At a time when the digital revolution is taking place in every business, is changing every occupation, and is shifting the needs and roles of company stakeholders, Up Group (formerly Groupe Chèque Déjeuner) has chosen to enhance its transformation thanks to its cooperative values. The Group wants to imagine tomorrow’s products, accelerate business opportunities, and most importantly, to instill an enduring innovation momentum.
The company’s approach is based on three pillars: involving all its employees in France and abroad; co-developing solutions with stakeholders in its eco-system such as merchants, clients, beneficiaries and communities. Lastly, Up Group is expanding this approach to the world at large, by relying on experts in Open Innovation.
« Through its cooperative values, Up Group does business differently. This singularity is now going to serve innovation. This is why our employees are at the heart of our effort to transform the business, they are the strength behind the process. »
Up Group’s transformation strategy: a participatory approach
Up Group believes that it is has now become essential to boost the innovation momentum using a participatory approach, with the support of its employees who are in the best position to think up, imagine and invent the services of the future. In this context, an internal call for project submissions will be launched in September in order to discover innovative ideas. The objective is to stimulate creativity, to develop the desire to create, to innovate, to be entrepreneurial, and then to promote these ideas and test the best among them.
In order to build up this culture of innovation, Up Group has implemented monthly conferences, “Innovation Thursdays”, to enable employees to discover or rediscover the transformations of tomorrow. The first took place on April 9th and was attended by more than 200 employees. The topic was “The connected world: risks and opportunities?” This kickoff conference was moderated by Louis-David Benyayer, a start-up entrepreneur, researcher at the DCI School of Business Strategy and co-founder of the Think Tank « Without Model. » These conferences are open to all employees and are broadcast live worldwide in all the subsidiaries.
Innovative solutions based on co-development
Up Group is involving its whole community in this transformation process: partner merchants, beneficiaries, staff, client companies, outside experts, etc. Their needs, expectations, and know-how will feed into a process of constructive thinking. This pragmatic co-creative approach will identify individual needs as well as methods, and will be an opportunity to train for working with a variety of players.
Through the process of collective and open thinking about the needs of each and every one, the different members of the community are able to move forward, and new ideas are emerging. This co-construction phase will be implemented through workshops starting in the fall.
For 50 years now, the Group’s cooperative model has been built on a lasting relationship with its eco-system, it is therefore natural for our culture of innovation to be enriched by listening to our partners in a process of dialog and co-construction.
An innovation process that is also focused outward
In parallel to this collaborative and co-constructive approach, Up Group has chosen to open the process to the outside world by relying on experts in Open Innovation.
- Up Group is investing in Idinvest, the digital investment fund
Idinvest today is one of the leaders in equity investment in Europe. Up Group has chosen to invest 10 million euros over a 3-year period in this fund specializing in start-ups. Its aim is to identify future nuggets in digital technologies and to integrate new uses with a view to becoming a privileged player and observer in the innovation sphere.
- Up Group has brought in a business accelerator
Up Group is working with the Open Innovation Institute, the aim of which is to provide support to all those involved in Open Innovation, and specifically to create contacts between start-ups and large companies. Through the Open Innovation Institute, Up Group is initiating a call to start-ups to apply for large projects which will lead to a genuine transformation of the Group.
The objective of selected projects will be to facilitate the use of payment methods resulting in enhanced user experience. They will bring added value to Up Group products with a focus on data analysis, payment methods, communities, and the sharing economy.
Competing start-ups will present their projects at Up Group headquarters in front of the employees, which will also contribute to the internal dynamics of innovation. Three to five of the competing startups will be selected by a jury, and will then be sponsored internally to test their ideas and implement their projects.
Up Group wishes to give an international dimension to this business accelerator process, which is why start-ups will be sponsored by the General Managers of the French and non-French subsidiaries.
- Up Group is issuing a call for innovation initiatives
On a more operational scale, Up Group has joined the Open Innovation Club, an initiative dedicated to the development of business relationships between major groups and start-ups. Whenever the need arises, Up Group connects with startups by inviting innovation submissions for specific projects that have been pre-defined. A first call was issued in Romania, for projects able to identify innovative solutions that could improve beneficiaries’ purchasing power. Other calls will come later, as often as necessary, on specific issues.