A seasoned finance and innovation professional, Romain Colnet unveils what it takes to curate innovative ideas and bring them to the market.
He gained his first experience in trading, then moved to strategic corporate sales management. After ten years, Romain kicked off a company with an innovative approach to robotics and automation, incubated at Impulse Partners Accelerator. For more than two years he was sharing his knowledge as an MBA lecturing at ESA (Ecole Supérieure d'Assurance) in Paris.
Currently working as the Innovation & Business Development Manager at Ingenico Labs, Romain operates in open innovation, market pull approach, from ideation to pilot, and he partners with companies all around the world to solve identified business problems. His current projects are linked — autonomous retail, biometric payments, cryptocurrencies, VR/AR, and augmented experiences.
In the Disruption Insights series, we discover inspirations and insights from global innovators who shape how we live and do things today. True innovation doesn’t happen as an overnight breakthrough — it’s an ongoing process of constant trial and error done by teams and organizations who strive to solve real human problems. Romain Colnet is one of the people who push those ideas forward, making things possible.
💼 Corporate innovation
How do you choose one idea out of one hundred?
Choosing an idea is a journey in the unknown. To undertake that journey, you need a backpack filled with tools to build convictions. What’s also important is to accept the possibility of being proven wrong or being right.
Picking the right idea is a process that comes with a bunch of methodologies: design thinking, the C-K (Concept-Knowledge) method, Lean Canvas. They enable you to move from macro to micro.
Ideation sessions foster creativity, out-of-the-box thinking, productive discussions and help jump on others' ideas to formulate new ones. The consensus naturally occurs when you have been able to generate innovative ideas with goals that are reachable and manageable to understand how you should implement them.
How do you convince decision-makers to back innovative ideas?
First and foremost, decision-makers need to be fully convinced that the company should better disrupt itself than be disrupted by competition.
To onboard management, everything starts with a good definition: you need to select the right problem you would like to solve.
It can arise from subsidiaries, weak signals, clients, and so on.
Then, you need to assess if this solution you have puzzled out has a substantial market fit, if it could generate strong revenue pipelines, if it fits the company's long-term strategy, or if it has the potential to turn the company’s strategy into a different direction.
Of course, sine qua non condition: the executive committee should have a strong appetite for investment (time, workforce, and money). Then, decision-makers arbitrate between different ideas and your role stops here.
One thing you’d change about your work
The escape velocity of innovation in big companies is exhausting.
💪🏼 Innovation mindset
One personality trait that helps you at your daily job
My adaptability: as in innovation, surprises occur all the time.
What drives you at work?
Working alongside extremely talented teammates whom I’m proud of working with and I can have prolific discussions.
Your dream profession when you were 20
As I am interested in many subjects, probably the one where I would thrive at that moment. It’s all about momentum: the right fit at the right time.
The biggest milestone in your career path
This is more of a process than a milestone: always being interested in different subjects, testing, succeeding, failing but always learning.
The biggest accomplishment in your career path
Feeling happy while going to work every day.
💡 Inspiration corner
Biggest source of daily inspiration
What drives me constantly is condensed in the poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling.
“If you can dream — and not make dreams your master;
If you can think — and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;”
Books that inspire you
- “Escape Velocity: Free Your Company's Future from the Pull of the Past” by Geoffrey A More
Blogs and magazines you follow
- The Verge — for innovations and new tech coming to the market
- VentureBeat — for companies that make it to the innovation headlines
- Dezeen — for grasping where the beauty lies
- Strategy+business — all for interesting questions and concepts
- Harvard Business Review — for gaining insights from the world’s top experts
Movies that inspire you
- “Big Fish” — you are your own limitation
Want to be a part of the Disruption Insights series? Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Discover insights from other inspiring innovation leaders:
- Drive Alignment Across Diverse Teams with Ken Hubbell from Wells Fargo
- Test Early Ideas in Their Natural Environment with Esther Seidl-Nussbaumer from SIGVARIS GROUP
- What’s Better Than Solving Problems Through Innovation? with Fatima Baz from Unilever