Innovation and Digital
Published on 14/10/2016
The Dunes

The Dunes

The Dunes technology hub, located in Fontenay-sous-Bois, just east of Paris, is an illustration of the digital adventure Societe Generale and its staff have embarked upon in recent years. This innovative site, which welcomed its first occupants in September 2016, is where the majority of the Bank’s IT teams are based.

Respect for the environment

2 complementary environmental certificates:

  • HQE construction: this French certification for High Environmental Quality was awarded for the exceptional profile of The Dunes building;
  • LEED: an international certificate for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The Dunes received a Gold rating, giving the building international visibility.

3 main ambitions:

  • Low impact on the local community: recycling of waste, minimal intrusion on public footpaths and roads, and a low level of noise pollution;
  • A reduction in energy consumption of 50% compared to the previously rented buildings in La Défense, Paris. Lighting energy consumption cut by a third;
  • A high-quality environment with optimal comfort: an improvement in new air quality, very low emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOCs, such as formaldehyde, toluene and benzene, etc.), and low emissions of interior particles (from carpets and walls etc).

Working methods

The Dunes, and its digital focus, is a reflection of the developments within our company and the ambitions of our staff. The aim is to create a cross-functional technology hub that generates synergies and creates innovation in data, IT security and IT systems architecture. Other departments who work closely with the IT teams are also based here, and we are able to deploy Agile and Fast IT methodologies. The Dunes offers flexible workspaces to encourage co-creation and teamwork, acting as an incubator for new ways of working.

By its very essence, The Dunes technology hub is a tangible illustration of the digital economy. This site sets new standards regarding the innovative use of space and managerial practices, geared towards a new way of working in the digital era.

Anne Démians, Dunes' architect

A building managed by its occupants

From the initial design stage, the project team was structured in an innovative way with collaborative and cross-functional leadership, starting from the principle that the building would be in the hands of its future occupants. This commitment to transparency and cooperation is a major change, moving from a sequential to an iterative process, from a behind-closed-doors approach to being transparent, more open to discussion and suggestions. At the heart of this programme is the User Committee, which represents the buildings' occupants and encourages ownership of the project. This committee works closely with the other committees (change management, HR-labour relations, communications and construction), who all worked together in structuring the project. They continue to work together to get a better understanding of how the building should be used (for example, deciding on the main principles for managing the building) and to give staff the tools to rethink their ways of working and management.

Le Plateau, 1,000 m2 dedicated to open innovation in startup mode

To foster cooperation between internal and external project teams and FrenchTech ecosystems, Le Plateau hosts external and internal startups in an innovative environment, providing support and making its resources available to them. By creating a community for sharing resources, experience and knowledge, Le Plateau offers ideal conditions that foster innovation and value creation for startups. Le Plateau hosts 5 external startups on a full-time basis for short renewable periods. The startups can be recommended by the Group’s core businesses, by the pilot team in a POC or by a partner or they may have been founded by an employee. The selection criteria for these entities of fewer than 6 people are based on relational aspects and their willingness to share with Societe Generale. For example, the startup Schlack & Co, which develops and sells the FlyOff app, has been hosted and supported by Le Plateau since the end of 2016.