Written by guest blogger, Abhijeet Shegokar
Arriving in Paris
In February, I was fortunate to visit our Schneider Electric headquarters in Paris, also known as “The Hive” for the first time. Back then I was working with the Software Business (now Aveva) based in Lake Forest, California. I was visiting Paris to meet our colleagues from Knowledge Management Office, learn more about their operations and about the culture at the Paris Office. I was able to meet leaders and senior managers, explore the Hive as well as Paris during my one-week visit.
The day I reached Paris it was snowing and was pretty cold, and I was very thrilled with my first snow experience in the city of lights. I took the metro to the hotel, and by that time the snow had started to come down heavily. Eager to see the office, I hurriedly got ready and headed straight there. Five minutes into the walk I saw the road signs for the office and a little ahead I could see the nicely lit green logo on top of a building – it was very exhilarating. As I reached closer I could see the entire building clad with snow all around it. It was a very beautiful scene.
My First Views
The Hive is a 7-floor building made of two L shaped structures joined to each other with the smaller one attached inversely to the bigger one creating an open space for everyone no matter where you sit. It’s an amazing structure surrounded by the highway on one side and a school stadium on the other side, giving a beautiful view wherever you are. As you enter from the main gate you pass a real life-sized customer demo center called the Innovation Hub and a modular home showcasing our products in an actual home setting.
As I entered the building I was amazed to see the front desk and innovation hub with a house-like structure. I was greeted at the reception desk and given my cool visitor’s badge, and they called upon the employee I was meeting, Louis-Pierre (LP) Guillaume, the then director of Knowledge Management Office.
Visiting the Hive
It was wonderful to finally meet LP in person. I had known him for almost a year through various conversations, his workshops, and his posts about iSEE (internal Schneider Electric Encyclopedia). We had also worked together on Communities@Work (C@W), a program for employees to come together to collaborate and share best practices about working more efficiently.
I was a bit surprised to see how tall he was in real life! It was late in the evening but we spoke for an hour about my journey and the C@W and iSEE projects. He also showed me around the office, and how to reach his desk in the big puzzle of the Hive. I was going to be seated next to him for the week, so it was important to correctly remember the signs!
In the office, there were book shelves that contained books mostly in French covering vast topics including electrical engineering, management, the city Paris, and even picture books about the history of Schneider Electric. The office also has a very nice cafeteria, a place everyone could enjoy and have a relaxed conversation. There were different options to choose from for daily meals, catering to needs of all from vegetarians to fish lovers to meat lovers. You can select whatever you want for the main course and delicious deserts, and the price is less than half of what you would pay for the same amount at a nearby restaurant in Paris.
The Hive is an eco-friendly building and every small detail gives you the feel of that. All the food that remains is nicely processed and nothing is left to waste. Next to the cafeteria was the lunch room which could easily sit more than 1000 people at a time.
During my visit I met new people from different domains across our company, including Gilles Anger, who currently is part of the Exploration and Offer Innovation governance team. Giles has been with SE for over 27 years, and was visiting the Hive to give a customer presentation in the innovation Hub. Thanks to Gilles I could experience a first-hand customer demo. When giving the demo to the internal SE customer support team, he even asked me to share my knowledge from the software business products I work on – and I was thrilled to do it.
The Innovation hub is in a nicely crafted area, and there is a well-planned tour route to see all the innovative products that we have, showcase our social responsibility initiatives, and share how we give back to the society and the earth that we live on. The tour starts with a wonderful message from our chairman and CEO Jean-Pascal Tricoire on a huge touch screen TV.
Next, customers are shown different videos about Schneider Electric Products, the sustainability barometer and cultures at different sites of SE. The next phase is about the actual products and how they are used in real scenarios at our customer sites, be it data center, hospitals, personal home or large eco-friendly buildings. On the tour there also is a control room setup which showcases our software offerings in action. I was delighted to share more information on this part of the tour with offerings from our Wonderware brand.
In summary, I would like to share the insights that I learned not only from this trip but from the last 2 years working at Schneider Electric (read more about my internship in my blog). We are a huge company of diverse people working together to make the life of our customers easier with innovative offers and best quality and we are a global family. There are people from various walks of life that have been working for SE for more than 20 years, that number shows how much everyone loves to be with SE.
The biggest advantage of working for Schneider Electric is the humongous amount of opportunities across the globe that can be utilized to absorb and innovate. Being a millennial and a traveler, I think this opens a great opportunity to learn, travel and give back to the company and our customers. I am very proud to be part of Schneider Electric and working with such a great global family that makes sure Life is On everywhere for everyone at every moment.
About the Author
Abhijeet started his journey with Schneider Electric in March 2016, he continues to work as Data Manager within the Knowledge Management and Communities Office of Schneider Electric. Abhijeet enjoys sharing information related to inside Schneider Electric Encyclopedia (iSEE) and Communities@Work (C@W) collaboration platform. He likes to work in field of Management and Data Analytics, travel around the globe solving problems and investing in disruptive innovations that help make peoples life easier making sure Life is ON everywhere, for everyone and at every moment. Abhijeet can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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