Thursday, June 13, 2013

Futur en Seine (Digital World Festival) - JuiceUP seminar

Created by Cap Digital in 2009, Futur en Seine is an annual festival that presents the latest French and international digital innovations to professionals and the greater public over the course of 10 days.

This year they debuted an "Innovation Village" at CENTQUATRE, a massive renovated former municipal funeral services building. [Designed in 1874 in the style of the time, this largely glass, brick and iron structure, consists of two large halls equipped with hangars, unloading docks, courts, stables and cellars and is nearly 40,000 square meters (430,556.40 square feet)! Reopened on October 11th 2008 as a public institution of cultural cooperation, it's heralded as one of Paris's new art centers for artistic residencies and exhibits.]

There are conferences, innovative projects, ateliers and more from June 13th to 16th and then throughout the whole Ile-de-France at various event partners until the 23rd of June.

The first day, June 13, I decided to start my journey into the futur at the JuiceUP program. This three-hour program was for International clusters in collaboration with the European Digital Think Tank (EUDTT) and EIT ICT labs (European Institute of Innovation and Technology). After a presentation of the EIT ICT Labs and its soft landing program (presented by Ms. Isabelle DE SUTTER from Systematic Paris Region), there was a Round Table on the Internationalization of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). Then, Cap Digital CEO Patrick COCQUET gave a presentation on the EUDTT, followed by another Round Table of "Networks of clusters and cluster management." The round table discussions were enhanced by an online interactive workshop using technology.

Among the clusters present were Pole Media Grand Paris Project Manager Axel PATINET, Systematic's European Affairs Manager Isabelle DE SUTTER, CLand's General Director Marta IZQUIERDO, TSB Innovations (Berlin) EEN Project Manager Thomas VERMYNCK and University of Oulu Department of Information Processing Science (Finland) Assistant Professor Pasi KUVAJA, Pauli Kuosmanen from TIVIT in Finland, Benoit MICHEL & Pierre COLLIN from TWIST in Belgium, John McALEER from CIT Cork in Ireland and Santi FORT from Barcelona Media in Spain, although several arrived late due to the air strike. Cap Digital's European Projects Manager Nadia ECHCHIHAB led the morning's discussions.

COCQUET started off his presentation with "What is Cap Digital doing for the European Think Tank." Of course Futur en Seine is a significant effort as a space for mixing different publics (the corporate public and the greater larger public) for testing innovation. They felt it was important to have a relationship with other European clusters.  The activities they focus on are: exchanging market and strategy information; matchmaking between SME's and labs throughout Europe; and white papers with the goal to share global vision and work more efficiently. The common goal of these activities is to create a cluster of clusters with an European Union-wide ecosystem, with each cluster managing its ecosystem. Patrick went on to say the Creative and Cultural Industry (CCI) is a non-traditional sector. Companies (clusters) within it are creative, have the ability to innovate, are operating in a knowledge economy, have use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and a high impact on society.

ECHCHIHAB, lead the participants on a collaborative interaction via Stormz with "What tools/actions are you using to collaborate with other foreign clusters?" Answers centered around maintaining personal contacts (Linkedin) and other meetings/conferences--in particular the EC ICT event in Vilnius which is apparently the best event to hear about future projects. (Tip: book early because there are not a lot of hotels.) VERMYNCK also mentioned Republica's ICT Conference on e-governance. He went on to generate a discussion around the differences between the Enterprise European Network and the EU Think Tank. He finds he uses the EEN a lot for helping their companies grow internationally but the women in the room didn't like using it as much, bringing an understanding to the difficulties in collaborating because of problems using, and within, the different networks.

The conversation shifted to how it is difficult for startups and SMEs to travel on these trade missions abroad because they cannot afford to be away from their company for weeks, or even days, at a time. VERMYNCK offered his solution by always booking his missions for the SMEs with a day (or several afternoons) free. Then he arranges for his SMEs to work in a co-working space in Berlin so they can still work while benefiting from the advantages of going on these vital trips.

Time spent away from the office lead to a discussion around funding issues in general. VERMYNCK also mentioned Erasmus for Entrepreneurs, which highlighted the point that Erasmus for business clusters like Cap Digital and the other organizations at JuiceUP does not exist yet. This brand new idea was proposed during the session and it is hoped to push this new idea to the European Commission via Marta Izquierdo who is a member of the European Creative Industries Alliance. Many in the room commented there is too much paperwork for not enough money. The challenge of having to pay for a stress test (to test the strength of the cluster) was not well received either. The cost to receive a label (ex: Gold label, Bronze label) was thought to perhaps not be worth the thousands of euros spent on it. A final comment was that Clusters (not consultants) should train clusters. Clusters learn best from others who have walked the walk, not just someone who is talking the talk.

