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Cardif Lab’, a powerful innovation structure to adapt to a changing world!

Today, it is difficult to keep up with all technological progress. Yet it is essential to do so, as it can have the potential to disrupt established businesses like the insurance sector. To stay at the top of innovation, BNP Paribas Cardif, the insurance arm of BNP Paribas, launched the Cardif Lab’ in 2014. Their aim was to familiarize all BNP Paribas partners with two innovative concepts: firstly assessing the impact of digital transformation on their business and secondly, encouraging the launch of innovative projects with these partners.

As such, the forward-looking Lab focuses on 3 main activities: a regular technology watch, a bottom-up information flow to identify growing business trends and finally recurrent training sessions for BNP Paribas Cardif’s employees to keep them up to standard with the latest innovations. Since its launch, the Lab has welcomed nearly 10,000 visitors and has inspired numerous market innovations both in BNP Paribas Cardif and beyond. One of the reasons for this success is their strong cooperation with insurance distribution partners and startups.

Cardif Lab’ is a showroom of 120 square meters which accommodates a selection of technological innovations including: the 3D printer, the Beam or NAO robots and the Oculus Rift helmet, among others …This impressive exhibition plunges visitors in an innovative atmosphere straight away. Guests mainly include: BNP Paribas employees, partners (banks, credit companies, car manufacturers, telecoms operators, insurance brokers, retailers etc.), academics and startups. Whatever their field, they can find in the lab concrete examples of use cases applicable to their own business.Some of the most innovative technologies presented to them come from startups, a population with which Cardif Lab’ has cooperated from the outset. As outlined by Jérôme Mlynarczyk, Head of IT Innovation and Edouard Thurotte, Startups Relationship Manager (both co-founders of  the Cardif Lab’), the Lab has inspired several nice collaborations between BNP Paribas and startups.

The first of them is the sourcing of Awabot.  Awabot was launched in 2011 by Bruno Bonnell, a multiple entrepreneur from Lyon. This innovative small and medium-sized enterprise is a pioneer in mobile telepresence with robotic DNA and was identified by a startups’ competition organized for the top management of BNP Paribas Cardif. Further to this, the Lab exposed the mounting startup’s flagship robot: Beam, giving Awabot exposure to the Lab’s visitors i.e. to all the key insurance partners visiting the Lab.The actual winner of this competition was Telegraphik. This startup, coming from Toulouse and created in September 2013 by Carole Zisa-Garat, launched Otono-me, a non-intrusive remote assistance service to help out old people and allow them to stay at home as much as possible. The device memory stores elderly people’s habits and is able to inform their family whenever an unusual situation occurs. In addition to BNP Paribas Cardif startups’ competitions, the Lab carries out a regular technology watch. Indeed, among its staff, outstanding technology experts scrutinize the market, test innovations and source relevant startups primarily in the insurance sector. This is how Creative Space Lab was identified. Creative Space Lab was created in 2014 by Loic Beauvillain, Chief Innovation Officer and Agnès de Lavarde, Legal Director and Co-Founder. Bringing together a team of experts in Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, it brings its customers a unique client experience allowing them to stand out from their competitors. In this particular instance, the Creative Space Lab team has put at the disposal of a big retailer an HTC Vive Helmet with a virtual reality game to stress the difference between a protected mobile phone and an unprotected one. In the aftermath of this client experience, sales relationship managers can advise customers with the relevant insurance cover for their phone and explain its benefits in relation to the virtual reality experience they have just encountered. 

This concrete business cooperation example is also the outcome of the constant information flow between the Lab and BNP Paribas Cardif’s employees. The Lab’s staff members interact with BNP Paribas Cardif’s sales professionals across the world i.e. in the 36 different countries where the company operates. Histories like that of Creative Space Lab materialize thanks to their constant communication with each other.

This bottom-up feedback is complemented by all the suggestions the Lab obtains through the trainings it organizes for BNP Paribas Cardif employees. Every week, sessions are proposed to keep them updated of the latest technological innovations. All participants also have the possibility to build devices on their own and in this way to experience different innovative concepts. These trainings can be the occasion to gather their input on forthcoming needs and trends. In essence, the quality of its technological watch, its strong foothold in the startups universe and the constant exchanges with its partners and employees give Cardif Lab’ all the ingredients to stay at the forefront of innovation.   In this respect, it clearly reflects the culture of BNP Paribas Cardif, a forward looking business of BNP Paribas which fully embraces its capacity to adapt to a changing world!

About Cardif Lab’:

Cardif Lab’ is the realisation of the digital strategy of BNP Paribas Cardif. Because becoming a digital insurer is a major theme for BNP Paribas Cardif, the company launched a digital transformation plan in late 2012, with the Cardif Lab’ being one of the key components. Located at the headquarters of BNP Paribas Cardif in Nanterre, the Cardif Lab’ opened its doors in May 2014. In addition to ten thematic areas, it centers on the digital innovations that the company has developed in the many countries where it is present, as well as the high-tech innovations that give us a glimpse into the insurance of tomorrow.

About OpenUp:

The OpenUp Platform connects BNP Paribas employees, working on innovation or business projects, to startups around the world. These startups can be Fintechs as well as startups in other adjacent services and technologies. The OpenUp App allows startups to apply for projects within the bank, connect to BNP Paribas' experts and post ideas, explaining how their solution can improve the bank.  

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