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Transatlantic Open Innovation Club Launched In San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO, March 18, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Top French Corporations established in Silicon Valley together with U.S. corporations will share open innovation best practices and engage with high-growth companies of all sizes to accelerate innovation and transatlantic collaboration. Initiated by PRIME and the French Consulate in San Francisco, the Open Innovation Club also announced a partnership with the newly-minted French Tech Hub based in San Francisco, inaugurated by President Francois Hollande last month.

Open Innovation Club logo

Says Mr. Hollande – "Innovation is the key to everything in globalization." He added, "Large companies must support innovation coming from other companies" as he acknowledged their "massive investment in the development of talents in leading innovation ecosystems such as Silicon Valley but also in Israel, China and elsewhere." Francois Hollande added that this effort "allowed many small companies to be accompanied in the globalization process."

Forward-looking firms are implementing OPEN INNOVATION models with the belief that they can and should use external ideas as well as internal ideas to advance their technology and adapt to new ways of operating.

Silicon Valley is one of the major hubs for innovation. This region has a significant French presence. A core group of French corporations with local presence created the OPEN INNOVATION CLUB, a collective of large French and American companies aiming at fostering open innovation across all stakeholders in the innovation ecosystem: large companies, start-ups, research labs and universities.

Says Romain Serman, Consul General of France in San Francisco"Open Innovation is a top priority for France. French corporations are increasing their footprint in the Valley and French start-ups are booming. And we are business-minded: the main KPI for the Club will be the number of deals closed in this framework."

Transatlantic Innovation

The OPEN INNOVATION CLUB provides French and American corporation-members a platform to efficiently access, manage and integrate innovation generated by the interaction of French and American private and public ecosystems.  

The Open Innovation Club focuses on two key actions:

  1. Collaboration amongst corporation-members through the sharing of open innovation best practices,
  2. Open engagement with innovative, entrepreneurial, high-growth companies of all stages of maturity in France and the U.S.

Practicing Open Innovation

This group tested the collaboration and innovation platform in a full-day conference on the cross-industry theme of Smart Cities held September 13, 2013 in San Francisco where 15 startups in urban innovation met 15 large corporations including EDF R&D USA, TOTAL New Energies, Winnovation-Bouygues, Renault Silicon Valley, BNP Paribas l 'Atelier, Veolia, Orange, La Poste, Qualcomm, PG&E, IBM, Oracle, Accenture as well as University of California CITRIS, French Research Institute Inria and the cities of San Francisco and Palo Alto represented by their Chief Information and Innovation Officers.

"We are pleased to partner with the Open Innovation Club. As a major player, TOTAL is actively contributing to the future of the global energy sector. TOTAL already has one of the strongest footprints in the Silicon Valley with its majority stake in SunPower and participation in Amyris," said Philippe Boisseau, member of the Executive Committee of TOTAL, President of Marketing & Services and New Energies activities. He continued, "and beyond these substantial investments, TOTAL considers as its responsibility to share its expertise and to power innovations by supporting over there a dozen start-ups that may take off in the near future."

November 21, 2013 the same group met at Stanford University in preamble of the California France Forum of Energy Efficiency Technologies (CaFFEET) in a workshop to share best practices on the emerging discipline of Data Governance, a topic under great scrutiny with the explosion of big data, security and privacy issues.

"As a founding partner of CaFFEET and strong believer in Open Innovation, EDF is enthusiastic to strengthen its relationship with French & Californian start-ups, and innovative international companies through the Open Innovation Club," commented Bernard Salha, Senior Executive Vice President of EDF Group, President of EDF Research and Development. "More generally, EDF has materialized its commitment to open innovation by launching a capital venture fund and setting up R&D Centers worldwide (Silicon Valley, China, UK, etc.)."

The Open Innovation Club's 2014 program includes several best practices workshops where corporation-members will compare their experience in emerging technologies, new business models, new products and changes in customer engagement. In addition several innovation meetups will take place during the year where corporation-members will engage with twenty selected innovative companies at each meetup. Two three-day learning expeditions, one receiving a delegation of French companies in San Francisco and one receiving American companies in Paris, will take place during the year. The Open Innovation Club will also provide its corporation-members the opportunity to execute sourcing projects, individually or collectively, on focused areas of innovation through competition or calls for proposals.

"Renault Innovation Silicon Valley Research Center opened in 2011 as an extension of our Global Advanced Engineering to leverage local open innovation. As such we're very pleased to be part of the Open Innovation Club. Here in the Valley we launch innovative technology projects and look at new emerging business models to take advantage of opportunities related to the connected vehicle. Our research aims at developing a more personalized and seamless interaction between the driver or the passengers, the vehicle and their environment to address the increasing customer demand for onboard infotainment and the upcoming automated driving," says Serge Passolunghi, Head of Renault Innovation SV Office in Sunnyvale.

The partnership between the Open Innovation Club and the newly-minted French Tech Hub will provide a basis for collaboration between French high-potential SMEs hosted at the hub and large corporations established in the Bay Area. This will accelerate the innovation/adoption/integration continuum.

"We are pleased of the collaboration taking place within the Open Innovation Club and look forward to engaging with its members. This will reinforce French Tech Hub's mission to provide French companies a solid footing in the U.S. market," says Xavier Wartelle, Head of French Tech Hub in the U.S.

About PRIME Paris Region International Mission Enterprise

PRIME is a transatlantic innovation platform promoting the Paris region as a center of innovation and engaging in activities to encourage and incentivize American companies and organizations to invest in the Paris region.

PRIME offers a series of services and programs fostering transatlantic partnerships: connecting Paris region labs with American companies, Open Innovation programs connecting corporations with innovative startups, learning expeditions, technology events, etc.

PRIME is a subsidiary of the Paris Region Economic Development Agency. PRIME has a sister company, the French Tech Hub, a growth accelerator for French high tech companies in the US. 


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