Infotech Covid, energy savings… Paul Duan creates a “reserve” of volunteer entrepreneurs to support public services

Covid, energy savings… Paul Duan creates a “reserve” of volunteer entrepreneurs to support public services

Covid, fires, energy crisis… Faced with these emergencies that have become the “new normal”, we have on the one hand a powerful French state, but bureaucratic, not very innovative and often taken aback, and on the other, talents of civil society, young, creative, agile, ready to mobilize for the general interest. Two worlds that meet too rarely.

Hence the project of Paul Duan, founder of the NGO Bayes Impact, to create a bridge between these cultures. He thus launched, this Monday, December 12, a “mobilization program for citizen entrepreneurs” called The goal? Develop rapid and innovative responses to crisis issues. An initiative supported by Caisse des Dépôts, Google France, Devoteam and NoCode for Good. The NGO is also a partner of the Accelerator of Citizens’ Initiatives.

The sequel after the ad

“We know that emergencies will follow one another, and that we can no longer treat them as before”, explains Paul Duan. It is therefore, according to him, the ideal moment to invent a new mode of intervention “via partnerships between associations, public authorities and private companies”. The pandemic period has, in this respect, been very instructive. The StopCovid application flopped, before being reborn under the name “Tous Anti Covid” and becoming a useful certificate. The Court of Auditors has also quantified the results of the systematic tracing of contact cases by Health Insurance at 600 million euros, for “uncertain effectiveness”. In contrast, a few simple and inexpensive technological products, born of citizen initiatives – such as ViteMaDose, Covidliste or BriserLaChaine (more than 6.3 million contact cases identified, 9,000 days of telephone call time saved to Insurance Illness) – have proven useful.

A 30-year-old social entrepreneur

Paul Duan’s objective is to multiply this type of response, by creating a sort of accelerator for citizen initiatives. “ will not replace government projects, he specifies. But it will qualify the issues upstream with the competent officials. What are the blind spots of public action? What are the real urgent needs? And what solutions can we offer, in one month, while respecting public service values ​​and data security? » Bayes Impact, which worked with Pôle emploi to mark out the path of the unemployed via the Bob platform, and which has just won a public contract in the United Kingdom on this subject, is experienced in this type of methodology.

Paul Duan, 30, a child of Chinese immigrants who grew up in Trappes then studied at Sciences Po and Berkeley, left a job as a data scientist engineer at Eventbrite to create Bayes Impact in 2014. Incubated by Y Combinator in Silicon Valley, the start-up has collaborated with hospitals, as well as the California Department of Justice, in order to help them optimize their services.

This social entrepreneur – ranked by “Forbes” among the “30 personalities under 30” who are revolutionizing digital technologies and the youngest of “Ashoka fellows” France – is driven by the objective of putting technology at the service of human, and not the other way around. At a time when “Obs” and then a Senate report questioned the billions paid by the State to consultants like McKinsey on sometimes useless contracts, it is interesting to note that a free “task force” can be mobilized at a lower cost to invent solutions that can be immediately activated.

The sequel after the ad

Talents that are voluntary or seconded by their employer

Bayes Impact has already identified some 150 volunteer “reservists”, ready to mobilize for this type of challenge. “It’s not just about tech profiles”, insists Paul Duan. These volunteers can have various skills: in communication, in project support, or in expertise in various trades, etc. “The important thing is to have ideas, an entrepreneurial spirit and the desire to work like a commando. » These talents can volunteer on their own, or be seconded by their employer, whether it’s Google or French tech companies like Allegria. Experience or diplomas are not prerequisites: Guillaume Rozier was 24 when he created CovidTracker, an application which quickly became a world reference.

It remains to be seen how the mayonnaise will take, as it is sometimes difficult to reconcile the requirements of such different partners. The first “challenges” incubated by LaRéserve are intended to fight against the energy crisis. Thus LightsOff is an application that allows citizens to send messages to merchants, to encourage them not to leave their storefronts illuminated at night (which is illegal, and downright shocking in this period of risk of power cuts). A second challenge has been launched, in an attempt to remedy fuel poverty. How to help people who live in “thermal sieves” to lower their bills? Can we imagine the distribution of equipment that improves their situation?

Elisabeth Borne and ecological planning: in search of lost time

But the “reservists” can obviously be mobilized on a very wide range of issues, relating to the environment, agriculture, housing or mobility. This is also the wish of Antoine Pellion, Secretary General for Ecological Planning, who came Monday evening to support this new “reserve army” in the service of the common good.

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