Seminar LMGP - 03/07/2018 - Prof Eric PROUZET

Innovation versus Research: do we have it right?
Prof. Eric Prouzet
Chemistry and Nanotechnology
University of Waterloo (ON), Canada
Co-founder & CEO of "Intelligence & Management of Information Inc."

Abstract :
For many years, the universal motto in academic communities has been that "innovation is the direct result of research," from which it was easy to conclude that "if we want more innovation, we need more research!"
As the funding agencies began to ask us how our research could lead to innovation, we had to explain in our proposals why our Nation or even the World needed our research (a.k.a. funding us). And how we would solve significant challenges like energy, water, food, pollution, etc. Because it is often assumed now that the goal of the research is -only?- to lead to innovation.
There is also an entirely accepted statement regarding the fact that a community or even a country (e.g. France) is "good in innovation, but bad in commercialization." Is it true? Or do we miss what innovation means, that "innovation" is not a synonym for "invention" for example?
I have a rather long experience as a researcher in Materials Science, published papers in international tier Journals, even filed patents from my work. I also created a first startup company on biotechnologies, which I failed magnificently. Then, learning a little bit from my mistakes, I created a second startup on Information management, while trying to identify what I made wrong in the first place, and how I could fix it.
Based on this dual experience, I aim to open the discussion we should start among researchers about the actual place we must allocate to research and innovation, and beyond it how we want to articulate them for more effective results on both parts.
In this talk, I will introduce first the logical steps, which we are usually told to follow (e.g. file a patent, write a business plan), when we want to convert research into innovation and explain how these steps will take us to an absolute failure most of the time.
I will introduce why different driving forces lead research and innovation and why one (innovation) is not the natural result of the other (research). In other words, innovation is not just a discovery waiting to be brought to market.
I will describe the differences between "property," "function," and "value," and try to assess the four types of functions we can define, and which we should "activate" to confer value to our innovation.
Starting from some examples from the recent scientific literature, we'll see how our claims about the importance of results are somewhat flawed by the absolute need of convincing that research is self-justified by the "soon-to-come" innovation, which almost never happens.
On the contrary, we will see also that some rather quiet revolutions illustrated from material science, changed the world, despite the lack of real recognition they deserved.
As researchers, we can relax: research and innovation are connected. We will see how some functional analysis can help us, whatever our activity, to contribute directly or not to innovation. It happens that researchers can use their skills, if they add a couple of others, to follow the innovation path successfully if they want. Therefore, in the last part, we'll see how we can use simple and fast methods to assess if our idea or our "invention" can turn into a potential innovation, and what we should better do as the first step along this long road.

Date infos
Grenoble INP - Phelma
3 parvis Louis Néel - 38000 Grenoble
Accès : TRAM B arrêt Cité internationale
Free entrance - No registration
Location infos
2:00 pm Seminar room of the LMGP