Viewpoint: Bruno Bernard, Vice President, Group Improvement Initiative

Participative innovation now plays a pivotal role within the Group. Applied efficiently, it nurtures innovative ideas and makes the workplace more comfortable for everybody.

What are the challenges of participative innovation within the Group?

What's at stake here is being able to mobilize all of our talents, across all of our businesses. This is of course a key to the development of products that deliver greater customer benefits, but it also helps improve our working conditions and boost productivity. In general, participative innovation means that everybody's contribution can be effectively integrated, which in turn enriches the relationship between labor and management.

How does it actually work in the field?

Each company has its own organization, but they have all set up two different circuits to gather ideas. The short one enables applying an idea in just a week or two, while the longer circuit requires several weeks, or even months. The former is naturally dedicated to simpler ideas, such as changes to a workstation, or the positioning of elements in a workshop. The longer circuit focuses instead on more significant investments, such as computer systems or production machinery. This implies a more in-depth validation process as well.

Under what conditions does participative innovation generate the best results?

First, managers have to integrate this approach in their teams' daily operations. How quickly it is processed is the second major success factor. And that's why we've set up a financial waiver process for small investments as part of the shorter cycle. We also have to provide information on this process and recognize participants to maintain their motivation, as we do with the Safran Innovation Competition.