Digital Vision – Interview with Patrice Slupowski

As part of the assessment of projects submitted to the experimental stream, the CMF calls upon highly renowned international experts. In the Digital Vision series, we present interviews with members of our past juries with the simple objective of letting ourselves be inspired by the talented minds that shape our industry. We extend our heartfelt thanks to all our jury members as well as to those who kindly answered our questions. Moreover, you can consult the list of all jury members since the inception of the experimental stream.

In this interview, Patrice Slupowski shares his thoughts with us. Mr Slupowski is Vice-President, Digital Innovation & Communities, running NExT.com, the innovation team of the new Growth Businesses Division of Orange. (Patrice Suplowiski’s complete bio).

Mr Slupowski, when you think about your work as a VP Digital Innovation & Communities, what would you say…

Is the best / most amazing thing that has happened in your field in the last 3 years?

With respect to the digital field as a whole, I would say that the takeoff of Digital Education is one of the most exciting elements. MOOCs [Massive Open Online Course] are probably the first example of how digital will drastically transform how we teach and learn.

With respect to the recent past, one of the most amazing trends is surely «Nowism» and the way that digital’s immediacy (content sharing, news, …) has become the most important factor for digital users.

Keeps you awake at night?

E-mails! (laughs) It’s true that I still spend 2 to 3 hours emailing in the evening but it’s more like jogging that actual brain stimulation… After that I sleep well, and I’m flooded with ideas in the morning shower. That’s when I have the clearest insights into our products or our interactions with other companies, the teams etc. I should install a waterproof tablet to take some notes.

Describes the future of your profession in 140 words?

My job is about transforming weak signals into tangible innovative products, so I fundamentally work on permanent revolutions. There are new trends every year or two (like Nowism) and major disruptions every 5 to 10 years (like social, local, mobile, wearables, …) that are affecting the digital industry as a whole. I think that even for big corporations, what is going to evolve a great deal is the way we collaborate with other companies. Today, no one can build success alone, ecosystems are key, and since the biggest part of innovation originates from start-ups, it’s obvious that everything must be done to help them with acceleration/incubation programs. Start-ups need money but they also need to make the best decisions, acquire senior expertise and generate business. So I would say that my future profession is probably more about detecting, mentoring and boosting start-ups than driving product marketing.

Are the changes that you would like to occur in your field within the next year?

I would love to witness the monetization of social TV. I think that second screen solutions and social TV have progressed a lot in the last 18 months, in terms of not only customer propositions but also usage. The TV channels have understood that, and they are now almost all systematically trying to incorporate engagement mechanisms in their shows. It’s now time for ecosystem players to use the best possible business models to convert audience figures into business figures. That also requires a good deal of collaboration between players that are carefully playing their respective roles.

Are the 3 things that make your job (or field) absolutely awesome?

International: I’m lucky to be with a group that operates in 33 countries’ consumer markets and nearly every country’s business market. So my scope must be international and—in addition to that—I’m very connected to the countries that are literally driving innovation on the planet (USA, China, Israel, Japan, South Korea, United Kingdom, Canada, France, …)

People’s brains: My role is also to understand the changes in people’s behavior facing digital disruption, so I spend a significant amount of my time tracking the complexity of the human brain to determine how people are perceiving all these changes.

Innovation: The topics on which I’m working are permanently evolving, and my work days are never the same. Places, topics, schedules, people I’m meeting with change on a daily basis, so every day is absolutely unique.

Finally, from a more global perspective, what inspired you recently? What was the most inspiring project / book / article / presentation / idea you were exposed to?

It’s not always new things that inspire you 😉 This past weekend, I spent a lot of time on YouTube and Dailymotion comparing different interpretations of Nessun dorma from Puccini’s Turandot. I was thinking that Luciano Pavarotti’s were the best, and after watching 30 different interpretations, I came to an even clearer conclusion. My favorite is the Royal Albert Hall gala concert in 1982, where the “young” Pavarotti (47) is in fusion with the crowd. He’s so great that he’s the one who decides to put an end to the standing ovation he receives before moving onto another aria. Excellence, inspiration and… goose bumps!

Patrice Slupowski

Patrice Slupowski is Vice-President, Digital Innovation & Communities, running NExT.com, the innovation team of the new Growth Businesses Division of Orange. The team is in charge of various innovative projects on mobile, PC and tablets like TVcheck, Newsblend or Bodyguru and strongly involved in social networks, content recommendation, social and interactive TV, personal data aggregation and e-education. Two of these projects have been nominated for Mobile Global Awards by the GSMA. Patrice Slupowski is a marketing expert in Web 2.0, social networks, connected TV, personal data services and mobile multimedia services (apps, widget, etc.). He founded a company called Waptoo in 1999, one of the first companies to believe in the opportunities around mobile data, creating WAP and mobile services and proposing some automated mobile testing software, for companies and telcos. He sold the company to Lagardère Group in 2004 who appointed him as Development Director. He started his career in ticketing and headed for digital with the first Internet sites. He has been involved in the Web from its infancy and was already connected in 1990. Patrice Slupowski is a graduate in Information Science and Technology from Paris-Dauphine University.

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