Fahrenheit 212’s people are the best and brightest innovators in the world. We hail from diverse cultures, backgrounds, and industries, but are connected by a shared passion to make things better and to make better things. Voices of Fahrenheit is a series that shares perspectives from the individuals behind the innovations at Fahrenheit 212 to give you a glimpse into their days and what makes them tick.
This week, we interview Franz Luquet, Innovation Consultant on the Idea Development team at Fahrenheit 212.
What do you do at Fahrenheit 212?
My primary role is to explore the world in order to uncover interesting tensions and opportunities, that will become the insights that we then build strategies and solutions upon. To do that, we speak with consumers, experts and stakeholders, we go through every report and points of views we can get our hands on, and we spend a lot of time out, observing - or pretending we are - regular consumers.
What is the best and most challenging part of your role?
The best part of my job is identifying things in a sector that are broken for consumers and companies, finding areas where there’s unnecessary friction, unused assets or no current solution. And then finding an elegant way to fix it that will benefit both the consumer and the business.
The most challenging part of my role is living in what feels like a constant state of uncertainty. The sheer amount of information, data and things to challenge and question can be overwhelming. It can be tricky knowing where or how to find powerful and unique insights. Coming up with ideas is easy, but finding the right problems is where the real challenge lies. Luckily our methodology always keeps us on track.
Where do you feel most creative?
At my desk. If I can’t be creative at a desk this job wouldn’t be for me. I need to be able to switch on my creativity at any time. Failing that, I’ll go for a walk. A big part of my job is to observe consumers in their element, so going out is always a reliable source of inspiration.
Do you have any rituals for the innovation process?
Bouncing ideas with someone on the project or even better, people who aren’t on the project, to test ideas and concepts is a great way for me to validate or challenge the thinking. I also find exercising helps. You come up with the best stuff when you’re not forcing your mind to think and endorphins are kicking in.
Where do you call home?
Two places. I grew up in Paris and lived there until I was 25. When I go back, I have an overwhelming feeling of being home. Another place is a house my parents own in the Morvan National Park in Burgundy. It’s rustic and in the middle of nowhere, but it’s so charming – and because you get so much time to read or even just get bored, it’s also pretty luxurious.
What do you never leave home without?
Clothes?! I just shower and go. I don’t have a special routine. Oh I brush my teeth as well. Dental hygiene is fundamental to my inner balance.
What is the first thing you do every morning? The last thing at the end of every day?
I enjoy listening to podcasts on my way to work, especially Barry Ritholz’s Masters in Business, Pivot with Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway or anything by a16z, 11:FS and The 20 Minute VC.
I’ll always watch something at the end of the day, either a film or a documentary. I love starting my night’s sleep with something to think about. I have very vivid and realistic dreams and they’re often based on what I just watched.
When did you first get into the field of Innovation?
Without knowing it, Innovation has sort of always been part of my life. I started a high-end espadrilles company at 23, and it was built on an insight – espadrilles are an ultimate summer shoe in terms of comfort and style, but would only be sold in supermarkets and gardening stores. I then went into brand management at Pernod Ricard and onto qual research at C Space. Each role I’ve had has been a building block, leading me to a role in Innovation and Growth Strategy.
What is your favorite innovation from the last decade?
There are so many, how can I choose? I have a lot of respect for Domino’s Pizza. They have adopted the mindset of an online retailer to turn something very basic – takeaway pizzas – into a constantly evolving company, who is able to embed itself in customers lives with best-in-class experience that goes way beyond a boring app – which made their sales and loyalty levels go through the roof.
What product, service, or industry do you think is most ripe for innovation?
For me, it’s in any industry where there’s an unlimited choice of products on offer and currently no tools to cut through the noise. Big online businesses don’t seem to be solving for this. Take Amazon, Expedia or Netflix’s personalised recommendations for example. They’re ridiculous. In my opinion, people deserve tools that help them make informed decisions on the products and offers they should pick to better suit their needs and preferences across entire sectors and how to bring them together (in travel, fashion, health, etc.). This would open so many great opportunities for true personalisation and sky-high levels of loyalty.
What are some of your interests outside of innovation?
Films. I love stories about things I may never experience, like robbing a bank or saving the world (although one never knows). Escapism is lovely, but it can also be useful to my work, which is also about stories, from a trigger incident to a resolution. Another great pleasure is reading non-fiction books because the real world is weirdly more fascinating than made-up stories.
What is your go-to reading source?
I subscribe to way too many newspapers and magazines. My favourites are Bloomberg Business Week and The Economist, which are both outsanding press; and Vanity Fair as I enjoy their long, investigative-style articles. I’ll always go for the physical copy as it’s a pleasure receiving it, it’s crisp and it smells good.
What is your greatest life hack?
I’m a professional “power-napper”. I have the ability to sleep anywhere, time my own sleep as little as a couple of minutes and wake-up seconds before my alarm. I truly believe it’s a super power and I’m aware it comes with great responsibilities too.
What is your must-read book?
It’s impossible for me to pick one, but lately I loved ‘Killers of the Flower Moon’ by David Grann, a true story of Osage Indians, the richest population in the world in the 1920’s, who were mysteriously dying one after the other, which led to a series of investigations and the creation of the FBI. Incredible story.
What is your favorite app?
I can’t do without Pocket, which I use to bookmark from my laptop any article I don’t have time to read on the spot. It makes any tube journey useful and enjoyable and I don’t have to rely on my memory to find them again. But the most fun is probably Flightradar which allows you to track where planes in the sky are going to and from, as well as as their flight history.
What is your favorite quotation?
“It ain’t over til it’s over” from Sylvester Stallone in Rocky. A good reminder that nothing is finite and that humility, resilience and stamina are essential qualities in work and life.