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The IDEA Center has recently been created to enhance HEC's reputation as the leading European Business School for Entrepreneurial and Digital Innovation, meeting the aspirations of a new generation of students and the needs of businesses. As well as overseeing the coordination of the Business School's programs, the IDEA Center runs an innovation laboratory for developing cutting-edge ideas.

What is the HEC IDEA Center?

Academic life at HEC is structured according to different departments (Finance, Strategy, Marketing …) that bring together all of our professors. However, many of the School’s departments, such as digital transformation, innovation, design thinking, social development, are becoming increasingly interdisciplinary… To adapt to new approach, HEC Paris has created Centers of Expertise in Entrepreneurship & Digital (IDEA Center) and SNO (social business). The Centers focus on three axes: think, teach, act. In other words: research and applied research, training, implementation and outreach.


Its acronym means


Innovation     Digital     Entrepreneurship     Acceleration


HEC IDEA includes:

  • 3 Research Laboratories: Entrepreneurship, Data and Innovation and Regulation;
  • 9 majors: Design Innovation Project (Grande Ecole, with Ecole Polytechnique), Data Science for Business (High School, with Ecole Polytechnique), Entrepreneurs (Grande Ecole, with Ecole Polytechnique), Digital (Grande Ecole), Digital Innovation (MBA), Entrepreneurship (MBA), Entrepreneurship & Innovation (Executive MBA), Entrepreneurship - Project Accelerator (Executive MBA), Online Master in Innovation & Entrepreneurship (Executive MBA);
  • 3 Certificates: Digital Entrepreneur, Digital Transformation and, in September 2018, Data for Management;
  • Accelerator programs: the HEC Incubator at Station F, HEC Challenge + (tech companies), HEC Stand Up (women entrepreneurs from disadvantaged neighborhoods), the Startup Launchpad (business creation of last year students) and its extension in Silicon Valley, HEC eLab, participation in the Accelerator of Social and Solidarity Economy of the Ile de France Region (in September 2018) ...
  • corporate partnerships with 5 Chairs: AXA Digital Strategy and Big Data, Capgemini Digital Experience, GS1 France Digital Content for Omnichannel, L'Oreal Entrepreneurship, Natixis X-HEC Data Science for Future Banking; and 4 sponsors: Air France, Atos, Orange, Webhelp.

All of these programs - which use approaches such as learning by doing methods, project-based learning and design thinking - cover 873 students and have helped develop 126 business projects in 2017-2018.


The creation of IDEA aims to:

  • coordinate and improve the visibility to these existing programs;
  • develop research and applied research in the areas of innovation, digital, data and AI and entrepreneurship. For example, Ludovic Stourm has developed a model on the deployment of sharing economy platforms (such as Airbnb, Bla Bla Car ...) that provides a better understanding of their success or their slow diffusion on the market. For his part, David Restrepo develops research in SMART Law, a discipline that aims to improve the quality and effectiveness of the law by measuring its impact by quantitative indicators and the automatic application of algorithms (big data, IA).
    In terms of applied research, a Data Factory is in the introductory phase to support the research work of Professors, students and entrepreneurs. Several companies have already offered to provide masses data to this platform, in order to find new ways of exploiting this internal wealth.
  • develop new offers and new initiatives. One priority is AI for business: artificial intelligence indeed opens up a considerable field of innovations both in terms of digital transformation and entrepreneurship. The award-winning startup projects from the latest Startup Launchpad promotion all involve AI, thanks to the contributions of students from the new X-HEC Data Science for Business program. HEC is currently working alongside with centers of technical expertise in IA (engineering schools, universities, companies), on several initiatives exploring and promoting the development of AI in the business world: business creation, AI's impact upon management, and its application in companies.
  • reinforce our means of cooperating with partner companies: direct access to a larger number of students from both Grande Ecole and MBA to ensure high-quality recruitment of expert profiles; using the campus as a Lab to generate ideas or innovative projects (through challenges, missions or Corporate Launchpad); data and AI collaboration projects (through the exploitation of data sets that partner companies are ready to share); a privileged link with startups from the Startup Launchpad or the HEC Incubator who will be potential partners or suppliers of companies ...

Other projects are under development, with a particular emphasis on social entrepreneurship, with the redesign of the HEC Stand Up program (women entrepreneurs from disadvantaged neighborhoods) and participation in the new ESS accelerator in the Ile de France Region.

IDEA's organization is aligned with its goal of innovation. The structure - headed by Julien Lévy (Academic Director), Inge Kerkloh-Devif (Senior Executive Director) Jean-Rémi Gratadour (Executive Director) - is voluntarily "lean" and agile. Rather than being organized in rigid silos, it aims to bring together and support professors in the fields of innovation, entrepreneurship, and digital.

Our Sponsors

HEC IDEA Center's Sponsors
Logo Région Ile-de-France 2019

Our Partners

HEC IDEA Center's Partners

Our chairs

Corporate Initiative
Digital Experience
Within the IDEA Center
Corporate Initiative
Digital Strategy & Big Data
Executive Director
Julien Lévy
Affiliate Professor, Entrepreneurship and Innovation

HEC IDEA Contacts

Julien Levy, Academic Director
Academic Director

Associate Professor, HEC Paris

Director, HEC IDEA Center

INge Kerkloh Devif
Inge Kerkloh Devif
Senior Executive Director
Jean-Rémi Gratadour
Executive Director
Charles Larbodie
Communication Manager
Elise Maréchal
Elise Maréchal