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A Rubik’s Cube to foster disruptive innovation

Published on
27 September 2018

How can you develop innovative solutions or new applications for the energy industry by using a game? Grenoble Ecole de Management designed its Cubification* day to help participants imagine new possibilities. With the participation of 150 young employees at Engie, the Cubification day was a successful event full of fun, efficiency and disruptive innovation!

On April 5, 2018, 150 young employees from 15 business units at Engie participated in the event held in Paris. All of the participants were members of the Young Professionals Network (YPN), 49% were female and 12% were foreigners. The event led by Grenoble Ecole de Management enabled them to use their talent and creativity.

"Over the past eight years, a very active network was created on Engie's Yammer social network. Participants work on finding innovative solutions. For the past four years, young employees between 26 and 36 years of age have met regularly during YPN Creative Labs," explains Hédi Slim, an Engie Energy Performance Manager and the GEM alumni who launched the Cubification project. "A Cubification project was created in collaboration with GEM for our fourth edition of the YPN Creative Lab. As an alumni, I was convinced of the learning potential offered by the school's serious game approach."

Overcoming functional fixedness thanks to a cube!

"The Cubification game was built on the logic of a Rubik's Cube. It offers an ideal platform to overcome functional fixedness," underlines Hédi. The goal was to enable participants to develop disruptive solutions and new applications for various Engie markets. Current challenges in energy include supporting the development of skills built around renewable energy and services for companies, local authorities and individuals. Cubification seeks to offer a transversal vision of the group's evolution.

As a result, the game was designed around a key question: "How to ensure Engie's offer is 'special' for customer?" During the design process, a maximum of targeted information was collected from internal teams that represents the group's five divisions: B2C, B2B, B2T, Cengen and GazChain.

Stimulating collective intelligence

What's the advantage of this approach? "We work with words and concepts that everyone knows. We mix the cube and it displays solutions side by side in a way we never would have imagined. By pushing back limits, we find disruptive answers," explains Hédi.

Six sides of the cube:

  • 1st side: Engie’s users according to sector: businesses, local authorities, families, individuals, elderly users, farmers, etc.
  • 2nd side: Gathering area where an offer is delivered (schools, stadiums, etc.).
  • 3rd side: Engie’s technical resources (technical know-how, digital tools, smart grids, green energy, etc.).
  • 4th side: Game changer: a random constraint: e.g., imagine a data center underwater or in space.
  • 5th side: What added value can Engie create through its carbon footprint, energy savings, and financial aspects?
  • 6th side: What business model for a particular user? Leasing, sales, subscription...

Emerging trends

At the end of the day, 40 innovative offers were imagined in order to create new services, new markets or combine existing ones in new ways. 60% of the ideas were focused on carbon-free energy, 43% on decentralized energy and 45% on digitalized energy. "We can definitely say that the collaboration between YPN and Grenoble Ecole de Management was very positive. The school offered new input throughout the process," concludes Hédi.

The event was led by Hélène Michel, an expert on Serious Games at Grenoble Ecole de Management. Four experienced game leaders supported her: Isabelle Patroix, Pierre-Yves Sanséau, Olivier Cateura, et Mathias Salanon.

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