BNP Paribas Bank: a network of innovators

AudeAlbertAude Albert is Innovation Project Manager at BNP Paribas (Prospective & Transformations Department within Corporate Communication). Her mission is to develop the BNP Paribas Innovation Community: sharing best practices and business watch, facilitating connections, leading transversal projects, in cooperation with business lines’ Heads of Innovation. She explains for us the various initiatives developed to foster a culture of innovation, heading to a Group Innovation Ecosystem.

Innovation Awards

The Innovation Awards contest was set-up to accelerate innovation spirit, following an awareness program launched in 2007. It started with 40 applications, and now collects up to 1000 files. A file is a simple A4 sheet addressing 6 questions. Applications can be submitted annually, in April and May. There is a dedicated app to register the files, and follow the validation steps, with a jury composed of business representatives and external experts, handling the final stage. What must be noted is that Innovation Awards grant innovations that have been actually completed: it values implemented innovation.

2013_EN BNP Paribas Innovation Awards

Business lines have initiated their own contest for the 3 activities which are Corporate & Institutional Banking, Retail Banking, Investment Solutions. They create their own URL, and customize categories and selection criteria.
Since 2014, the transforming aspect of digital has been pushed forward with digital apps, and digital services built on top of a business platform. For instance, the home box designed by BNP Paribas Cardif for fire detection is linked to an insurance contract.
Projects come from various parts of the world and cover features such as online account subscription , help to entrepreneurial projects in Luxemburg, social intra-preneurship in Italy, expertise for social entrepreneurs in Belgium, start-ups accelerator in Turkey.
The ten 2014 winners are:
  • CENTRIC / Regional Legal Documents & My Accounts Corporate & Investment Banking (CIB) France, UK, China and Singapore. CENTRIC is an e-Banking platform that offers Corporates a comprehensive solution – FX, cash management, trade, investment, etc. CIB’s digital flow banking suite incorporates ‘Regional Legal Documents’ and ‘My Accounts’, tools designed for efficient opening and managing of accounts.
  • Hello bank! – Personal Investors / BNP Paribas Fortis / FRB / BNL / Retail Development & Innovation, France, Belgium, Italy and Germany. Hello bank! is a 100% native mobile European bank, Hello bank! offers a new approach to banking, designed to meet the needs of customers who are looking for a service that is fast, easy to use, always available and connected.


  • Business accelerators
    • TEB Startup Business Banking and Business House Service Model – International Retail Banking, Turkey. An incubation centre which offers both financial and non-financial solutions specifically for startups.
    • TEB Private Business Angels Platform – Wealth Management, Turkey. The TEB Özel private platform complements the initiative, putting startups and our investor clients in contact.
    • Intrapreneurship Programme – BGL BNP Paribas, Luxembourg. The BGL Intrapreneurship Programme, assists both in-house company personnel and external staff in setting up their own in-company business project.
  • Habit@t BNP Paribas Cardif, Italy. Habit@t is a new generation home insurance product, with a monitoring and alert insurance ‘box’ using connected sensors.


  • Social Entrepreneurship Project – FRB / BNP Paribas Fortis / BNL / Group Risk Management / CSR, France, Italy and Belgium. Support social entrepreneurs in the Group’s various domestic markets.
  • BNL Via Web Identification – Group Legal Affairs / BNL, France, Italy. The fully-secure ‘Via Web Identification’ digital solution enables customers to open an account in Italy remotely.
  • Ethical Europe Equity Index / the SRI Note CIB / BNP Paribas Fortis, France and Belgium. The Ethical Europe Equity Index provides ratings on the basis of responsible investment criteria.
  • IGotowka: Digital Cash Loan – BNP Paribas Personal Finance / International Retail Banking, Poland. iGotowka is the number one online loan application on the Polish market. It is 100% digital and works on all mobile devices, incorporating electronic signature and responsive web design technology.
  • SIXDOTS BNP Paribas Fortis, Belgium. Sixdots is the only Internet and mobile payments solution on the Belgian market that enables people to shop differently.


  • TEB Cetelem iPad Innovation for car financing – BNP Paribas Personal Finance, Turkey. TEB Cetelem’s iPad solution represents a real innovation in BNP Paribas’ car financing services in Turkey, using a simple online procedure, QR codes, and online identification.

In addition to the ten 2014 winners, the Group Selection Committee has awarded a special prize, designed to stimulate and recognise transversal Innovation initiatives across the Group:

  • Hall of Next Retail Banking / IS / CIB / Group HR / Group Communication / L’Atelier BNP Paribas, France. Hall of Next, internal Innovation ‘trade fair’, highlighted 140 customer-oriented innovations from all Group businesses and geographies, presented by some 60 BNP Paribas coaches.

