Innovating through the user experience

as a lever for transitions

With West Creatives Industries, socio-economic players in the Pays de la Loire have access to a pool of expertise on the design and evaluation of human experience in the service of transitions, as a lever for individual and collective change.


This expertise comes from the results of research projects supported by the WCI programme or from targeted identification of good resources within a network of 150 researchers from more than 25 laboratories. They enable the design and validation, through experimentation, of new products, services, public policies, systems and spaces through the prism of experience.

Experience as a driver for innovation

At the heart of the West Creatives Industries programme, the notion of experience refers to the lived, sensitive experience experienced by a person in a given situation and in particular when faced with a product, a service or a space. It has become a challenge and a source of innovation for many economic sectors in transition (health, tourism, mobility, production systems, agri-food, training or even entertainment) and in which experimentation is essential in innovation through use.


Increasingly, innovation must be developed in an experience economy, in which value creation is changing: “The value is no longer the product, but its use: we are in an experience economy, where subject and object are held together” (B. Charles, VP of the Board of Dassault System – 2018). In this context, the notion of experience is, on the one hand, a necessary dimension of any innovation process, and on the other hand, a resource, a field of inspiration to find new ways of innovation for socio-economic actors.



Experience at the heart of transitions

In response to the crises that our societies are facing (climate, inequalities, environment, prosperity, justice, etc.), territories and economic players are committing themselves to transitional approaches. In Pays de la Loire, particular attention is being paid to the challenges of societal, environmental and production system transitions.


The notion of human experience is becoming central to many of the societal challenges that these issues raise. It is a strategic lever for acting on the entire value chain based on practices and uses. In this respect, the design and evaluation of experience are fundamental dimensions for supporting transitions by generating individual and collective changes.



A network of multidisciplinary skills in Pays de la Loire

West Creatives Industries is a Research – Training – Innovation programme in Pays de la Loire, a regional network of 14 partners supported by Nantes University, co-led by the Nantes Atlantique School of Design and supported by the Region and the ERDF. It brings together nearly 150 teacher-researchers in the region to develop an interdisciplinary centre of excellence on the human experience as a lever for transitions. To this end, it brings together expertise in the design of experience-usage, imagination, economics, engineering and the evaluation of experience, through the sciences and techniques, the human and social sciences and the design/creation disciplines (design, architecture, art).

Evaluating the experience with Userlabs

At the heart of the experience economy, a Userlab is the instrument by which any player, whether academic or industrial, must be able to support its research or innovation by drawing all its value from an experiment (scientific and technical validity of the protocol, measurements, processing and results obtained). It is a platform bringing together multidisciplinary expertise, measurement equipment and advanced methodologies to explore user behaviour in order to understand, model and predict interactions between users and their environments (products, services, spaces, etc.). A Userlab bridges the gap between research and innovation by responding to common experimental needs, but it is also a vector of accessibility to skills related to user experience and innovation.


The West Creatives Industries programme has made the strategic choice to encourage and support the development of a network of new Userlabs in the region. A call for proposals has been launched in 2019 for the programme’s partners to encourage the emergence of these structures within the region’s institutions. Three Userlabs projects, spread across the region, are currently co-financed, supported and networked by the West Creatives Industries programme.


Supporting research-innovation collaborations

West Creatives Industries offers permanent support to entrepreneurs and researchers in their innovation process based on experimentation and experience.


This support is particularly important for collaborative projects. Economic players often need support in the precise definition of their problem, which often falls outside their core business. Moreover, the possible responses of the academic world often require the coordination of contributions from multiple disciplines. It is all of these processes that need to be supported in order for the territory to benefit as much as possible from academic expertise in the design/evaluation of the user experience and experimentation.


On the occasion of events or through regional innovation networks, or simply by direct contact, the programme’s innovation officer and the entire team are attentive to the needs of the players.

R&I collaborations

Building on research collaboration to innovate through experience.

Innovation must now be developed in an experience economy, in which value creation has been transformed.

The notion of experience is a necessary dimension of any innovation process and a resource for finding new ways of innovation. Generally involving multiple dimensions, this type of problem can find crucial multidisciplinary academic support.

WCI supports projects in defining and setting up multidisciplinary research and innovation collaborations that fully address the complexity of the issues at stake.

CIFRE Thesis

Integrating research into the heart of the company's teams

The purpose of an industrial agreement for training through research (CIFRE) is to co-finance the training of a doctoral student recruited by a company established in France, in order to entrust him or her with a research mission that is part of its R&D strategy and supports the preparation of a doctoral thesis.

In this respect, the ANRT can provide a grant of €42k to the employer for the 3 years of the doctorate. CIFREs are a powerful means of public-private research collaboration.

Within the framework of the multidisciplinary themes of the programme, the OIC team assists companies and researchers in defining and setting up such projects.

Going further: Interdisciplinary Innovation Platforms

In October 2020, Ouest Industries Créatives is launching a Call for Expressions of Interest for Interdisciplinary Innovation Platforms. It aims to support research-innovation dynamics responding to concrete challenges of transition – societal, environmental, digital or industrial – through the prism of the user experience and innovation of use.


The IIPs must therefore federate, over a minimum period of 36 months, multidisciplinary thematic research-innovation consortiums associating researchers from at least two different disciplines and one or more socio-economic players from the Pays de la Loire. These collaborations must have the potential for development and sustainability at the end of the three years.