Innovation with emotions
Updated: Jul 8, 2020
Leo started his journey in the Group 9 years ago. From Cartier manufacturing to innovation at Richemont, he believes that what we can reveal together is infinite and unlimited. To unleash emotions and to invent, we only need one thing: passion.
I am Richemont baby! 9 years ago, I started as an intern to validate my studies at Cartier jewellery in Paris. I spent 5 years working in the manufacturing entity. Then in 2016, I moved to Geneva to work on industrial strategy and ended up starting the innovation team at Richemont. I have been lucky that throughout my journey, I have always been given the opportunity to create my position from scratch.
It all started with a powerpoint
Like everything! (but not very sexy). Establishing the innovation team came quite natural. We had two challenges at the time; the first smart watch launched and our direct competitors expanded their technical expertise and warranty on watches. It forced us to think outside the box, listen to what was happening in the market, understand new clients’ needs, and come up with new experiences. Most importantly, we shared this same vision with our Chairman, who supported us since the beginning.
The innovation team started around two dimensions. The first was investing more in R&D to improve the technical content of our products, mainly watches, but not only, by supporting our Maisons on R&D activities. The second was innovation. With our Maisons, we create new opportunities for our clients and nurture our internal innovation culture. What I love is that innovation is really in our DNA and values. At Richemont, we believe new technologies are a very powerful tool to design new stories, to expand the creative universe of our Maisons, and ultimately to let our Maisons’ clients and colleagues build new bonds and experiment new emotions and sensations.
Innovating with our Maisons
I feel I am part of a profound movement transforming technology and craftsmanship. Our mission is to deliver some “bricks” that the Maisons can test and adapt. We work closely with our Maisons to inspire them and propose new ideas. We also have freedom to operate and deliver some mockups and prototypes. On the other side, we also have some specific needs and demands coming from the business that we try to find solutions and execute.
Where the ideas starts
Ideas come from everyone. They start with teams sharing around a table. It does not matter who generates the idea. Our interaction with the Maisons is continuous, natural, and collaborative. We are not trying to own the ideas – we just want things to get done. It can be a difficult position, because you need to be humble, see the bigger picture and be very focused on delivering things. Nothing makes me more happy than an idea being implemented.
Working at Richemont is truly exceptional
I have seen some amazing things during the past 9 years. In my last position at Cartier, I was working on precious stones for the high jewellery. I saw incredible stones, such as, the most expensive, rare pink diamond and the biggest yellow diamond in the world. It was incredible to see and touch them.
The other astonishing thing at Richemont is the kind of expertise that you have access to. You get to interact with people with incredible skills: gemologist, jewellers, lapidaires, watchmakers, designer, etc.. Everyone is passionate about his or her work. Our colleagues do not choose to work for the Group by chance; they do it out of passion. When you find a way to unleash this passion, it is super powerful.
My favourite memory
Our team launched the Visionnaire Challenge. It was an internal innovation contest to encourage everyone at Richemont and our Maisons to imagine new products and client experiences. I was amazed to feel the enthusiasm and the energy all our colleagues expressed in this challenge. It was a strong revelation for me that collectively, we would go very far, and that no matter where we would arrive, the place would be immense and beautiful. The closure of this contest was held in Lausanne at the Olympics Museum. The 3 finalist teams came from China, North America, and Switzerland along with 100 other participants. The teams were proud about what they achieved. I was also super proud, because I was behind this idea from the beginning and really pushed it. It was a strong and emotional moment. Seeing our idea fully developed, its strong impact on colleagues, and the success of it is something that I will always remember.
Be happy and enjoy what you do!
Digital innovations are on the verge of setting new frontier to the luxury experience, and I am looking forward to diving further in this world of new emotions and sensations.