Total's Exploration & Production segment has understood and acted on this fact for over two decades. The in-house Best Innovators competition was created in the mid-1990s to recognize employees, irrespective of profession, who had implemented innovative projects in their jobs.
The contest has two aims. By nature, it promotes new technologies and ideas that will save time and money, improve safety or shrink the company's environmental footprint. But it also wants all E&P employees to identify with the winners and boldly innovate, in turn fostering a genuine culture of day-to-day innovation and demonstrate the pioneer spirit that Total has always claimed as its own.
"Things that no longer change are already dead," claims Benoît Mathis, E&P innovation officer at Total. "In an increasingly fast-moving world, propelled in particular by digital technology, you have to respond and adapt by innovating."
The Best Innovators' contest is very popular with E&P employees. More than 100 proposals are submitted each year. "Every entry is scrutinized according to specific criteria: the spirit of innovation, technical contribution, simplicity, whether it can be reproduced elsewhere and cost consciousness," says Mathis. Contest entries reflect all aspects of Exploration & Production, including the ones with the lowest technological content. Submissions have included competition research and digital technology surveys, for example. Secondly, the number of people casting ballots and attending the awards ceremony is on the rise. "We can all identify with the innovators and, at the end of the day, the Best Innovators contest helps drive our segment's performance," adds Mathis, who is pleased with progress.