Date: 2018-07-11 09:30
Lieu: bibliothèque AIME, 1er étage, bât 15
Ville: Montpellier, France
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
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 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
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 selfjustified
by the "soon-to-come" innovation, which almost never happens.
On the contrary, we will see also that some rather quiet revolutions illustrated here in 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 we can define
some working schemes for either "research-based innovation" or "innovation-based research", and review
some basic concepts and simple methods that will help researchers adapting their skills, to follow the
innovation path if they want. And finally, we'll try to answer the question "if we need more innovation, what
do we want?"
Place Eugène Bataillon
34090 Montpellier, France