Keolis’ Lab network unleashes the potential of regional innovation

“Hop on open innovation!”: Open by Keolis accelerates innovation within territories

Keolis’ Lab network unleashes the potential of regional innovation
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PostedOCT. 12, 2023
Words byKeolis
    In collaboration with public transport authorities (PTAs), Keolis is developing the lab network Open by Keolis. Labs built locally and taking various forms but sharing the same convictions and values by crossing experiences. This is a cross-functional dynamic led by the Keolis Group, promoting the design of solutions as close as possible to users, testing in real conditions and the rapid emergence of forward-looking projects so that they can be widely disseminated.

    Context: encouraging collaborative innovation to better respond to mobility challenges

    Firmly rooted locally, Keolis subsidiaries are ideal springboards for the most innovative ideas – put forward by users, local startups, students, PTAs, employees or public agencies – and perfect hubs for developing, testing these ideas in the field, and replicating them on a large scale.

    With the climate emergency and the need to reinvent urban mobility, it has become imperative to unleash this potential for creativity, which is the source of tomorrow's major advances in passengers services, multimodality and transport performance.

    This requires tremendous agility, which can only be fully expressed within a structure capable of unifying project leaders and facilitating their collaboration within a dynamic ecosystem.

    To support each of its subsidiaries in this agile and open innovation approach, Keolis has set up the Open by Keolis scheme. This innovative system is based oon best open innovation practices and encourages stronger networking between Labs in France and around the world.


    innovation labs




    “inno leaders” supporting the project leaders


    events dedicated to innovation in 2023

    Innovation: the Open by Keolis network to unite the Group’s Labs and all the innovation community within business lines

    The Open approach is based on 4 pillars: 

    • The “living lab” approach. Citizens are the key actors and central focus of this innovation approach. They are systematically included in the process of creating useful solutions through a co-design approach. All innovations are then tested by actual users. Civic engagement is one of the driving forces behind Open. 

    • Open innovation in the broadest sense. Students, citizens, local companies, organisations or associations... Every new idea needs to be discussed, tested against reality and enriched by other practices and/or ideas. Only a close-knit network of partners can bring innovation to life. 

    • Test and learn approach. Open by Keolis encourages experiments in real-life conditions by providing spaces for testing new solutions within the networks themselves. This transforms the entire region into an active and attractive innovation laboratory. 

    • Agile governance. The public transport authority (PTA) is involved from the creation of the Lab and for the duration of its contract with Keolis. Tested projects are examined every three months by all the partners within this governance structure, which is also responsible for allocating annual investment funds and identifying new projects. This agile management enables investments to be adapted to emerging and priority needs.

    4 fundamental pillars
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    Keolis' Lab network

    Keolis' Lab network

    Benefits: a proliferation of new services designed for and with citizens and public transport authorities 

    In Bordeaux, the new TBMOUV ! Lab is the result of a €10 million innovation fund allocated by Bordeaux Métropole for the duration of the public transport concession entrusted to Keolis. The Lab is leading the open innovation process around four themes: optimizing service quality for users, contributing to the efficiency and productivity of urban transport and sustainable mobility services, enhancing the safety of users and operating personnel, and responding to the challenges of sustainable development.

    Pauline Gautier

    Pauline Gautier

    Director of Innovation and Major Projects at Keolis Bordeaux Métropole Mobilités

    "The goal is to thoroughly rethink and transform public transport in the face of changing uses and expectations, together with all stakeholders in the Bordeaux ecosystem."

    In Dubai, where Keolis has operated the metro and tramway networks since 2021, the Group and the PTA have created the first "smart station" to test new solutions in real-life conditions. 

    Stéphane de Kergorlay

    Stéphane de Kergorlay

    Director of Innovation and Projects at Keolis-MHI

    "We have set up a laboratory where we can evaluate innovations and experiment with new ideas to deliver tangible benefits to passengers."

    In Rennes, the STAR network's "Lab' de la fabrique citoyenne" (or “Civic Factory Lab”) is a digital innovation laboratory open to citizens. Residents can propose and evaluate ideas or even become "beta testers" of new services accessible via the STAR digital app.

    Armel Guenneugues

    Armel Guenneugues

    Director of Marketing and Innovation at Keolis Rennes

    "The strategy of opening up mobility data has enabled us to design numerous innovations, notably on the STAR network's mobile application."

    In January 2022, Keolis Orléans organized a hackathon in conjunction with the Lab'O incubator, bringing together ten teams of 3 to 4 people around a very specific use case: improving the user experience of the Tao transport application. In less than 48 hours, the student groups came up with a new, ready-to-use mobile app.

    Éléonore Bourguignon d’Herbigny

    Éléonore Bourguignon d’Herbigny

    Campus Manager at Wild Code School Rennes

    "These marathons are a very interesting exercise for the students, who are guided and accompanied by the Keolis Orléans teams. Lots of ideas have been generated by them."

    Next steps: expanding the Open by Keolis lab network to unleash even more innovation 

    Open by Keolis' ambition is to create one of the largest open innovation networks dedicated to mobility. To achieve this, one of the main current and future projects is to spread the Open by Keolis methodology to all the networks and partners and to create as many structured Labs as possible, co-constructed with the PTAs. Extending this network of Labs is the key to industrialising innovation projects and disseminating them on a large scale.

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