Encouraging innovation in a decentralised service group : the case of Sodexho-Alliance

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Director in charge of the Planning, Innovation and Quality programme, Sodexho-Alliance Group

Seminar Management of Innovation | Wednesday November 14, 2001

The main threat which reaches to the very heart of the profession of a group such as Sodexho-Alliance (with a turnover of ten billion Euros, of which nearly 90% is generated outside France), specialising in catering and associated services, is trivialisation and competition in costs. To pursue a policy of growth (16% in 2000) and profitability, the group has to invest in marketing and innovation. However, how does one achieve this when there are 286,000 employees present in seventy different countries ? The group implemented several processes including a world forum on innovation in order not only to pinpoint ideas which emerged from practical experience, but also to help define and spread such ideas. This task was particularly difficult as this is a profession where the local manager is in effect God's second in command.

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