habits and patterns of use, to draw inspiration from startups and set up spaces designed to foster synergies. To keep up with the pace of innovation, an open innovation approach and collaboration with agile partners can create an extremely positive dynamic. The recipe for success? Be flexible: “more innovations are the result of unexpected situations than from structured approach,” said Claudio Vandi, Director of Innovation for NUMA, one of Paris’s flagship innovation organisations.