Tell us about OpenUp, the program you are leading.
OpenUp (unavailable link) is a digital platform that connects employees and start-ups. A project manager who is sponsoring an innovation for the Group can now use OpenUp to identify the most qualified startup to accompany his or her project. Since the program’s launch in November 2016, 34 projects have been uploaded and six collaborations have taken place, with others underway.
OpenUp is an initiative that encourages open innovation, and one that is very important to BNP Paribas…
Indeed, the Group encourages its employees to sponsor projects in a different way that favors greater openness to startup partners, as they can offer unparalleled agility. In our team, we thought of designing this matchmaking platform to play an active role in the Group’s innovation strategy and offer more value to our customers. This is because OpenUp’s top priority projects focus on developing new products and services that utilize or offer innovative solutions developed by innovative small businesses. The second priority concerns the creation of new internal processes. This was a dream opportunity for me because I am an entrepreneur at heart.
What are your daily responsibilities?
We accompany the Group’s various subsidiaries and entities around the world. On the one hand, this includes the first step of understanding the key projects of each entity in order to identify startups that can offer innovative solutions. And on the other hand, we research, investigate and select start-ups based on innovation criteria, which include the reliability of the solution, the projects and teams, and the people who will serve as contacts and partners for our entities. In this context, we meet with start-ups at incubators, accelerators and coworking spaces, so that we can stay abreast of the latest solutions offered in the global ecosystem. Finally, I work with my team to instill a culture of collaboration with start-ups throughout the company, by favoring the test-and-learn approach inherent to any innovative project — because it is the fear of failure that poses the biggest threat to innovation.
You joined BNP Paribas in September 2013, after starting an early-stage start-up and working in telecommunications. What brought you here?
The challenge of disruption! Since I joined the Group in September 2013, banking and finance have undergone a profound transformation that has forced them to reinvent themselves. I wanted to put my entrepreneurial side and my experience with new technologies to work for BNP Paribas, a global group that makes innovation a strategic growth driver—with many exciting challenges! What I like most about my current job is my permanent contact with the start-up ecosystem and the world of entrepreneurship, while growing as an employee within a major international company.
What is your biggest challenge?
Successfully instilling a culture of collaboration with start-ups. Innovation is a question of resources, of course, but it is also, and above all, a state of mind.
“ Think outside the box and embrace your differences, because the Group relies on originality and diversity. ”
Start-up Program Lead & Partnerships Manager