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How do we innovate? The Picard experience

By 16 novembre 2021avril 3rd, 2024Managerial innovation

As part of its series of managerial innovation conferences, PMP organised a lunch conference on Wednesday 5 January 2022 from 12.15 to 14.00 on the subject: « How do we innovate? The Picard experience »

It has become a refrain that we hear more and more often from managers and leaders: we love and encourage the right to make mistakes. It sounds more modern than saying that we forbid our employees to make mistakes, on pain of reprisals. So much so that we no longer pay attention to it.

That’s why it’s always refreshing and instructive to hear it directly from a leader, with evidence to back it up.

This was the privilege of the participants in the conference at the Collège des Bernardins with the CEO of Picard, Cathy Collart Geiger, which I had the pleasure of hosting for PMP with Eric Dupont.

For Cathy Collart Geiger, the right to make mistakes corresponds to a culture of testing, which she acquired during her years at Auchan. She told us an anecdote where she had ordered 50,000 silk blouses and had only sold 5,000, and she had to imagine, challenged by Gérard Mulliez, how to sell them (lower prices, promotions, flash sales, etc). It is at these moments when you have to think about how to correct the situation that creativity comes into play and you learn a lot.

To make her Comex aware of this spirit of error that teaches, she offered them some Cambrai candies, this famous sweet invented thanks to a mistake by the confectioner’s clerk, who inadvertently added the wrong amount of sugar and mint and blew air into the dough.

One of the participants in the conference, an IT manager, asked the question: but if you make mistakes and crash the checkout software, it’s not ideal; and what is this story about the « right » to make mistakes, is it a right?

Cathy Collart Geiger was able to specify that the right to make mistakes is not the right to crash the cash registers in daily work, but the right to dare and to be bold in the proposals, to test, and to set up measurement indicators that will make it possible to know, according to the results, if we continue or if we stop. And daring is also a collective process that is accompanied and supported by the leader and by everyone. This is how she tested express delivery with Deliveroo. She launched the test under the sceptical gaze of certain employees and managers. All the indicators after the test (customer satisfaction, delivery time, preservation of product temperature) were in the green, enough to make the reluctant ones crack and generalise the experiment.

A manager who teaches us to be daring, to make mistakes and errors, and who also offers us sweets to encourage us to do so, that’s something you don’t see every day.

Long live the foolishness of the bold!

CEO of Picard
told us how she is transforming Picard, and the role of innovation in her strategy.

Professor, head of the « Ethics and AI » chair at Grenoble Alpes University, author of « Innovations – A philosophical enquiry » (Ed. Hermann, 2021)
brought his philosopher’s eye and his vision of innovation today, in relation to progress.

A debate moderated by : Gilles Martin, Senior Partner PMP et Eric Dupont, Partner in the Finance Division of PMP


  Collart site 1b

Collart site 2

Collart site 3

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