Richard Robert / Executive Director, Paris Innovation Review

Last updated on profile page : February 14th, 2017


Richard Robert is the executive director of Paris Innovation Review. He took over this position on March 1st, 2012, after a six-month period as the magazine’s chief editor.

A graduate from Ecole normale supérieure (Fontenay), he started his career in 1995 as an Assistant Professor in University of Caen. In these early years he published six books on literature and history of ideas. He also founded and managed for seven years a quarterly journal on contemporary literature, ‘Scherzo’ (Presses universitaires de France, 1997-2004). But what would be later called the Internet bubble provided jobs, ideas, prospects. He started to write on other topics and gradually left the academia for the Internet and publishing industry.

In Sept. 2002, soon after completing his PhD cum laude (‘Utopy and individuals, 1770-1810’), he was recruited by Confédération française démocratique du travail (CFDT), a moderate labor union with a tradition of intellectual networking (Michel Foucault was a familiar in the 80es). For seven years he was the chief editor of a quarterly review, ‘Cadres.’ He also served three years as an adviser for CFDT's secretary-general François Chérèque. During this period he worked with French think tanks such as La République des idées or En temps réel, writing political studies, translating books (from Suzanne Berger, Paul Berman, Michael Ignatieff), as well as reading a lot of economics and political science.

In Nov. 2005 he joined political scientist Zaki Laidi, economists Charles Wyplosz and Lionel Fontagné and media entrepreneur Jean-Christophe Boulanger to launch, a European online intellectual agency first chaired by WTO’s Director-General Pascal Lamy. Telos publishes articles and op-eds on matters ranging from economic policy to international affairs; authors now include over 300 senior academics from 15 countries.

After quitting CFDT in 2009 Richard spent two years in Germany, working as a freelance writer, enjoying schwarzbrot and getting married. He came back to Paris in 2011 to join ParisTech Review (now Paris Innovation Review) as chief editor.

On the side he gives lectures, most of them at ENA (France's National School of Administration). In the last 10 years he has published numerous op-eds and articles on economical and political matters in French and international newspapers: Le Figaro, La Tribune, Slate, Les Echos, L'Express, Esprit, Cadres (Paris), Le Temps (Geneva), ECIPE, Green European Journal (Brussels), La Tribune (Algeria), The Moscow Times, The St. Petersburg Times, Otechestvenniye Zapiski (Russia), Eurointelligence (Frankfurt), Renewable International (Hannover), Sankei Shimbun (Tokyo), The News (Kazakhstan), Technomic Review (India).

By Richard Robert on Paris Innovation Review

Innovation, the Indian Way

Society on October 10th, 2016

In the global geography of innovation, India is straddling two continents. Its engineers have contributed to the success of the Silicon Valley: the father of the USB socket, the inventor of the Intel Pentium chip, the general manager of Microsoft are Indian, as is part of the senior management at Google. The success of this Diaspora reflects the talents of Indian engineers, but it can also be linked with an original innovation culture, which expresses itself in an amazing ability to reverse concepts. Three meta-innovations illustrate this Indian way.
Dans la géographie mondiale de l'innovation, l'Inde est à cheval sur deux continents. Ses ingénieurs ont largement contribué aux succès de la Silicon Valley : le père de la prise USB, celui de la puce Pentium d'Intel, le directeur général de Microsoft sont indiens, tout comme une partie du senior management de Google. La réussite de cette diaspora ne traduit pas seulement la qualité des ingénieurs indiens. Elle peut être mise en relation avec une culture d'innovation originale, qui s'exprime d'abord dans une étonnante capacité à renverser les concepts. Trois méta-innovations, et non des moindres, illustrent cette agilité intellectuelle : elles touchent aux marchés, à l'ingénierie, au management.

China now and Mao

Business on July 6th, 2011

In any discussion of strategic thinking in contemporary China, western consultants always cite the wisdom of one towering figure: Sun Zi, author of the celebrated Art of War. Yet when enquiries are made into the principles guiding Lenovo boss Liu Chuanzi he is quick to proffer Mao's Little Red Book. He is not alone. Is this a nod of respect toward the tutelary figure of the current regime? No, Mao Zedong thought remains an enduring influence from Beijing to Shenzhen and revising some of its concepts is of immense value in any attempt to understand the tactical and strategical practices in contemporary China.
Les consultants occidentaux n'ont qu'un nom à la bouche pour expliquer la pensée stratégique chinoise : Sun Zi, l'auteur du célèbre « Art de la guerre ». Mais quand on interroge le patron de Lenovo sur ses principes de management, Liu Chuanzi cite « Le Petit Livre rouge », et il n'est pas le seul parmi ses pairs. Simple politesse envers la figure tutélaire du régime ? Non : la pensée de Mao Zedong reste une référence marquante à Beijing comme à Shenzhen. Si l'on veut comprendre les tactiques et stratégies des acteurs d'aujourd'hui, il n'est pas inutile d'en réviser les concepts.

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