Societe Generale creates a marketplace for innovation with Startup Flow
Chief Innovation Officer (CIO) at Societe Generale
“Startup Flow has allowed us to further instill Open Innovation throughout the Group, to quickly build a community and ecosystem revolving around it, and to create a collaborative repository of our knowledge about innovative startups” – Claire Calmejane, Chief Innovation Officer (CIO) at Societe Generale
Proposing a collaborative platform to map innovative startups and actors in a more efficient way
By collaborating with Startup Flow, Societe Generale’s innovation processes were greatly improved: information regarding external partners is now systematically being shared between teams. Therefore, innovators in different locations have better knowledge of whom their colleagues are working with, and business units not directly involved in innovation can take part in the overall innovation process.
Claire Calmejane, CIO at Societe Generale says “We were looking to become more efficient and therefore share knowledge across our teams on the thousands of startups and scale-ups with whom our innovation leads are interacting, in a more systematic way. Building a shared repository is key to working in a more coordinated manner and helps avoid pinging the same startups multiple times. It also helps when identifying a set of potential partners by not having to start from scratch.”
In May 2017, Societe Generale decided to choose Startup Flow as its all-in-one innovation platform. Claire says, “At the time when we engaged with Startup Flow, their product was 90% ready. Coming to them with our own set of requirements helped their product team finalizes the tool we had in mind. We were quite impressed with their maturity in terms of tech architecture, which helped a lot in getting the buy-in of our IT and IT Security teams.”
Creating a global marketplace for innovative solutions
With the help of the Startup Flow Customer Success Team, Societe Generale defined the right innovation framework for the platform: custom workflows and milestones to monitor startups, internal initiatives, and ecosystem partners. Within six months, Societe Generale’s core teams were onboarded, and external innovation partners were added to the database. Meanwhile, the Startup Flow Tech Team finalized technical and security aspects, such as security audits and the implementation of the SSO authentication system.
In the following 18 months, Societe Generale’s innovation teams saw the birth of a global innovation community around the platform. Claire says, “We went for a progressive roll-out of the platform starting December 2017. Nonetheless, and thanks to a targeted communication strategy orchestrated by our Group Innovation team (along with excellent word-of-mouth from our early adopters!), the number of registered users jumped 33% between 2018 and 2019” Indeed, the platform helps collaborators share contacts, experiences, and information about external partners.
To streamline the sourcing process, Startup Flow created an API to support Societe Generale’s Open innovation portal, targeting startups and scale-ups willing to present their solution to the Group.
The result was a more efficient sourcing of startups while reducing the number of meetings and administrative work. In addition, the platform raised company awareness of internal innovation projects.
Startup Flow makes collaboration easier
Since the full deployment of the Startup Flow platform in December 2017, the number of users on the platform has increased by 444% and supported great collaborations. Claire gives an example “Societe Generale is committed to giving entrepreneurs the tools they need to drive the future. Our Market activities teams have used Startup Flow to source the candidates for their Global Market Incubator, hosted in Le Swave in Paris La Défense. Concretely, each startup willing to apply to the program had to fill-in a short questionnaire, which helped populate a backgrounder on the Startup Flow platform. The candidates were then contacted by the Manager of the Incubator, during the selection process”.