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"Images et Réseaux" : V. Marcatté, President of the Cluster’s Take on Innovation & Design

"Images et Réseaux" : V. Marcatté, President of the Cluster’s Take on Innovation & Design

A significant player in ICT, V. Marcatté - president of the worldwide competitiveness cluster "Images & Réseaux" - explains the ins and outs of the initiatives taken by this innovation-oriented structure and the input of design in those actions...

Vincent Marcatté, who are you ?

To mention but my professional life, I am the Head of the worldwide competitiveness cluster Images & Réseaux and I also work as a Transformation Director at Orange Labs R&D. Trained as an engineer, very early on I was caught in the net of cross-disciplinary teamwork since I was put in charge of an R&D lab that used to drive - among others - the Studio Créatif : a user-centered innovation-oriented project open to environments not traditionally explored by players in the field of telecommunications (artists, dancers etc.).

How do you envision the near future for your competitiveness cluster, Images & Réseaux ?

Images & Réseaux must endeavor to go from thinking in R&D terms and from focusing on technological matters to adopting a user-centered innovation-oriented logic ; and this it will by favoring the emergence of new services, which appears as the only true way to create value for the years to come (factor 10 par rapport aux technologies). We have recently updated our reference frame and moved ahead from work based on technological axes to a vision rooted in a matrix that aims to merge an existing chain of value (basic tools, creating and publishing, distribution, interaction) with usages (personal, professional, social networks).

Our cluster is also developing an open platform called ImaginLab meant to provide labs and companies with a solution to test services on actual users and thus check how relevant their ideas are.

Besides the cluster has committed itself to the cities of Nantes and Rennes to create “digital cities” to burst up pre-defined well-established categories, to program artistic productions and to keep setting up new projects. In the short-run we are willing to implement "cantines," places dedicated to co-working, animation, places where innovation professionals come together and exchange points of view.

Reaching beyond its natural field of action - telecommunications and medias - our cluster strives to promote the cross-breeding of different fields of activity, the Internet of tomorrow and sustainable development.

To what extent does design prove beneficial to the members of your cluster ?

In my view we should put more efforts in explaining to the members of our cluster what design actually is. To me design encompasses the "usability" factor and must therefore introduce emotion and quality to user experience.

To elaborate on what I said earlier about the role of innovation within the cluster, I would add that design has an essential part to play in creating truly user-centered services infused with soul and likely to trigger desires in consumers.

What stance could an institution such as L’École de design Nantes take within the cluster and the greater economic environment ?

L’École de Design must help us emerge and veer off from new technologies so as to make Brittany and the Pays de la Loire region into an area acknowledged for its value - by users - and for the quality of the products and services developed by local companies.

I truly wish that one day graduates from L’École de design Nantes Atlantique will take on more and more strategic positions such as global project management and thus make sure that design lies at the core of our vision of products and services.

Interview conducted by F. Degouzon on May 27, 2009.

NB : L’Ecole de design Nantes Atlantique has been a member of the "Images & Réseaux" competitive cluster since 2008.