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Other innovations 12/02/2020

ChangeNOW, Pulsing Innovation Takes Over Paris

For three days, Paris caught a glimpse of what our everyday lives will look like in the future. Between Jan. 30 and Feb.1, the Grand Palais, the city’s historic exhibition hall, hosted ChangeNOW, an international summit for positive change. For its third edition, the event attracted 1,000 startups, 50 public officials from different cities around the globe, and 20,000 participants.

Inspired by both the United Nations Climate Conference and CES, the massive tech show in Las Vegas, ChangeNOW is a global hub for innovative solutions that seek to make the world a better place. Speakers included the CEO of the Burning Man Project, the UN Global Compact’s executive director, and French environmental activist Nicolas Hulot. 

A positive-impact job fair with 100 recruiters, a pitch garden catering to 500 investors and a film festival featuring ecologically and socially conscious movies were all part of the program. The event kicked off with the Climathon Global Awards, which recognizes local initiatives for tackling climate challenges. Penang, Malaysia and Tallinn, Estonia, took home this year’s prize, thanks to projects that focused on reducing the heat island effect with nature-based solutions, and advocating for sheep wool as a sustainable packaging alternative. 

Breakthrough Potential 

The core of ChangeNOW is the ocean of stands of startups teeming with creative solutions to everything from the refugee crisis to clean energy. Some of our favorites this year included: 

  • Smiile recognized that over consumption and isolation are plaguing hundreds of cities, so they created an app that encourages neighbors to meet, exchange and share goods.   
  • Pili aims to replace fossil fuels with fermenting microorganisms to make dyes for the textile industry.  
  • Fleurs d'ici tackles sustainability in the florist industry. While nine out of ten flowers are imported from overseas, this company only includes homegrown blossoms in their bouquets.   
  • Plastic Odyssey is a ship where scientists and engineers gather plastic discarded at sea during their expedition to both power their vessel and create new tools. 
  • Hydrao is a connected showerhead that helps cut water usage with colors that change depending on the amount of liters consumed, and an app that tracks shower usage. The showerhead is not powered by a battery, but an internal water turbine. 
  • Oth makes sneakers using recycled tires. Soon, they’ll be incorporating recycled leather into their products, creating shoes made of 100% recycled materials.  


As a participant of ChangeNOW, ENGIE presented multiple sustainable solutions, particularly in the areas of mobility, energy and smart cities:    

Smart Cities

  • Livin’ is an urban management platform that aggregates data to improve the efficiency of urban environments, as well as a tool to establish dialogue with locals. 

  • There was also Flashnet’s flagship lighting network, which already provides intelligent energy management systems to big cities like Dubai and Athens.


  • New charging infrastructures with swappable batteries is the ultimate aim of Gogoro, an electric smart scooter where users can fully charge their batteries in under six seconds at one of the “Go” stations. 

  • Other electric vehicle drivers could also count on our EV-Box for an innovative, ultra-secure charging solution.


  • L’ilot Frais (The Cooling Island) is a temporary, reusable outdoor space where people can cool off, designed to address the effects of heat waves and installed in the heart of the city. It offers a feeling of freshness through a canopy that provides shade and seating that is cooled via a connection to the cooling network. 
  • Thanks to the acquisition of Mobisol, ENGIE has also developed solar home solutions for over 750,000 people in Sub-Saharan Africa. 

Two ENGIE speakers also adressed key topics for the energy future.

Shankar Krishnamoorthy, Deputy General Manager in charge of Strategy & Innovation explained how ENGIE helps develop access to sustainable and affordable energy through innovation.

Olivier Biancarelli, Managing Director of Tractebel, Deputy Managing Director responsible for the Global Business Line Customer solutions and the supervision of ENGIE Impact, presented a keynote on smart cities and the pilot project developed in the city of Angers.


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