Call for EIG 3 projects - the 6 key factors for the success of an EIG challenge

23 May 2018 / by Soizic Pénicaud, équipe EIG

On 15 May, the EIG team organised an information meeting at the Liberté Living Lab on the occasion of the call for EIG 3 projects.

As a reminder, the promotion includes 2 phases:

  • Selection of challenges : from May to June, a call for projects is launched to administrations (central government, independent administrative authorities, local authorities, etc.). Those whose challenges are shortlisted will be auditioned by a panel consisting of personalities from administrations, digital technology or research, who will select the winners.
  • Selection of EIGs : from September to November, a call for applications will be launched to select EIGs who will take up challenges within their host administrations from January 2019 onwards.

Timeline de la constitution de la promotion EIG 3. Du 4 mai au 15 juin : appel à projets PIA. Début juillet : jury, débouchant sur l'annonce des défis choisis. De septembre à novembre, appel à candidatures EIG. Mi-novembre : jury débouchant sur l'annonce des EIG choisis. Janvier 2019 : démarrage des EIG dans leurs administrations.

The aim of the session (the slides of which you will find here), was to present the new features of the call for EIG 3 projects, in particular co-funded by the PIA, and to allow direct discussions with the administrations involved.

A report of the questions and answers is available on the website's FAQ EIG and FAQ administrations.

This meeting also provided an opportunity to present the success factors of an EIG challenge. What is it that, at the end of a challenge, allows administrations to be provided with digital tools that meet their initial professional problems, and which can be sustained and reused by other departments, or even outside administrations?

The EIG program has been in existence for almost 2 years, and already has 22 challenges and 39 entrepreneurs. Based on this experience, we have identified 6 factors for the success of a challenge.

A clear scope

It is important for the scope of the challenge to be taken up to be well defined from the outset, even if the exact type of solution developed may well change in co-construction with the selected EIGs. The aim is to propose a challenge that can be taken up in 10 months, and that is neither a major IS redesign project, nor a small data science mission that is too specific.

A good sign: when the challenge has a local foothold. This is the case of the Prévisecours challenge, backed by the Ministry of the Interior, which aims to develop predictive algorithms designed to better allocate the resources of the Essonne fire brigade.

Multidisciplinary EIG teams

Solving challenges by teams of multidisciplinary EIGs has two advantages: enable EIGs not to work alone on a daily basis, and combine complementary skills to provide tools that are well thought out from all angles.

From promotion 2 challenges, two types of configurations emerge:

Involved mentors

Public servants who back EIG challenges, or "mentors", are an integral part of the challenge and the EIG program. Irrespective of the profile of mentors, the most successful challenges are those that are led by passionate mentors who manage to invest a significant amount of time per week in EIG challenges.

Involvement in the life of the promotion by taking part in coaching sessions also allows mentors to benefit from the EIG experience to discover new methods and skills.

Elise Lalique et Bénédicte Pachod, du défi Social Connect (CGET) Elise Lalique, EIG service designer for CGET's Social Connect challenge, and Bénédicte Pachod, her mentor, work together during a coaching session.

An appropriate technical environment

As EIGs only join administrations for 10 months, it is essential to provide them with the computer equipment needed for the rapid development of projects : calculation or hosting servers, high-performance computers, etc. An
Internet connection that is limited (either by website filtering or port filtering) makes a developer's life very difficult.

Furthermore, an EIG challenge is nothing without data. A good EIG challenge is a challenge allowing EIGs to work on the data from the first day, if possible with open source data, which often implies starting steps several months before their arrival.

Strong political backing

The backing of the EIG challenge at a high level is crucial for including the project in the host administration's overall action, and thus putting the challenge on a permanent footing. Strong political backing also allows the trade-offs required for the challenge's success during the 10 months to be made quickly.

Photo de la session du 15 mai Presentation of the new features of promotion 3. These include a reinforcement of the commitments of administrations, inspired by the success factors identified during the first two promotions. For further information, refer to the specifications of the call for projects.

Freedom to experiment

Finally, the challenge has to give EIGs and mentors the opportunity to explore avenues that are ancillary to the main project, and to enhance the value of these experiments, which are the pillars of the program. This can take many different forms. This includes:

  • Training courses organised by EIGs to familiarise administrations with digital culture (workshops for learning new languages and technologies, etc.);
  • Projects more or less related to the initial challenge , made available as open source and which can be reused by other administrations, such as Open Scraper, developed as part of the CGET's Social Connect challenge during promotion 2, or matchID, developed at the Ministry of the Interior during promotion 1.

Administrations, does your challenge meet all these criteria? Feel free to respond to the _ call for projects! _

For any questions, refer to:

Updated on 13 November 2018: the EIG team has published a "mini-guide for the success of an EIG challenge" which can be downloaded in PDF format.