How to improve knowledge of airport runway conditions for more optimized and safer operations? By using the full potential of aircraft braking data!
What is your professional background? In your opinion, were you meant for intrapreneurship from the beginning?
Passionate about aeronautics, I joined Safran 15 years ago after my studies in mechanical engineering. I have developed solid experience as a technical project manager in the field of aircraft and helicopter braking. Before becoming an intrapreneur in 2019 on the innovative and digital Run[waiz] project, I set up and supervised a team of research project managers in aircraft wheels and brakes.
My professional career has consisted of challenges. Starting from a blank page motivates me in particular; I am eager about taking initiatives and am more of a source of ideas. I think these are also important characteristics for being an intrapreneur.
How did the big leap towards intrapreneurship go?
During the first season of the “We love intrapreneurs” program, 120 ideas were proposed by SAFRAN employees. A team that had already passed the first stages of selection and that had qualified to participate in the “Bootcamp” phase suggested that I join them. I then seized this great opportunity and this was how, with the approval of my manager, I was able to attend the Bootcamp training, to get involved in the intrapreneurship project and to continue the tasks related to my position at the same time.
Chosen at the end of the bootcamp by the investors (the CEO of the SAFRAN companies), the Run[waiz] project joined the SAFRAN booster. After some deliberation, I decided to leave my position and take up this new challenge by joining the booster and the Run[waiz] team. The support of my manager and the support of my HR manager were key in backing me in this process.
Could you talk to us about Run[waiz]?
The objective of the Run[waiz] project is to provide factual information on the condition of the tracks, calculated with the braking data.
What were the factors that made you get involved in intrapreneurship?
When I was presented with the project, I saw the many challenges in it, the potential of the solution to be developed, and the opportunity to get out of my comfort zone with a digital-oriented subject. I was won over by the team, the project, and I started with this desire to proceed without the risks associated with entrepreneurship while still keeping the benefits of being an employee of the SAFRAN group.
We have to convince and reassure our internal investors during “stop or go” reviews every 4 or 5 months, which requires fulfilling ambitious requirements if we wish to continue the adventure. This pushes us to go the extra mile to bring our idea to fruition. Becoming an intrapreneur is an opportunity to be seized and is not a risk in my eyes; this makes it possible for you to have the chance to act, to benefit from coaching and supervision to learn and develop your project and release the entrepreneur inside us!
Beyond being a springboard, how did the “We love intrapreneurs” program help you in the development of the project?
The intrapreneurship program enjoys strong support from leadership. The Run[waiz] project is closely monitored by two mentors, from Safran Electronics and Defense and Safran Landing Systems. Between two “stop or go” meetings, they are real, very available support who provide us with valuable advice.
In addition to this important support, we have all the Booster teams who support us in bringing the project to fruition. Olivier Leclerc, Virginie Coll, and Valentin Orus help us to go the extra mile, to challenge ourselves, and provide us with training adapted to our needs. Personally, the Business Development training courses have particularly helped me. I come from a very technical field, and I did not have this marketing/sales knowledge that I acquired and that I understand today thanks to the intrapreneurship.
Finally, we gather hours of expert work within the group’s entities. The Run[waiz] project involves subjects from several SAFRAN entities. So, each person in the team will search in his or her network, and will ask for expertise in order to help us on our project. It is real collaborative work, and it is also the strength of intrapreneurship in the face of entrepreneurship.
Where is Run[waiz] today? Have you experienced any specific difficulties related to the health crisis?
Run[waiz] is a project that brings together airports and airlines. However, since March 2020, airports have been operating below capacity, and some are closed. Our next challenge, which is to demonstrate the added value and strengthen the technical feasibility of this solution, is going to require bringing together airlines that would agree to share their aircraft data, and this in a context of a crisis in the sector.
If you had to do it again, would you change anything? Did you have any specific difficulties?
We had some difficulties in particular related to the performance of the team. An idea without an in-sync team that communicates well will not go far. The team is at least as important as the idea. At the end of last year, we had lost the collective momentum a little, but helped properly by the Booster, we rather quickly regained our common ambition and our momentum.
Do you have any advice for people who are still hesitant about getting into intrapreneurship?
At the risk of not being very original, I would say without hesitation that there is nothing to lose, apart from learning and bringing added value to an ambitious project. It’s a great opportunity to learn about yourself, to learn to go the extra mile, both as a team and as individuals.
My only advice would be to say “go for it; get started, you are going to act, be supported, and supervised. It’s a great human and professional experience.”