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Build resilience and innovate autonomously with guided programs

Lucy Luo
April 3, 2024
 min read

IBL, a multi-sector conglomerate in Mauritius with over 26,000 employees, has the ambition to accelerate its capacity for innovation and bolster the resilience of its organisation. To help with this, Alvinesh Jugun, the Innovation Manager at IBL, under the leadership of Delphine Lagesse, Group Strategic Innovation & Excellence Executive, embarked on a journey with Strategyzer methods & tools to build a strong innovation practice and encourage intrapreneurship and creativity across multiple teams. The aim was to build IBL’s own internal competencies so as to operate autonomously in the future.

Companies that are prepared for disruption are constantly reinventing themselves. They don’t believe they are invincible. The main task of leadership today is to constantly reinvent your organisation.”

The challenge

Major disruptions and fluctuations in the international business environment are often felt acutely by different Businesses of IBL. Within such a scenario, an important question to ask was could innovation foster resilience and still drive reliable growth? 
 To come up with a practical solution, the Innovation team at IBL decided to start with one unit within its Seafood sector who happened to be looking for a structured and evidence-based approach to innovation for its existing R&D team.

The solution

Strategyzer’s Discovery program, provided a solid process for teams to work. Alvinesh coached teams from the IBL Seafood sector through it, having completed the coach training himself. This work, coupled with the online platform & e-learning modules, ensured the core team were set up with the proper tools, processes and skills to drive innovation at pace.

The impact

Teams were able to move through the existing backlog of ideas, pivoting or killing ideas where desirability or viability were not apparent. A panel was composed to take early decisions based on evidence brough in by the teams from Seafood. Meanwhile, foreseeing a need for future Businesses of the group to also embark on such an approach, a couple of potential candidates dubbed as “Innovation ambassadors” were identified. These individuals are exposed to the method early so that they become future advocates for the program.

Disruptions drove IBL to rethink growth in new ways & more sustainably

IBL is a multi-sector conglomerate in Mauritius. Active in more than 23 countries, they have over 300 companies employing over 26,000 team members. Their work spans a wide range of industries from logistics, seafood, hospitality, construction and engineering, through health and finance, with a current focus on the retail and energy sectors. IBL’s culture is steeped in a history of entrepreneurship, and this has shaped their ways of working until the present day.

There has been a strong pioneering spirit at IBL and innovation has always been part of its DNA. However, there was a need to have a balanced innovation portfolio of ideas focused of all categories of innovation instead of having a majority of Sustaining and Efficiency innovation ideas.

Alongside the COVID pandemic, conflict and other environmental factors have led to fluctuations that have affected not just IBL but also the country at large. A compounding factor is the geography of Mauritius — an island country in the Indian Ocean, about 2,000 kilometres off the coast of East Africa — and the reliance on logistics and transport which has inflated in recent years.

After an "Insight for Leaders" workshop with IBL leaders, we found a desire for more transformative innovation. This requires the support of leadership and innovation teams working towards this goal. As a result, Innovation was listed as a '4th Growth Enabler' alongside Human Capital, Digital Transformation, and Sustainability in the IBL Integrated Report, confirming our quest for excellence."
Alvinesh Jugun
Innovation Manager, IBL

Local-led innovation: IBL’s vision to create real market value

As the collaboration with Startegyzer unfolded, the task at hand was to develop an innovation blueprint in-house for IBL group which could then be customised & scaled across the different divisions and business units. There was also a recognition that understanding of the local context, culture and challenges was important in developing such a blueprint.

To deliver on this vision, a series of discussions with a wider stakeholder group comprising of leaders from major business units were carried out. The aim was, with the help of Strategyzer, to build an innovation approach that would have flexible components within a rigorous structure hence enabling business units to adapt the approach to their own context. However, the end goal was to implement each component of the blueprint in real-life. The Seafood Cluster volunteered itself as the first use case. The Discovery program was launched and teams were taken by Alvinesh through a series of sprints as per the process defined in the Blueprint. He coached them until they were ready for their final pitch in front of a panel.

The support provided to coaches is of utmost importance, and I can vouch for its value based on my own experience. It's not just about the software; it's the entire ecosystem, including learning resources, tools, and books, that makes a world of difference.”
Alvinesh Jugun
Innovation Manager, IBL

As teams went through the discovery program, the mindset started shifting from a focus on exploitation to experimentation. Furthermore, it encouraged cross-collaboration between different teams from different business units thus helping teams test their ideas faster.

Teams pitch at the IBL Excellence and Innovation award

From research to out-of-the-building

The leaders from the Seafood Cluster acknowledged that some ideas for innovation had to be handled in a different way. It was the process of working through these ideas and de-risking them that was the challenge. Initially, teams relied heavily on research and what was technically possible. However, the process within the program licence forced team members to “get out of the building”.

In doing so, the long list of ideas, which were perhaps feasible, were tested for desirability or viability. This gave team members the evidence they needed to pivot or kill those ideas, raising the confidence of the organisation to start testing some of what they considered the riskiest ideas.

With the eLearning provided within the Strategyzer Innovation Platform, the team learned the tools and methodology. They followed the process to run experiments to gather evidence and therefore insights as to whether these new ideas would lead to profitable business models.

Working with ideas that are high risk can be really uncomfortable. I even had the COO of IBL Seafood remind the teams again, that it's okay to have ideas with risks, we now know how to deal with these and that's the whole point of the process.”
Alvinesh Jugun
Innovation Manager, IBL

Building in-house innovation capability

Through running the discovery program at IBL, Alvinesh has uncovered a repeatable way of running sprints through the Strategyzer Innovation Platform. Not only was he able to build his own innovation coaching capability, but the teams that went through the program now understand the process of innovation and how to validate, pivot or kill their ideas based on evidence. Additionally, this initiative within the Seafood Cluster can now be used as a proper use case for all other businesses willing to develop their own innovation capability. It also positions IBL as well as its Seafood Cluster on a trajectory towards greater competitiveness and resilience on the global market.

Following the first program licence, trialled with 3 teams in the Seafood Cluster, the innovation teams shared a report back to the leadership team of IBL and are looking to scale this approach across their different sectors and business units in the future.

The fact that after the program, we were able to put together the executive review report and share it with the board of the Seafood Cluster is also proof of the results we can achieve. So I think that the structured reporting that’s part of the program provides the right innovation metrics which is extremely important for confirming the program effectiveness."
Alvinesh Jugun
Innovation Manager, IBL


At the time of writing, IBL are looking to further their usage of the Strategyzer methodology on the platform to autonomously run the Validation program, having run some ideas through the discovery program.  They continue to explore new ideas autonomously using Strategyzer’s program licenses.

There was a very personal approach to the way that Strategyzer treated my request. And we were able to work our way to a mutually agreeable solution.”
Alvinesh Jugun
Innovation Manager, IBL

To find out more about Strategyzer's self-coached programs click here

Lucy Luo
April 3, 2024
It was a tremendous amount of work and we are extremely thankful to the whole team at Strategyzer. We learnt so much: three years ago we didn't really know how to start, and now I think we have built robust program that generations after us can continue to run.”
Henning Till
Head of Corporate Innovation, Bayer
IBL’s leadership engagement proved critical, and was further supported through the Innovation Insights for Leaders workshop that Strategyzer ran with IBL’s leadership.
The mindset of the innovation teams changed as they went through the process, moving away from relying on technical papers to starting to speak to potential customers. 
The support provided by Strategyzer as part of the program license proved really valuable to Alvinesh to run the program in-house.
The backlog of ideas that historically were just kept for future reviews are now being skimmed and, where appropriate, retired.
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