At Decathlon, we make innovation our priority so that you can enjoy playing your sport more than ever, or simply discover a new one. At Decathlon, innovation is pragmatic: sports are made accessible to everyone regardless of proficiency or discipline. Our team places the athlete at the heart of the process, and prioritizes the innovation of ACCESSIBLE, IMAGINATIVE, PRACTICAL AND UNIQUE products.
THE INNOVATION PROCESS
We place the user at the centre of our approach. It is by observing the athletes as they play and by listening to them that our vendors, product managers, designers, and engineers imagine the products of tomorrow. Products that will facilitate the practice, the comfort, the pleasure, and the safety of the user. And, thanks to our customers' reviews, innovation continues and helps us to continuously improve existing products or imagine the innovations of tomorrow...
Behind each product there is an idea, a need, an expectation, or an intuition which comes from an athlete, customer or collaborator and comes to life through the imaginings of the design teams and stimulates their creativity. To create 2,800 new products per year on average, it takes many ideas. This calls for a constant examination of a sport's evolution and how it is practiced. This is how Decathlon innovates: by basing its design approach on listening to and observing athletes
Decathlon maintains a close connection with the athletes, which is fundamental to innovating. This allows our teams to observe the athletes as they practice their sport and to gather their feedback. These exchanges occur daily; on the Decathlon websites, in the shops and on the internet.
While our brands focus on our users and their needs, our centre for research and development, Decathlon SportsLab, focuses on the function and needs of the athlete's basic equipment: the human body. Together, they design innovative products, facilitating their use and ensure the well-being and safety of users. Nearly 50 engineers and researchers play a major role in the Decathlon Research and Development chain, which consists of about 780 people in total.
Decathlon SportsLab has precise measurement and analysis tools and various expertise with respect to mobility, thermal comfort, morphology and affective science. The teams track down the causes of obstruction, discomfort, and risk of injury. Researchers also cooperate with universities and laboratories to develop innovative projects and share their expertise.
DESIGN: A HUMAN CHAIN
The research and development teams are linked together in the company chain through branding, prototyping workshops, industrial processing teams as well as the SportsLab laboratories. Everyone contributes to the product improvement process and each component of the products is studied in depth before it is released.
Designers provide shape, colour, and consistency to the products in development. It is a collaborative approach that builds on the knowledge and skills of product managers, researchers, engineers, etc. They create functional prototypes that can then measure the products' appeal through real world usage. They also prepare drawings and models to be able to pre-visualize the final product and evaluate the users' perception of it. They create an emotional bond between the product and the athlete by imagining the most ergonomic way to bring it to life.
TThe choice of components and assembly are key steps which allow the product to be unique, relevant and durable. In Villeneuve d'Ascq, more than 3,000 prototypes are produced each year. The prototyping workshops are made available to the teams in order to observe, test components and finished products in real-world situations. They compete over the speed of design and allow each collaborator to become a stakeholder and creator of innovation. It is thanks to this product development process that Decathlon and its brands are able to offer technical products that are accessible to many while providing exceptional quality at great everyday prices.