Pink Innov’: Interview Mehdi Nafe “Sustainable innovation, a decade to act”


Oct 12 , 2022 read

Pink Innov' is a network of women and men who want to bring innovation to life by facilitating its concrete application in organizations. Their actions: to keep a constant watch on current events, to contribute their thoughts, to encourage exchanges and to organize workshops, feedback and discovery conferences to put innovation at the heart of the debate.

In a white paper, they have decided to gather 75 testimonies from SME / ETI / start-up managers, academics and organizations, and large groups, all of whom have expressed their views and shared their vision of responsible innovation.

Discover the testimony of Mehdi Nafe, CEO of Novelis:

“After 15 years working in digital and technology, I made the choice to become an entrepreneur in 2017 by founding Novelis, a hybrid structure halfway between a research-based start-up and a specialized consulting firm. I have always been
inspired by innovative and responsible societal practices and my desire in creating
Novelis was to have a sustainable footprint on the societies in which we operate.
The notion of sustainability is essential, as it is one of the keys to responsible
innovation. When Novelis was created, all the partners worked at length on the
founding values of the company and the mission we wanted to give ourselves.

Our first ambition was to have a tangible impact on innovation processes and to
make technologies accessible to all organizations, regardless of their size. This is
why we have created a Research & Development laboratory, in which we invest a
quarter of our revenues. I am convinced that Artificial Intelligence is still in its
infancy and that, in the years to come, this technology will profoundly transform the
way we live and work and will have the capacity to impact the daily lives of people.
The latest advances in medicine give us a brief glimpse of its potential. However,
ethics must remain a point of vigilance in the uses to avoid any drift.

If I were to define responsible innovation, it would be a process by which any
innovation, whatever its state of progress, is analyzed in terms of environmental
sustainability, ethics and relevance from a societal point of view. Through our
expertise in new technologies, we strive to accompany our clients and evolve in this
direction. Automation, for example, is a tool that allows us to simplify information
systems, thereby reducing the hosting infrastructure and the associated carbon
footprint. By coupling this with a rationalization and urbanization approach, it is
possible to optimize digital infrastructures, by making them custom-made, thanks in
particular to the new modular architectures - microservices - capable of
automatically managing their scalability. These are all favorable factors in view of
the inevitable ecological transition that is coming. On a daily basis, we are
developing innovative solutions that are faster to implement and therefore less
resource and energy intensive, both for Novelis and for our customers

But our footprint should not be limited to the scope of our expertise and we want to
go further in the societal actions that could be implemented by Novelis and its
employees. We have set up a dedicated working group which is currently studying
several causes and mechanisms in which Novelis could provide long-term
assistance. The goal is to come up with a concrete, sustainable action plan in a few
weeks, with an associated budget, so that we can start implementing a real aid
program this year. Sponsorship can be financial but we do not want it to be limited
to that. We want to include every employee who wants to participate in this program
by offering them a range of impact actions to get involved in, depending on their
sensitivity to these issues. Each of us can, at our own level, make a contribution and
help our fellow man. Our employees were immediately enthusiastic about this
initiative and saw the value and new meaning it could bring to their daily lives. The
collective is one of our founding values that each employee shares, but this word
only finds true meaning when it can extend beyond the company and be associated
with the world around it.

I am convinced that the success of a company is not measured solely by the
conquest of new markets or by its profits, but by its ability to work for the common
good when it has the means and the capacity to do so. We are at a turning point in
our civilization and it is incumbent on all leaders to take their responsibilities to
move the world forward and create a more just, innovative, inclusive and
sustainable society.”

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