A breath of OxySGen at Société Générale!

Written by Sarah Spitz, on 19 September 2018

In 2016, I attended a Lab Session for six months conducted by the Institute for Desirable Futures, which completely opened my mind and profoundly inspired me to build a "positive conspiracy." Upon returning, armed with new insights into the present, inspired by lectures, debates, and equipped with tools to set things in motion, I had only one desire: to prepare the future of my Group, especially for those who would join. My obsession was that the generations to follow would only experience benevolent and inspiring management in an environment advocating collective intelligence.

The undeniable realization I started with in 2016 was that it is high time to transform to boost the engagement of current employees and those of the future. It is essential to prepare for the future that will be shaped by what we call the Y generation. OxySGen allies know that 70% of the Y generation do not identify with the traditional model. However, by 2025, this generation will represent 75% of the active population. All these generations together no longer aspire to have a career but an adventure!

On May 4, 2016, OxySGen was born. I created it with a design thinking mindset, with a strong desire to co-build the company of tomorrow with others. The idea was simple: I wanted to create a virtual community where we could freely exchange ideas and explore perspectives that open the mind to alternative ways of functioning. I dreamt of a free, learning, and transformative community where managerial practices are revisited, and new ways of working are boosted.

The company of tomorrow is a platform for collective intelligence," as Joël de Rosnay says. It integrates digital technology, is agile, collaborative, responsible, audacious, and fosters proximity. - Muriel Benitah

A place where we could freely discuss benevolent management, the right to make mistakes... It seemed crucial to me that we dare to imagine a different future for the bank, and above all: dare to display it to be an actor in this change. It was so taboo at the time, especially for this 150-year-old bank, so marked by a pyramidal managerial culture! You have to realize: shortly after launching the community, I was absent for two or three days... During which the platform remained completely inactive. Upon my return, I asked why no one had posted anything: they simply did not dare!

However, I had an advantage: I had worked for many years at SG, which gave me a certain legitimacy and helped me overcome some obstacles. For example, I obtained approval to open a "stateless" Community, i.e., not attached to a specific Direction of the Group and open to all employees who wanted to follow our news and monitoring. I also managed to unlock a budget to organize the OxySgen kick-off event, called "The world is changing," with Axelle Tessandier. The reactions revealed how new and vulnerable the subject was: some participants loved it, but others... hated it. I even got a few good slaps! But, fundamentally, I didn't care; I had nothing left to prove, and I was determined to stick to my convictions.

In short, OxySgen was now up and running. I was joined by other volunteers like Claire, François, Lamia, Jerome, Jocelyne, Sylvie, Yvon, Corinne... All from different generations and departments, with the only commonality being firmly rooted values! "It is by each of us changing a little that we can change everything," Douste-Blazy's conviction is shared by the OxySGen community, for whom managerial innovation is imposed on our organizations as an obvious choice.

And as nothing replaces human interaction, for a year, weekly events were organized in person (remote employees could, of course, connect). Every week, a startup would talk about a topic. Always with the same goal: to encourage discussion and talk about a subject that no one dared to discuss, fearing to be seen as a supporter of disruption in established management.

The approach quickly bore fruit: OxySgen community members work in good collective intelligence, collaborate to produce meaning, recognize the value and know-how of each other, and promote expression and cooperation within the company. OxySgen quickly became the most active community within the bank. Other projects even approached us to seek help in becoming more visible!

The impact on the mindset was quickly felt: tongues were loosened. In fact, the bank relied on the OxySgen network to identify employees and involve them in seminars and workshops on collective intelligence aimed at improving the organization and functioning of SG.

Conclusion: We successfully moved within OxySGen from idea to action, and we share our ambitions and achievements with great conviction and joy... Join us! Alone we go faster, together we go further (African proverb).