Luxury Innovation: How LVMH is Daring to DARE


Diana Verde Nieto | November 15, 2017

LVMH's ground-breaking DARE Green initiative reflects the brand's drive to imbed a culture of positive living and innovation into its company values.

Let’s face it: positive and sustainable living is no longer an individual affair.

With Millennials, and now Generation Z, raising a rallying cry for brands to do and be better, businesses need to think differently about how they innovate and interact with their consumers.

This change in thinking is most effective, of course, when it comes from within; when a culture of positive living is rooted deeply within a company’s values. Today, I look to LVMH’s ground-breaking DARE Green initiative for insight.

The initiative reflects LVMH’s drive to stay ahead and increase its advance, looking within for its positive living evolution. But aside from a great catchphrase, you may be wondering what ‘dare’ really means.

“Entrepreneurship is all about creativity, isn’t it?”

Designed as a program at the crossroad of open innovation and professional development for LVMH talent, DARE stands for ‘Disrupt, Act, Risk to be an Entrepreneur’ (#DARELVMH). It was inspired by the start-up spirit that sits at the heart of the company’s leadership. In October, LVMH created a DARE experience dedicated to the topic of sustainability in the luxury sector.

In fact, DARE Green was spearheaded by the top level of LVMH’s Human Resources and Environment Departments. Much like its inspirational leader, Bernard Arnault, the whole weekend recognised that sustainable development comes through entrepreneurial drive, creativity and forward-thinking innovation – just in time for the 25th anniversary celebration of the LVMH Environment Department and its renewed commitment to a sustainable future.

As Chantal Gaemperle, LVMH’s Group Executive Vice President, Human Resources & Synergies, said, “This new success for the DARE initiative underlines the fundamental importance that our core values of creativity, entrepreneurial spirit and innovation play in the future of our organization. We will continue to encourage entrepreneurial initiative by our talents because we believe their ideas are key to foster innovation throughout LVMH.”

I was welcomed as a mentor at Le Jardin d'Acclimatation alongside 60 participants from approximately 15 LVMH Maisons across the world, not knowing what to expect. All we knew was that the initiative was centred on a concept of rapid prototyping, meaning there was no time to be ‘safe’ when it came to generating ideas.

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The three intensive days challenged teams develop initial concepts into fully-fledged business plans with sustainability at the heart under what is known as ‘fast prototyping’. Conceived by academics from Stanford University, the methodology is user-centered, prototype-driven design thinking process that creates action plans for real work projects. The teams learned how to embrace diversity of opinion using a common process for design, and how to empower others to use design thinking to drive innovation.

My role – alongside mentors such as Guerlain CEO Laurent Boillot, Margareth Henriquez, President & CEO of Krug – was to encourage teams to work collaboratively. We helped them realise their chosen idea and convince their peers that their project was the winning option before moving to the next level of the ‘game’. It was a true exercise in what it means to be a modern entrepreneur. After all, we entrepreneurs do this often, and we live in ‘beta’.

As the weekend progressed, the passion and excitement in the room was palpable. Racing through testing, business model development and basic prototype creation, the DARE challenge culminated with a pitch to a jury of LVMH executives including Chantal Gaemperle, Group Executive Vice President, Human Resources & Synergies, Antoine Arnault, Berluti CEO, Antonio Belloni, Group Managing Director, and Sylvie Bénard, Group Environmental Director. From 11 teams,  three winners were selected to further advance and develop their projects within LVMH.

As Business Synergies Director at LVMH, Laetitia Roche-Grenet, said: “This new edition equals our vision to be at the forefront of sustainable luxury and to be at the crossroad of personal development and open innovation.”

Sustainable innovation lies within the future of luxury, and I am certainly excited to see what comes next...

To watch LVMH's #DARELVMH video, click here

Innovation | Sustainability