Open innovation lies at the heart of our transformation strategy. The Group has therefore developed locations in Paris, Dakar, Prague or Bangalore, encouraging collaboration on ideas in order to come up with new and innovative projects for our customers. One of the Group's main priorities as part of its global open innovation strategy is to reinforce the contacts and investments made in the digital ecosystem in order to optimise the qualification of the startups and FinTechs likely to meet the requirements of the business lines.
Aymeril Hoang Head of Innovation for the Group
Starting outside of our own premises is also a way to allow more experimentations and disruptive projects, which will better serve our clients.
InnoLAB opens in Tunisia
Our Tunisian subsidiary UIB opened their own innovation lab, InnoLAB, on the 26 September, 2017. Seeking to stimulate, accelerate, explore and co-create, the InnoLab is designed to speed up innovation and open up the Tunisian digital ecosystem to the wider world. Partners, experts and startups will all be able to explore and develop solutions in artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IOT), blockchain or virtual reality.
To help with the rapid development of customer experience-based innovative solutions, the Group has settled in Berlin, at Factory, Germany’s first and largest start-up campus connecting start-ups with large corporations. As part of this collaborative ecosystem, Societe Generale is embracing a new approach in the acceleration of innovative projects.
Le Plateau, in France, located at Les Dunes (the Group’s new technopole in the East of Paris), is a 1,000 m2 space dedicated to fostering cooperation between internal and external project teams and FrenchTech ecosystems. By creating a community for sharing resources, experience and knowledge, Le Plateau offers ideal conditions for innovation.
Lab Innovation by Société Générale
Africa Innovation Lab in Dakar, Senegal, is designed to stimulate and speed up innovation in all Group subsidiaries in Sub-Saharian Africa. This action-focused "think tank" is an innovation incubator, especially for initiatives coming from Societe Generale's African subsidiaries.
KB Innovation LAB
Komercni Banka, our subsidiary in Czech Republic opened its own innovation lab, KB Innovation LAB, to serve as a place of collaboration and co-creation with external partners, clients, academics, startups and entrepreneurs, and other groups. KB Innovation LAB will be home to experts from a range of fields such as innovation design, user experience design, sociology and graphic design.
Catalyst, a startup accelerator program in India, aims at leveraging on the rich ecosystem of Indian startups. The selected startups get to work on different themes based on banking business challenges, with guidance from Societe Generale to co-create solutions to meet the Bank’s customers’ needs.
The Lab ASSU, based in La Défense, Paris, promotes experimentation, the development of new projects and the building of a truly innovative staff culture for all the Group’s insurance activities. The Lab’s 10 staff members, experts in the insurance business and new technologies, offer advice and support on day-to-day working matters (“Run”) and new projects (“Change”).
Increase the capacity for innovation of businesses via new locations and working methods
One of the priorities of Societe Generale’s open innovation initiative is to promote internal innovation capacity with new workspaces and alternative ways of working. To take its acculturation further, the Group organises events that reach out to the digital ecosystem, such as hackathons, Meet-Ups hosted by Societe Generale and around ten Learning Experience events (in particular in China, India, Israel and Berlin this year). Several cross-business communities have been set up to work on strategic trends such as big data, the blockchain and robotisation, bringing together several thousand employees via the internal social network. Societe Generale also encourages alternative working methods inspired by startups to foster innovation: agile working, pizza teams, lean startups, design thinking, the Test & Learn method and the user experience.
In the digital era, the biggest innovations in the services sector come from companies that have set up open platforms to leverage the power of the masses. To innovate, a company needs to open up and create ecosystems that involve its stakeholders such as customers, start-ups and universities, as well as staff. This is what is known as open innovation.
Societe Generale’s approach to innovation is based on the creative force of its staff and on ties between internal communities and the wider innovation ecosystem. Aymeril Hoang, Head of Innovation for the Group, discusses this strategy.