Spring Lab: Instilling a Startup Mindset into Large Corporations
1) What is the mission (the reason why, la raison d’être) of Spring Lab, its value proposition, and its main line of services (acceleration devices, learning expeditions, collective intelligence workshop, innov-athons, bootcamp) ?
In a highly competitive world with constantly changing ways and growing customer expectations, your company crucially needs to think and innovate to set itself apart.
But how do companies transform and reinvent themselves?
Spring Lab helps its clients to accelerate the impact of their innovation.
How? by taping into the best of the startup culture to give businesses a new edge : Inspiring connections, Collective intelligence sessions, Acceleration programs, Startup-like methods…
The Spring Lab team believes in open ecosystems, iterative experimentation, risk daring, pivot, transversality and co-innovation as key success factors of the digital entrepreneurship. They represent a fantastic source of inspiration for big corporations and public institutions to drive their innovation faster and further.
Since 2010, the company has been helping companies to:
- Boost both their innovation and transformation strategies;
- Build efficient acceleration programs;
- Create and facilitate collective intelligence sessions that teams can then replicate.
Our most successful formats:
- Innovathons (50 to 120 people in open innovation sessions);
- Seminars from another type (10 to 450 people physically present or online);
- Learning expeditions to get the best from what others have done already;
- Training to startup methods (art of pitch, design thinking, creativity….);
- Setting-up of corporate incubators;
- Acceleration Workshops for innovative projects;
- Innovation Strategy, and Transformation Strategy.
2) What user/customer do you target, and what is your unfair advantage?
We accompany many different types of actors, who each have quite similar challenges, but need different solutions to answer them:
- Top Executives holding desires and strong transformation projects, and who need an agile, ambitious and pragmatic sparring partner;
- Innovation or Transformation Departments in full setting-up or in search of new impulses;
- Project leaders with strong ideas to bring to life / develop / implement / scale quickly;
- HR teams looking for new opportunities to spread agility and creativity in the company.
Why are we special?
- We have an ability to move the lines and create sustainable impact for our customers (long-lasting after our missions!);
- We have a strong creativity in the type of experience we propose, enabling to really and strongly engage stakeholders;
- Customer proximity is an obsession, and the total involvement of the teams the daily proof;
- You are looking for a partner to manage an impossible mission and crazy projects specialists, we are the partner for you.
3) Spring Lab extracts methodologies, culture, key success factors from startups … and share them with large corporations. How do you manage to keep at the forefront?
Design thinking, agile methods, Business Model Canvas, Creative problem solving, intrapreneurship programs, growth hacking, pitching, fast prototyping, …. are methodologies that we are leveraging.
To keep up-to-date with new innovation tools, the Spring Lab team is always on the look-out: making it a weekly challenge to meet new people, participating AND contributing to as many events as possible, building on its ecosystem to discover the “new big thing”.
But building the ecosystem is not enough, it is crucial to be always on an “experimenting mode” to try new things out. This is why we have put in place our “Kit Kat Breaks” every Friday afternoon: aiming at having every member of the team sharing the new tools, techniques, methods that they have discovered during the week. And to make sure our 2 offices benefit from these exchanges, we have 2 “catalyzers” whose mission is to make sure the information passes on to the other office.
And because staying up to date on start-ups ways of working is our priority we leverage as much as possible on the network of start-ups that our millennial employees have built throughout their studies and friendships.
And finally, reinventing oneself is a lot about … being curious and asking (a lot of) questions : what are you working on, how do you do it, does it work, what would you do differently, what are you missing today to make it work … So … we spend our time asking questions!
4) Could you share a few customer assignments that represent your know-how?
For an Airbus subsidiary we have created a 24h live worldgame for 450 employees in 3 different countries to have them leverage on gamification to work on their values.
For BNP Paribas Leasing Solutions we have built a 9-month program (Stretch Your Business) including 8 hackathons in 8 different countries on the impact of new technologies on their businesses, followed by a 4 month international incubation program, and ended by a one week bootcamp to develop the prototypes.
For M6 we have organized a one-day Learning Expedition on How companies have built, and facilitate digital and technology labs.
5) What for would you recommend a young graduate to join Spring Lab? What are the 3 points you would keep from your ‘Welcome to the Jungle ad’ ?
- A very, very! Strong team spirit. Each recruitment is a big event, validated by most members of the team, because every person that comes in will generate a new balance in the team, and we want to make sure it stays a positive, creative, and healthy balance. We organize 2 seminars per year to work together on our vision, our strategy, our projects and make sure people are excited, and willing to keep on building the future of the company;
- Spring Lab intrapreneurship program to cultivate entrepreneurship among our employees: because we believe that good employees are inspired and proud employees, we have build our internal entrepreneurship program. 6 days off your annual work time to engage in a project that makes sense with 3 criteria to respect: it “means a lot” to them, it forces them to go a little bit out of their comfort zone, and they take a lot of pleasure in doing it!
- To continue leveraging on our strong culture and values, we have named 2 Chief Culture Officers (one in Paris and one in Toulouse) and 1 Positive Impact Officer. Giving a meaning to what we do, making sure we valorize personalities and talents rather than diplomas and egos, strengthening the spirit between our 2 offices, … having fun … are absolutely key at Spring Lab. So we have asked people from our teams to make sure we never forget, however busy we are, however important are our clients, however intense is the business.
6) Spring Lab Paris offices are at We Work Lafayette: why did you choose to settle in a co-working space?
WeWork is part of staying connected, and open, and … trendy 🙂
WeWork has disrupted the real estate business but also traditional models of workplace, and ways of working. And this is what Spring Lab is about.
Living at WeWork ensures us talent-attraction as well as “client-attraction”, placing us as an actor connected to its ecosystem.
Apart from the visibility, we also have the opportunity to benefit from the WeWork community (from Lafayette but not only), having access to hundreds of experts that we have benefited from numerous times already, for ourselves but mostly for our customers.
And of course, we get to participate to the many events organized by WeWork, mostly oriented on innovation issues, helping us identifying new actors, new projects, new trends.
7) What are the next challenges for Springlab ?
The new challenge for Spring Lab is to scale our business and our awareness!
We have spent the last 2 years polishing the little diamond that we are, working on our culture, our mission, our offers, building up our community and our ecosystem.
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Nicolas Bry is Orange Startups Studio COO. He entices Orange employees into becoming intrapreneurs, bringing their idea to life within Orange business. International executive, he sets-up innovation devices for new business. International speaker, writer with RapidInnovation.fr, guest lecturer at the Google Academy mini-MBA, visiting innovation professor at Telecom ParisTech, MediaSchool & EM Lyon, freelance consultant for the EC. Follow him at @nicobry.
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