OPEN INNOVATION, our conviction

Christian Grellier innovation bouygues immobilier
Christian Grellier
Director of R&D and Open Innovation
The days of property innovation in a vacuum are long gone. Nowadays, ideas are born from collective endeavour. By working with our partners and encouraging initiative among our employees, we build sustainable cities that truly meet the needs of the people who live in them
Developing property projects together

We develop communities. Our close-meshed regional network means that we can work hand-in-hand with local partners such as businesses, startups and associations to design made-to-measure property projects tailored to the local context. We have neither the capacity nor the ambition to build up all the necessary skills in-house, in addition to our urban development expertise. On the other hand, we know how to get all the stakeholders to work together from the outset.

For example, with the Bordeaux metropolitan authority, La Poste, Sopra Steria and Veolia, we have pooled our know-how in order improve quality of life in the region by creating Bordeaux Metro Pulse, a living lab on the theme of the smart city. The initiative allows all the different players (businesses, Bordeaux Métropole, educational institutions, associations and citizens) to test and implement new ideas to serve the area and its residents, notably by using information available in open data form.
We develop partnership-based ecosystems for sustainable property projects that are demonstrators of the city of the future, such as:

  • Issygrid, the first operational smart grid in France, at Issy-les-Moulineaux, near Paris;
  • Lyon Living Lab, a sustainable city demonstrator headed by Bouygues Immobilier and Linkcity in conjunction with 60 partners. As part of the project, we are working with the Lyon-based startup Navya to run a driverless electric shuttle. We have also chosen the neighbourhood for the first smart-grid blockchain (a distributed digital authentication solution without a trusted third party) in association with Stratumn and Energisme.

We have also created co-enterprises with highly specific expertise in strategic areas: 

  • Embix, a startup specialising in the management of urban services and smart-grid and smart-city consulting;
  • Aveltys, a company created with Schneider Electric that guarantees integrated energy performance.
Encouraging our employees to become intrapreneurs

The company encourages intrapreneurship among its own teams, in particular with the Digital Makers Challenge. The aim is to elicit grassroots initiatives and give an opportunity to those willing to take risks by helping them to develop their projects. We support them for six months, giving them the necessary resources to help them succeed. 10 initiatives were completed in 2016 and a further 12 are under way in 2017.

I developed a project for online apartment sales as part of the Digital Makers initiative. The experience taught me the importance of the pitch, i.e. how to present the project in a few lines. Having an idea is one thing, but you then need to have the right people around you – partners, sponsors and so on. The support of my colleagues and of the innovation team was very helpful. It confirms that you shouldn’t give up when the going gets tough. You need to hang on in there, use the window if the doors are shut, keep going and communicate at all times!
Florence Hauvette-Schaetzle
Director, Eastern France, Bouygues Immobilier

In a different register, one of our employees had the original idea for Nextdoor, our subsidiary which offers co-working spaces. He worked on it for a number of years, then the company was created in 2015. It’s now a great success, regularly opening new sites.

At an everyday level, we aim to encourage our people to keep an open mind. La Ruche – the Hive – is our co working space in Issy-les-Moulineaux where customers, partners, start-ups and innovation leaders can meet each other, but it was initially intended to raise our people’s awareness of future trends in the commercial property market. It shows our wish to turn the people who work here into intrapreneurs. We also organise regular Leader Meetups with acknowledged influencers on subjects as varied as robotics, the digital revolution and the city of the future. To date, we have welcomed over 50 speakers at these meetings, which are open to everyone and broadcast live on YouTube.

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