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SYNAPSES, soon to be ten years old!

The annual meeting of SYNAPSES, the network of SNCF scientific and technical experts, was held on 4 December 2019.

Networking, cooperation, enthusiasm, expertise. It was a day of collaborative workshops and an occasion to get together again, share stories, and look back on the achievements of SYNAPSES, all on the eve of the network’s tenth anniversary.

There were three programmes for participants: EXPO, to get an introduction to or deepen their knowledge of collective intelligence; OPEN FORUM, to explore solutions for improving the network; and SPEED MISSION, to find out the profiles of the network’s members.

In EXPO, the experts worked with 16 project leaders to identify and critically assess best practices. They were aided by facilitators using the “co-development” method of the collective intelligence approach. These best practices will contribute to more effective collaboration and avoid situations where progress is blocked.

In OPEN FORUM, the experts were asked to think about contributions each could make within or outside the Network (i.e. with managers, senior executives, and future experts). Discussions focused on improving and expanding competencies in the network (everyone agreed about the value of outside training, but why not imagine training among the experts themselves?), the compatibility of the experts’ day-to-day operational workload with their consultant missions, and the benefits of network for their team and management. All of these are important issues for the experts.


Last, SPEED MISSION provided an opportunity to meet the new experts and to seek out specific competencies in the network. It’s not always easy for newcomers to find their place in the network. In SPEED MISSION, the new people and the expertise they bring were spotlighted.


This network is a valuable asset of the SNCF group and one that continues to grow It has nearly 500 members today and regularly adds new expertise (e.g. cybersecurity and predictive maintenance). It is an incomparable driver of innovation to develop the rail and other transport systems of the future.


The experts will all be meeting again next year to celebrate the tenth anniversary of SYNAPSES.