The CLEF club

  • 2015-09-01 10:29:32
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  • Main leader : CIRIDD
  • Type of initiative : Initiative involving different people (collective, etc.)
  • Auvergne Rhône-Alpes
  • 10 rue Marius Patinaud, 42000 Saint-Étienne
  • Start date : septembre 2011

The CLEF club's aim is to develop tools and methods for heightening awareness, training and diagnosis, and assisting companies in their transition to a service economy.

The club's field of action is functional economy, both in its theoretical domain and its operational implications with companies and local authorities.

The initial regional scope of the CLEF Club is the future Auvergne Rhône-Alpes region. The CLEF Club aims to coordinate and implement collective work with its members to promote companies' transition towards this model and enhance regional deployment of the functional service economy.

The CLEF Club therefore aims to bring together all entities with an interest in deploying the service economy in the region and to support companies who engage in collective or individual initiatives.

Qualitative benefits

The CLEF club develops tools and methods for heightening awareness, training and diagnosis, and assists companies in their individual and collective projects.

Its offering is divided up into three categories:

  • Awareness, spin-off, recovery and training activities
  • Diagnostics and support: developing and implementing schemes to help companies in their transition to a service economy.
  • Collaborative projects: developing and encouraging collaborative projects with the active participation of CLEF Club members.

Many projects have been completed or are in progress: join the community of CLEF members for more information, follow project news and contribute in your turn.

Quantitative benefits

Breaking with the usual economic model, the momentum created by the service economy moves key performance factors using several key levers:

- Creating the highest possible added usage value while consuming as few material resources and as little energy as possible,

- Preferring the use of intangible resources (trust, skill, organizational relevance, health), by mobilizing the intangible heritage of the are and developing it,

- Involve people from different business sectors and industries in the solutions,

- Bringing in usage innovations.

- Focussing on social innovation and cooperation within companies and externally with customers and partners,

- Reducing negative environmental and social externalities,

- Generating or strengthening positive environmental and social externalities,

- Providing functional responses in terms of societal challenges defined in the regional innovation strategy for smart specialization (stratégie régionale d’innovation de spécialisation intelligente - SRI-SI).

The implementation of a service economy offers an opportunity to move into an energy and ecological transition while strengthening companies' economic sustainability.

Stages of the initiative

Following collective action on the service economy, CIRIDD decided to create a club in order to keep the momentum going. The club was officially launched by CIRIDD on September 27, 2011 at the Cité du Design under the name Club d’acteurs pour une Économie de Fonctionnalité (CLEF) (Service economy club).

The momentum has since helped generate many projects directly supported by local people in the Loire area. The process then gradually extended to the Rhône-Alpes region with support from the region, and to the Massif Central with ViaMéca and Macéo.

In Rhône-Alpes, the service economy is now part of the regional circular economy strategy and also in the transverse field "Innovation par les Usages" (Innovation driven by use) of the regional innovation strategy for smart specialization (SRI-SI).

Under the leadership of the Loire département, it was decided in May 2014 to strengthen the governance of the Club CLEF to make the Loire a reference region in this domain, serving the regional strategy.

Areas of activity

  • Agriculture
  • Food
  • Crafts
  • Chemistry
  • Construction
  • Deconstruction
  • Energy
  • Industry
  • Mobility
  • Health
  • Services
  • Transport
  • Tourism
  • Recycling
  • Funding
  • Administration
  • Information
  • Trade
  • Culture


  • Material efficiency
  • Energy efficiency
  • Intangible resources

Technical resources

The Club CLEF is an informal structure that does not have its own technical resources, but it can mobilize the many technical resources of its members for its actions.

Logos des membres Club CLEF

Devices, tools or methodologies

Club CLEF members develop, experiment and disseminate schemes, tools or methodology relating to the service economy. Here are some examples:

- The OCEF project Opérationnalisation de l'Economie de Fonctionnalité (Operationalizing the service economy): 2013-2014, completed; Financed by ADEME,; led by the ECOSD network; participation from Institut Fayol.

- Le Guide éco-conception dans le secteur du service (Guide to eco-design in the service sector) This guide makes a simple assumption: we always talk about eco-design of products and services, but in practice this approach is rarely applied to the service sector. And yet many jobs have moved towards product dematerialisation in their associated service: these are the Product Service Systems (SPS)

- International Scientific Conference IPSS 2015 In May 2015, the Institut Fayol organized the international scientific conference IPSS 2015 (Industrial Product Service Systems) in St Etienne. This is directly related to the service economy

- ViaMéca's Thématique Ingénierie des Usages et des Services - IUS (Uses and services engineering) The ViaMéca competitiveness cluster created this theme in its Phase III roadmap . It labels projects that are part of this theme.

- Clean Robot project: labelled by ViaMéca 2014-2018, FUI 17, led by Innovtec Industries; industrial partners EVE Systems, Bigard; academic partners IMOBS3, Institut Fayol.

