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Other innovations 05/01/2017

Leroy Merlin at CES 2017: bridging the American and French innovation ecosystems

From January 5th to 8th, Leroy Merlin is with ENGIE in the startup area at CES 2017. Pascal Malfoy, Deputy CEO of Leroy Merlin France, answered our questions about this first time participating in the world’s flagship innovation event.

Hello! Since everyone thinks they know what Leroy Merlin is about, what’s something surprising you can you tell us about Leroy Merlin and innovation?

Leroy Merlin is currently the leading brand in the French market for improving the home and living environments. We have set ourselves the goal of helping every citizen dream up his or her house and to make it real. This idea, which is being spearheaded by our more than 21,000 employees, naturally leads us to constantly innovate. How? By developing innovative ecosystems in which we think up new products and innovative solutions for 62 million French people and their home improvement plans.

Could you define what innovation means for you in 3 words?

  • Ecosystem: because it takes multiple people to innovate
  • Customer experience: for us, innovation means improving customer experience, whether in products or services
  • Rupture: we’re striving for breakthrough innovations that will allow us to continue be France’s favorite company in our field in ten years’ time.

What will you showcase at CES 2017?

At CES we will be presenting an application, ENKI, and a jobbing platform, Frizbiz.

ENKI is an application that can be used around the connected house. It lets you remotely control home appliances in the simplest possible way possible.
It will be available starting in March 2017. Developed collaboratively with 14 brands, it will connect to more than 35 products including light switches, thermostats, etc. With a few clicks, anyone will be able to control their home from a clicker, to stage it the way they want and control their energy consumption.

Frizbiz is a "jobbing" platform we have been partners with for over 2 years.
It’s an example of a collaborative economy project and reflects our longstanding desire to provide people with all the possible solutions they could need to help make their projects a reality.
For small DIY projects and troubleshooting, Frizbiz connects individuals who need a service with do-it-yourselfers or people who are otherwise manually skilled.
Frizbiz has allowed us to enrich the range of solutions we provide to our customers in this field, which includes the Pose service we offer in-store with our local artisan partners.

What do you expect to get from participating in CES with ENGIE?

Taking part in the CES with ENGIE will help us demonstrate the legitimacy we have earned within the innovation ecosystem, both in France and increasingly in the United States.

We’ve started working with a few American companies - Techshop in California, but also MyCrowdcompany and Rocketspace, a Californian accelerator that accelerated Uber, Spotify, AirBNB, to name just a few.
We are also working with Flextronics, Makemedia, the media of the makers, and we are starting to win contracts and partnerships with companies in California and all over the United States.

We are delighted to be located in the startup pavilion in this incredible hub of innovation in order to drive home the links between our innovative ecosystems in the United States and France.

What question would you have liked me to ask you?

One example about a current issue: we’re a few months from opening Station F. So the question I would ask is, "Why did you choose Station F to set up Techshop? "

Originally developed in California, Techshop is a collaborative manufacturing workshop that gives members access to professional-quality machines and equipment on a subscription basis. Members have access to more than 150 machines, as well as a team of experts.

Installing Techshop at StationF is an opportunity to be at the heart of a very innovative ecosystem in the biggest startup hub in the world, one that will ultimately bring together 1000 startups and 5000 people!

Working with Techshop to provide a place for prototyping is a great opportunity for us to strengthen our links with the startup ecosystem, in addition to our presence at EuraTechnologies in Lille, CEA in Grenoble and NUMA.

This space, which be called TechShop - Station F, will function as a "capsule" of the nearby Ivry-sur-Seine workshop. The startuppers at Station F will therefore get the benefit of two spaces and a prototyping site that is one of a kind in the world. For us, it’s also a way to strengthen our presence in the world of connected objects.

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