Innovation Day 2019: Moving forward together

The Rexel Foundation for a better energy future held its annual Innovation Day at the “Transformer” of La Ruche in Paris on November 28, 2019. This event brings together a collective of participants with the goal of collectively developing innovative solutions to fuel poverty.

This collective, which was officially created in Roubaix on Innovation Day 2018, includes associations, start-ups, social entrepreneurs, experts, Rexel employees, and local residents living in fuel poverty. The event marked a major step toward changing the positioning of the Foundation, which now acts as a true solutions provider, seeking to develop modes of operation that are replicable and/or adaptable to other communities.

This day-long event devoted to active listening and the will to make a difference perfectly demonstrates the success and dynamism of the project launched one year earlier. The various participants shared their experiences and ideas to keep working to put an end to the phenomenon of fuel poverty while ensuring the collective’s longevity.   

Discover the perspectives and feedback of various Innovation Day 2019 participants in these joint interviews:

The Roubaix collective: unity and diversity

In its proceedings as well as in its content, Innovation Day 2019 demonstrated the tangible commitment of the Foundation, as well as that of the Roubaix collective, to collaboratively developing sustainable energy-efficient solutions for all. The many opportunities for sharing and constructive discussion, whether in work groups or during breaks, revealed a collective as solid as it is diverse.

To begin, powerful plenary keynotes inspired all of the participants and conveyed a message full of realism as well as determination.

In the words of Bertrand de Clermont Tonnerre, Sustainable Development Director of the Rexel Group and General Secretary of the Rexel Foundation:

Further thought and exploration continued throughout the afternoon in groups divided into six different workshops. The participants’ collective intelligence thus resulted in several change management approaches focusing on the following themes:

The atmosphere of listening and mutual support within the collective is again best described by its members:

Action and involvement to help communities

Since its creation, the Roubaix collective has significantly improved the daily living conditions of multiple households suffering from fuel poverty, thanks in particular to initiatives developed during the workshops held throughout 2019. These workshops were run in close collaboration with the group Ouishare and the association Participation et Fraternité, both of which have supported the Foundation with this project for the past two years.

Innovation Day 2019 thus stood out because of the many testimonials from residents explaining how they were assisted in concrete terms, guided by the collective and by the associations. From help with renovation works provided by Les Compagnons Bâtisseurs to jobs for residents of disadvantaged neighborhoods provided by the association Voisin Malin, all of these initiatives had a truly positive impact on the lives of people in difficulty.

How can the impact be broadened?

While the 2019 edition of Innovation Day marks the fulfillment and continuation of the project that was born in Roubaix, it is far from the end of the initiative begun over a year ago. On the contrary, the goal is to extend the collective’s scope of action in order to lift more households out of fuel poverty.

The success of the Roubaix project now depends on the issue of its replicability. As shown in the workshop “How to inspire other projects with our participative approach,” the medium-term goal is to apply the approach to other locations.

For François Chaize, deputy social services director in Roanne:

In conclusion, Innovation Day 2019 seems to have enabled a critical transition in the collective’s evolution. While it marks the achievement and success of the Roubaix project, it also represents the beginning of efforts to widen its scope of action.

Innovation Day over the years: birth of a collective dedicated to fighting fuel poverty

Innovation Day 2017: collective intelligence for a better energy future

Innovation Day 2017 marked the beginning of the creation of the collective that we know today. It was the first time that the Rexel Foundation for a better energy future gathered together its entire partner ecosystem (companies, experts, employees and social entrepreneurs) under one roof and with one challenge: brainstorm together on solutions to lift struggling households out of fuel poverty.

The event held at Grands Voisins, a place of collaboration and innovation, involved six work groups discussing options for solutions to fight fuel poverty. At the end of the exercise, the various participants shared their thoughts and chose the solution that in their eyes was the most effective and most promising.

Discover a video of Innovation Day 2017 participant perspectives:

Innovation Day 2018: Innovate differently

In 2018, this event was held in the precincts of the Condition Publique, an emblematic gathering place in the city of Roubaix. Building on the momentum gained the previous year, the Rexel Foundation wished to consolidate and expand the process it had initiated. The working method, based on collaborative workshops, has included for the first time Roubaix inhabitants living or having lived in a situation of fuel poverty. This 2018 edition thus marked the concrete launch of the collective.

This time, the event was held at La Condition Publique in Roubaix and for the first time included residents living or having lived in fuel poverty. Involving households and putting them in contact with local stakeholders led to the creation of a true community.

“Innovate Differently,” co-written by the collective, tells the story of the community’s birth in greater detail.

 “Sharing our ideas hand in hand,” “Getting a larger vision,” “Awakening the desire to make it through…” These are just some of the answers that participants gave in response to the question “What is Innovation Day?” To find out more, discover or rediscover the video on the feedback provided by event participants.