Lam Research case study

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GE Healthcare case study

Nokia case study

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ASML case study

Areva Innovation Training Process

ST case study

Enhancing a Global Innovation Culture

AREVA (now Orano) has always enjoyed a solid reputation as a leading global company in the nuclear service and engineering fields. However, the strong safety culture and regulatory oversight of the nuclear industry contributes to a high level of caution and conservatism within the entire organization. The President & CEO of AREVA North America and the Senior Vice President of Operational Excellence & Innovation wanted to better use the company’s capabilities and transform the company from a market follower to a market leader in innovation. The mandate given to Global Partners Training was to develop a focused and proactive process to commercialize ideas.


This was a challenge as the current process reflected management practices deeply embedded in the company culture. Managers were technically capable, with strong engineering backgrounds, and yet not experienced in preparing business cases. As a result, there was an important need to not only develop effective processes for identifying and implementing new ideas, but to also train AREVA managers to develop new practices that could be adapted within AREVA, seamlessly and with excellent international cooperation.

The first step was to secure senior management’s endorsement and support. A special “Incubator Committee” was formed to provide a forum for business cases and manage the new commercialization structure. Concurrent with these initiatives, Global Partners Training developed a step-by-step innovation training process, including  a customized three day workshop to help adjust the behavior of select leaders and initiate an underlying transformation using a stage-gate process and a Product Development Review Board. This new innovation approach had three critical stages of development and implementation, with a workshop day devoted to each:

  1. Business Needs, Market and Customer Planning – This was the starting point, as it recognized that new insights and ideas should come primarily from key customers. This stage involved prioritization of targeted customers’ needs, value pricing  perceptions, and identifying early adopters, etc. It also involved an examination of the EBITDA and revenue needs of the AREVA business 5 to 10 years out, as a driver for product creation
  2. Business Plan – An analysis of the benefit to the customer and hence how much AREVA should invest in creating the product was created. This resulted in a pro forma spreadsheet for the product, before ideation was even begun. These spreadsheets had to be fully quantified with realistic metrics on revenue expectations, ROI criteria, performance measurements and strategic customer value. At the tail end of the product development cycle a detailed road map for final product development and product roll out was created
  3. Feasibility – While many ideas sounded promising at first, extensive research and further analysis were critical to determine the basic viability of each idea, and importantly whether/how each could be successfully commercialized


The results from this new AREVA innovation training process and customized workshop were positive in many ways. The most noteworthy was how this global company, filled with experienced engineers in a risk-averse industry adjusted their culture to become excited about innovation. The Product Development Review Board stewards the validation process, screening new ideas each month, funding promising initiatives, and reviewing business plans.

Success can be measured in numerous ways, and a few metrics suggest what had happened in the first 12 months:

  • 45 solutions were working their way through the stage-gate process
  • 12 solutions had been released to the market
  • 10 business plans had been completed and an additional 9 were in progress

This cultural evolution at AREVA continues as senior managers track ongoing customer problems/opportunities and continually strive to make AREVA a leading and respected world energy solution provider and innovator.


Notable quote from sponsor


“This was a tough assignment. Global Partners Training worked closely with us to create a customized course, beta test it, improve it, do it again, improve it and do it again until we got it right. It has been a very valuable way to help our company learn the value of up-front business case analysis in product creation.”
Dr. Andrew Cook, Senior Vice President of Operational Excellence & Innovation