CHALLENGE

How can we create a platform that makes it easier for startups to connect to the right people within a bank of 190k+ employees?

APPROACH

We wanted to create a scalable platform that would connect startups with the right people within a large bank, thus helping BNP Paribas to source the best startups in the world. 

RESULT

Over 1,000 startups are currently enrolled on OpenUp, and over 1,100 BNP Paribas employees have signed up. But the real value is in the ideas and projects posted and the relationships created. 

 
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The Most Transparent Digital Approach to Open Innovation to Date

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

"Stringcan has been much more than a mere provider. They've been a true partner that collaborated with us to move the project forward."

Natalie Michel, Head of Innovation - PACE BNP Paribas

CHALLENGE

A Breakthrough Platform for Innovation

BNP Paribas understands that today banks need to constantly innovate to stay ahead. There is competition on all fronts, and customers are looking for more personal and user-friendly experiences that take the hassle and frustration away from banking. So BNP Paribas brought us in to work with them on an interesting challenge: creating a system that was easy for employees to use and that would encourage them to find new innovative solutions to problems. 

 

We therefore started the project with a series of key questions: What was blocking employees at BNP Paribas from engaging in external innovation? What mutual value could be gained from connecting employees to startups? What type of platform would encourage the type of meaningful collaboration that leads to tangible results?

 
 
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METHOD            

External Force to Turn an Idea Into a Platform

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While BNP Paribas had an idea of what they wanted from OpenUp, it was useful to have an external force to drive the process forward and navigate the internal politics and bureaucracyBut they wanted more than that. They wanted a partner, a company with experience in these types of settings and a deep understanding of how innovation occurs. 

 

That's where Stringcan came in. We didn't bring reports or slideshows to impress or lecture. We brought an open mind and a conviction that the best work comes from collaboration. From the beginning, we immersed ourselves in the BNP Paribas team, helping them work through the ideation stage, driving Alpha and Beta testing, and leading the launch and moderation of the platform. We were there every step of the way. Because that's how we do business. 

RESULT

Over 1,000 startups and 1,100 employees. Lots of new ideas. 

We discovered that the gap between the idea of innovation and reality can be steep for large companies. But collaboration and a bit of creativity are key to success. 

 

Our strategy was to start by asking a lot of questions. The goal was to learn how innovation currently works within BNP Paribas. We needed to understand what type of tool would be intuitive and useful for both internal employees and startups. That meant a lot of listening, readjusting, and sometimes plunging into uncharted territory. The partnership we built up with BNP Paribas over years helped, as did our years of experience in the innovation space. 

Today, OpenUp is a live platform on the web and an app for both iOS and Android. There are 1,000+ startups that have signed up and created profiles. And there are even more BNP Paribas employees, often proposing projects and ideas that they need help on. The potential for collaboration is immense and is already happening. 

Meanwhile, we continue to work with BNP Paribas on new ideas to constantly improve the platform. We want it to be responsive to the needs of the users. That was our philosophy from the beginning. Many internal employees at BNP Paribas have been amazed at how effective co-creation can be. But we always knew this was the case. We just needed a platform to enable people to see that. 

Have an idea you want to turn into reality? 

That happens to be our specialty.