Of course, afterwards, there was much talk -- and networking. For this writer, this was a very insightful session where I learned a lot about a whole new environment and level of activity with the focus on development and innovation.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Mastercard's Priceless Women at the French Open (Roland Garros)

My friend Yann Emilian introduced the folks at Mastercard to me and thus, an invite to their "Priceless Women" luncheon on Wednesday, June 5th on the occasion of the French Open at Roland Garros was extended to me.

This friendly and informal setting, with the upper crust tennis world as our backdrop, was a great occasion to share experiences of women having a remarkable professional course and coming from different viewpoints.

After some brief networking with refreshments, Monica Biagiotti, Head of Marketing MasterCard Europe, opened up with their interest in organizing this luncheon because of a change in Mastercard. "Mastercard is in the world of change, it's not just a credit card anymore" and they want to be a network for people to connect. They want to be able to offer their clients a micro network. They created a network of women (EWLN – European Women Leadership Network) and, benefiting from their "Priceless" campaign, saw an opportunity with the French Open.

The first year as a partner in the French Open, their "Priceless" cities campaign was the perfect theme -- starting right in the very "Priceless" village of shops at Roland Garros. With the re-hiring of Joyce King Thomas at McAnn agency, they thought of women who changed the world, and about things we couldn't buy before and how credit cards have changed that. That's "Priceless" for them.

Going around the room each woman then introduced herself and I reflected on one of the advertisements, "Vivez a (Paris) des moments qui n'ont pas de prix." ("Enjoy (Paris) moments that are priceless..")

We had the pleasure of having former professional tour tennis player, Nathalie Dechy, with us. This three times doubles Grand Slam champion and the only female member of the Roland Garros Executive Committee shared on her professional experience. She explained how for her Sport is a metaphor for Business and how she tries to treat it in the same manner.

We were then led into a round table discussion on different and similar qualities of female and male leaders and how organizations with more women at the top levels function better. Marina Catena (World Food Program), who was an Italian parachutist in the military, spoke about how being a woman in the military has changed certain protocol. In her current role she discussed the idea of using "digital money" with Mastercard to help people.

There was a little discussion around the idea of the glass ceiling and women who come back to work after a certain age. The question was posed, "at what price" in response to the idea of many women who come back to work after being at home and raising children. They are not willing to put in long hours with no break like they did before. Actress Vahina Giocante (who brought her son Nino), put forth that men today also don't know the roles they should take on because changes with women in the workplace, and world, affect them too.

Throughout this buffet of topics, we were able to sample an appetizing lunch of tasty morsels passed on large plates. Monica finished off the luncheon with "networking is fundamental. Do it more. Do it here." With that, we got up, and networked.

Afterwards we had the pleasure to attend the matches of the day, of which I thoroughly enjoyed Maria Sharapova and Rafael Nada!

Assises (g à dr) : Monica Biagiotti (MasterCard), Natalie Michel (BNPP), Marina Catena (World Food Program), Vahina Gioccante (actrice), Valérie Sauteret (Barclays)
Debout (g à dr) : Donatienne Douriez (MasterCard), Charlotte Bouvard (SOS Prema), Anne-Marie Le Bévillon (CCI Paris IDF), Carole Peytavin (AF KLM), Nathalie Brion (Tendances Institut), Christine de Gouvion Saint Cyr (Office de Tourisme de Paris), Anne- Sylvie Schneider (Mairie de Paris), Courtney Pulitzer (Harvard Club of France), Véronique Rheims (Mc Cann), Anne-Hélène Monsellato (Ernst & Young), Valérie Troisier (réalisatrice), Violetta Folbaum (HR Access Solutions), Elisabeth Cabrera Valenzuela (Christian Dior), Sandra-Sancier-Sultan (Mc Kinsey), Annalisa Loustau (Printemps), Laurence Bruat (Natixis), Clothilde Lefebvre (MasterCard)

MORE Pictures here.

PS. This is me: :)

A la tragedienne

Great street marker

Monday, June 03, 2013

Silicon Paris

At my last Cocktails with Courtney I was able to make a note of some of the tech activity in Paris. I've been keeping tabs on these places for a while now, but haven't written about them.

Everyone in Paris, and most people in the States, have heard of The Tank, where I even visited once during a party when Amiando set up offices in Paris. Silicon Sentier solidifies its spot on the map with several offerings: La Cantine; Silicon Maniacs (hosting an "adieu" party to the Minitel); Le Chaudron (another co-working space in the Sentier quarter) and the Silicon Xperience. Fing is another site with links to its network and as a place for connections in the digital space.

Quite frankly, my goodness! There is a lot going on here. I am not ashamed to admit I was happy in my motherhood bubble, but it's good to lift one's head up and see what else is going on in the world.