Hollande’s €150 Million Lottery for Disruptive Innovations

Apr 24, 2013
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The Race to Innovate or A Hit Reality Show?

When we think sponsored events and prizes, we think of the Tour de France, marathons, maybe even nationally televised shows like Nouvelle Star.  Like a cosmetic surgeon promising instant reduction in wrinkles and long-lasting results, French President, François Hollande, has a “quick fix” strategy to unearth France’s innovative potential with a 150 million euro grand prize scheme. Minister of Productive Recovery, Arnaud Montebourg explains “In ancient civilizations, patrons would sponsor art and architecture competitions. Today these competitions are in the technology industry but concern to the same issues that a nation like ours still face.” [Translation from linformation.com] While this is mildly nostalgic, state-run prizes have not been a proven source of disruptive technologies.

By 2014, 5-10 “winners” will have the chance to develop a project in France providing a context to decide where its financial and human capital belong. A commission of 20 scientists, economists, a notable members like former astronaut Claudie Haigneré will decide France’s future innovators.

President Hollande Forces 38 Ministers to Reveal Their Assets

The unveiling of the commission is still amid a high level of opacity in the financial reporting going on with François Hollande’s cabinet. Four cabinet ministers claim no ownership of real-estate property and for a country that boasts minimal participation in the stock market, where are their assets? Other disturbing revelations were the shockingly low bank statements – even for a mildly consumerist teenager these figures were odd. SME and Digital Economy Minister, Fleur Pellerin had reasonable if not humble assets compared to her other colleagues.

French People Need Solutions, not Campaigning Strategies

60% of French people believe that elected politicians are corrupt, according to Joëlle Garriaud-Maylam, UMP Senator. Jérôme Cahuzac, the disgraced Budget Minister who denied having a Swiss bank account, sent an unintended message of privilege, power and corruption to a population crippled by an unmitigated financial crisis. The Financial Times last Thursday wrote an editorial on the political climate comparing Hollande to King Louis XIV, who fatally lost touch with his people.

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