François is an innovation strategist with 8 years of experience. Specialized in digital innovation.
As Digital Attaché at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, François develops diplomatic relations with the american tech community by promoting french artists and cultural entrepreneurs through collaborative projects. He runs the French-American Digital Lab // Connecting Cultures exchange program in partnership with Business France, La French Tech NYC, Créatis/Gaité Lyrique, NUMA, Paris&Co, Made in NY Media Center by IFP, l’Institut Français, Orange, Havas, and la Mairie de Paris.
Before joining the French Embassy, François served as Strategic Planner to Nurun (merged with Razorfish) creating digital strategies to support companies in their digital transformation. Before Nurun, François was a User Experience Researcher at Bell Labs (Alcatel-Lucent) to develop and promote new user centered methodologies. François also worked for Xerox as Ethnologist to better understand color management issues in the printing industry.
François holds a PhD in Sociology of Innovation from Télécom Paristech, and a management certificate from École des Ponts Business School.
// My Story
People say that I am a digital baby: my eyes were shining when I received my first video game console at the age of 6: the NES with duck-hunt! That day marked my entrance in the digital world: my first computer at 11 (Pentium 100 + Windows 3.1!), the Internet at home in 2000, the ADSL in 2003. Surprisingly I did not get interested in coding, but in how my family and friends used their digital devices. What kind of problems did they face? I loved spending hours trying and understanding how computer worked, but that was only because it helped me to understand my relatives’ problems. The famous Microsoft headline « plug & play » appeared to be a joke. Nothing was plug and play and humans had to adapt to the device. Through my studies and professional experience, I have always tried to make it the other way around: we want tailor-made machines, tools that integrate our practices and are designed for us.
That’s why I started working in industrial R&D. First at Xerox Research Center Europe to analyse color management problems printers were facing. Then, I joined Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs from 2008 to 2012 as a digital planner to improve user centered innovations of the Applications Domain. We introduced in this telecommunication R&D research center the notion of usability and human centered design. During 4 years, we created web based applications relying on ethnography, sociology, ergonomic, design, and computer science. Now, I work for Nurun in strategic planning because I wanted to deliver these innovations to customers more quickly: from the upstream of innovation, to the operational strategies that lead to the use of digital tools.
During my stay at Bell Labs, I also led a doctoral research on market pull in industrial R&D.
My doctoral thesis focused on the concept of user as the establishment of a model of demand. For forty years, the literature in sciences and technology studies, in design and in strategy have been revealing the importance of users in the innovation process. This doctoral research aims at exploring further this issue by studying the institutional, economical and socio-technical reasons that settle the user as an artefact in the research laboratory of Bell Labs. My research is based on the invaluable and unstudied scientific journal of Bell Labs: the Bell Labs Technical Journal.
The essay is free and publicly available on this link.