Thinking out of the box: the second round of the ’Masterclass’ sessions featured by Denim PV and SPORTSWEAR INTERNATIONAL ran under the title ’Innovation’. On stage was a true IT and technology expert: Luc Bretones, executive vice president of the Orange Technocentre and head of Orange Vallée - both divisions of France’s largest telecommunication company Orange. The Technocentre, established in January 2006, is Orange’s “product and design factory” while Orange Vallée functions as an agile entity dedicated to disruptive innovation. 

Here we sum up some of his key statements that not only apply to the world of IT but also to fashion and its technological developments:

“Be it the Internet of Things, the use of data or Artificial Intelligence, these are the bricks today to create innovation.”

“It’s all about constant interaction with the consumer. You need to be in touch with him not only periodically, but all the time.”

“Software rules the world. If you take a look alone at the list of the fastest growing companies worldwide in the last years it’s dominated by software companies such as Apple or internet platforms such as Google or Amazon.”


Main slide of Luc Bretones' presentation
Photo: Denim PV
Main slide of Luc Bretones' presentation

“Currently, you see many US American companies dominating that list, but in the future, we will see many more Chinese coming up. Whereas Europe is still behind in that respect.”

“Social media has established completely new paradigms for economy and society, also in the sense of adopting new technologies. We see that this adoption happens quicker than ever, people act very dynamically. This means that you also have to adapt to these technologies and you have to do it fast. You have to be innovative in your mindset to keep up with the acceleration of innovation.”

“You have to think in a new way about competitors. What you might consider a competitor in the morning, might be someone you cooperate during the day, and in the evening it might become your partner. Ask for co-innovation. This means perhaps to dance with the evil, but still, you should take that risk and be relaxed about it.”

“We do not consider other telecommunication companies as our competitors, instead our true competitors are for example the internet platforms such as Google or the banking business. That’s why we at Orange launched a banking system called Orange Bank recently. So be aware who your true competitors are and start to disrupt by building up structures in your true competitor’s area.”

“We do Hackathons for many years. But we never do them within Orange for Orange. We only do it with other companies. That also makes you think out of the box and get a fresh approach. You have to leverage innovation and resources from the outside.”

“In Europe, there is a tradition of being very sensitive with handing out your data - other than in Asia or America. But it will change in Europe as well with the younger generations: they know about the value of data and they have a higher expectation toward companies when handing out their data. If you do not respect that or if you cannot offer a good reason why you request their data, they will counterstrike.”


Luc Bretones
Photo: SI Team
Luc Bretones

“We observe an addition in technology and the usage of technological devices. Television and radio did not disappear when computers became popular; it’s not like coming and going, black and white. So in that respect I still see us use smartphones for a longer time - even if meanwhile new devices or technologies will be established.”

“Two things are crucial: data analyzed and used in real time is the platform, and voice is the interface.”

“Today, products are connected, consumers share information about them, discuss them, give feedback to the brands etc. That’s why the business does not end when the product is sold. This is when the business begins.”

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