Alumni profile – Philippe Nacson (Class of 2012)

nacson-350x262After 20 years working in investment banking and private equity, Philippe Nacson (Class of 2012) decided it was time to tread a new path and pursue his creative passion for design. Making the most of the “breath of fresh air”  that TRIUM provided, Philippe’s new career path has led him to success, with his furniture designs being featured at Paris Design Week, the London Design Festival and Design Shanghai. Now, thanks to an enlightening meeting with an android, Philippe has turned his creative attention to themes of Artificial Intelligence (A.I.) and has started a new venture as the Designer and Founder for LOST ANDROIDS; a label fostering and building upon positive interactions between humans and androids.

The idea for LOST ANDROIDS originated from Philippe’s encounter with an Otonaroid Android in Miraikan, the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation in Tokyo. As Phillipe describes:

“I felt a simultaneous mix of fear and attraction. I instantly felt I needed to translate this experience somehow into something tangible, into something that would change our negative perception of AI in general into something positive”

1474236549548Using his this encounter as inspiration, Philippe set about using his creative talent to develop a line of LOST ANDROIDS merchandise, as well as a music album composed by industry artists who have worked with the likes of Madonna, Grace Jones, and Tribal Quest. Preparations are also in place to present a touring art exhibition, featuring projects by international artists, each offering their unique representation of a positive interaction between humans and new technologies. Each artist will be working closely with a robot lab or new tech lab depending on the nature of each creation.

LOST ANDROIDS is also creating a Think Hub in order to play a part in envisioning new forms of interactions between humans and androids, as well as other technologies that are aiming to replace humans. The Think Hub will aim to gather scientists, philosophers, sociologists and entrepreneurs along with artists, designers and architects who are using technology in their work and provide them with a forum in which they can bring forward their vision of positive interactions between humans and new technologies.

As the TRIUM Class of 2018 prepares to head to California for our new module on ‘Technological Disruption and Entrepreneurship’, we caught up with Philippe to hear more about the project, his thoughts on AI in business and his advice for fellow TRIUMers:

What inspired you to move from investment banking and private equity to design and entrepreneurship?
I have always wanted to create my own business and I knew I wanted to explore other areas, ideally in something which implied creating objects and had something to do with technology. I had been working in the finance industry – from the corporate world to investment banking and then to private equity – for 20 years. I was not learning much anymore, and I felt the need to come out of this comfort zone. It felt right at that point in my life to take on new challenges.

What did you learn from the TRIUM Global EMBA Program that has helped you most in your career/personal development?
Meeting a cohort of people with a wide range of experiences. Most of them were/are entrepreneurs.  Spending almost two years with people bringing that energy made a big difference in my decision – when the right time came – to follow the same path.

What have been the most challenging and rewarding aspects of establishing your own business?
For my design activity, I was very lucky as I had already had feedback about the interest people had about my designs before I left my finance job. From there on, it was more about teaming up with the right people and not wasting time and money. Also not coming from a design background or even trained as a designer, I had to very quickly learn the codes and create my own network in this industry. But if you approach people with humility and with a quest to learn from others, it puts you in a completely different energy. And things happen. It is then easier to impose your own vision even when people tell you it is impossible to achieve.

The same would apply to LOST ANDROIDS. Everyone has great ideas: it is more about how you bring people together to adhere to that vision which makes a big difference at the end of the day.

Being able to create emotions and make people think, whether through my designs or via LOST ANDROIDS, from different generations or cultures is the best reward for me.

What are your top 3 tips to TRIUMers who want to transition into launching their own business?

  1. Take time to team up with the right people. Creating a business is never a one person venture.
  2. Do not create a venture with a goal to become a millionaire as it will lead you to take the wrong decisions.
  3. Do not be afraid to be ambitious but always be humble.

If you could design a TRIUM module which city/ country would you host it in and what would your topic focus be?
San Francisco, Artificial Intelligence.

As the TRIUM Class of 2018 prepares to head to California for our new module on ‘Technological Disruption and Entrepreneurship’, can you share any thoughts you have on how technology is impacting current business?
Technology has been impacting businesses for several decades. Technology is moving very fast and faster than most people realize it. The implication of Artificial Intelligence on everyday business is growing by the minute and the ones who will integrate it first will be the leaders of tomorrow’s economy. The applications of AI are extremely wide whether you are looking at agriculture, health, education or industrial activities. The impacts can be negative but there are as many positives or even more.

To discover more about the LOST ANDROIDS:
Instagram: Lost_Androids
Facebook: @lostandroids
youtube channel: Lost androids