Jeanne Bretecher is a young entrepreneur, who co-founded with Steven Bertal the agency Generation2, a new kind of consulting agency who’s acting for partnerships for the greater good. As more and more we see innovators with a social purpose, I’ve asked Jeanne a few questions to better understand the social innovation aspiration among young entrepreneurs.
1) Hi Jeanne, you’re leading the agency Generation2, could you tell us what’s its purpose, and its main lines of services?
Génération2 is a cooperative of advisors, working to increase and guide corporation, and social innovators’ partnerships, from Philanthropy to more business oriented solutions.
Our niche domain : create conversations and collaboration between corporations, non profits, and social innovators and public sector.
We have mainly 4 lines of service :
- A Survey Office which produces societal analysis, cartography, and strategic surveillance on general interest matters;
- Project engineering & responsible communication advisement, with a specific focus on employees involvement;
- Master class & trainings;
- Event & conference organizations about social innovation, and innovative corporate philanthropy.
2) Could you specify some of the exemplary missions that you’ve conducted?
- We realized several societal analysis on various thematic, from Pain societal handling for an Insurance company, to Education stakes, and prospect in Centre & West Africa. We are also realizing currently an open map of supermarkets and social groceries to create links between them. We also publish papers in specialized media.
- We accompanied Thales corporation with the creation and program development of their foundation. During 3 years we helped them thinking on their potential impact on social issues they could address with their own resources beyond financial support. Then we designed program with them in this perspective, implement a monitoring process, and help them with their first assessment.
- We teach Master Classes on Social innovation, Innovative philanthropy, links between social and tech innovation… We also organized a Learning trip at Web summit this year with a mix delegation to explore social innovation and tech ecosystem in Lisbon.
- We organized several events for us or our clients. This year we are really proud for having one within Web Summit with forme France President François Hollande.
3) No success without a cohesive and passionate team, would you kindly present your talents?
I must say talent and passion are our main ressources. As we were transforming our organization (from a family corporation to a young cooperative), we tried to create a collective of beginning advisors and only one among us (me) was really experimented.
A lot of people did not fit in the end, and I have learned that main qualities for co-entrepreneurs are : hard work capacity, faith for the shared goals and faith in the team, selflessness that is to say capacity to put the common interest before personal ones, and mainly autonomy, curiosity, eagerness to learn and progress. Also and assured and self-confident personality, which can be improved with time and support of the team.
Apart of these human qualities, which are crucial in our changing times to adapt fast, grades are secondary.
4) You’ve recently initiated a new initiative whose mantra is: More Social Good in Tech, more Tech in Social Good. It materializes through the SocialGoodAccelerator web site. It seems more like a Think Do Tank than a startup accelerator, could you tell us more about it? Is there anything for startups in it? Have you customize some startups tools toward a social purpose, akin a social business canvas?
We are just at the beginning to a story with the Social Good accelerator, which started one year ago at Web Summit with a very fierce intuition : everyone was talking about innovation on a tech perspective, but no one was talking about social innovation. Our belief is that social innovation must be a driver for or at least taken into account by tech innovation, and that social innovation dramatically needs acceleration.
We took the accelerator metaphor to speak the same langage than Tech actors, but as innovators we intend to transform it a bit.
Our message : facing huge social an environnemental challenges, today very well shared withe the UN Sustainable development goals, we need to accelerate social innovation real fast. Join forces, use tech innovation in this purpose and find the same capacity of fundings to scale them up.
But today, and that was the share statement last Monday and Tuesday at the High conference organized by European Commission (and Carlos Moedas, Science & innovation commissioner) in Lisbon, acceleration and funding are mainly focus on tech start-ups. Its a temporal mistake.
We really do need to create bridges and collaboration between tech and social innovation, and Millenials, who are the main workforce of tech sector today, are perfect holders for that.
After Web Summit we drew our french & portuguese hub’s 3 missions and 2018 calendar :
- Communicate, launch a media a a European pledge (our manifesto here);
- Speak within take events along with social innovators to raise awareness and collaborations;
- Organize a whole learning and networking process, and between volunteer tech corporations, and non profit in need for digital transformation thanks to our partners organizations (Fondation La France s’engage, ProBonoLab, ShareIt, MicroDON, Hello Asso, Social Entrepreneurs agency, Make Sense, Simplon.co, etc.).
An association is being created to bear them. A lot of solutions, among our partners and further, already exist to help start ups willing to commit and we just want to connect them better. We are also launching a wider survey to learn more about the resources Tech sector – any size of corporations – is willing to put resources in favor of social innovators. Beginning with an online survey.
5) Your mantra reminds me of FastForward which accelerates non profit tech startups, have you heard of their work, and what is your view on this? Similar question with http://www.aguialabs.com/, an agency focused on social business models?
As the native center of start-ups, San Francisco is quite advanced on these matters, but we think that fundamental differences of culture exists between European and American non profit (and tech sector). For example, in France but also in Portugal or in the Netherlands, we have a very large and dynamic ecosystem of social innovators. They are developing in parallel of European tech clusters, widely inspired but Tech scaling methods, but the vice versa is not true. There are an emerging awareness with Station F (hosting Ashoka and Fondation la France s’engage office) or Numa creating an incubator for Social good Tech.
6) In the large companies you’re working for, do you observe a link between CSR and Innovation departments? Is social impact a clear attribute when developing innovation projects?
First and foremost, and I deplore it, CSR as very few to do with social innovation. Sometimes special departments are created (Danone, Total, Essilor, Orange…) to lead mainly base of the pyramid project but it is very rare. We think Innovation department, as Aymeril Hoang is doing at Société générale, must naturally integrate social innovation, create drivers and partnerships. And work with philanthropy department on innovative way to support non profits.