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Why do we innovate? Prof. Bruno Wattenbergh explains everything to this 9-year-old child

2020 rhymes with new features at IntoTheMinds. As we announced in a previous post, we have launched a series of videos about business. The presenter is a 10-year-old child, Pierre-Raffaele, who receives in his studio, guests who are experts in their field.

In the 2nd episode of the series, it is a guest of choice who is welcomed by Pierre-Raffaele. Bruno Wattenbergh is indeed a professor of entrepreneurship and chairman of the Innovation Board of Ernst &Young. It is an understatement to say that he knows a lot about innovation, and it is this comprehensive knowledge that he shares with Pierre-Raffaele.

To encourage Pierre-Raffaele, enjoy his videos and subscribe to his YouTube channel. And above all, talk about his videos around you. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any suggestions.

Episode n°2: What is innovation?

Pierre-Raffaele receives Bruno Wattenbergh, Chairman of the Innovation Board of Ernst &Young. Based on a concrete example (that of Nespresso capsules), Bruno Wattenbergh shows that the success of an innovation is based on the added value it brings to the user.

“Entrepreneurship and innovation are contact sports”.

Bruno Wattenbergh, E&Y

The difference between innovation and invention

In this episode, Bruno also explains the difference between invention and innovation. Innovation is taking a product, process or social practice and improving it to the point where consumers adopt it and change their habits. The inventor does not necessarily aim to have his product adopted by a large part of the population. The essence of the invention is, therefore, to be found in its potential to be adopted because of its superiority over existing alternatives. And it is true that in this context the example of Nespresso makes sense. The 74 patents of the Nespresso capsule have enabled millions of consumers to recreate the tasting experience that was previously the prerogative of baristas.

How to innovate?

As Bruno Wattenbergh explains, the first thing to learn is to observe is to have empathy for people. You have to love people, understand what their problems are. Solving a problem creates value. Then you have to step back: there are as many solutions as there are problems. It is, therefore, necessary to observe, to think “outside the box” and to free oneself from what one already knows. This is an indispensable prerequisite for being able to imagine entirely new solutions. Finally, it is necessary to be able to work in a group. If the inventor works alone, the innovator has to work in a group. To innovate is to be able to confront each other, to get out of the building, to go and talk to people. Entrepreneurship and innovation are contact sports. To be an innovator is at the same time to be an anthropologist who will study the way people live, a sociologist to understand them, a psychologist to analyse what is inside people’s heads. The combination of all these talents will allow us to offer consumers what they are looking for and what will improve the way they live and work.


Pierre-Nicolas est Docteur en Marketing et dirige l'agence d'études de marché IntoTheMinds. Ses domaines de prédilection sont le BigData l'e-commerce, le commerce de proximité, l'HoReCa et la logistique. Il est également chercheur en marketing à l'Université Libre de Bruxelles et sert de coach et formateur à plusieurs organisations et institutions publiques. Il peut être contacté par email, Linkedin ou par téléphone (+32 486 42 79 42)

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