An innovative and unique hybrid approach
Vallourec innovation aims to be collective, unifying, iterative and agile.
In this sense, it’s pioneering.
Because it’s only by listening to our customers that we’re able to develop our products and services, diversifying what we offer to identify new avenues of growth. To come up with bespoke solutions, responding to the technical and economic challenges of our customers, we capitalize on our close relationships. We immerse ourselves collectively at the very heart of the issues they experience throughout the entire life cycle of our products.
This approach, through which we generate ideas both for our customers and with our customers, also known as ‘front end innovation’, takes the form of co-creation workshops based on a design thinking approach.
Vallourec’s approach to innovation doesn’t end there
We also encourage our employees to share their good ideas.
Having trained our employees in design thinking, we’ve launched an internal, multi-disciplinary and international innovation platform to bring their innovative ideas to fruition.
Finally, we encourage openness to new ideas from start-ups, laboratories and innovative small businesses. This system is underpinned by « Open Innovation Platform », which makes it possible to submit – in a very simple way – proposals either around challenges identified by Vallourec or on any other innovative subject. For example, the latest challenges looked at identifying solutions to make tubes ‘smart’ or ‘augmented’ (used for transmitting data or energy). The start-ups, laboratories and companies who submit the selected ideas are offered win-win partnerships with the Vallourec teams.
Innovation isn’t just about coming up with new ideas.
It’s also – and especially – about bringing new solutions to the market.
From this point of view, the fast execution of selected ideas is a key factor of success. As such, Vallourec has introduced ‘boosters’. These boosters are a new, more agile way of innovating, relying on the commitment of a specific team and partnerships with customers and future users alike, to develop a solution without waiting for it to be completely finalized.
In 2019, Vallourec established two boosters, one dedicated to digital solutions and another responsible for developing solutions around additive manufacturing (3D printing). The development and marketing in record time of some of our highly innovative solutions have demonstrated the effectiveness of this approach, served and enhanced by the power of digital technology. And we’re already planning more!
Open Innovation at Vallourec
2019 – Innovation open to all
The 2019 topic, ‘do you have an idea to add new features to our tubes?’, or how to augment our tubes, allowed some 46 companies to submit a collaborative project idea on our Open Innovation platform. Three of them have been nominated and the winner will be announced very soon.
At the same time, our employees are enthusiastically getting involved in sharing their ideas on our internal platform. No fewer than 182 ideas have been submitted and 4 finalists awarded prizes, including the AssetupTM project that took first place, which consists of giving a second life to unused stocks of tubes among operators.
2017 – The Open Innovation Challenge
Dedicated to all things ‘smart tubes’, this challenge saw more than 40 start-ups and companies submit ideas from across the world. The two winning teams, selected by an international judging panel, were able to co-develop their innovative solutions with the Vallourec teams.
2016 – The first Innovation Challenge launched at Vallourec
The first Vallourec Innovation Challenge allowed many of our Group employees to contribute to innovation around the topic of reducing our customers’ costs. All the ideas put forward by the 30 participating teams were reviewed, enriched and some even materialized, including the two winning proposals: the ‘cost effective cross-over’ project and the Smartengo e-commerce platform.
Every year, Innovation Day brings together the entire community of Vallourec Innovators to gather, discuss and elect their champion.