Learning how to redesign products and services in just one day




Carrefour’s questions: Can we make innovation of products and services a concern of all senior leaders? Can we reboot their mindset and bring in new designing skills without it being just another dime-a-dozen training session? And oh yeah, we are rather busy so could you fix it all in just one day?

Everyone knows, in this competitive sector it’s about continuously upping the ante. Of course, always easier said than done. Despite previous creative impulses, this ambitious organization still wanted (needed) more speed. Carrefour wanted a shock effect with the executives. It just so happens, shock effects are one of Beanmachine’s best tools.


A hackathon. In the original format it’s a gang of computer geeks coming together, eating unhealthily, they make a mess, don’t sleep… in short, break almost all the rules of efficiency. But they do end up launching a bunch of totally new programs and apps in hardly a few days! What if we were to apply this method to a different undertaking? Redesigning products and service of a retailer for instance? Hmm… did someone say shock effect?


Every detail of this day would have to fit: location, furniture, documentation, sound, light, catering,… So we partnered with an external events agency that took on the practicalities. This allowed Beanmachine to focus on the actual challenge: a one day program enabling 200 executives to bring up and accelerate new ideas across the organization, at Warp speed, so fast they leave their skin behind.

Key ingredients of this program? The right mindset, clever tools and hands on methods. You don’t think your way into new action… you act your way into new thinking. With this motto the hackathon turned into a high energetic, no nonsense, think-outside-the-box operation that resulted in decisive action. Bullshit free. And not a matter of playtime, input had to be concretely relevant for current Carrefour issues.

We seldom have seen executives work this hard. The participants themselves had to arrange the furniture and decor in order to get the hackathon started. They loosened their ties and rolled up their sleeves, warmed up like Bob-the-Builder and shed their daily routine. Subdivided into cross-functional teams, they were now launched through the process of service design (re)thinking. They were given only little instruction and very sharp time limits. Done? Up to the next iteration! A bit like the Ramones (oh yeah we’re a huge fans!) who fire song after song relentlessly at their audience without pause and seemingly never tiring. In half a day, 20 viable prototypes were conceived, of which 4 were finally refined and kept. Gabba Gabba Hey!


A day full of ideas, one of which is already put into practice. That of course is a good result. But more importantly: 200 executives experienced that you can actually develop new ideas much faster than we often think. This new mindset gives a business a head start for months to come, if not years. On top every manager received a toolbox containing the lessons and techniques from the day allowing to keep on developing his or her skills. We are always there to help, but prefer to teach a professional to fish and feed him for a lifetime rather than giving a fish to fill his stomach for just a day. This cuts costs in the long run. Strengthens the company. Builds the future.

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