In September 2007, Cascades launched its innovation strategy: the Innovation Management System. Since then, Cascades’ system has set the standard in the North American pulp and paper industry. On February 21, 2011, at the Cascades i-LEAD Innovation strategic meeting, the Company decided to broaden the scope of its innovation strategy to include additional sectors: finance, production, human resources, services, logistics, and sales and marketing. This new vision led to improved performance across the board, with all sectors now called upon to provide strong leadership in order to support the Company’s culture of innovation. The symbolic “i-LEAD flower,” composed of five funnels that make up the Cascades’ Innovation Management System, is a particularly good depiction of a more integrated approach to innovation.
The “i-LEAD” acronym expresses Cascades’ desire, in terms of innovation (i), to demonstrate
Leadership (L), both individually and as an organization. Leadership at both levels is vital to achieving quick and efficient innovation. All team members must Embrace (E) change to maintain Cascades competitive edge. The Company must Adapt (A) in order to remain at the forefront in an industry that is changing at an unprecedented rate. Finally, Cascades must open up to the world and Discover (D) new opportunities, in order to better anticipate and prepare for the future.
We must create and improve by leveraging the core values that have allowed Cascades to stand out internationally. The most successful companies in the world are always driven by a fundamental force. Cascades has always acted and manufactured products in accordance with its core values based on respect for people and the environment.
With a view to improving our innovation performance, Cascades is exploring a number of new approaches:
- a focus on real customer needs
- quantum innovation
- lead users
- disruptive innovation
- online toolkits
- open innovation (online brokerage)
The innovation process
Incorporating the innovation process into all of Cascades’ business segments means redefining the term “innovation” so that it makes as much sense for product development as it does for recruitment, customer service and marketing. True to its philosophy of respect for employees and the environment, Cascades must innovate within the framework of sustainability. Considering the significant challenges we face as a society, it is only natural that sustainability play a key role in the way we manage innovation.
Cascades’ innovation strategy is clear: we must take a systematic and sustained approach to innovation that will allow the Company to improve its competitiveness and create value for all Cascades stakeholders.
To achieve this, Cascades must:
- involve all employees in all positions in the approach to innovation
- take a new approach to innovation
- incorporate new applications rapidly and efficiently
- develop the strategic capacity for radical innovation
- improve our unique expertise in sustainable innovation
Cascades’ innovation performance will be measured using the KPI 05 performance indicator outlined in the Company’s Sustainable Development Plan. Ultimately, Cascades’ approach to sustainable innovation will propel it into the international arena.