Agile Innovation isn’t just for start-ups 

Agile Innovation isn’t just for start-ups 

By FLORENCE HUSSENOT

With degrees in sociology and linguistics, a diploma from Sciences Po Paris and training in Créa-France methods, Florence Hussenot began her career with L’Oréal before going on to specialise in innovation research.  Through her experience at Ipsos Insight Marque and then with Adwise — which she founded in 2003 – she has gained a mastery of the various stages of innovation projects and their associated techniques.  She developed the comprehensive innovation support and co-creation tool Build & Share©.

 

AGILE INNOVATION ISN’T JUST FOR START-UPS  

 

Three reasons why the time has come for a White Paper on agile innovation:

  • Rarely have we seen so many aspects of the economy (and politics) shaken by the forces of disruption, with whole sectors going into survival mode. There is thus a need to INNOVATE!  This necessity applies to all companies, large and small, B2B and B2C, centralised and decentralised, whether their business is in industry, agriculture or services, and whether or not they have a Head of Innovation.  There are no exceptions.  All must make innovation a habit, be willing to take a road with some twists and turns, and accept that they are going to have to position themselves as rebels.  Because clearly the challenge is to bring about a gradual shift in behaviours, to facilitate the “natural” establishment of innovative behaviours. “Not innovating means you have to wait for a cycle to pass,” says Henri-Jacques Letellier.  The challenge is thus to acculturate the company, and those involved within the company, to risk.  And because no one rule is guaranteed to work for everyone, the only way to nurture ad hoc thinking is for doers to share their experience with one another.

 

  • Establishing a culture of innovation makes sharing and teamwork richer and more exciting, ensuring a greater sense of well-being, better listening skills and a stronger sense of responsibility for all, while nurturing self-enhancement. We are convinced that such a culture is at the heart of successful management.

 

  • Innovation allows for another way of working. Alongside logical thinking and its reassuring sequences of causes and effects – “if X, then Y” – there is intuitive thinking, which draws from natural creativity and the emotions associated with it.  Creativity is a temporary disruption of reason, logic and order.  Not only does creativity feel good, it’s something to which we French are particularly predisposed — and this pro-innovation mindset should be promoted.

 

There is probably too great a tendency to oppose the “heavy” innovation that is the preserve of big industrial groups to the “agile” innovation characterising start-ups…but is this not too much of a caricature?  Is agile innovation really just for start-ups?

To get beyond the tools of innovation and identify real world practices, we asked innovators – industrialists and experts – to answer all of the questions you have been asking yourself: How are companies redeveloping their innovation strategies?  Can start-ups and large groups work together?  To what extent should the customer’s voice be taken into account?  Does a company still need a Head of Innovation?

The innovators’ answers to these questions reflect their own everyday practices — we owe them our warmest thanks.  It must be said that there is no miracle recipe, no one-size-fits-all approach.  No company — whether a large group or a start-up — holds the truth.  However, all possess some truth, which I hope will help you to build your truth.