11 May 2017

Innovation Essentials: In Conversation with Genevieve Douhet

Watch this series examining top tips from leading innovators in the financial industry on how to make innovation a success. This week: Interview with Genevieve Douhet, Société Générale.

InnotribeInnovation Essentials: In Conversation with Genevieve Douhet

Societe Generale views FinTech companies, not as a threat, but as potential partners providing additional innovation services. This is because they usually provide only one component of a bank’s offering rather than the whole suite of services. Societe Generale believes that collaborating with FinTech’s can provide a source of inspiration to ultimately enrich the services offered to the end client.

“Things are moving very fast so organisations must have an open mindset and be on the lookout for new ideas, projects and trends,” said Genevieve Douhet, Associate Director of the Group Innovation Department at Societe Generale. “It also requires agility to adapt rapidly, and as a consequence organisations need to be in a position to anticipate the skills that will be needed to build the bank of tomorrow in order to succeed.”

FinTech firms and startups are developing new models every day. We consider them as new competition to which we are adapting and which is overall stimulating.

Frederic Oudea, CEO, Societe Generale

The Innovation Department at Societe Generale has been in place for two years. Its goal is to better serve clients whose expectations and behaviours have drastically changed with the use of new technology. The bank's connections with the external ecosystem have increased as a result, as well as a boost in internal collective creativity and innovation. Their roadmap is focussed on four business-orientated axes: (1) to inspire and connect the group's different business lines with innovative players in the startup or academic world; (2) to share more openly within the group through cross-business lines and communities; (3) to encourage the creation of internal startups that allows employees to prototype innovative ideas that match the strategic and operational needs of business lines, and; (4) to gain creativity, agility and rapidity based on new methods and innovation centres such as Player business incubator, Makes Sense and Le Tank design studio.

Innovation is nothing without experimentation. We have to experiment, but separate the buzz from what is truly a use case.

Genevieve Douhet, Associate Director, Group Innovation Department, Societe Generale

The Innovation Group has implemented an onboarding practice that follows the traditional phases of innovation around discovery, brainstorming, planning and experimentation. It has found that the best way to innovate is to connect teams to the outside ecosystem through learning expeditions, conferences on topics like blockchain, and regular meetings with startups. The group has also set up internal collaborative platforms to exchange innovative ideas across business lines and building communities according to fields of interest.

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