Part A: Case study – Carrefour
Part i: Why does Carrefour place high importance on innovation.
Innovation is not just the invention of a new idea that is important but putting into practice and using it in a manner that leads to new products, services or systems that adds value or improves quality, it is key to understand the various business functions and how they can be integrated to facilitate innovation. It possibly involves management restructuring and technological changes. Innovation also means exploiting new technology and employing new thinking to generate new value and to bring about significant changes in society. Business functions allow organisations to innovate in several ways these functions can each offer solutions to organisational problems which can help to emerge, develop and contribute to the overall success. Without accountability or connection to the broader business strategy, an innovation function will quickly lose its purpose and credibility, potentially causing more harm to the innovation goals than good. Carrefour’s innovation strategies should align with shareholder priorities alongside the reality of their business, purposefully advancing strategy across the company. Not only will this empower employees to innovate at every level, it will enable a broader culture of creativity and problem solving throughout their company. Carrefour themselves embrace innovation admitting their 384000 employees are their leading asset and are encouraged to develop their customer-centric approach and retail expertise (Pricer, 2017). Innovation in any business is the key to success or failure this is true for Carrefour, the company seems to have adopted an holistic innovation perspective. This strategy focusses on selecting where change is needed and what function is best equipped to address that need. It means embracing a multi-functional perspective, combining functions appropriately to deal with issues that have multiple causes and effects. Carrefour have put in place processes and values that encourage such holism when it comes to innovation. An example of this is Carrefour has consistently applied its proven hypermarket concept by maintaining the same operational and marketing characteristics but has had the flexibility to make appropriate modifications to suit local tastes and lifestyles. Carrefour’s development of new retail concepts and formats that they have adopted to their overseas markets one such initiative was the name change in Spain. Certainly, Carrefour would have used some important tools to foster an organisational culture of innovation such as idea management, horizon scanning and innovation teams. Obviously, Carrefour would map and manage ‘Risk’ and cultivate a sense of stability and trust that will make risks seem more like opportunity for improvement rather than a threat.
There is often a set path from an ideas inception to creation which is as follows;
1. concept generation
2. concept screening
3. preliminary design
4. evaluation and improvement
5. prototyping and final design.
Carrefour would undoubtable have to create and maintain a process to monitor the progress of the innovation and correct any issues arising which may become a barrier to success.
The first ever cooperative is another instance of how the various business functions within Carrefour have integrated to facilitate innovation (Neagu 2017). As with all business functions it relies on information being shared between the functions. Market Segments, targeting and positioning is key information to the finance function which in turn feeds information to the company’s operational function, developing supply chain improvements, stock levels and then feeding store sales back to the marketing function. In essence Carrefour has placed high importance on innovation after noting several key successes in 2016 proving the models and concepts used work.
Part A: Case study – Carrefour