Delivering Innovation at every level

For Decathlon, innovation has always been a strategic priority. We aim to continuously reinvent ourselves so that we can always deliver sports solutions that work for everyone. This was more vital than ever in 2018, as profound global changes have forced us to question our modes of consumption.

In 2018 the Decathlon Innovation and Sustainable Development teams chose to join forces to amplify our positive impact. Doing more with less, favouring local resources, optimising production, thinking about a second life for our products as of the design phase and investing in cutting-edge technologies are just a few of the ways we are making this a reality. These approaches help us create more social value, be active where we are needed, have a positive impact and make Decathlon a sustainable company that innovates responsibly.

The innovative ecosystem at Decathlon today is made up of multidisciplinary teams who promote innovation by designing useful, simple and eco-friendly sports solutions.


We employed a range of methods to decrease design costs and increase the value of our products.

We developed our innovative mindset through forward-looking research and the opportunity to try out new production methods.

We promoted co-creation with our sports users and industrial partners.


Cutting costs, shortening turnaround times and rethinking design are just a few of the ways we are improving the value for money of our products.
Two of our current projects focus on this leaner design process.

 The Smart Gain project aims to maximise the value of a product as perceived by the user. The team redesigns the product with a focus on improving transport, logistics, customs, in-store management, design and industrialisation. The goal is to reduce the cost for all our products by 1% and to pass these savings on by lowering prices in our stores. We used this approach to optimise 30 products in 2018.

For instance, by eliminating unnecessary production steps (for example, embossing the brand directly onto the leather instead of using a label), we reduced both the cost and the CO2 impact of a pair of our Tribord shoes by 10%. Likewise, we redesigned the packaging for our Ekiden One shoes so that we could fit more items in the boxes, enabling us to save €92,000, 22,000 tonnes of CO2 and 192 m3 of water.

The concept of frugal innovation involves using locally available resources to meet basic needs. The team aims to reduce product design costs by 80% and use half of these savings (40%) to deliver added value (aesthetics, new features, etc.) and/or drastically reduce its environmental impact. Our 2018 achievements in this area include two camping products.

The desert refrigerator is an evaporative cooling system that preserves food using nested containers separated by wet sand. With our camping stove, hikers can heat their food by using the resources around them as fuel. The team worked with outside partners like Nomade des Mers, an expert in low-tech solutions, to bring these ideas to life.


Decathlon has always made listening to our users a top priority.

We wanted to take this a step further, so we launched a campaign to work with sports users to co-create products for our Decathlon brands.

In June, the Randonnée Nature Decathlon brand, working with Oui Are Makers, announced a competition encouraging hikers, campers and DIY enthusiasts to reinvent camping. Ultimately, 48 applications from inside and outside the company were submitted, proposing 48 functional prototypes.

During the three-month challenge, resources and coaching were provided to the participants to help them take their ideas from dream to reality. This support included online classes, on-demand remote availability from the organisers, a digital discussion forum and in-person Café des Sports meet-ups all over France.

The 10 winning projects selected by our jury include an airtight, compressible rubbish bin, a solar shower and transportable zero-waste toilets.

Each winner received €1,000 and had an opportunity to co-develop their project with the Nature Hiking teams.

“Innovation is a collaborative process. Most often, it takes many minds, many passionate people working together to come up with an idea and produce a great project.”