Train and cultivate your team for innovation
Train your teams in new, agile and innovative ways of working
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Develop concrete innovative projects and bring them to life
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They have created innovative products
Our customers have tested the program and launched their own innovations
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3 tips for launching an innovative product
The Creation of an Innovative Product Program, also known as "CPi", is an ambitious innovation program, developed only by Schoolab. It brings together students from three schools (Supélec Central, ESSEC Business School and Strate School of Design), companies and institutions, to participate together in the design of new services or innovative products. From Schoolab's bespoke support, to the keys to the success of product innovation, to some mistakes to avoid and our benchmarks of success, here are the different phases of creating an innovative product.
Avoid disruption through business product innovation
Uberization is the term on every mouth to translate the immediate connection between a company and its customers, via a digital platform. Many perceive it as a threat to job destruction and/or competition, rather than as an opportunity for product, service or process innovation.
The transformation of a company’s business model is not limited to benchmarking and a good understanding of the market. Many companies have missed the boat on product innovation because they did not question themselves at the right time, even though they had a strong competitive advantage. Kodak’s success story proves it: a pioneer in the commercialization of digital cameras, the company did not dare to completely change its business model to be at the forefront of the digital transition, which led to bankruptcy. On the other hand, other companies have reinvented themselves and brought an innovative product to market, such as Netflix, which has grown from a simple DVD renter to one of the world’s most popular streaming services.
Product innovation has a fundamental role in an organization’s strategy and is not limited to the invention of a new business line: product or service innovations are not only related to new technologies. An innovative and successful project is above all a project that reviews uses and understands the needs of the market at a given moment in time. For example, Doctolib, a new French unicorn, who invented online appointment scheduling. For its part, Lydia has revolutionized mobile payment; the startup has raised 13 million euros in 2018 and has more than 1.4 million users.
Schoolab an innovation center, a partner for your product innovations
Schoolab is an Innovation Studio, which allows people from different organisations and backgrounds to collaborate on the development of new concrete projects. Schoolab differs from traditional consulting firms by its methods, pedagogy and ecosystem, which are unlike anything else on the market. Over the past 14 years, Schoolab has built a network that brings together schools, startups, large groups and expert freelancers in all disciplines (design, engineering, business, art, humanities, etc.).
Schoolab’s CPi program is at the crossroads of design thinking methodologies and lean startup. It is by no means a traditional consultancy methodology. The aim of Schoolab is to encourage student teams and companies to multiply their innovation capacities tenfold by integrating them on the model of collective intelligence and co-creativity, in the service of a common mission. Pedagogy is at the heart of the CPi’s missions, and according to Dalila Madine, Head of the Design Thinking Lab at GRTGaz, “the CPi is a very good context that allows us to think beyond our walls by challenging our strategy and business with the creative ideas of students with different backgrounds”. The objective is to provide the company’s project teams with methods, observations and reading keys so that the team can move forward on its own afterwards. To do this, the company teams work closely with the student team of the innovative product creation program in order to learn and train in contact with experts and students.
Finally, for Schoolab, the ecosystem is fundamental: we can create meetings, triggers and situations that generate wealth for our partner companies. These encounters can take place within the framework of a project, or even on our premises where students, start-ups and large groups meet, all of which symbolise this bubbling ecosystem.
How to succeed in product innovation?
Among the development strategies of an innovative product, design thinking is a proven innovation method in terms of creativity process and project development. This methodology was developed by Tim Brown and David Kelley, professor at Stanford, both founders of the American design agency IDEO. As early as 1991, they established the concept of the collective intelligence of design thinking as a concrete approach to innovation.
