<trp-post-container data-trp-post-id='28012'>Surprise the public with this that wait !

Interview with Dominique HUMMEL, Director of Innovation at La Compagnie des Alpes.


What role does innovation play at CDA?


In the tourism industry, "if you don't move, you run the risk of falling". Innovation is therefore vital.

We are tightrope walkers whose balance lies in movement. The majority, if not the vast majority, of our audiences are repeaters. And the key to revisiting is renewal. To achieve this, the CDA's sites invest between 15 and 30 % of their turnover to revitalise the experiences on offer. I like this definition of innovation, which comes from a man of the theatre, Tristan Bernard: "you have to surprise the audience with what they expect! Anything new that doesn't hit the mark would be original but marginal.

Innovation that hits the bull's eye often reveals a latent demand that the customer cannot express. "It's not the customer's job to say what they want" said Steve Jobs. The talent of modern organisations lies in creating processes that enable them to identify their customers' strategic expectations and transform them into new responses.


What is the starting point for an innovation? Who drives the project, and from what?


The point of departure for innovation is always the... hoped-for point of arrival in the customer experience! How can we take this experience to its highest level, that of enchantment?

At CDA, we have made customer Very High Satisfaction (VHS) the key driver of value creation, because we have learned that a delighted customer doubles his or her willingness to recommend and return. Companies that achieve this level of performance are literally "driven" by their customers. Innovation is at the heart of this TGS strategy.

How far can we go to achieve this Holy Grail? What can we try that we haven't tried before? How can we identify the drivers of delight? What can we learn from customers who have had this quality of experience?

The method of design thinking, which starts methodically from behaviour without projecting our own intuitions too quickly, revolutionises the top-down philosophy of the creative offer. Its key words are bottom-up logic, empathy, taking into account the emotional dimension, a global experience approach... It is the analysis of the customer journey based on the verbatims that need to be collected for each point of contact that will give employees the impetus to imagine and experiment with new responses. This is a new approach to improving our offering, and it will also be a different approach to creating new propositions. We're not there yet, but more and more projects will be conceived and co-constructed with the customer, and no longer developed in a room between experts. With agile methods that come to us from the world of start-ups: test & learn, POC (proof of concept) techniques, real-time evaluation, making things small before deploying them, involvement of teams close to the customer from the outset...


What are the difficulties involved in getting innovation accepted or imposed internally?


Some lessons from the field :

  • Innovating with whom?  "Alone we go faster. Together we go further". Starting from the customer's point of view by taking a rigorous approach based on observation, understanding and experimentation requires methods and time, and above all is only effective if the hierarchy involves the teams on the ground. Since they will be downstream in the process, we need to involve them upstream. A new managerial culture is at stake: participative, iterative, interactive. So this is a transformation project that will be slowed down or accelerated depending on the involvement of the manager! A leader whose 3 qualities we must hope for: curiosity, courage and creativity!
  • Innovating on what?  One obstacle to innovation for TGS is the belief that operational excellence is enough. In reality, for the customer...


Read more in our White PaperSupporting agile innovation

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