- ANR SERVINNOV project: Innovation Industrielle Durable par la Servicisation (Sustainable Industrial innovation by servitization) See description on the ANR website:[CODE]=ANR-11-SOIN-0005

- Valbom project Valorisation des Boues d'Usinage (Recovering Machining Sludge) CETIM project with participation from Institut Fayol and SFH

- Project Designer in residence: As part of the "Designer in Residence" call for projects funded by the DGCIS (General Directorate for Competitiveness, Industry and Service of the Ministry of the economy, production recovery and digital), ViaMéca currently employs a Designer. The objective is to develop design as a driver of growth and efficiency in mechanical engineering companies in the ViaMéca area.

- ReliEF collective action: In 2013-2014, with support from the Rhône-Alpes Region, CIRIDD conducted a pilot scheme called "Rhône-Alpes Expérimenter l’Innovation par l’Economie de fonctionnalité - ReliEF Pilote" (Rhône-Alpes experimenting on innovation via the service economy). With five SMEs in the region, this involved experimenting on a methodology for supporting the move to the service economy called NOVUS, based on the method developed by the Inspire institute ( and tools developed by the CIRIDD (CLEF Criteria). Following this pilot action, CIRIDD decided to extend its work in the form of collective action. So on 1 June 2015 CIRIDD launched a collective action called ReliEF Rhône-Alpes Essaimer L’Innovation par l’économie de fonctionnalité (Rhône-Alpes spin-offs from innovation via the service economy) which aims to assist 12 companies in the region with the NOVUS Version 2 methodology. See the project factsheet:

Human resources

Governance of the CLEF Club is illustrated in the diagram below. The Club is led by CIRIDD.

Gouvernance du Club CLEF

Governance of the CLEF Club is made up of:

- A steering committee

- A technical committee

- Several colleges of members

The members are organized into several representative colleges:

  • College of research and training institutions and resource centres:

This college is led by Institut Fayol at the Saint-Étienne School of Mines.

Its mission is to contribute:

- to the development of expertise within the scope of the service economy,

- to the development and transfer of methods and associated tools,

- to the promotion and dissemination of best practices

  • College of companies and financial organizations:

It aims to bring together companies on their way to the service economy as part of a pragmatic approach based on the network and sharing experiences about the transformation of their business models and progressing by example. It means sharing the levers that really led to progress and the obstacles encountered. The network philosophy is available to SMEs starting out in the service economy to help them find the right answers. It is a pragmatic, shared experience approach.

Topics covered concern supporting the transformation of companies' business models and supporting the financing of companies' business models The leader of this college is the Loire Bpifrance delegation.

  • College of public institutions and local authorities:

The leader of this college is the Loire département.

The aim of this college is to support public policy for the deployment of the service economy in the area: innovative public contracts, calls for projects, responsible public procurement, etc.

What the service economy?

Selling the use, not the product! Behind this simplified slogan the functional service economy is an economic model based on the development of solutions that combine service guarantees and the functions provided to the user for material goods belonging to the producer.

For example, solutions may involve:

  • Providing a more efficient mobility offer, and not selling vehicles,
  • Providing a suitable lighting ambience, and not selling bulbs,
  • Selling cubic metres of high energy-efficiency compressed air, and not selling compressors,
  • Ensuring simple, safe kilometres, and not selling tyres, etc.

Economic exchange is no longer based on the transfer of ownership of goods, which remain the property of the producer throughout their life cycle, but on users consenting to pay for value-in-use (or to contractualize performance-in-use). In the long term, it becomes in the interest of both parties to ensure that the function is properly fulfilled and that value is continuously provided. Value may be built for both parties and be sustainable.

For a company, the service economy can be put in place gradually as a transition plan targeting a specific market segment to avoid cannibalizing its other offers.


  • Département de la Loire
  • The CLEF Club is an informal structure which receives funding only indirectly through its members. As part of an agreement with CIRIDD, the Loire département is currently contributing to running the CLEF Club.

  • Saint-Etienne Métropole
  • The CLEF Club is one of the first projects to be presented via the 3D innovation community for a request for support by the D2IN scheme led by Saint-Étienne Métropole, the Rhône-Alpes region (FIRA) and Bpifrance.

  • Région Rhone-alpes
  • The CLEF Club is one of the first projects to be presented via the 3D innovation community for a request for support by the D2IN scheme led by Saint-Étienne Métropole, the Rhône-Alpes region (FIRA) and Bpifrance.

  • Bpifrance
  • The CLEF Club is one of the first projects to be presented via the 3D innovation community for a request for support by the D2IN scheme led by Saint-Étienne Métropole, the Rhône-Alpes region (FIRA) and Bpifrance.

 Regional cooperation
 Regional governance
 Economic models
 Regional innovation strategy
 Business models
 Innovation driven by use

Author of the page

  • Philippe Jury

    Responsable prospective et relation à la recherche au CIRIDD


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     Regional cooperation
     Regional governance
     Economic models
     Regional innovation strategy
     Business models
     Innovation driven by use