Olivier TOMAT, Paris / Executive Director of Genepole Entreprises, worked in the fast-moving business of innovation support industry for more than 15 years, from Europe to the U.S. and back.

1. How do you define innovation and why is it important for you (personally, not for your professional activity)?

I don’t know, man. I used to think it was about change plus assessing who is going to pay the bill and how. But, considering the world is sort of burning, can we restrict innovation to market considerations? I don’t think it is that simple anymore.

2. If we only consider “digital” what’s the biggest impact you witnessed directly these last years (remote working notwithstanding)?

Actions have consequences. We spent the last fifteen years so much in teleological awe of digital monopoly building that we did not pay enough attention to what was coming. For all the great and the good that’s been done, the 2016 election has been for me, the landmark of an awakening on the impact of ‘digital’ on the very fabric of society.

3. What’s currently the hottest topic in your field that you believe might have a chance to really be transformative?

Alternative proteins by a mile. Yes, there are still a lot of technological and market issues (but, hey, that’s what is exciting, right?), and it is not a miracle solution, but talk about transformative impact.

4. In contrast, what's the most over-hyped topic and why?

Blockchain comes knocking at our (bio) door (biosecurity, drug repurposing, etc.), but I have still to see clear-cut use cases and am still under the impression that it’s a ‘when you have a hammer, everything looks like a nail’ situation. Of course, I may be miserably wrong.

5. What is the most surprising weak signal you have direct knowledge of that we all should be paying more attention to?

Despite all the fancy market analyst statements and the NYSE graphs, I’m more bullish than ever on the ability of $DNA’s plan to pull off their platformization of life plan. Look at their supremely elegant strategy and BM, and tell me I’m wrong. I dare you.
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