Learning Expeditions bring the innovation laureats in innovation trip: latest journey was about crowdfunding, and gathered 30 participants. An additional approach on participative innovation and ideation has been developed with Jump platform.

Innovation mapping

Innovation does not rely on a central entity: each unit has developed its patch according to its needs and context. Thus, multiple approaches have been tested, and many ‘best practices’ can be shared. The first tool one can bring to the community is a map of the ecosystem, sharing the various initiatives. It started with a mapping of the innovation initiatives in retail banking, and has been completed at a group scale with the Corporate & Institutional Banking and Investment Solutions inputs.

Service Design Research-map-02

This digital tool is like a compass for innovation, made of innovation bubbles which can be incubation structures, tech and creativity labs, partners like Partech Shaker accelerator, innovation frameworks. One click on a bubble provides useful contacts, and projects list.

In a nutshell, think, act, and mix internal initiatives with external world, over 4 axes: awareness, ideation, proof of concept & test, recognition.

‘Heads of Innovation’ network

Each unit has named a representative for innovation. At BNP Paribas Cardif, it’s a team of 3 people and a lab. The network amounts to 30 innovation leaders, and people involved in innovation is much more. Managing the network is about finding quick wins, with a consensus-building and bottom up approach: for instance, a creativity workshop was tested in 2014, and has become a training offering. Meetings with the network are focused on operational opportunities, concrete topics, information circulation, mentoring and sharing best practices…, as the Innovation Barcamp planned on Quarter 1 2015.

3e net

The new collaborative platform crossing cooperation with social networking could be a future tool, where one could expose his skills and interests in innovation.

One hot discussion is on open innovation and co creation with start-ups. The Innov & Connect program is an initiative to enrich service for ETI customers: topics selection, call for projects involving start-ups, and completing proof of concepts is a first big step to enlarge our start-ups network and accelerate collaboration.

Setting-up and managing a network of innovators

In line with Aude’s experience, I had the chance to participate to an Innovation Barcamp last July, and to a discussion about innovators’ network.

“What are the new modes for developing and supporting innovators in the field?” was the question raised.

TopInnovators_Seattle Business

Here are the findings I have noted:
  • Define context and objectives of innovation endeavour: degree of urgency, innovation cycle (short/long), is innovation in the core activity or is an evolution, mission statement, engagement letter, and roadmap;
  • Identify skills and profiles wanted: leadership (to create a movement, to communicate toward C-level), innovation profile (can be a facilitator who provides a framework, or a serial innovator, leaning forward creativity), professional pathway within the company (what will I become after this innovation project is completed?), and a breeding ground of innovators;
  • Specify the innovator’s role in his business unit: act as a relay for the central innovation division or innovation amabassor, detect and share local innovations, let thrive innovation culture & overview projects locally, connect with the ecosystem locally, particpate to training and meetings held centrally;
  • Think of motivation levers: time allocation, protecting sponsor (encouraging risk culture, tolerance for failure), resources, recognition and reward, training, enticement to innovation, playful spirit, project stop (‘celebrate failure’);
  • Set-up innovation framework: nursery / incubator / accelerator / corporate venture for intra-preneurship, dedicated innovation cell or office for innovation (like a tourism office), facilitation dynamics (challenge for ideas, business plan competition, innovation tournament, employee crowdfunding), process to reintegrate proof of concept into the core business lines (upstream involvement of BUs in the innovation project, modular innovation design), innovation portfolio (incremental innovation, transversal projects across business units, new domains to investigate, permission for disruptive innovation), resources staffing, tools (innovation passport / tutorial, coaching, serious game).

image credits: BNP Paribas, Service Design Research, Fotolia, Seattle-business

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    future of TV - Leading by InnovatingNicolas is a senior VP at Orange Innovation Group. Serial innovator, he set-up creative BU with an international challenge, and a focus on new TV experiences. Forward thinker, he completed a thesis on “Rapid Innovation”, implemented successfully at Orange, further developed in his writings. He tweets @nicobry

Nicolas Bry

Serial innovator, Nicolas has set up creative units for new business at Orange, Club-Internet, and SFR. Nicolas created crowd platform, Orange Studio for Intrapreneurs, and edits Open Innovation blog International speaker, entrepreneurs & startups coach, innovation teacher at Telecom ParisTech, HEC & CentraleSupélec, and freelance consultant (ECC). Follow him at @nicobry.




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