Data & IA: more dialogue to drive innovation at Société Générale

In early 2020, Société Générale launched a Data & AI initiative across the subsidiaries in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin and Overseas. The aim? Raise collaborator awareness on these topics and create new tools for different business units. As part of this approach, bluenove helped Société Générale consult thousands of collaborators to find out how much they know about data and better understand their needs.


Data & IA at the service of Société Générale’s activities


Through their different activities, banks collect vast amounts of data. This has huge potential to help banks better understand their customers and meet their evolving needs. Capitalising on data is therefore a strategic focus, especially with the arrival of neobanks and Mobile Money that is accentuating the need to innovate.

In this context, the Innovation Team for Africa, the Mediterranean Basin and Overseas Business Unit (AFMO) launched a dedicated Data & IA initiative to capitalise on the value of data using AI in order to support different activities.

During the first phase of this ambitious innovation initiative, we collected insights into the needs of collaborators and different business units. Then, in phase 2, we drew on these finding to build concrete solutions including training and data enhancement tools.

To set the initiative in motion, bluenove organised a vast consultation to enable Société Générale AFMO to collect the information and feedback necessary to design effective solutions for each activity.


DATA and artificial intelligence Société Générale
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Building the foundations: Data & IA consultation


To find out exactly how much collaborators knew about data and what kind of training they needed, Société Générale called on the services of bluenove. This project is part of a between the two entities – bluenove had already carried out consultations to set out new strategies like and drive innovation like Tamtam and The Palaver Tree.

In March 2020, the 13,000 collaborators at SG AFMO were invited to share their opinions and experiences using two tools:

–   Online questionnaire via our Assembl platform

–   Design Fiction sessions, inspired by our Bright Mirror approach, either digitally via the Assembl platform or physically at workshops organised by the subsidiaries

“It was a really exciting to get collaborators to imagine future data usages through digital and physical “Bright Mirror” Design Fiction sessions. We learned a lot and the findings will be used to develop concrete solutions to meet the 3 structuring topics in our strategy: risk management, operational efficiency and client acquisition.”

Valérie-Noëlle Kodjo Diop, Innovation & CSR Director for Africa, the Mediterranean Basin and Overseas

By writing micro-stories, participants expressed their point of view about the potential impact of data and AI on their lives in the near future. This exercise is a form of Design Fiction, an approach that encourages participants to imagine themselves in a hypothetical future according to different scenarios (like the arrival of a new technology) to encourage dialogue and explore the products, services and systems to deploy – an ideal way to collectively reflect on Data & AI.

Analysing these stories revealed collaborators’ aspirations and fears in relation to AI and data. These open-ended contributions were complemented by answers to the more structured online questionnaire.


Imaginarie writings : DATA & AI
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What did we learn?


More than 700 people took part in the online consultation and more than 100 participated in the workshops organised by the Innovation Coordinators at the subsidiaries. This mobilisation was very positive, especially against the backdrop of the Covid-19 crisis that meant the workshops were stopped sooner than planned.

In total, participants wrote more than 100 individual and collective stories and more the 1,500 questionnaires were answered, offering a good balance of qualitative and quantitative results.

By analysing these contributions, we were able to provide structured proposals based on the demands and expectations shared by contributors. We also evaluated elements that were expressed more implicitly such as the perception of AI and the level of understanding of the topics tackled.

The findings produced by the Design Fiction complemented the questionnaire. Through its open format, it enabled us to explore a wider range of possibilities, enriching the portfolio of innovation projects.


What’s next?


As we’re publishing this article, the next steps have already been launched. The takeaways from the consultation have enabled Société Générale to offer collaborators a catalogue of targeted training sessions. The teams are also working on implementing a series of concrete AI-solutions to provide collaborators with the tools they need.

Find about more about this exciting adventure in the next article!