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Established companies have but one goal: resilience. During most of the 20th Century, it was enough to ensure not only their survival, but their dominance. With the 21th Century, new challenges arose.

With the emergence of new technologies, companies absolutely need to train their workforce to adapt, develop new skills, diffuse radically new culture and find unsuspected opportunities. Here’s 10 ways to help your staff to adjust to these new challenges and embrace innovation.

1.Learning expedition

Some organizations such Orange have decided to send a large part of executive managers in a “learning expedition” in San Francisco. There, they discovered the startup ecosystem and were present at an opening of chakras on big data by a professor from Berkeley.

This experience ended with community work on a group of startups. The exercise was to help a whole group understand how to develop collaboration inside the team.

2.Digital Academy

Another organization, Edenred created a “Digital Academy”. Internal training with instructors have been practically replaced by online training. For example, Orange employees have learned how to use 4G, social networks and internal tools like web conferencing.

Quietly, employees got into the habit of using PC, mobiles and tablets. They also have passed tests in the form of quiz in order to evaluate their level and keep tracking their progress.

3.Reverse mentoring

In Axa, an insurance company, 55 young people explained to 250 older employees how to make the most out of online research, social networks and show them Axa’s presence on the Web. Here is a great example of a “Reverse mentoring” program.

All of the generations communicate and share their skills. There is more harmony in the company because digital natives and laggards work together.

4.The power of the need

A lot of people, mostly with over 20 years’ experience and outdated habits, are still reluctant to adopt new tools or new technologies in the workplace. The key to this problem is to demonstrate their real benefit for the employee.

Forcing someone into a new usage never works. When employees understand all the advantages of new technology, they quickly adopt it. At FedEx, 4,300 iPads were distributed to jet pilots. The benefit was clear: the end of papers and heavy navigation guide. As a result tablets were rapidly adopted.

5.Employee exchange program

To improve marketing initiatives on Internet and employee skills, some companies such Google or P&G performed an “employee exchange program”. Each employee is embarked on the other company’s learning program.

This way, they discover new ways of working and see by themselves the benefits of collaborating differently. They come back with new skills and business ideas. Bottom line for P&G: the company dramatically increased online sales!

6.Serious game

Axa chose another way to help their workforce development, using with a "serious game". The principle is easy : to let employees enroll on a « game » that develops new skills or ways of solving problems.

In 3 weeks, 15% of target employees at Axa connected spontaneously to the game, which purpose was to satisfy a virtual client. Each player gets a score at the end of the conversation. Bottom line: 15 000 hours of learning and around 375,000€ of savings for the company.


MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) have initially addressed schools and colleges needs. After a massive success in education, they now provide the same light and professional infrastructure to companies to train their workforce (renamed “COOC” for Corporate Open Online Course).

Some medium and large organizations have well understood the benefit of going online for staff training: the programs propose a versatile approach to training, with high quality and at a very low cost.

8.Partnership with Accelerators

Innovating at the required pace, or as radically as necessary, is a challenge for most organizations. The power of habits, an overconfidence in their current models, or the reluctance of their staff to change things are the 3 main hurdles. Innovating from the inside is not always the best way to manage high-speed transformation.

Some ageing companies simply buy startups that are trying to disrupt their value chain. Some others prefer to work with accelerators and come with corporate partnerships : they jointly find a viable idea to develop, then the accelerator builds the perfect team and the company funds it. The new startup is tied to the incumbent staff and ignites new ideas or ways of working. Sowing by doing, in a nutshell.

Change is not about new competitors entering the market anymore. Software is eating the world and startups can deform or disrupt the the value chain in the blink of an eye. I believe that the best way to prevent from the dislocation of entire industries are to invest on staff and help them embrace change.

What’s your recipe?

Co founder and CEO at Azendoo I found the The [secret] formula to better productivity :
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