Serving people means meeting their needs at the precise moment when they appear. For our group, this implies a capacity to anticipate. We are currently experiencing a digital revolution, the impact of which is being felt in all aspects of daily life and requires constant adaptation.
Up group is evolving in sync with societal and technological advances, its cooperative values supporting this transformation process. The group has invested in dematerializing its offer to make its client solutions more connected, more fluid and more customized. To do this, it relies on an innovation process that is both centered on its staff and open to the outside world, including start-ups.
SPEEDING UP INNOVATION
To gain a head start on its competitors, enhance agility and ensure future growth, Up group has set up a new Department dedicated to innovation.
In order to stimulate, facilitate and structure its approach to innovation and embed it in its transformation process, in the fall of 2016 Up group set up a Department of Innovation and Experimentation that works with all the Group’s departments and its subsidiaries that co-build and share to serve growth.
This new Department is a genuine innovation laboratory, the mission of which is to lead exploratory research and accelerate the development and testing of prototypes for new offers or services that expand the Group’s solutions and bring added value to its beneficiaries, clients and partner merchants.
However, at a time where innovation increasingly requires integrating new concepts, business models and other technologies from other backgrounds (specifically digital), the Department will be conducting its activities with an open innovation approach, thanks to two new instruments dedicated to cooperating with start-ups:
• the « booster »: The «booster»: this acceleration program is intended to support specific projects on short notice, wherever complementarity has been identified with the Group’s activities and development outlook. This support takes place in two stages:
project assessment/pre-validation, followed by experimentation and deployment;
• The business Fund: this Fund in the amount of 30 million euros, dedicated to start-ups and set up in November 2016, is intended to financially support project development in anticipation of a partnership or, in the longer term, to support the emergence of a technology.
A POLICY CO-DEVELOPED WITH OUR PARTNERS
Up group’s cooperative model is also built on a sustainable relationship with our entire community: merchant partners, beneficiaries, client companies, external experts, etc. We involve all the stakeholders in our ecosystem in our innovation policy.
This pragmatic approach based on co-authoring makes it possible to identify people’s needs, methods and expectations. In a process of dialog, we put our heads together with an open attitude, with the aim of generating new ideas and building services that are useful, meaningful and add value for everyone.
AN APPROACH TO INNOVATION THAT IS OPEN TO THE OUTSIDE WORLD
Up group also looks to the outside world in order to speed up the dynamic of innovation. Inspiration stems from the creativity and agility of startups, as well as from partners who are innovation experts.
In collaboration with the Open Innovation Institute, Up group initiated a call for innovation addressing start-ups, for ambitious projects supporting the transformation of the group. The objective of this program is to work with the start-ups to identify, co-develop and test the services, uses and solutions which will improve the beneficiary’s experience and use of our vouchers, or improve our affiliates’ performance.
Experienced managers from subsidiaries in each of our countries work with the start-ups, and the start-ups, through this performance raising program, enjoy an opportunity to boost their own development thanks to the fact that they are given access to the resources and competencies of the group in a context that focuses on a collaborative approach.
Open Innovation Club
Up group also contributes to the Open Innovation Club, an initiative dedicated to the development of business relationships between large corporations and start-ups. The Club includes nearly 80 key accounts, and is run by Paris&Co, the agency in charge of developing the economy, attractiveness and innovation of the city of Paris, and which runs 20 business incubators in the capital, i.e. a community of 500 start-ups.
Through the Open Innovation Club’s various events and activities, the group can identify interesting start-ups by taking part in the theme-based “innovation dating” events, or by issuing calls for innovation when a specific need arises. These events are also an opportunity to connect with non-French start-ups during annual “learning expeditions” held in the world’s major innovation centers.
Up Group aims to instill a culture of innovation among its employees and give them the opportunity to express their creativity. This approach is in keeping with Up values of commitment and entrepreneurship through two initiatives:
1. Innovation Thursdays:
These monthly events cater to all the employees of Up group (France and worldwide) to look toward the future and anticipate future uses in its markets: conferences, creativity workshops, start-up pitches...
2. The Innovation Challenge:
The Group has created a participatory innovation challenge that invites employees, in cooperation with start-ups, to imagine and formalize innovative solutions that may lead to change in the Group’s services.
All the projects are studied and voted by a Committee of Directors and all employee. The finalist teams receive support in the form of "design thinking" workshops and a contribution from experts to enrich user experience and deepen the business model of their proposal.
Then, in a final vote by a jury made up of Directors and experts, a team is chosen. This team will is sponsored by a seasoned entrepreneur, co-founder of a start-up partnering with the Group, in order to develop a solution which is prototyped and then launched if the result is relevant.
Beyond this project, the sharing and dissemination of ideas from the Innovation Challenge is an opportunity for the Group to nurture its thinking in order to enrich its current and future offerings.
A responsible approach with start-up companies.
As an expression of accountability with respect to our project partners, Up group wishes to guarantee that start-ups will benefit from effective and respectful collaboration. This is why we have developed an internal charter, to raise awareness and engage our teams to follow good practices.
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