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Julien Oger: Surviving a Crisis through Innovation

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Julien Oger UMI

Julien Oger, founder of UMI tells us about effective marketing tools & innovation.

First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times? 

Julien Oger: My family and I are doing very well. The work-family organization was turned upside down last year with home-working, babysitting, and so on. But we have found new stability.

Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded UMI.

Julien Oger: I’m passionate about innovation. We created UMI to address a major problem in the field of innovation which is the failure of projects. Over 80% of innovation projects fail, the main reason being that they are not perfectly aligned with market expectations. That’s why we developed a tool allowing you to test the market interest for your innovation, quickly and on a large scale, to get a representative and objective view of the market perception.

How does UMI innovate? 

Julien Oger: The tool we have developed is an innovation in itself: it combines machine learning and the semantic web to offer an extremely powerful market survey technology, able to reach over 1 billion professionals worldwide. And every day we help our customers drive their innovations towards market expectations.

How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?

Julien Oger: The pandemic was initially a challenge because we had to urgently adapt our working methods. But offering a 100% digital solution, was finally an opportunity because our customers turn more quickly to such solutions that are compatible with health and social restrictions. We had a turnover growth of +60% in 2020!

Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?

Julien Oger: Luckily we didn’t have any difficult decisions to make. The solidarity of the team was further strengthened, everyone was 200% involved and we were even able to recruit new employees.

What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?

Julien Oger: Google Meet, Teams, and Zoom have become our best friends (joke)! We discovered great tools such as Miro to do interactive remote work meetings. In terms of management, we have reinforced the trust placed in each employee and we are very happy about it. Teleworking teams are at least as invested at home as when they come to the office!

Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?

Julien Oger: Our competitors went through a difficult period during the pandemic because they operate manually and are not as advanced on the digital side. Our leadership has therefore increased over the past year.

Your final thoughts?

Julien Oger: Courage to those who have suffered this pandemic and have to fight to keep their business going. Innovation means constantly seeking to respond to new needs and problems to improve the world. We were served last year. Let’s try to take a lot of positive out of it.

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