CEO of the Bouygues group and sponsor of the
“Les Entrepreneur(e)s” programme
Every day the Group’s people show how they are able to create, innovate and design solutions that set us apart from the competition and make our products and services more appealing to our customers. This constant brainstorming creates fertile ground for the emergence of new business ideas amongst our employees that are related to our core activities.
The Bouygues group wants to encourage and enable an intrapreneurial process that draws primarily on synergies between its business segments in order to foster the development, in agile mode, of activities, based on these new ideas, that are complementary to those of the business segments.
For the Group, intrapreneurship is beneficial to the Group because it stimulates innovation internally enabling it to adjust its business models to the challenges of the 21st century, and particularly to meet the aim of simplifying our customers’ everyday lives and contributing to building harmonious communities.
For employee-intrapreneurs, it gives them the opportunity to develop their ideas with peace of mind thanks to a personalised process and support. Coaching, training and access to financing and networks are all tools to make this rewarding and meaningful experience a fully-fledged driver of the Group’s cultural transformation. The Bouygues group has decided to fine-tune the path of the employee-intrapreneur by creating a programme called
“Les Entrepreneur(s)” in order to speed up the transformation of ideas into tangible solutions in an agile manner. The programme defines a path that is open to all employees who want to design an innovative project that addresses the following theme: “New products and services: simplifying daily life and helping to build harmonious communities”.
The group programme
The Bouygues group’s Innovation department has launched a new intrapreneurship programme. It provides an opportunity for Group employees – whatever their profession or speciality – to become entrepreneurs with the backing and expertise of the Group’s business segments.
The programme is open to all Group employees who have been on a permanent contract for at least two years, and who want to design an innovative project that addresses Group-wide issues. Through the programme, the Group offers a pathway aimed at developing certain skills that the intrapreneur already has such as the ability to take risks and challenge themselves, as well as self-reliance and proactiveness. The programme draws on the concept of frugal innovation because the Group believes that it is possible, even beneficial, to innovate with few resources, drawing on maker culture, design thinking or lean start-up. The aim is primarily to focus on the needs of users. Experts and coaches support participants throughout the entire process by teaming up with the Group’s innovation network and the Smart City Initiative community, and by leveraging our partnerships with MIT and HEC.
The challenges of the ongoing ecological transition, the possibilities offered by digital technology and the need for seamlessness and simplicity are changing what customers come to expect. Furthermore, as a result of the spread of new technologies, modern society is becoming more and more collaborative. At the local level, people are increasingly wanting closer social ties. That is why this first season of the “Les Entrepreneur(s)” programme has been divided into an initial stage of creative thinking around the design of new products and services in the domains of housing, neighbourhoods and cities. Focusing on mobility, communication, information or entertainment, these products and services will aim to simplify the daily lives of our customers and users, and thus contribute to building harmonious communities.
Business segment programmes
Recognising that intrapreneurship is one of the six sources of innovation, the Group’s subsidiaries have rolled out several initiatives that aim to develop new ground-breaking activities as well as complementary products and services.
Inno’Cup -Bouygues Construction
Launched in June 2017 by Bouygues Construction, the intrapreneurship programme called NewValue aimed to encourage employees with ideas to develop them and bring them to market (externally or internally), whilst sharing the risks and benefits with the company.
In three years, this programme has supported 11 projects of which four up to the incubation phase, whereby a viable business solution is developed resulting in an initial sale. Omniscient, a creation of Bouygues Construction’s New Value intrapreneurship programme and developed by two Axione employees, is a solution designed to optimise operations in the construction sector. After being incubated by Bouygues SA, Omniscient now generates sales of close to €3 million.
Currently the New Value programme is no longer taking applications and is no longer supporting new projects.
This is because in 2020 the Group’s Innovation department decided to bring together all the various programmes and initiatives in order to identify those ideas and solutions that would be innovative for the Group. As a result, it is focusing on the Inno’Cup programme and the Innovation Programme.
Open to all Group employees
Inno’Cup is a collaborative innovation initiative run by Bouygues Construction for over eight years. This challenge competition is open to all Group employees in France and abroad, whatever their entity, business segment or job category. Participants use it as an opportunity to share their innovative ideas or projects that run in their own business segments. This initiative, which draws inspiration from Bouygues Construction’s corporate slogan “Shared Innovation”, is designed to harvest all the ideas from the bottom up that address the company’s strategic challenges.
Following the competition, the selected ideas can pursue their development in the R&D stage, in an operating unit, or receive support for the creation of new business activities within Bouygues Construction in its Innovation Programme.
The innovation competition in figures for 2021:
employees (approximately) submitted ideas to the platform
jury members/experts to shortlist ideas
site workers submitted an idea (out of 5,617 that were contacted individually)
Smart Melody – Bouygues Energies & Services
The Research & Development department of Bouygues Construction’s Energy & Services arm created the Smart Melody programme at the end of 2018 in order to support those employees wishing to develop innovative projects. It provides a framework, methodological tools and regular exchange with the innovation community in order to phase the stages of these projects and nurture them to fruition. It is an international programme that draws on teams in France, Canada, Germany, Switzerland and the UK.
