This interview was carried out as part of the establishment of a Innovation 360 diagnosis of the Grimaud Group
Could you describe the Grimaud Group, your missions and your current and future market challenges?
We are a family group created in 1966 specializing in animal genetics, biopharmacy (vaccines for humans and animals) and novel farming (precision breeding and emerging animal proteins).
Our activities are spread over 18 subsidiaries around the world, for a turnover of € 325 million, and 1,800 employees.
As Scientific Director, I lead the group's R&D strategy. If each subsidiary has its own objectives and R&D teams, my mission is to deploy a global vision of our strategy which will be executed in a different way depending on each subsidiary and each market context.
Our role is to implement transversality between the different teams : sharing of our know-how, duplication of our best practices and pooling of investments. My role also extends to supporting innovative projects beyond existing structures (with startups for example) and finally interactions with our academic partners essential for Research.
Genetic selection markets are generally mature and largely consolidated, making them markets with very high R&D challenges with significant competition. The main challenge remains of course on product performance, but service innovation is also becoming an important differentiator: we must always be there on these two subjects.
What are the reasons that prompted you to set up this Innovation Diagnostic (internal / external)?
For a long time, the focus was on product and technological innovation. The other types of innovation (business model, services, management, organization, etc.) existed, but were not very structured. Moreover, the various departments of the group did not really appropriate this culture of innovation.
The innovation processes outside the pure R&D framework are much less established and natural in our organization. We realized that in order to carry out an innovation strategy that goes beyond the strict framework of the product, we had to extend a certain culture and processes to the entire organization.
So we wished fto become aware of these competitiveness issues then train our teams in global and transversal innovation:
Everyone must be a contributor, regardless of their department, subsidiary or country.
The main objective of a first diagnosis was to draw up a quantifiable and pragmatic observation of our current practices. All the fundamental factors determining innovation performance have been taken into account (16 innovation axes, leadership, roles, culture, etc.)
How were the stakeholders involved and how did they approach the questionnaire? How did / will you use this diagnosis to disseminate innovation beyond the R&D department?
We implemented this Diagnostic in May 2020. To do this, we interviewed 3 groups of people: the Management Committees of the subsidiaries, their key employees (having a sufficiently broad view of the various departments of the company) as well as third parties. external (customers and suppliers) so as to also have a complete view of the company's perception.
These 30 to 40 people per subsidiary responded to the survey launched by GAC the conclusions of which were then presented to the Management Committees. We then relied on these findings to launch an active approach around innovation processes.
What are the first recommendations that emanated from it? What first concrete actions have been put in place to follow up on these recommendations? How will you prioritize the others and monitor their successful implementation by 2021?
After realizing the need for more transversal innovation, we wanted to enter more concretely into a phase of testing new practices.
A training in innovation management methodologies was therefore organized with referent members of each Subsidiary. We will then proceed to a POC (Proof Of Concept) on a first transversal subject, then we will set up an action plan in early 2021.
Beyond these actions, we were able to identify areas for improvement on which to work (cultural, managerial, organizational inhibitors, etc.) or untapped potential (targeted strengthening of innovation capacities that support our growth and profitability strategy) .
Finally, in each monthly management committee, a follow-up will be set up to ensure the proper implementation of the new processes. The goal is to lead this change management around the culture of innovation without weighing down our governance.
In conclusion, this diagnosis allowed us to create a common language, to strengthen the culture of innovation beyond R&D, to mobilize and unite all the teams around a clear and shared vision on the priority axes of improving the efficiency of our development strategy, taking into account the challenges of our current and future markets.