Case studies
We Play Circular – Decathlon
Functional economy

We Play Circular - Decathlon

Interviewee: Luc Teerlinck, in charge of the Business Models Transformation at Decathlon
Septembre 7, 2022
Reading time: 15 minutes
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Extending the lifespan of products, in an economy of functionality model, creates a virtuous model with a positive environmental, economic and social impact

Type of innovation

Product/service innovation
Economic model innovation
Organizational innovation


Define and develop a viable and sustainable economy of functionality model for Decathlon

Sustainable Development Goals

Evidence in favor of RRI

  • This is an ambitious exploration project that could lead to a very large transformation of the Decathlon Group. It is not only the development of a new additional service for its customers but a new business model for the company that allows it to align its core business with global issues. The project is a disruptive innovation that could accelerate the group’s sustainable transformation. 

  • The profound transformation explored in this project mobilizes R&D in particular, as it involves rethinking the design and production of products to adapt them to the new usage model. 

  • It is a project based on iteration, experimentation and flexibility based on intermediate results (test and learn). Data is the key to this new business model: it allows us to model and identify the key issues to ensure this transformation. It is therefore with a project mode approach, by “doing”, by confronting the field that the project is built.

  • The project requires a deep, structural and systemic rethinking of the company’s activity. All the departments and businesses of the group are involved (R&D, Marketing, CSR, Data, Logistics…) including top management. The management of innovation is not classical but decentralized and leaves room for autonomy and experimentation without any obligation of immediate results. 

  • Collaboration and openness to the outside world are favored in this project, which requires expanding the business ecosystem and unlocking many operational barriers. The project team is banking on sharing and cooperating with external stakeholders to meet the challenges that will arise in the months and years to come. This is already reflected in a humble and open communication around the project and its ambition.

    For all these reasons, this is certainly an exploratory project, but it is already a pioneer. Few are the big brands/groups to engage in this type of transformation. Such a project, whatever the outcome, will prove invaluable in terms of best practices for all retail players wishing to undertake a similar transformation of their business model. 

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