A day in the life of an Innovation Portfolio Manager

Nicolas Hauviller

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Editor’s note: As part of our focus on innovation this month, we take our readers into the heart of the innovation team at Amadeus to find out what goes on behind the scenes.

Nicolas H


The Oxford dictionary provides the following definition of innovation: “to make changes in something established, especially by introducing new methods, ideas, or products”.  This certainly happens at Amadeus within ORI (Operational Research and Innovation), where the high level mission is to build added value for Amadeus products with a focus on decision science (Operations Research, data mining) and to facilitate innovation. In my role within the team as Innovation Portfolio Manager, one of my main objectives is to support innovation at Amadeus by offering the tools, knowledge, information, guidelines and contacts to allow employees to grow their ideas into great solutions or products. A greenhouse environment if you will, allowing an idea to come to life.

One of the things I love about my job is that no two days are the same, but on an average day I arrive at the Sophia Antipolis campus near Nice, France, and read news related to travel, economy or technology. I look at anything from Twitter, blogs, news aggregators, or even crowdfunding websites like Kickstarter.com or Indiegogo.com. This gives me an overview on what today's digital trends look like and also goes in to contributions from my team to the Amadeus Innovation Strategy.

Following on from that, I go into what we call "Innovation Boards" – these are regular meetings where Amadeus employees can pitch their innovative ideas and concepts. Amadeus is full of not only smart, but creative people - it's a matter of allowing them to discover their own ability to suggest valuable new ideas, and it’s our job to support and harness that potential. At these meetings, I give my colleagues advice on how to best move their ideas forward and give support with business cases.

After lunch, I follow up on projects I’m involved in. My role here is really varied - some days this means assisting a team in charge of building a prototype with design oriented tasks, other days my role is that of a functional analyst or product manager and quite often I have more of a project manager role.

Towards the end of the afternoon I look at information on where we’re going in terms of innovation and the areas we should explore further, to create market studies and best practices to share internally. I also plan upcoming presentations to partners and customers at events to showcase our latest innovations, prototypes or experiments.

Overall, I would say that one of my biggest satisfactions is to see a colleague’s idea come to life because it means that we were able to create an environment where employees have the opportunity to discuss their idea, pitch it to the relevant people and get funding to build something which has value for the company and our customers. Innovation is in every single team within Amadeus – I just get to witness it first-hand.

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