Developing talent around a shared passion for innovation

Posted on: November 25, 2019 by Sophie Proust

Invention. Innovation. These two words have become very familiar. But have you ever asked yourself how they differ? With technology advancing at an incredible pace, why has innovation and not invention become a top priority for business?

Innovation: Applied invention

The difference between invention and innovation is subtle, yet important. An invention is a new product or process. An innovation applies that invention to a market in a way that aims to bring about a positive impact. Take the Internet of Things as an example of an invention; it’s already enabling innovation by opening up new business models to insurance, utility services, healthcare, public services and many other sectors.

So, why am I explaining all this to you? In my previous blog, I spoke about our commitment at Atos to driving technological change. With technology advancing so fast, we feel it is our responsibility to look ahead and to work together with our clients to help them maximize value from new technologies.

I also introduced our Expert Community, the community of experts who are helping our clients master technological changes (the inventions) so they deliver value for their businesses (the innovations).

Developing Talents

We launched the community in 2017 to develop the best talent and make the most of our experts’ knowledge, so we can boost innovation and guide our clients on their journey toward the future.

Our community currently has more than 2,700 members across the globe, which is amazing when you think it’s only two years old. Members come from a diverse range of specialties, so we’ve created 13 domains to allow them to collaborate with their peers within their own circle of knowledge. The domains cover topics ranging from infrastructure through quantum to digital workplace, and more besides.

A place for our experts to grow

Our experts need the freedom and support from the business to learn, discuss and experiment. The Expert Community provides a supportive and stimulating environment that encourages technical collaboration, spreads expertise-related know-how and supports innovation, improving our R&D capabilities. Experts regularly gather with their peers from their domain of expertise, sometimes inviting external experts to join them. They sometimes meet virtually; other times face-to-face. Forums keep the dialogue going in-between.

But developing the best technical talent isn’t just about providing the right environment for growth, it also needs us to recognize a professional technology career path so our experts can progress. And that is exactly what we’ve done. We’ve defined a set of grades – extending right up to fellow (we currently count 5 Atos fellows) – that set out what we expect of an expert at each level and suggest relevant training to help them reach the next level.

Applying strategic technologies

They’ve achieved an immense amount of work. As well as supporting our sales teams in guiding our clients, each domain is tasked to guide the work done on the strategic technologies the Group strongly invests in, ranging from Artificial Intelligence (AI) and automation, through Cloud, Edge and Advance Computing to Cybersecurity and more besides. As our most qualified and committed technology experts, they’re responsible for identifying and building vertical solutions that leverage those technologies to deliver real business value for our clients.

The Expert Community is also helping us at a strategic level. Specifically, it is helping us build our technology roadmap by identifying trends and the areas where we need to be. They’re also pinpointing the technologies on our Look Out radar, which is helping us prioritize which areas we need to invest in.

Recognizing and rewarding talent

My first blog post in this series focused on the Expert Convention; the annual get together where Expert Community members gather – not just with their peers but also with experts from our partners. The convention is also a great opportunity to recognize their growing talent by rewarding their achievements. We award the best contributor, the best social media ambassador and more besides. There’s also an award for IP filling, which aims to encourage our experts to develop their ideas to where they’re ready to file a patent.

In my next blog posts, I will reveal more about the partnerships that play an essential role in helping our experts innovate for and with our clients, along with details of the strategic technologies our experts are bringing to life.

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About Sophie Proust
Group Chief Technology Officer, Atos and member of the Scientific Community
Sophie has been the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Atos since January 2019. She joined the Atos group in 2014 following the acquisition by Atos of Bull, where she held the position of Head of Research & Development. At Atos, Sophie was head of the Research & Development for the Big Data & Cybersecurity division, from 2014 to January 2019. Alongside this, Sophie is part of the Atos Quantum Advisory board. Before Atos, Sophie held various technical managerial positions at Bull in the mainframe, IT administration solutions and HW server design. In 2010, Sophie headed the Tera100 Project which delivered the CEA with the first Petaflops-scale calculator in Europe. She has been a member of the board of directors of Worldline since December 2016 and a member of the board of directors of the Université Technologique de Troyes (UTT) since December 2018. Sophie Proust is a graduate of the Ecole Supérieure d’Electricité “Supélec” of Paris.

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