Innovating to bounce back: cross-industry fertilization at the heart of the recovery


To the imperative of competitiveness of companies, the health crisis adds an increased need to diversify and find answers to unprecedented problems. More than ever, going it alone to innovate cannot be a winning strategy. Hence the interest of resorting to cross-fertilization between sectors of activity to activate the fruitful lever of network innovation.

Cross-fertilization brings together the driving forces of innovation from different sectors and different players – large groups, contractors, SMEs, startups, research centers. In doing so, cross-fertilization allows companies to find solutions to their problems in other sectors. While the current crisis has created new needs, this “open innovation” is strategic to reinvent itself quickly.

New issues, new innovation needs

The health crisis is forcing companies to deal with new risks on various fronts, while rethinking the dynamics of their slowed down or even shut down activities. Thus, the new health situation requires thinking about ways to prevent the spread of the virus in many activities. Furthermore, the disorganization generated by the crisis has opened a breach for IT hackers who are stepping up attacks on information systems, especially through ransomware. Also, customers have adopted new ways of life, work, travel and consumption that they will not completely abandon in the future. Hence the need for innovative solutions to unprecedented scenarios.

If the need to innovate has never been so keen to reinvent and bounce back, companies have not necessarily been able to devote themselves to innovation over the past year. Indeed, many of them have been monopolized by the maintenance and survival of their activities and they have not always been able to give priority to innovation projects and budgets. In this context, cross-fertilization makes it possible to break down the card of frugal innovation that is faster to deploy.

Cross-fertilization speeds up innovative solutions

One of the strengths of cross-fertilization is to apply innovative solutions to use cases for which they were not necessarily intended originally. In fact, pooling innovations and use cases from different sectors responds to many issues raised by the crisis.

Thus, in the aviation sector hit hard, manufacturers must restore the confidence of their users, in particular by protecting them from contamination in the cabin during their flight. The building must now offer new virucidal materials avoiding contamination and the need for permanent disinfection. On the IT front, companies are looking for cyber protection solutions that are both effective and accessible. In the automobile sector, which is suffering a significant drop in sales, manufacturers must innovate to solicit customers through the prism of their new usage habits, particularly via digital … The examples are innumerable and the solutions already developed in other sectors such as medical, IT, chemical, digital….

Priority must now go to all initiatives that promote cross-fertilization. The France Relance plan will contribute to this by providing a financial response to new needs. It is also important to stimulate opportunities for discussion and meeting between players from different sectors. It is on this condition that companies will be able more easily, and more quickly, to find the innovations which give life to the new use cases which will bring their revival.