Life4, Elior Group's innovation program
With Life4 (Let's Imagine Future Experiences), Elior Group acts at the center of the foodtech, e-health and living city ecosystem to unearth, partner and promote talents and start-ups within and outside the organization.
Our global innovation strategy has created the impetus that is driving the process both internally and externally with our partners (incubators, accelerators, start-ups, customers and suppliers), developing new technologies, new culinary solutions, and innovations linked to new offers or new markets.
Our pragmatic trial-and-error based approach delivers practical results in support of our quality and innovation strategies.
Internal innovation projects
Our internal Life4 Challenge innovation competition open to employees in all of our host countries has helped to ensure that our Group's lifeblood flows in a single direction.
Some 5,000 employees from headquarters and the subsidiaries took part in the fiscal 2015-2016 challenge. Participating teams received training in lean start-up methods provided by NUMA, one of Europe's first start-up accelerators.
The winning project developed by the UK-based team, BOX'D CHEF, proposes meal kits that employees can take home and cook in less than 30 minutes. The project has secured the backing of Elior Group and its senior management, and is being supported by NUMA mentors. BOX'D CHEF was trialled in August 2016 and the very positive customer feedback gave the green light for its development. The team is now working on a standardized version for deployment in a dozen UK restaurants in 2017.
Five other winning projects are also being implemented, such as "I wanna be chef" in Spain, a cooking competition for children that was a great success in 2016, attracting several hundred participants and over 100,000 views. Another example is the digitalization of our training tutorials for Areas employees in Italy, designed to improve our service quality.
However, this internal innovation dynamic goes a lot further. Its development is supported by multi-disciplinary project teams, comprising employees responsible for digital and innovation programs at Group level and in the subsidiaries. Several projects emerged in 2016, such as the TimeChef app.
In late 2016, Elior Group launched the Life4 Start-up Program to discover the world's most innovative start-ups and accelerate both their growth and ours by giving them access to a market and, in some cases, to financing. The shared objective is to improve the experience of our four guest communities (students, patients, employees and travelers), giving them time to live for the moment.
It's an ambitious open global innovation program designed to discover start-ups and accelerate their development. The challenge is to identify the best partners and work with them to build solutions aligned with the new habits and needs of our customers and guests. Between October 2016 and March 2017, we looked at 24,000 start-ups, including 12,600 in Europe and the United Kingdom and 11,400 in the United States. 130 start-ups were given the opportunity to make a presentation to the local Elior Group management committee in their country and some of them were selected to join the incubator program.
Our aim is to create a dynamic ecosystem in order to react swiftly, ensure that our strategic interests converge at all times and strengthen our ability to provide leverage to our partners so that we can move up a gear together.