Innovation Day 2019: Moving forward together

Solidarity project

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30 April 2020

The Rexel Foundation for a better energy future held its annual Innovation Day at the “Transformer” of La Ruche in Paris on November 28, 2019. This event brings together a group of participants with the goal of collectively developing innovative solutions to fuel poverty.

This group, which was officially created in Roubaix on Innovation Day 2018, includes associations, start-ups, social entrepreneurs, experts, Rexel employees, and local residents living in fuel poverty. The event marked a major step toward changing the positioning of the Foundation, which now acts as a true solutions provider, seeking to develop modes of operation that are replicable and/or adaptable to other communities.

This day-long event devoted to active listening and the will to make a difference perfectly demonstrates the success and dynamism of the project launched one year earlier. The various participants shared their experiences and ideas to keep working to put an end to the phenomenon of fuel poverty while ensuring the group’s longevity.   

Discover the perspectives and feedback of various Innovation Day 2019 participants in these joint interviews:


The Roubaix group: unity and diversity

In its proceedings as well as in its content, Innovation Day 2019 demonstrated the tangible commitment of the Foundation, as well as that of the Roubaix group, to collaboratively developing sustainable energy-efficient solutions for all. The many opportunities for sharing and constructive discussion, whether in work groups or during breaks, revealed a group as solid as it is diverse.

To begin, powerful plenary keynotes inspired all of the participants and conveyed a message full of realism as well as determination.

In the words of Bertrand de Clermont Tonnerre, Sustainable Development Director of the Rexel Group and General Secretary of the Rexel Foundation:

Further thought and exploration continued throughout the afternoon in groups divided into six different workshops. The participants’ collective intelligence thus resulted in several change management approaches focusing on the following themes:

The atmosphere of listening and mutual support within the group is again best described by its members:


Action and involvement to help communities

Since its creation, the Roubaix group has significantly improved the daily living conditions of multiple households suffering from fuel poverty, thanks in particular to initiatives developed during the workshops held throughout 2019. These workshops were run in close collaboration with the group Ouishare and the association Participation et Fraternité, both of which have supported the Foundation with this project for the past two years.

Innovation Day 2019 thus stood out because of the many testimonials from residents explaining how they were assisted in concrete terms, guided by the group and by the associations. From help with renovation works provided by Les Compagnons Bâtisseurs to jobs for residents of disadvantaged neighborhoods provided by the association Voisin Malin, all of these initiatives had a truly positive impact on the lives of people in difficulty.

How can the impact be broadened?

While the 2019 edition of Innovation Day marks the fulfillment and continuation of the project that was born in Roubaix, it is far from the end of the initiative begun over a year ago. On the contrary, the goal is to extend the group’s scope of action in order to lift more households out of fuel poverty.

The success of the Roubaix project now depends on the issue of its replicability. As shown in the workshop “How to inspire other projects with our participative approach,” the medium-term goal is to apply the approach to other locations.

For François Chaize, deputy social services director in Roanne:

In conclusion, Innovation Day 2019 seems to have enabled a critical transition in the collective’s evolution. While it marks the achievement and success of the Roubaix project, it also represents the beginning of efforts to widen its scope of action.

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