Orange France has chosen to develop Design thinking at the 3 levels of the framework SAFe

« Customer satisfaction is Orange France key priority. So, we have strongly developed the use of Design Thinking to conceive user- centric products and services. We have had the ambition to keep this powerful method in launching agile@scale with SAFe. »
— Emilie Garnier, Head of Design Thinking resource and skill center for Orange France Agile Program.


Orange France is the telecom operator leader on the fixed, mobile and
broadband market with 70,000 Orange France sought to differentiate his products and services thanks to Design Thinking and agile@scaleemployees and a turnover of 18.2 billion € in 2018.


Orange France began agile@scale initiatives in 2018 before adopting the SAFe framework in 2019. Our purpose was to reduce the time to launch of new products or services, to stick to customer needs and to improve our employee’s engagement.

In 2018, competition was harder and harder. France is the country where telecommunication offers are amongst the cheapest around the world.
So our strategy was first to keep our customers thanks to service excellence and secondly to move on more valuables and digital markets: banking, entertainment, tele surveillance…. To face these challenges, we chose to develop at large scale the use of design thinking to conceive user centric products and services. Indeed Design Thinking brings alignment, innovation and multidisciplinary. Design Thinking has been quickly used by all teams: agile and non-agile ones.

End of 2018, we decided to go further in the agility deployment. For a large organisation like Orange with complex projects, a couple of non-aligned agile teams were not enough to achieve our goals.


We started to adjust our Design Thinking approach to SAFe, by finding where it could connect to activities recommended by the framework. We adapted our method to the 3 levels of SAFe:

  • At the portfolio level we created the « Value Thinking » to help the lean portfolio management to ideate new Epics and then to analyze the value of each Epic. « Value thinking » is now a part of the new agile governance process.
  • At the program and team levels, it’s a key success factor to help teams to keep time for the continuous exploration in addition of the delivery. So, we proposed to build a “customer team” composed with UX, Design Thinking and Knowledge Partner leaders. The objective of this team is to collect and plan the needs of exploration from the PM team.
    Thus, the exploration features are identified and shared by all the program team during the PI planning and appear on the PI board.
    The design thinking coach will lead and organize all the activities linked to continuous explorations.
  •  We are still trying to optimize our use of the IP sprint. Our wish is to organize design sprints focused on product issues.
    Our goal is to launch a pilot before end 2019.


  • User centric organization – From portfolio management to feature teams, everyone has the business in mind but the customers’ needs too.
  • 7 trains fully launched doing continuous exploration.
  • 7 « Value Thinking » done.
  • Set up of our own customer panel (5000 contacts) for on-line and face-to-face customer interactions.

SAFe training at a glance