To remain in the continuity of this thinking, the CPi program relies on Design Thinking to propose a unique methodology. As Schoolab Co-Founder Julien Fayet explains, “CPi was the first multidisciplinary student program inspired by Stanford 14 years ago. Today, we are proud of all the innovations that have emerged from it and that are now on the market”. The CPi is the largest academic program, pioneering Design Thinking and Open Innovation in Europe, which each year brings about 170 students from Centrale Supelec, ESSEC and Strate to work on real-life business cases. The objective is to develop innovative solutions to be developed in 6 months, and the programme has proven its worth. As described by Loïc Paulus, an ESSEC student during CPi 2018: “the method of innovation throughout the 6 months is top! The commitment of the company and the impression that you don’t work on a project for nothing (from the visit to the company etc.) is a change from the usual group work in school”.
At Schoolab, the CPi team works to solve a client’s problem through a methodology based on the 4 key steps of design thinking:
Observation: This stage refers to understanding the origin of the problem, studying market segmentation, defining the portrait of typical users – or personas – and their user experience.
Ideation: Subsequently, thanks to the inventory of the existing situation, companies and students meet to brainstorm and propose solution concepts during the creative phase. This phase allows the emergence of new solutions that the students will dig in the prototyping phase.
Prototyping: This stage allows students to progress by following the “test and learn” and “quick and dirty” approaches. The aim is to create the meeting between the product and the market quickly and to improve the product by iteration. To prepare for the launch of the innovative product, CPi students use the “Minimum Viable Product” (MVP) strategy. to develop a prototype, which allows for rapid testing of an innovative product or service idea, with a basic product design and a minimal budget. If the MVP is successful, a larger scale deployment can be considered.
The Launch: Finally, the objective is to reach a v0 prototype, taking into account all the remarks of the previous phase, to work on the business model, marketing, communication in order to prepare a future launch.
For the past years, Schoolab has applied its design thinking methodology and carried out more than 150 projects for clients such as Apple, Orange, SFR, Seb, La Poste, Total, VINCI, Solidarités International, etc.
Monitor the market before launching an innovative product
There are several ways to make an analysis of your market before launching into the deployment of an innovative product idea. On the one hand, it is possible to use traditional means such as market research, benchmarks, competitive intelligence… In parallel, other means, which are wrongly used less often, allow you to get as close as possible to reality; this is the case of field surveys and observation, the ethnographic approach, to put oneself in the shoes of the user to better understand the experience, to make analogies with other sectors…
These more disruptive approaches to analysis, adopted in the CPi program, challenge traditional market research, which often tends to adopt an overarching market positioning. Nevertheless, quantitative and qualitative methods are all worth using and, above all, cross-checking, to best determine the development potential of the innovative product.
Mistakes to avoid during a product innovation
Raid Hoffman, the founder of LinkedIn hammered it out: “If you’re not ashamed of the first version of your product, you launched it too late”. Product innovation is difficult, and it’s a process that leads you down a long road, strewn with pitfalls. However, when creating an innovative product, certain mistakes must be avoided:
- Wanting the perfect product before you launch it
- Forgetting to test it with end users
- Starting from a technology and not from a use or need
- Not following the uses once the product is launched and not iterating on the product
Innovative product Benchmark: Schoolab customer cases related to product innovation
Schoolab’s methodology is proven and there are many success stories of innovative products developed through the CPi program. Each story is very different, but all of these innovative products or services have been successfully implemented.
One Schoolab case study that has resulted in a product innovation is the example of McDonald’s abandoned packaging management. Faced with the increasing use of packaging in McDonald’s take-away orders, the US fast food chain was looking to develop an idea to reduce the burden and waste associated with packaging. With the guidance of Schoolab’s CPi teams, McDonald’s developed an innovative product with agile methods: a cardboard crosspiece to simplify packaging. This crosspiece has saved the equivalent in tons of paper of three Airbus A380s in 2 years.
In a completely different field, a team of students from Schoolab’s CPi programme worked with GEFCO to respond to the risk of logistics uberization and the evolution of mobility. The students conceptualized a new type of high value-added service for this leader in the transport and logistics sector. The CPi’s design thinking approach led to the development of a new service, GEFCOLIS, which provides trailers to accommodate B2B goods from other companies and organisations.