The aim of Smart Melody is to support the development of innovative projects through a combination of methods such as Design Thinking, ecosystem mapping and marketing strategy, as well as personalised coaching for teams. The method contributor (the Smart Melody team) sets the tempo, thus providing backing to the “conductors” (project managers) and their orchestras (project teams). The analogy with the world of music can also be seen in the name of this programme, by referring to the tuneful melody created by a project that is progressing well.
Desirability – feasibility – viability
The Smart Melody programme is divided into several stages to support an employee with a project and assess its desirability, feasibility and viability. An initial stage of project development, followed by a commercialisation stage and an acceleration stage set the tempo for the project and endorse user requirements, the technologies used and the viability of the business model, including its carbon footprint and impact on stakeholders.
Since its inception, Smart Melody has nurtured over 20 ideas in different areas, such as the use of artificial intelligence for predictive maintenance, the energy transition and the use of BIM models for existing structures. Following the “Demo Day”, between 30% and 50% of the ideas proposed went on to the commercialisation phase, having been approved by the management committee; then, during the “Business Day”, the same committee also approved seven strategic projects between 2018 and 2020. The active involvement of our business leaders underlines the strategic rationale of innovation for the Energies & Services arm, as well as for the whole Group.
Smart melody in figures:
strategic projects between 2018 and 2020
The TF1 MediaLab Innovation Challenge
This programme, which forms part of the TF1 group’s digital transformation, enables each group employee to become a real driver of this change. It promises to identify, select and support innovative ideas put forward by the women and men of the TF1 group. Once in the programme, intrapreneurs get the resources required, coaching, the necessary time, training and a sponsor. Since its launch in 2017, two projects have been launched and three are in the process of being accelerated.
STEP 1: Development, to build the project
For eight to ten weeks, intrapreneurs are supported to explore the market, test their ideas with experts, both in-house and outside, clarify the value proposition of their idea, identify their business model and lastly prepare the pitch to the Executive Committee.
STEP 2: Acceleration, to find the customers
If the Committee approves the project, it goes on to the acceleration phase, which usually lasts between four and six weeks. The aim is to consolidate the business plan and find customers!
STEP 3: The execution phase
If market or in-house tests and the business plan are conclusive, then the project is launched. Intrapreneurs may then initiate execution of their project.
Marie PIFFERER, In-house innovation manager, TF1
Flowers – Bouygues Telecom
Bouygues Telecom decided to identify new sources of growth by calling on its own employees wishing to branch out into a new field of activity. As a result, the Flowers programme was born in 2020.
For Edward Bouygues, Deputy CEO of the Bouygues group, in charge of Telecoms development, CSR and Innovation: “This initiative is looking for activities that meet two main criteria: a possible development and an ability to generate sales outside the existing activities of Bouygues Telecom, and a potential for integration and accelerated growth within Bouygues Telecom. CCTV and connected objects management platforms are domains that we are interested in, for example. They are part of the verticals that would be meaningful for our activity and expertise as an telecoms operator. But we are open to all ideas of new activities that could draw on the strengths of Bouygues Telecom and become fully-fledged new business activities for the company.”
The Flowers programme is open to all, people on permanent and fixed-term contracts, service-providers, interns, people working in our store network, from the rest of the Bouygues group and even people outside it. The main thing is to have the mindset of an entrepreneur and a spirit of adventure. The recruitment base is very wide because the quality of the selected teams is a priority.
The pros and cons of entrepreneurship
The employee whose project is chosen must resign from the company and become the boss (and corporate officer) of an innovating SME, in which an 80% stake is held (with the founder or co-founders), and which has been fully financed by Bouygues Telecom. They then have two or three years to develop their activity and if, at the end of that period, it is successful, then Bouygues Telecom buys the company to integrate it into its own business scope. If it underperforms, the financing is terminated and the entrepreneur must either find other shareholders or close the structure. In both scenarios, the entrepreneur is supported throughout the process.
This is therefore a genuine entrepreneurial partnership, with strong potential, but also with a certain amount of risk, where the support and investor has already been made available.
Marouane Bikour, Strategic analysis manager, Bouygues Telecom
Com’in – Shared Intelligence solutions for the environment
Com’in develops shared intelligence solutions based on IoT and artificial intelligence technologies that ensure better public acceptance of construction or industrial sites by providing objective information and taking into account feedback from all stakeholders.
The first solution developed by Com’in is a decision-making tool that helps operational managers better manage the environmental impacts stemming from their worksites (noise, air quality, mobility, etc.), and therefore help promote more “harmonious communities”.
My Living Bloom – landscape architecture and the creation of outdoor living spaces
My Living Bloom is an on-line service entirely dedicated to helping people carry out their landscaping projects (fences, gates, walkways, yards, patios, vegetable gardens, gardens, etc.).
It is a simple-to-use service that helps users realise their projects in three easy stages: inspiration, design and execution. Projects are tailored to each customer by a team of experts that is present at every phase and which takes charge of each stage of work right up to handover.
Omniscient – Worksite optimisation using connected objects
Omniscient, a creation of Bouygues Construction’s New Value intrapreneurship programme, is a solution designed to optimise operations in the construction sector. Using IoT sensors located throughout a worksite, the platform processes geolocation data and generates performance and measurement indicators for operations such as plant management, production methods, site security and logistics.
Omniscient is a fully-fledged decision-support tool that helps production teams leverage data in order to better manage their projects. Projects are tailored to each customer by a team of experts that is present at every phase and which takes charge of each stage of work right up to handover.