"A time bomb in the heart of Europe." (1)... The competitiveness deficit in France is now being pointed out by our European neighbours. The public authorities and companies did not wait for their analysis to make such a diagnosis. From the shock to the pact, the innovative capacity of our companies is highlighted as a determining factor in French competitiveness, by both public authorities and entrepreneurs.
At the same time, the crisis has catalysed the emergence of a real managerial revolution, the "co revolution": co-construction, co-development, co-management... Both companies and public authorities are trying to formalise and exploit these new ways of operating, driven by the repositioning of human resources on the one hand, and the explosion of collaborative tools on the other. Innovation, whose budgets are being squeezed despite the support of local authorities, has not escaped this groundswell. According to Innov'Acteurs, an association for the development of participatory innovation - a management approach that aims to encourage the generation of ideas by all staff in order to create added value and move the organization forward - two-thirds of CAC 40 companies had implemented a participatory innovation system by 2011.
Thus, the competitiveness shock, the long-awaited innovation shock, could come directly from employees. On 29 November 2012, Innov'Acteurs will celebrate its 10th anniversary on the occasion of the Carrefour de l'Innovation Participative 2012, an event bringing together theorists and practitioners on the subject to exchange, reflect and above all share their concrete experiences.
A few days before the event, Innov'Acteurs and Capitalcom wished to directly question French assets on their perception of the competitiveness of companies and their relationship with innovation. Three main lessons emerge from this survey:
1. Competitiveness: assets trust innovation
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According to the French workforce, the first two factors in the competitiveness of companies are, on the one hand, the ability to motivate employees and attract talent (40% of votes) and, on the other hand, innovation (23%). The ability to attract new investors is far behind with only 4% of votes.
2. The innovation potential of employees under-utilised by enterprises
76% of the assets would like their company to provide greater incentives for them to innovate on a daily basis. Senior citizens (50-64 years old) are particularly in demand (80%), compared to young working people (15-24 years old) (68%). Thus, only 19% of working people feel that companies rely sufficiently on their ability to innovate to boost their competitiveness. 65% of working people feel that their company does not sufficiently or not at all call on their creativity, especially in times of crisis when, for more than half of them (52%), employee innovation is perceived by managers as an interesting but often downplayed approach.
Second point of discrepancy between employees and companies: areas of innovation. While working people would like to contribute more to improving their working conditions (36%), they feel that firms encourage them to be creative, mainly in improving internal processes (30%) and in developing new products and services (28%).
3. Sharing, accelerating innovation?
For almost two thirds of the assets (74%), human resources policy can contribute to the development of participatory innovation. For 40% of them, recognition of the work of each employee is the first incentive factor cited, followed by management open to novelty and dialogue (20%). Satisfactory remuneration policy only comes in third place (16%).
Openness and sharing: new technologies also contribute to this. While 59% of assets believe that new technological tools such as corporate social networks contribute to developing participatory innovation, the key element is greater sharing of skills internally (34%). For young workers, it is above all the maintenance of a relational network (35%), the possibility of taking ideas directly to management (23%) and a better knowledge of the company (23%) that are highlighted.
Innovation and internationalization: a "winning couple". In line with the words spoken on 15 November last by the Minister of Foreign Trade, Nicole Bricq, 39% of the working people surveyed believe that the internationalisation of companies contributes to the development of employee innovation, essentially through the opening up of new markets (41%) and the cultural diversity of teams (28%).
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Created in 2002, Innov'Acteurs is an association under the law of 1901 for the development of Participatory Innovation in organizations. Innov'Acteurs brings together more than 70 private (including 1/3 of the CAC 40) and public organisations around moments of professionalisation, exchange of experiences and sharing of good practices. Its objective is to support and encourage innovation at all levels of the organisation. Every year, Innov'Acteurs organises the Carrefour de l'innovation participative, a day of reflection and exchange of concrete experiences around the contributions and challenges of innovation and creativity in companies. The Participatory Innovation Trophies, organised by the association in partnership with Novancia - Business School Paris, are awarded on this occasion. www.innovacteurs.asso.fr
As a communications consulting agency, Capitalcom has developed a unique approach to Integrated Performance that is based on values of integrity and includes financial and extra-financial performance within the same paradigm, with the aim of stimulating innovation. Capitalcom assists its clients in designing and implementing efficient communication, the main objective of which is to contribute to the valorisation of the company in all its dimensions: human, financial, ethical, environmental. www.capitalcom.fr
Survey conducted on a national sample of 775 representative individuals from the employed labour force, using the quota method based on the criteria of sex, age and socio-professional category. The sample was interviewed online from 12 to 21 November 2012.
(1) Reference to the front page of The Economist, edition of 17 November 2012.