Two accounts of the same story: spatial altimetry and oceanography

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Senior expert, innovation and technical policy, National Centre for Space Research (Centre national d’études spatiales, CNES)

Seminar Management of Innovation | Wednesday September 25, 2013 - 8h45 - 10h45

Behind every conquest of space lie technological and human achievements. All the literature in this field highlights an adventure which is inspired by famous explorations. Today the reality of space is much more mundane and related to our daily lives and it is probably because of this that it has such potential to create value and employment. However, even in this new context‚ the subject of breakthrough technological innovation remains dominant. Michel Avignon presents two accounts of the same story, the study of altitude (altimetry) and oceanography: one is focussed on creativity and technological innovation, while the other is concentrated on the importance of the accumulation of knowledge over a long period of time, and the construction of an ecosystem which can support innovation. The examples of failure often come from the fact that one sacrifices the short-term of the innovation for the long-term of knowledge and ecosystems which allow the unexpected to emerge.

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