The role of agility to organise and change work practices A fascinating project launched in April 2021

Research context

Digital transformation is usually driven from the top down by IT systems which enforce new work practices. It is hoped that these systems can align the business operations with the strategic goals of an organisation. The onus of the change depends on the adoption of the IT as imagined or expected by strategy and the acceptance by the employees for such a change. 
In contrast, we are interested in Bivwak’s way to induce digital transformation at BNP Paribas because it does not follow a typical process that relies on IT systems. In particular, what we see is an attempt to create polycentric digital transformation, to prepare the organisation for digitalisation. There are many potential advantages to such polycentric transformation (e.g., scaling, local adaptation, costs) and issues (conflicts with procedural thinking, management control, meaning of work). 

Research question

How can agile methodologies influence the digitalisation process of organisations?

Methodology and milestones

16 interviews with BNP Paribas including BivwAk! and offspring companies
Data analysis


Research team

  • Almudena Canibano (ESCP, Madrid campus)
  • Daniel Curto-Millet (University of Gothenburg, Sweden)
  • Johan Magnusson (University of Gothenburg, Sweden)

Research keytake aways

Digital transformation can be driven by the introduction of agile methodologies.

Workers learn agile methodologies at the hub and then return to their original teams where they apply and adapt the methodology to their local context. This can incentivise small-scale digital transformation processes at multiple locations at the same time.

We coin the term “polycentric digital transformation” to describe how the large-scale digital transformation of a traditional organisation can be pursued through these small-scale local changes. 

Further work will explore advantages and issues of polycentric digital transformation and develop an evaluative framework for digital transformation maturity.

Key outcomes

External ecosystem

Shared research outputs / Awards and articles

Paper submitted to International Conference of Information Systems (2022) [link ]

Master thesis in preparation

BNP Paribas internal ecosystem

"Agile transformation is key for our companyto adapt and meet our clients’ needs and employees’ expectations through a “better, faster, happier” focus.
Over the past few years, we have put in place a continuous “learn and experiment” agile loop, trained our teams to develop their agile mindset and rituals, and progressively transformed our organizations to agile or agile@scale, combining adequate “pilot and roll-out” phases with “big bang” approaches. BNPP Polska is a great concrete example of agile transformation in the International Retail Banking Banks.
The capacity for our teams to work agile, learn from their experimentation and share their best practices on a larger scale will be key to foster our agile transformation and deliver BNPP GTS 2025 Strategic Plan."

Géraldine Conti, Head of HR at BNP Paribas International Retail Banking