Even if startups and big groups are two very different worlds, they benefit enormously from collaborating with each other. Since summer last year, the Luxembourg Open Innovation Club (LOIC) supports companies in Luxembourg to multiply their innovation efforts by matching them with promising startups around the world. Grosbusch was one of the first companies to make use of this program, and they shared their experience with us.
(Featured Image: Goy Grosbusch / Image Credit: Grosbusch)
What is Grosbusch?
The company Grosbusch is a family run business that exits for 100 years. The company specializes in importing and distributing fresh fruits and vegetables in Luxembourg and the greater region. Apart from this traditional activity we are really relying on innovation in order to differentiate ourselves from our competitors. As a result we created a second company which is specialized in cutting fresh fruit, packing fruits and vegetables and we also created a service called Fruit@Office, which consists in delivering fruit boxes to all the offices situated in Luxembourg. Our two newest activities are called “Grosbusch Kids” and “Grosbusch Academy”. The first one’s goal is to re-educate children towards a healthier nutrition and gathering basic knowledge about fruits and vegetables.
The second one has the same emphasis, but only for professionals who are dealing with fruits and vegetables on a daily basis (i.e. Chef, Supermarket Manager etc.)
Even though our type of business is very traditional, we know that every kind of digital support can be extremely useful to our organization in order to get new possibilities.
What´s your role in the company?
My role is rather diversified and this is what I like so much about it. I am the director of the HR, Accountability, IT, Quality and Security Department as well as the Marketing Department. Besides these official tasks, I like to innovate and brainstorm on new market opportunities with my sister and my father and bringing them to life.
What is the importance of Innovation and Digital for Grosbusch?
Innovation has always been one of our strengths. While talking about innovation these days, one must consider the digital revolution. Even though our type of business is very traditional, we know that every kind of digital support can be extremely useful to our organization in order to get new possibilities. Furthermore I personally am I kind of geek when it comes to new technologies, which means that it is a great opportunity for myself to see what’s new out there.
What moved you to explore collaboration with startups?
The basic idea was to enhance customer experiences in the supermarkets with a focus on the fruit and vegetables department. Nowadays, the final customer has an overload of information in the supermarket which is often more disturbing for him than it should help. So I had the chance that LOIC gave me a hand of putting this demand onto their platform in order to get some constructive feedback and eventually start-ups with an interest of collaborating on this project.
What has this experience of open innovation given you? What is different?
This experience was really rich, due to the many new insights I got in relation of our business. Furthermore the whole approach is really modern and new, so it was a pleasure of being part in such a new adventure. In my idea this is the way we will exchange ideas and eventual business opportunities in the future.
I think that it makes sense for every company to, at least, listen to startups and discover all the new possibilities that are popping up everywhere.
How has the journey been so far?
The journey was really inspiring. The thing I liked most about it was that there were many nationalities participating and proposing their services. To give you an example: we had a Skype conference with two young professionals from Peru, which had heard about Grosbusch in Luxembourg, due to LOIC’s platform. This is a perfect example to show how technologies can influence our way of operating these days. It is a small world and we are all connected, which enhances new business opportunities.
What did you discover and learn?
I was astonished by the impact that new technologies can and will have on our business and inspired by the motivation of these young people that are willing to put a lot of energy in inventing and developing new activities.
What can you say to companies deciding whether to collaborate with startups or not?
I think that it makes sense for every company to, at least, listen to startups and discover all the new possibilities that are popping up everywhere. From there on it is a personal choice whether to collaborate or not, but in my eyes it is a real opportunity that no company should miss.
What can they expect? Should they do so?
Every participant can expect the whole world, to participate in their brainstorming activity, since it is being shared on the world wide web. I personally think that this is an opportunity that every company should consider. As a conclusion, I can only highly recommend this new program of LOIC and encourage every company which puts weight on innovation, to participate in this modern approach of finding new solutions.
This article was first published in the Spring 2017 issue of SILICON magazine. Be the first to read SILICON articles on paper before they’re posted online, plus read exclusive features and interviews that only appear in the print edition, by subscribing online.