“Excuse me, do you speak Innovation?”

On the occasion of the “Fête de la Francophonie”, swissnex China in collaboration with the school of engineering Shanghai Jiao Tong – ParisTech proposed a workshop about innovation and business model adaptation abroad to students. Fourty students from the engineering school were joined by ten French and Swiss students to celebrate the multiculturalism of the French language.

Imagine a classroom full of students from China, France and the only language you can hear is French. The French language is known worldwide for its beauty and melody but on this day the texts from Victor Hugo were replaced by the “Business Model Canvas” from Alexander Osterwalder and Yves Pigneur, Professor at HEC Lausanne.

After a small introduction to the Business Model Canvas, the 50 participating students divided in 8 groups worked on 4 study cases around the thematic “ From West to East and from East to West: Innovate by reinventing the business model”. Two students teams were asked to help Carrefour to propose a new product traceability service. Two other teams had to suggest a new service or Product to PSA: Peugeot-Citroen, in order to diminish the traffic concentration in the Chinese Megapoles. The four remaining teams had to replicate and adapt online services offered in China to the Swiss and French market.

 After two hours of teamwork supervised by our eleven dynamic coaches, the students had 2minutes to present in a creative way their business model to the Jury. Our Jury composed by experts from Swiss and French organisations were given the task to select the winning team according to the quality of the presentation and the inventiveness of the teams. Regarding the impressive work delivered by each team in only 2 hours, the decision was not easy for our experts.


 After some deliberations, the jury finally gave the winning award to the team 4 who managed to assimilate the French market particularities in a business model reproducing the Chinese online shopping platform, Mogujie, to the French market.

 swissnex China wants to thanks ParisTech and all the other partners for this successful event especially our Coaches and Jury. swissnex China also wants to congratulate the fifty students for the quality of their work and for their ability to demonstrate that French can be the language of Innovation.

Contributed by Loris Savary, HEC Lausanne Ambassador and Junior Project Leader at swissnex China