In October 2016, Societe Generale opened “Les Dunes”, a technology hub designed with its employees, to give them the tools to invent tomorrow’s bank.
Located in Val-de-Fontenay (Ile-de France) and with the capacity to accommodate 5,000 people, this building was created by the meeting of two visions, one architectural and the other strategic and managerial. Designed by architect Anne Démians, this is an open and horizontal “landscape” building that challenges all the office codes, a place designed FOR its occupants that incorporates highly ambitious objectives in terms of technological innovation and environmental protection.
Enhancing collective intelligence
The 126,000 m² building is inspired by the world’s most innovative companies, like the web giants and start-ups, while retaining the principles that reflect the culture of the Societe Generale Group. A completely connected building, Les Dunes offers its users a huge variety of places to work and experiment.
A special committee formed of volunteer employees was involved throughout the project to construct the layouts, technologies and uses of Les Dunes together, and rethink ways of working and management styles. In particular, this retained the principle of flexible working based on the sharing of offices to facilitate and encourage mobility and autonomy, as well as on teleworking to improve the quality of life at work. Before staff moved in, this concept was tested and refined using a Test & Learn approach with 500 pioneers in the towers of La Défense.
The fact that the design and construction processes for Les Dunes were therefore simultaneous led to the creation of a building that was truly tailored to its occupants.
Innovation is also at the heart of Les Dunes with a space of 1,000m² dedicated to start-ups, which foster cooperation between internal and external project teams and French Tech ecosystems.
“Le Plateau” currently hosts five external start-ups on a full-time basis, in short bursts. These start-ups are proposed by the Group’s core businesses, recommended by a partner, or founded by an employee. The selection criteria for these entities of at least six people are based on the relational aspect and the willingness to share with Societe Generale.
Three internal start-ups are also in residence at Le Plateau, involving employees from all Societe Generale divisions and businesses. Seconded from their teams, they work in start-up mode on projects adopted for their disruptive, innovative, new business-related, multidisciplinary or international nature. These projects are destined to be tested quickly and if needed, quickly abandoned. STEP 31 was, for example launched in July 2016 to improve the user experience of the digital workplace of the Group’s employees.
Opening & artistic creativity
An “open” place before anything, Les Dunes also places considerable emphasis on artistic creativity. Eight street artists – TAKT and SUEB of the 3HC Collective, Romain Froquet, the OnOff Collective, TETAR, Goddog, Monsieur XXX and STOUL – used their talent to create huge frescoes, reinventing the signage in the 5,000m² parking area. An initiative that falls within the Group’s policy of artistic patronage and in particular Societe Generale’s collection of contemporary art.
76,000 m2 office space
500 collaborative areas
14,000 m2 of communal areas
1,000 m² dedicated to start-ups
"The iterative design approach for Les Dunes, a co-creation process centred on user experience, is symbolic of the Group’s digital transformation. This connected and innovative space is a fantastic laboratory for inventing an agile, collaborative and open working environment that will help the Group to enhance its performance for the benefit of its customers."
Françoise Mercadal-Delasalles, Head of Resources and Innovation of Societe Generale