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Jean-Louis Missika : “We are a city that has a special talent for innovation”

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par Elsa Sidawy | 12.13.10


On the occasion of the awards of the Grands Prix de l’Innovation de la ville de Paris on December 13th at the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie, Jean-Louis Missika expresses his views on the dynamics of innovation in Paris. Missika, Deputy Mayor in charge of innovation and research universities discusses the various tools and structures put in place to support innovative companies and make Paris one of the most advanced in this area.

Les Grands Prix d’Innovation are now supported by 11 partners. What benefits are expected from this reciprocal partnership between the City and large private groups?

The dynamic we have built with the Laboratoire Paris Region Innovation is interesting because these companies were formed as a club that works beyond the ceremony of the Grand Prix. This club is dedicated to finding partnerships, following work together and, most interestingly, allotting time to set up community projects. Paris’ Grand Innovation Awards give greater exposure to these partners, which makes sense, since they are active in research & development and innovation.

Do you think this type of event and, more generally, the strong support of innovation by Paris help bring innovative services and products to the street and to Parisians?

This is exactly the function of the Laboratoire Paris Region Innovation. We’re all about transforming the territory of the city into an area of experimentation. Companies are always looking to demonstrate the effectiveness of their innovations in situ. Our goal was to help return Paris to a land of innovation, that is to say, a place where young entrepreneurs and researchers can test their innovations. Finding a single port of entry is essential: the Laboratoire Paris Region Innovation and its legal, practical, and financial tools allow us to experiment on the ground.

Paris is internationally perceived as the timeless city, the City of Light, the capital of fashion … Why is it so important today to demonstrate that Paris is moving to the forefront in terms of innovation?

This image of Paris does not match the reality! Paris was the capital of innovation at the time of the great universal exhibitions: the Eiffel Tower, the Metro, accessible sewers . . . sometimes it’s the less visible aspects of Paris that attest to its innovative nature. We are a city that, like all other major world cities, has a special talent for innovation, thanks to our large number of research laboratories on almost all subjects, a student population close to 300 000, a flowering of start-ups, venture capital financial tools . . . this climate creates the jobs of the future and is part of the international attractiveness of a city.

At just over a year since its launch what kind of results are we seeing from the Laboratoire Paris Region? What will be its future steps?

The Lab is still a young organization but it has proven its effectiveness and utility. The Lab has several functions: it counsels the city and its various departments to help them include innovation in all areas, especially in its coffers. It will also help build projects through calls for proposals. The Lab acts as an overseer and a partner on all these aspects and promises to broadcast Les Grand Prix d’Innovation through the site Innov in the City, … In fact, there’s a whole series of initiatives whose aim is to give visibility to this strategy and innovative policies of the City of Paris.

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International Workshop on Open Data, Nantes, France.

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