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Naval Group: How to be a constructive rebel

Fabrice Poussière is a man on a mission: to bring a touch of constructive rebellion to Naval Group and disseminate ground-breaking innovation throughout this industrial company, which is heir to the French arsenals founded under Louis XIII nearly 400 years ago. Poussière’s “Trojan horse” is the Naval Innovation Hub, which was designed specifically for this purpose.

Interview with Fabrice Poussière, breakthrough innovation manager, Naval Group


[highlight_box title=”Biography” text=”With a degree in scientific and technical studies in physics from Paris XI University, Fabrice Poussière is a serial intrapreneur. As well as being co-founder of Creativ’Lab at Bell Labs, Fabrice is the creator and director of Safran Aircraft Engine’s Fab Lab, Safran Analytics’ Data Lab, and Open Village. He joined Naval Group in 2018. Fabrice is also joint founder of the Hacktivators association, whose goal is to unleash the pirate — and positive — energy inside companies.” ” img=”https://business-digest.eu:443/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/BD300022.jpeg”]


Naval Group is a leader in the naval and defense sector, with a workforce of 14,670 in 16 different countries. The company designs and maintains submarines and ships, provides services for shipyards and naval bases, and delivers solutions in marine renewable energy. “Naval Group has innovated throughout its history, mostly incrementally,” begins Fabrice Poussière, head of breakthrough innovation at Naval Innovation Hub, which was founded in October 2018. “The company is now making the shift towards breakthrough innovation — a shift that means we have to go beyond certain established rules and invent new ones.” Poussière adds that innovating by its very nature means transgressing and challenging the status quo. “Today’s processes and behaviors are rarely suited to the ideas of tomorrow, which can only develop in a different context.”

A hub that breaks the codes

The very foundations of Naval Innovation Hub break the usual rules. The hub’s governance committee is mostly made up of members from outside the company, who provide a fresh perspective on its development. “Of the 12 members, only two — the CFO and director of innovation and quality — are part of Naval Group. The 10 others are start-uppers and captains of industry from a wide variety of economic sectors.” This initial “transgression” was a deliberate choice on the part of the group’s CEO. The hub also enjoys great autonomy and freedom in the way it operates: “Our multidisciplinary team of six permanent members is hosted by the Innovation and Quality Department. The hub has carte blanche to investigate ideas that show potential for breakthrough innovation, whether they’re internal [employees from across all departments, not only R&D] or external partners [training centers, start-ups, and innovative SMEs].” In short, it is a new way of doing things.


“Promoting a culture of innovation means challenging the dominant culture in the industry”


Promoting a more agile culture


Excerpt from Business Digest N°300, October 2019

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Françoise Tollet
Published by Françoise Tollet
She spent 12 years in industry, working for Bolloré Technologies, among others. She co-founded Business Digest in 1992 and has been running the company since 1998. And she took the Internet plunge in 1996, even before coming on board as part of the BD team.