Accelerating New Businesses at Thales Digital Factory
- Hamilton Mann is Group Director, Digital Marketing and Digital Transformation;
- Stéphane El Mabrouk is Head of Operations of the Digital Thales Factory;
- and Jean-Yves Plu is Vice President, Digital Eco-system.
Thales Digital Factory started in 2017, with 4 people, and grows at the speed of light, reaching a staff of 230 people, committed to the achievement of 24 MVPs, and now dispatched over 3 work spaces: WeWork Paris. WeWork Singapore, ans CortAIx in Montreal.
Let’s go through some key attributes of this venture.
A cultural evolution
Design Thinking inside
- At the early stage, through the Business Innovation, and Growth initiative (aka BIG): 35 pre-selected project in 2018, around 10 MVP (Minimum Viable Product) projects going for Framing and Delivery in Paris;
- At the MVP stage led Digital Champions coming from 6 Global Business Units, monitored by Executive Comittee: they are working with business lines to detect MVP candidates; business lines fund product owner, and 6-7 people team salaries at 40% (next year, will be reverse, a 60% funding);
- And at each stage, to CoDesign with customers, for instance, facilitating workshop with customers invited by a business line, organizing work sessions with Thales customers and end-users; a workshop was thus set-up on the Free-Economy.
A fast-track design process
- Business Innovation, and Growth Challenges aims at embarking all the employees of the Group to make experimentation the norm, identifying business problems to be solved, and bringing to life Proof of Concept, Proof of Value, and prototyping;
- Framing takes place during 2 weeks for most promising ideas: value proposition canvas and business model canvas are fulfilled upstream, and then confronted with the Business Units;
- They will evolve over 5 to 6 releases; training is provided to lay the skills foundation; 5 workshops challenge are set-up to validate the business case solidity, and enter the next stage;
- 3 to 4 framing can be handled concurrently, involving 30 to 35 projects, that will end into a selection of a dozen going for MVPs; the other projects can be nurtured, and incubated within the business units;
- MVPs are structured in cycle of 8 sprints going over 4 months; 60% of the projects ask for a second cycle to refine the MVP, or complete the hand-over; MVP is business case oriented to test the business line commitment; this framework is designed for acceleration, with a 4 months deadline triggering a positive tension.
A Digital Manifesto illustrates the culture of the Factory, it stresses on the following values: empowerment (over control), data driven (over opinions), test & learn (over plan), collaboration (over protection), user (over customer), tolerance to failure (over not trying), and key qualities: hungry, humble, aware.
Inspiring with The Talks
Thanks to the impulse given by Raphaël Thobie and his team, Thales has also developped ‘The Talks’, an open stage to let employees share their passion, and experiences:
- 5 talks for each session, and 10 of them during the year;
- No filter on the topic, it’s my colleague who’s on stage;
- At the end, 3 sticky notes, one of them to suggest next connections;
If you’re a starting intrapreneur, I strongly recommed you subscribe to his newsletter Learnerz, who will guide you stet by step over several weeks.
Let long live innovation at the Factory!
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Nicolas Bry is Orange Startups Studio COO. He entices Orange employees into becoming intrapreneurs, bringing their idea to life within Orange business. International executive, he sets-up innovation devices for new business. International speaker, writer with RapidInnovation.fr, guest lecturer at the Google Academy mini-MBA, visiting innovation professor at Telecom ParisTech, MediaSchool & EM Lyon, freelance consultant for the EC. Follow him at @nicobry.
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