Fahrenheit 212 is growing and expanding its reach across Europe with the opening of a new office in Paris. We sat down with Rony Zibara, Partner and Head of F212 France, and Liam Buswell, Strategy Director, and asked them about their ambitions for the new Paris office.
Tell us about how you got into innovation and your journey to Fahrenheit 212.
I am one of the original founders of Fahrenheit 212. My background has always been at the intersection of Branding & Innovation but I always pushed beyond just the brand to build new products & services. Eventually I setup my own practice within a branding consultancy in the 90s, focused mainly on brand-driven innovation.
Fahrenheit 212 was born in 2002 from the coming together of 6 partners, all from different backgrounds. We formed a perfect mix of commercial and creative minds to offer the market a new innovation proposition: ‘Money & Magic’.
My background is in investment banking, but I soon came to realize I wanted to focus on creating new things and being part of the action. This lead me to Design School to learn a new skillset in design thinking. I first started in our New York office, and then helped launch the Fahrenheit 212 London office in 2014. I am excited to be setting up the Paris office with Rony.
How would you describe the state of innovation in France?
There’s a lot of investment and energy going into innovation in France, backed by Macron’s new government. Innovation is not as sophisticated an industry as strategy consulting, but we are already reaping the benefits from the UK and USA’s early learnings. The French market is primarily driven by open innovation, and the race is on to industrialize innovation in companies, unfortunately this has many challenges.
Companies and their executive teams are increasingly under pressure to deliver top line growth and the associated innovations. Fahrenheit 212 will help France-based companies identify new vectors and platforms for growth, create a better vision of the future of their business and offer guidance on how to get ideas and innovation to market.
France is at a very exciting stage of innovation with the new government and the European shifts with Brexit. It has deep expertise in engineering, technology and economics and has been the pioneers of many things in these areas. The opportunity for Fahrenheit 212 is to support France’s many large enterprises in strategic innovation.
F212 is part of Capgemini, a global technology consulting leader. How would you describe the benefits created for clients from Fahrenheit 212 being a part of the Capgemini Group?
Capgemini has a portfolio of great clients and excellent consultants and experts, wanting to introduce Fahrenheit 212 and create opportunities for us. Clients immediately see value in the end-to-end proposition of Fahrenheit 212 as part of Capgemini. Our primary role is to spearhead innovation and growth strategies for companies, and leverage the breadth and power of Capgemini to bring innovation projects to market and deliver them at scale.
For Fahrenheit 212, the opportunities of joining the group are in the breadth and diversity of Capgemini’s capabilities, and in their ability to accelerate a client’s go-to market proposition. For Capgemini, the benefits lay in Fahrenheit’s ability to extend a clients’ vision and offer expertise in specific areas of innovation.
Paris is the first office being opened after we became part of Capgemini. I’m keen to collaborate to create the right blueprint that represents who we want to be as the consultant firm of the future.
How does Fahrenheit 212 create value for clients?
Fahrenheit 212 provides clients a powerful and compelling point of view on their business by looking in from the outside and asking the hard questions on all aspects of their business and their consumer, looking for ways to bust existing paradigms which in essence form an outdated business model. We are able to draw the right insights, whether it’s around their channels, categories or customers so they can transform and win in the future.
It is often difficult for businesses to assess themselves. They are frequently so focused on running their existing business that it is hard to imagine how they could do things differently or innovate possibilities for the future. F212 is able to offer a new perspective, provide insight on their strengths and more importantly, the areas of weakness that need focus. We help companies understand the possibilities that exist for them while demonstrating that innovation is a worthy investment in terms of money, resources and facilitation.
We use our ‘Money & Magic’ methodology which offers the commercial data-driven rigor you get from traditional strategy consultancy combined with the breadth of ideas of the creative industries to take you beyond the data to better visualize the future.
Tell us about some of the work you are currently doing in France?
Liam & Rony
Most recently we have been working on a global project with a French multinational insurance firm. We have been looking to define future opportunities that sit outside of their core business, and more specifically in Wellbeing & Prevention. Our job is to help crack open the areas of opportunities and turn it into something more tangible with a clear investment case and define potential new business models and value proposition.
We have also been working with another French multinational, in the banking and financial services sector. We have been working with their African business on making their innovation capability more cohesive and strategic across the business in order to deliver better returns.
For a French property developer we have been defining a business model for a new proposition around B2B commercial real estate and that is replicable, scalable and differentiated from market-leader WeWork. They would like to create the new workplace of future, optimizing the productivity of its occupants.
What are some of the goals the F212 team in France want to realize in the first year?
The next year is exciting. We’re expanding into a new market with no legacy. In the coming year, we will be working on leveraging opportunities with Capgemini and responding to the needs of the marketplace, and in doing so organically grow to become a powerful force.
Innovation is becoming a major economic driver as a discipline in France, as a result there’s a lot of talent, great innovators with relatively uninhibited minds that can provide us with unexpected answers and fresh ideas.
In the year to come we would like to grow the Fahrenheit 212 brand and network in France, and leverage the Capgemini channel to become the innovation partner to their best clients.
Paris offers a substantial opportunity for us and we are building a strong team from local experts who know the market, and from people with a more international background. Our aim is to drive a real diversity of thinking into the team from the start.
What is the most satisfying moment you have experienced at F212?
We employ the world’s smartest people and when I see them hitting their stride, understanding the Fahrenheit language and applying the methodologies, it makes me proud.
It’s not easy to define but I think I get the most satisfaction out of ‘breakthrough moments’ when a client sees how our proposed solutions can help unlock value in their business.
One of the most important aspects of being an innovator at Fahrenheit 212 is using your personal strengths. Can you tell me about your Basadur profile and how it steers and guides your work with others on the team?
My Basadur is one of only two “white” profiles in the company. I am a peacekeeper, and typically non-confrontational. My mind is always probing for new possibilities which drives me to empower and enable my employees and clients.
As an ex-banker, my Basadur profile is heavily red, which means I’m driven by power! But I think it means I’m much more matter of fact and driven by the outcome we’re working towards. In terms of problem-solving, I’m good at envisaging possibilities and helping people make the right decisions.