Open innovation: leverage for the Group’s transformation

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.

Aymeril Hoang, Directeur de l’Innovation du Groupe

Technological changes have pushed usages and habits towards increased mobility and have created new ways of interacting. These changes represent opportunities to transform and enrich our relationship with our clients and our members of staff, and to reinvent the bank of tomorrow.

Our strategy is based on three routes enabling us to be permanently connected to innovation and the unexpected, and to improve our clients’ experience:

  • Strengthen our relations with the innovation ecosystem in order to increase our agility, change our processes to create prototypes at a faster pace, use new technologies, etc. We have already identified 700 start-ups and developed 60 of them in the Group’s operational entities. This has generated experiments in fields as diverse as fraud detection, biometric solutions, etc. We have also invested in 360 Capital Partners’ new venture capital fund (360 Square, dedicated to seed-stage digital start-ups). A partnership such as this one changes our vision, enhances our technological monitoring and inspires us.
  • Run cross-business communities covering our various business lines regarding 12 trends that we consider to be a priority, such as new means of payment, SME crowdlending and financing, (cyber)security, new work methods and new ways of interacting, big data and artificial intelligence.
  • Promote new work locations and methods. To put in place these alternative work methods, inspired by start-ups (agile method, design thinking, Test & Learn method, etc.), we have formed partnerships with various innovative communities. In France, our ties with Player, the “community innovation incubator”, the Tank and Plaine Coworking, two coworking locations, or SenseCube, an acceleration platform for social-business start-ups, are enabling the Societe Generale teams to immerse themselves in these places, to confront and compare their ideas and be challenged by experts, and to accelerate projects. Similar approaches have been initiated overseas, in India for example, or in Africa with the creation of a Lab in Dakar, a laboratory for new ideas that will be an incubator for innovative initiatives, notably those arising from Societe Generale’s subsidiaries on the African continent. The three winning teams in the first pan-African hackathon organised by Societe Generale in February are already an integral part of the Lab community*.

 
* 1st prize awarded to the “Dev Engine labs” team from Togo and Benin for its tool aimed at attracting young customers; 2nd prize awarded to the “Bankiz” team from Benin for its interactive terminal project; 3rd prize awarded to the “TechLabs 28” team from Senegal for its project to provide receptionists with tablets.