FACT 28 - ENGIE helps good ideas grow

By ENGIE - 08 February 2022 - 12:04

Every year, for more than 30 years, ENGIE organises an internal innovation contest called the  “Innovation Trophies”. Its purpose? To identify, award and deploy good ideas and projects provided by employees from all over the world. And for two years now, the finalists have benefited from support through the dedicated programme: “Beyond the Trophies”. ENGIE thus offers a new opportunity to accelerate the implementation, scope and impact of these initiatives.


A programme based on three success pillars

“The Innovation Trophies are very motivating and bring visibility to the projects and the minds behind them. However, to ensure the project’s success – namely, its impact and large-scale replication – further steps must be taken. And this is where our new programme comes into play”, explains Csilla Kohalmi-Monfils, Director of Innovation Ecosystems at ENGIE.

As such, in 2021, The Beyond the Trophies team provided support to 40 teams, i.e. more than a hundred people. What is the programme’s goal? To give them the means to succeed by challenging them specifically on three key aspects:


  • Communication. Support is provided to the winning projects so that their goals can be formalised and aligned with the Group’s strategy. They fine-tune their targets and key messages. But, above all, they learn to communicate through the right channels and with the right approach, both internally and externally. An exceptional project is a good thing; an exceptional project that people hear about is even better.


  • Entrepreneurial skills. Learning how to develop and nurture a project is not something they teach you at school. The winners are provided with support in the development of their entrepreneurial skills, in particular through the Lean Startup methodology. Over a couple of weeks, they will learn to go faster and further, with the required resources already at their disposal. As such, intrapreneurial mindsets are fostered.


  • Networking. “Alone we go fast. Together we go further”, as the saying goes. Networking is key. With an overall view of the Group’s internal and external ecosystem, the Beyond the Trophies team is able to put project leaders in contact with the right people, helping them identify who can help drive the project and who could benefit from the solution.


What else?”, as George Clooney would say.


Ambitious goals to which everyone can contribute

At ENGIE, we are convinced that it is in the field and in dynamic contexts that the brightest ideas come to life; the types of ideas that can revolutionise an entire sector and help us reach our goal: the transition towards global carbon-neutrality. Innovation and audacity are part of our DNA, and we encourage these traits among our employees.In fact, we observe that the employees who participate in the Innovation Trophies seek to align their projects with the company’s strategic orientations. Proof once again that each of us believe in our common goal”, points out Csilla Kohalmi-Monfils.

But who are these field innovators? All profiles are welcome! Because at ENGIE, we believe that everyone has something unique to contribute. When walking through an ENGIE site, you may come across an engineer who has developed a new solution within for their job, an accountant who has come up with a revolutionary approach unrelated to their main assignment, and even some “serial intrapreneurs” who are thinking up new ideas every year.

As a testament to this dynamic, ENGIE was awarded for its intrapreneurial initiative by the Mind The Bridge firm and the International Chamber of Commerce. And, for the second consecutive year, the Group has also ranked among the world’s 25 most active companies in terms of “open innovation” and collaboration with the start-up ecosystem. 

Encouraging employees to innovate means opening up to the world of innovation. It means believing in a new model in which collective intelligence, cross-functionality and communities play a central role in generating relevant innovation that is adapted to today’s world, and it means providing solutions to the many challenges that our society faces.

For more information on our approach and our convictions on open innovation, have a look at our Mind the Bridge video.