Underground innovation…

…is what France has, I thought in freezing February 2012 as I came out of Jacques Pary’s cellar, where he’d organised an Open Innovation OPEN’IN event.

Now in June 2013 the Paris metro was hot and crowded

18 june_metro line

but the

18 june_jacques pary bourse

station was empty for those who were heading to

18 june_jacques pary door

this boring looking entrance, next to

18 june_design window

a more exciting window.

Downstairs, in Jacque’s cellar Christelle (ITMP08) introduced me to the author of

18 june_jadoore

who is an experience designer : Patricia Gallot-Lavallée. The book (which was appetizing to open and skim through, and begs to be bought and read – and so it should have been the author’s profession!) is the outcome of a four year project. This innovative person and intriguing approach will be reachable as soon as we have a link! . I thought about Birgitta and Leila’s extraordinarily original presentation in Turku, during our Finnovation visit last April, on negative emotions and innovation, where they were describing how one innovative Finnish company was dealing with the experience of bereavement. These three people will soon be connected…

Then Jacques climbed onto his innovation pulpit

18 june_jacques pary pulpit

(a stepladder covered in gold lamé) and invited us to do the same if there was anything we wanted to share.

I then met Philippe Haberer, who could be described a learning experience craftsman.  He founded his PhConsult company 17 years ago. They put people into more or less extreme learning situations and, once the experience is over, help them understand and work on their action profiles. Companies obviously see value in that. So does INSEAD.

« How, we discussed, can we be sure that teaching innovation doesn’t just wash off with soap? How can the ability to innovate be rubbed in so it stays? Ingrained? Tattooed? » This was yesterday’s unanswered question at the Telecom Bretagne seminar. Philippe sounded like someone who could help provide an answer. He said very little. Made no claims. Asked many questions. Was extremely modest. Many good signs! Had worked with Wartsilla in Turku (we visited their diesel engine assembly factory with Finnovation 2003 I think – thanks to Magnus) – that was another good sign.

But now comes the bad news: few of his clients are French companies. Probably too conservative. Why is this so? Why was one of yesterday’s Telecom Bretagne alumni, who’s worked for 10 years, SO furious (that’s definitely the right adjective) at large French companies’ inability to « really innovate »?

Why do all the innovators here say it’s such an innovation hostile place? Lots of « talk », of course, but no « walk ».  And why on earth do they stay?

One of the clues to understanding the French innovation paradox could be in these ten digits: 6871438639. They’ll get a special mention later.

A propos markowskikrys

I run an advanced Masters programme on project management and innovation at ESIEE
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