<trp-post-container data-trp-post-id='26609'>Protect the birth from ideas : interview by Olivier Laborde

Olivier, you published "Innover ou disparaître" for which you won the "Digital Book of the Year" award. You are Director of Innovation and Digital Transformation at a major financial group, and in 2015 you won the Argus de l'assurance digitale award for "Best internal strategy for the company's digital transformation". 

One of the obstacles to innovation in France is often that we find it hard to accept failure. Churchill, whom you quote, said: "Success is the ability to go from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm"...

The emergence of innovation, in the sense of an idea that meets its market in a profitable way, is fraught with pitfalls both internal and external to the company, particularly cultural ones stemming from childhood.

Our traditional education system, as it has been designed for a long time, can actually be detrimental to innovation.

It tends to format pupils' thinking, sometimes to the detriment of the development of children's creativity, preferring top-down transmission, cramming and the strict application of rules to peer-to-peer learning through experimentation and trial and error.

And we find these principles and culture later within companies...

The Lab is a space that allows innovation to germinate and grow, protected from the hazards inherent in innovation and the culture of 'perfection' that can prevent the birth of deviant concepts. But an innovation is an idea that is deviant from its origins.

You advocate the LISH method: what's behind this acronym?

The acronym stands for L for Lab, I for Ideation, S for Start-up and H for Human,

. An autonomous structure like that of a Lab makes it possible to deal with uncertainty, facilitate successive experiments and accept the corollary of failure.

. To innovate, we need to create the right conditions and practices to encourage the emergence of new ideas by developing a culture of open innovation.

. Bringing the practices and methods of start-ups into large companies is one way of helping them get back on the innovation track, particularly within the Lab.

. Even if the creation of a Lab helps to understand and accelerate innovation, the company needs to mobilise all its employees. Reinventing yourself and surviving the digital revolution is first and foremost a question of cultural transformation.

The most complex phase is the ideation phase ...

Yes, because establishing a culture of innovation takes time and requires constant effort. It also requires a high degree of consistency between ambition and day-to-day actions.

In addition, the company needs to create an open ecosystem, in and around the company, drawing on its employees, technological partners, start-ups, schools, universities and incubators, not forgetting to co-construct with its customers.

You advocate "frugal innovation": too much means kills innovation?

It's easy to think that, and just like artists, evolving in a constrained world can multiply creativity and system D to get off the beaten track and come up with new alternative solutions.

Once an innovation has been found, tested and is ready for implementation, how can we ensure that the company's structure does not stifle it?

In my opinion, we need to set aside a budget to industrialise innovations.

Without this, the traditional budgetary process will always find a way of putting off innovation to the middle of the road, and killing it off at worst, preferring regulatory measures and risk-free developments.

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