As part of its expertise and transfer activities, the Alphonse and Dorimène Desjardins International Institute for Cooperatives conducts research and development projects in the field of innovation. Historically, cooperatives are organizations that innovate by nature, as they create services and products for their members to respond to (unmet) market needs.

As innovation is a crucial driver for the development of businesses and economies, cooperative are faced with the challenges of innovation related to the evolution of economic markets, new technologies, international development sociodemographic transformations. Innovating is becoming a priority.

According to a survey conducted by the Institute in 2016 among cooperatives and mutuals, innovation is one of the top three priorities. In addition, compared to non-cooperative enterprises, cooperatives have additional innovation priorities because of their model and social role, such as strengthening the relationship with members, encouraging the social economy and improving sustainable development.

The Alphone and Dorimène Desjardins International Institute for Cooperatives is therefore committed to providing a platform for knowledge transfer and exchange on innovation in cooperatives in three ways:

  • The publication of studies on innovation in cooperatives and mutuals;
  • The Cooperative Innovation Circle, whose objective is to bring together cooperatives and mutuals’ innovation leaders to foster international collaboration and exchange on innovation issues, methods, tools, cultures and initiatives;
  • Articles on the best practices in innovation of cooperatives and mutuals (international benchmarking).

While drawing inspiration from HEC Montréal’s leadership in the field of innovation, the objectives are to share the understanding of new challenges and encourage reflection on new approaches to solving them.