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Consulting Skills Workshop: Fine-Tuning our Savoir-Faire at Les Fontaines

Categories : CDC USPL&D

 “Wow,” a member of our intake gasped as a sprawling collection of Renaissance buildings came into view. “Is that where our training is taking place?” As it transpired, the Chateau de Chantilly, a World Monument, was not, in fact, where our three day Consulting Skills Workshop was to be conducted. Nevertheless, the fairytale-esque pink and grey turrets of the Capgemini castle proved no less impressive.
 
French, German, Dutch, Scandinavian and British consultants converged on Les Fontaines in France for half a week of networking and acquiring and consolidating core consulting skills first seen by the British cohort during their two week January induction.
 
Fuelled by a rich and varied gastronomic offering at breakfast, lunch and dinner - not to mention the tasty snacks on offer in-between meals for the peckish among us – the main focus of the Consulting Skills Workshop was to learn the Capgemini approach to consulting: essential lessons in collaborative meeting management and delivering informative and compelling presentations were digested and put into practice through role play and group exercises. The art of an effective Transformation Map, streamlined Process Mapping and a comprehensive Project Charter were all covered. In between, we enjoyed the on-site sports facilities, the 130 acres of grounds, and the Les Fontaines bar, where at night we got to know our continental colleagues and bartered our drinks tokens at varying cost. We compared our client stories, commutes and cultures and discussed national stereotypes in good jest.
 
The three day CSW was held concurrently with Capgemini’s Business Priority Week, and during our time at Les Fontaines we heard about the company’s Innovation Lab from Keith Kelly, Head of Innovation for Aerospace and Defence in Capgemini France. We learnt about the company’s “fail fast” approach: try new ideas, abandon what doesn’t work, and move onto the next initiative as quickly as possible in order to limit any losses. We saw how Capgemini’s push towards innovation has manifested itself in the example of Nao the human robot, the product of a collaboration with Salesforce to improve customer relations.  The Nao robot is not only equipped with voice recognition to direct customers in store, but can also read customer loyalty cards using QR codes and use that information to access customer records.
 
We were also lucky enough to attend a fireside chat with Ron Tolido, Capgemini’s Chief Technology Officer for the Northern Europe and Asia Pacific regions. Whilst being simultaneously mesmerised by one of the artists from the ASE, we listened to Ron Tolido’s insights into why we should all be thinking about what technology can do for our clients and the importance of always working in prime numbers. As evidence of this, there are 37 principles of Capgemini’s TechnoVision, a tool to determine which technology trends best meet the needs of a particular business or industry.
 
Our Consulting Skills Workshop experience culminated in a final case study, when our individual teams were tasked with demonstrating what we had learnt by presenting a digital transformation Business Case. Despite all the teams pulling together to submit their presentations in time for the deadline, our facilitators deftly assumed various guises of an awkward client and kept us on our toes during the presentation on the final day of training. We came away exhausted but educated by a packed and practical learning journey which reminded us not only of Capgemini’s global presence, but also of the investment it places in each and every one of its employees.
 
We look forward to returning to the dreamy spires of Les Fontaines in the not too distant future to reunite with our new international friends and spend any unused bar tokens.
 

About the author

Alexandra Shaw
Alexandra Shaw
Alex joined the CDC in the January 2015 intake. She is part of the Strategy and Operating Model team in the Business Model Transformation Practice. Alex studied French and Spanish at Cambridge University and has lived in Paris and Buenos Aires. When she isn’t at work, she enjoys travelling to new places, cooking, reading, and spending time with friends and family.

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