French Chamber Wise Innovation Conference – A Journey toward Smart Society

7 Oct 2016 – Singapore aims to be a Smart Nation. It seeks to harness technology and find ways to unlock new possibilities, overcome physical constraints, and ultimately enable people to live fulfilled and meaningful lives. The French Chamber’s Wise Innovation conference saw over 200 participants come together for a day of discussion on strategies and opportunities in innovation, an exploration of possibilities for collaboration.



This conference builds on the experience gained from the Urban Innovations portfolio launched in 2015 – a showcase of over 150 French smart city solutions that seek to address Singapore’s Smart Nation priorities. Organised by the French Chamber of Commerce in Singapore with the support of Blue Solutions by Bolloré and Bolloré Logistics, the conference saw the participation of French companies across a spectrum of sectors, from city planning to construction, energy management, transport, and more.

The opening remarks were delivered by Mrs Doina Palici-Chehab, President of the French Chamber in Singapore, as well as by Guest-of-Honour Professor Low Teck Seng, CEO of National Research Foundation (NRF) of Singapore. Professor Low gave an overview of Singapore’s national direction in research and development (R&D) and also elaborated on how French companies and Singapore counterparts have been and can be collaborating.

The keynote speech delivered by Innovation Strategist Navi Radjou, author of Frugal Innovation (The Economist) addressed, among many interests, what it means to innovate frugally. Drawing from examples and practices across the world, he explained how resource constraints have in fact generated great opportunities for innovation, and how we can creatively stretch resources and draw from what we have to maximise gains and create social value.

“We observe a phenomenon today: ‘problems without borders,’ that is to say challenges are becoming globally common, across developed and developing countries. At the same time, the rise of the global society means that an idea can be tested in one place, scaled up somewhere else, and implemented elsewhere.”

Navi’s keynote presentation was followed by the first discussion panel, where he was joined by Ankur Agrawal, Managing Director, AXA Data Innovation Lab @ Asia, Nicolas Marechal-Abram, Scientific Director, Veolia ES Singapore, Etienne Drouet, Singapore Lab Director, ENGIE, and Alexandre Parilusyan, VP APAC South Business Transformation, VP Business Development of 3DEXPERIENCE, Dassault Systèmes. Moderated by Gregory Blokkeel, Head of Innovation Cell @ Singapore, PSA Group, the panellists discussed the innovation strategies they have adopted, how, why and what impacts they foresee.

Following a short networking break, we reconvened on a second discussion panel on ‘smart mobility.’ Moderated by Sylvain Remy, Director, Institute for Sustainable Development and Smart Cities, ESSEC Business School, our panellists, Franck Vitte, Managing Director & VP Asia & Middle East, Blue Solutions by Bolloré, Leo Jeoh, Deputy Vice President, Support Engineering, Airbus Helicopters, Franck Martins, MCU Marketing Manager, Greater China & South Asia, ST Microelectronics Asia Pacific, and Christian Amathieux, R&D Manager, Thales Solutions Asia discussed the exciting projects in transport and logistics that have been, are being, and could be brought to Singapore.

The third panel discussed challenges that companies and Singapore face in exporting smart city solutions to other countries, the question of how to adapt innovations to different environments and contexts. Moderated by Vera Jin, CEO of Sopra Steria Asia, on the panel were Goh Chee Kiong, Executive Director, Cleantech and Cities, Infrastructure and Industrial Solutions, EDB Singapore, Aurelie Cleraux, Head of Innovation & Sustainability, Bouygues Batiment International, Laurent Fabry, Managing Director, DiGital Content Technologies, and Gordon Falconer, Director Smart Cities, Global Solutions, Schneider Electric Singapore.

The conference ended with a networking lunch, more informal exchange and discussion!

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For over 150 French smart city solutions, visit