Meet Iris Avila, Culture Captain at Thales Alenia Space
July 20, 2021 10:30

For the past few years Thales has decided to revolutionize its digital culture by developing with the help of the Digital Culture team; an environment that allows open and digital collaboration to grow. The Digital Culture team’s mission, managed by Clara Juanes Vallejo, is to deploy the digital culture and the processes that are associated with it within the entire Thales group. The main objective is to help all users to adopt new working methods, based on the Manifesto, whatever their role, function or experience.  

In order to spread the Digital Culture over to as many people as possible, the team is present worldwide thanks to the ambassadors in the group. Four roles are now dedicated toof the culture trasmission with a specific objetive: Culture Fan, Culture Champion, Culture Captain and Culture Coach.   

Today, we are meeting with Iris Avila, Culture Captain at Thales Alenia Space. Iris has been working at Thales for 5 years as an Aerospace Engineer in the Software Solutions Competence Center (CCSL) in Cannes city, France. She joined the Digital Culture adventure a year ago as a Culture Captain: 

"Raiseawareness, take baby steps and don't be afraid to try many things and fail."  

Iris A.: The team's main mission is to raise awareness about the Digital Culture and the associated behaviors and practices in different teams. It's important to identify what the priority areas for improvement are in each team and start by implementing small, concrete actions that will bring value. Finally testing some things: if it works, we adopt it otherwise we learn from it and try something else. And we move forward with it step by step. 

Why did you want to become a Culture Captain within the group?   

Iris A.: Two years ago, I attended the “Thinking Digital” training (previously called “Digital Culture Forum”), with people from different market. I was lucky enough to meet and be supported by Clara Juanes Vallejo who was my team enabler during the two-day training. It was at that moment that I discovered the Digital Culture and  the Manifesto pillars: Empowerment over Control, Data over Opinions, Test & Learn over plans, Collaboration over Protection, Users over Customers and Failure over not Trying."  

It was upon discovering these words that Iris realized that she wanted to continue towards that direction; passing along the digital culture at a large scale. "In January 2020, CCSL (Centre de Compétences Solutions Logiciel) started a big transformation in order to develop a new company culture, based on the Culture Manifesto and the Agile-working organization. So I took the opportunity to join the Culture & Transformation team as a Culture Captain to give my time to a project that was close to my heart. 

What do you like the most about being a Culture Captain?   

Iris A.: Seeing that the actions we take are useful to the team and noticing the progress little by little. It's also very important for me to share with the community, to continuously discover new things and different points of view. For example, Gilles and I lead the CCSL's Culture community through monthly Culture Apéros on various themes (including the feedback culture, a world without meetings, practices around the Manifesto pillars...). There is a real exchange happening and I like that very much. 

What is your biggest challenge in spreading the digital culture?  

Iris A.: Culture is a very important but delicate topic which often takes a back seat against other project constraints. To balance this, you need to focus on the "early adopters," those who really want to try new things and then gradually bring on board those who hesitate when they see the results. It is crucial not to be discouraged by the detractors who will probably never be convinced. Stay optimistic and celebrate every small victory.   

Iris' favorite "Ways of Working  

Iris A.: I like the team sessions we shared aboutsuccesses and failures. Through these meetups, we try to open people about sharing what they are proud of and where they were wrong about something. While trying to understand why and what lessons they were able to learn for improvement. 

More information about our Digital Culture:

Meet Iris Avila, Culture Captain at Thales Alenia Space