Europlastiques, a company in the Mayenne Region of France, has given us a great example of the benefits of opening up the innovation process to all the staff in a company. They are a business of less than 100 employees which specialises in food packaging using thermoplastic injection technology.

Laurent Robin, their R&D Manager was a regular contributor to the ‘Matinées de L’Innovation’ run by Open Innovation Project partner Laval Mayenne Technopole (LMT). From one of these events he brought back the idea of taking the innovation outside the R&D department by trying out the participatory innovation process at Europlastiques. LMT was happy to support such a pilot and Marine Guiard from LMT gave a presentation on the process and introduced them to an external expert , who had developed software to support this activity. Europlastiques set up a cross-departmental project team and decided to focus the pilot on sourcing ideas to improve recycling and energy saving and invited all employees to contribute through an online platform call ID-Storm®. This platform gave employees the opportunity to post ideas and to comment and vote on ideas posted by others.

For a company of fewer than 100 employees the response was tremendous. 31 ideas were posted and often 6-7 comments being made on each idea and 88 votes were made. Of these 3 ideas were taken forward and awards were made to those submitting these ideas. The pilot was definitely a success as it led to the generation of novel and practical ideas. However is also helped to motivate staff at Europlastiques by involving them in the innovation process and recognising their contribution. They are planning new challenges of this kind.

Many open innovation gurus talk advise businesses to start their open innovation journey inhouse and Europlastiques offer a perfect example of how a business has done that. It has also shown the value of the kind of activities and interventions delivered by LMT to promote and support different types of open innovation.

Samantha T’Kint from Europlastiques talks about their experiences.

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