It is possible to foster an entrepreneurial spirit without working in a startup, and you can...
Xavier Floquet, the intrapreneur of solutions for employees' performance
- Paris, France
Founded in September 2014 and based at WAI Paris, BNP Paribas' People's LAB, the intrapreneur accelerator, supports promotions of employees based in France to transform their innovative ideas into workable business models launched within the Group. Whether for a new service, a new product or a new internal mode of operation, the People's LAB helps intrapreneurs to mobilize all internal investors to obtain the necessary human or financial resources for the concrete launch of their project. Xavier Floquet, intrapreneur and "creator of connected", participated in the second season of People's Lab.
Could you briefly describe your project?
My project is to make mindfulness as well known as possible within the Group. This practice, which I was taught several years ago, is hugely complementary to the training we normally find in the corporate world. Generally, these training programmes emphasise behaviours to have or "recipes" to apply in any given situations. Mindfulness brings something different to the table. It allows us, via specific training and better understanding of how our minds function, to develop our capacity for identifying when we function on "auto-pilot" and our "capacity to take back the reins". This allows us to recover the intellectual availability we often feel like we're missing.
What are some of the benefits of your solution, in terms of business and impact for BNP Paribas?
The Group's main asset, during this time of major change, is its employees.
Contributing to their professional development is contributing in a direct and profound manner to the business and to impact. The feedback we've had from companies who've facilitated teaching of mindfulness among their employees has been extremely encouraging: the employees who practised it reported improvements in their well-being at work, their performance, and their relationships with their colleagues – three benefits which are clearly closely linked to each other!
the employees reported improvements in their well-being at work, their performance, and their relationships with their colleagues
Has your idea changed a lot from the moment you entered the People's Lab and when you left?
The idea was refined, it matured. Before the People's Lab, it was "just an idea". Afterwards, it was a solution, not yet in its definitive version, but concrete and robust enough that I could begin selling it to the units and the businesses. One of the biggest advantages of the People's Lab is also teaching us to present things in their best light. Being convinced that your idea is relevant is a good starting point, but making this idea into a solution means you need to know how to convince people!
How did you discover your inner intrapreneur? In other words... what triggered your application?
The initial trigger was my desire to share something that, in this often demanding transformation environment, could offer a lot to employees. But this desire wouldn't have amounted to much without the support of my professional contacts. And on that level, I was very lucky, since I received a lot of trust and goodwill.
Where are you right now with the development of your project?
Currently I work as a member of the "Agile Tribe" across several of the Group's units. I host discovery workshops and give conferences during which I talk about the benefits of mindfulness on the professional level. I'm also putting the finishing touches on a training programme designed for people who'd like to deepen their knowledge and commit to practising mindfulness. Initially, this training programme will happen during personal time. But my objective is, eventually, for employees to be able to attend training during work hours.
What advice do you have for employees interested in intrapreneurship?
A piece of "Mindful" advice: it's not abnormal, when you have an innovative idea, to have thoughts that say, for example, that "the Group won't expect this," "my idea isn't as innovative as all that," or "getting this idea accepted in a company like mine will be complicated, impossible, even," that "they won't let me apply for the People's Lab," or "stepping out of line will be bad for my career". But all of that, those are just thoughts... and reality might be very different. So listen to what your thoughts are telling you... but don't believe all of them! And talk about your ideas with the people around you, again and again: you will certainly find people who will encourage you, have faith in you and support you.
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