Dean, École des Ponts Business School
- Professor of Innovation & Entrepreneurship
- Dean, International Dean, Head of Program, Full-Time MBA in Innovation Management, Global Executive MBA, EHTP-Ponts E-MBA, TEE E-MBA in Aviation and Aeronautics Management, Certificate and Executive Certificate Programs
What are your primary fields of interest and research?
Presently I am very interested in the entire lean start-up process. I am developing my own methodology that links product-customer-business model development into one intertwined process. Also, I have been looking into the business model development process and how complexity, design thinking and systems thinking can work together dynamically to design and optimize modern business models.
Some consulting work that is also pushing me to do more research in this direction is linked to the development of entrepreneurial ecosystems and clusters. A fascinating field of exploration.
My original doctoral research was linked to the globalization of world wine markets and France’s place in this rapidly-shifting landscape. Not only is the research fascinating, it gives me a good excuse to meet, drink and discuss wine with the world’s top wine makers, writers, and thinkers.
Where did you develop the skills and knowledge that nurture your work today?
They say that “time is a great healer”, but it is also a great teacher. It is hard to say exactly where I learned what I teach but it is a non-controlled mix of my professional background (entrepreneurial experiences – both satisfyingly successful and painfully unsuccessful, consulting – in many different industries, teaching – many different courses/countries/programs over the years), my academic background (studies in economics, finance, business, management, etc in undergraduate, graduate and doctoral courses), my endless reading list (if only there was more time to read!) and on of the most important sources of learning, surprisingly for anyone who is not a professor, my many students over the years who taught me so much and continue to do so…
What do you enjoy most about working with our participants?
Learning from them, learning from them, learning from them. I also love to get to know our participants better, discover their backgrounds, the different cultures they come from, the companies they work for and their interests and ambitions. I am always surprised by their insights and perspectives and look forward to continuing to be surprised. I also enjoy pushing our participants to excel and seeing which of them rise to the challenge.
As a professor, what do you hope to transmit to your students?
Of course, the first objective is to transmit the learning necessary to assimilate the learning objectives and ensure the learning outcomes that were defined ahead of each course – which means that they have understood the key concepts, terms, models, concepts, ideas and frameworks and were able to, first, assimilate them fully and, second, to apply them effectively.
Beyond the knowledge linked to each course, what I hope to transmit is the desire to excel, the desire to go further, the joy of learning, and a motivation to do work they can be proud of.
For those courses linked to entrepreneurship and/or innovation, I also (not so) secretly hope that they will be inspired to go out and try to make their in-class ideas a real-world endeavor.
How does your course(s) help participants develop themselves personally & professionally?
The courses I teach all have different objectives so it is not easy to generalize. However, that said, professionally, I hope to give participants in my classes a full set of tools and competences that they can apply in their professional lives without the need to refer back to the course notes. That is, a full set of assimilated and incorporated skills they can tuck away into their individual toolbox.
Personally, I hope to boost the confidence of each and every participant, on the one hand, and a clear(er) idea of their strengths and where some extra work is needed, on the other. I am not the kind of professor that applauds everyone and says “fabulous, fabulous”, but rather I try to ensure participants feel they have received sincere summative feedback on their performance as an individual, as part of a group and as part of the class.
Finally, it should be mentioned that I am very thankful to the combined contribution of my past students to my own personal and professional development. I have learned many lessons and have been humbled many times by the wisdom, individual and collective, of the wonderful cadre of students I have had the chance to work with over the years. If you are reading this – allow me to say thank you!