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Boost, Fostering Innovation Within Major Groups: Air France’s Story

It’s not just entrepreneurs or startup founders who have great ideas for innovation. Company employees can also have great ideas and want to build something new! The Boost program at the accelerator Le Village by CAAP at thecamp gives them the tools.

Intrapreneurship – Creating Innovative Projects Inside Companies

Motivated by the need to change, an increasing number of large groups and middle-sized companies are introducing competitions for ideas among their teams, often with surprising results. But how to translate those ideas into projects? Due to a lack of time or resources, many innovations never see the light of day.

To help project initiators structure their ideas, set out a roadmap and put projects into action, Le Village by CAAP at thecamp has launched the Boost program. For one-week, in total immersion, these “intrapreneurs” are invited to thecamp to push their line of thinking to its limits, with the help of specialist coaches.

“We were cut off from the world, totally focused on our projects day and night, it was an amazing experience,” says Kévin Bouchère, business analyst at Air France’s sales department. At the end of last summer, Kévin and five of his co-workers were part of one of the two groups hosted at thecamp to give form to four innovative ideas originating from its teams and retained by Air France.

Analyzing the Value Proposition  

Kévin and his co-worker Lucia Terroni, CRM business analyst in the same department, came up with the idea of Easy2trip, a mobile application that makes planning business trips easier. “The idea is that, as soon as you enter a new meeting in your schedule, the application provides you with the most practical, fastest or cheapest way to get to the meeting place and back,” explains Bouchère. But to go from the good idea to something concrete, where do you start? “At thecamp, right from the start, we were challenged on all the project’s weak points to help us move forward,” he recalls.

The brainstorming was done collectively and simultaneously with their colleagues working on another project, FlexFly, a platform for buying and selling unused air tickets. “We were able to fine-tune and enhance our project with input from expert coaches, set out our roadmap and gain a more long-term and structured vision,” says Célia Geslin, customer experience manager at Air France subsidiary Joon, who initiated FlexFly along with three of her co-workers.

Pinpointing the Right Assumptions for the Roadmap  

Setting out the roadmap is the culmination of an intense process and is not such an easy task. It involves thoroughly analyzing one’s idea, examining it from all angles, understanding its value proposition and the needs it’s designed to fulfil, analyzing the costs, drawing up a viable economic model and pinpointing the right assumptions. Two tutors were on hand to accompany the intrapreneurs throughout the immersion, assisted by coaches specializing in agile methods and digital development.

“We had a lot of reservations when we arrived because our project is very complex technically,” recalls Lucia Terroni. Indeed, the project was so technically ambitious that the two colleagues almost felt like giving up in the face of negative feedback and some less-than-enthusiastic comments, despite their idea having won an award at a hackathon organized by IATA in October 2017.

Since then, the immersion program has paid dividends. “Le Village by CA Alpes Provence at thecamp has helped us to break down our project into separate parts and to identify the right tools needed to focus on essentials and get results faster,” she says. Furthermore, “It gave us a lot more confidence in the project and gave us a fantastic boost, we’re 100% into it now!”

The two teams of intrapreneurs will be presenting their proof of concept (POC) to Air France’s executive committee.