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Interview of Emmanuel Hedouin, intrapreneur within the STELLANTIS Venture Studio, mentored by INSKIP Entrepreneurs

Emmanuel, could you introduce yourself and talk about your career in a few words?

After studying engineering, I started my career in France, at PSA Studies and Research, working on various subjects related to the electrical architecture of the group's new vehicles. In particular, I was responsible for the development of components and electrical harnesses and then of equipment related to the design of the vehicle: headlights and rear lights, for example.

After 16 years in France, you took off for Brazil - can you tell us more?

Following the project of our high-end project, C6, I was offered to continue my mission in Brazil, to develop part of the engineering department there as well as local partnerships. This new adventure has turned out to be very exciting, with a large number of recruitments to reach nearly 200 people, with a strong multicultural dimension by creating entities in Brazil in Porto Real, São Paulo and in Argentina, in Palomar. The heart of the engineering department  being in São Paulo, I settled there.

We then developed PSA's innovation cell in Latin America, notably with key agreements, such as that with FAPESP (the São Paulo Research Foundation) or its counterpart in Rio (FAPERJ), and numerous projects with universities, going as far as creating OpenLabs in certain areas of expertise, without forgetting the development of Open Innovation also internally, by launching an incubator for employees on all sites in Latin America .

What exactly did you do within this innovation cell at PSA?

We initially focused on the development of research projects on ethanol, a key characteristic in Brazil, as well as on strengthening the safety of users of our vehicles in South America. We have thus been able to develop a Center of Competence on ethanol and an interesting project responding to an official call for innovation projects from the BNDES (the National Bank for Economic and Social Development) on the "IOT and Smart City" theme in which solutions to the problems of insecurity, aggression and kidnappings have been proposed and are being tested with the main actors of the connected city.

These are indeed subjects of major importance, intrinsically linked to the future of mobility and the city of tomorrow. With whom did you collaborate on these reflections?

Thanks to the Research and Innovation Department, I was in contact with the Institute for the City on the Move, with the aim of reflecting on the future of the city alongside researchers and academics. I had the pleasure of supporting the establishment of the Institute in Brazil as a member of its executive committee. We have thus carried out interesting challenges with students, for example by looking at the future of mobility in São Paulo in 2030, by imagining an increasingly important presence of electric and why not autonomous vehicles in the city. We have also collaborated with students from the Ecole de Design de Nantes doing a master's degree in São Paulo on questions of concierge services, last mile delivery and aero-mobility (São Paulo being a great playground with more than 450 heliports !). I greatly appreciated these exchanges, which were very enriching and brought different points of view and expertise; they allowed us to progress in the reflection by developing use cases truly rooted in the local context and issues.

I am convinced that reflections around the city of tomorrow and electricity deserve to be worked on now in Brazil, which offers tremendous opportunities for innovation and experimentation. The context is very specific, due in particular to the very widespread use in the country of ethanol as a fuel for our vehicles. Renewable energy with an extensive and already installed distribution network. So, how can we imagine a transition to electric in a market where the electric vehicle remains for the moment a consumer dream that is still very expensive and therefore mostly inaccessible? This is a theme that deserves reflection and proposals; this is what my current project allows me.

Stellantis acts as a model in the relationships it maintains with startups in the sector. What do you think of these collaborations between very large and much smaller companies, between David and Goliath?

They are essential and particularly rewarding, for both of them! and have become a necessity in today's world. To carry out these collaborations, I worked with startups as part of the Stellantis Venture Studio: an organization that brings together the best innovations developed by startups and small businesses with the large international group such Stellantis. We share our knowledge, carry out life-size tests, and together imagine the city of tomorrow and the future of mobility with the largest startup hubs in South America. The experiences of some have led us to reflect on the conversion of combustion vehicles to electric, using simple and therefore financially more accessible solutions, with local components, and by being part of the " Carbon Net Zero" strategy of the Stellantis group for 2038.

And that's where you fell into intrapreneurship... And where you met INSKIP!

This project has indeed, by coincidence, become a real Stellantis Venture Studio intrapreneurship project, which I have been carrying out for 9 months now within the group; it is baptized Quick Electric! I am lucky to be the first intrapreneur of the group to be able to benefit from the support of INSKIP Entrepreneurs. INSKIP offers me an attentive ear, valuable advice on the development of key stages, and real support on the business model, relations with my first beta testers, and market approach. I have also, thanks to Linda, who accompanies me at INSKIP, developed an entrepreneurial mindset that I did not necessarily have before, and that I nurture week after week, over my discussions with her.

INSKIP has this strategic but also “hands-on” approach, thanks to which I develop my skills as our discussions progress, by advancing in my thinking but also by doing, myself, what that I could in the past have delegated to others. Linda also accompanies me on strategic deployment reflections but also knows how to provide me with more operational support (such as in the context of user interviews) when necessary. I thank her very much because her help and her expertise are invaluable to me – I now have a completely different job from those of my previous missions. It is a great challenge and an immense pleasure, and the help of INSKIP is precious to me as regards the structuring of my development and my ideas. I am really very lucky to be able to benefit from it!

INSKIP wishes to thank Emmanuel for his time as well as Stellantis' communication teams for their insights. 

Let's build together !