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Why Academic Research is Needed in time of Crisis to Prepare for Tomorrow’s World?

On Friday 9, CEO of Cartier Cyrille Vigneron and Professors Anne Laure Sellier (HEC Paris) and Ben Voyer (ESCP) unveiled the first inspirations of the Turning Points Chair by Cartier, ESCP and HEC Paris, six months after its launch.

Cartier ESCP HEC Paris Turning Points Chair - Inspiration in action event -HEC Paris July 2021

A gap to be filled between business and academic research

Held at the Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, the "Inspiration in Action" event showcased the first inspirations stemming from the Chair’s activities and welcomed Cyrille Vigneron, President and CEO of Cartier International, Frank Bournois, Executive President and Dean of ESCP, Eloïc Peyrache, Dean and General Director of HEC Paris, professors and Chair holders Anne Laure Sellier (HEC Paris) and Ben Voyer (ESCP), along with 50 guests from Cartier, HEC Paris and ESCP Business Schools.

CEO of Cartier Cyrille Vigneron, launched the event by saying, “There is a gap to be filled between business and academic research. That’s why we saw the need to bring academic rigor to our observation of the world around us. There is a succession of signals coming from society we cannot ignore: we have to think about those turning points and act.”

During an open-discussion “In conversation with”, Cyrille Vigneron, professors and Chair Holders Anne Laure Sellier and Ben Voyer, discussed why Cartier had been interested in setting up a Research Chair tackling philosophical questions and centred around today’s and tomorrow’s turning points, was key.
“We have taken a research-oriented approach because we are convinced that academic research can have a positive impact on business practices and society. As professors, our job is not only to teach knowledge, but to make students see the world differently and think critically. The pandemic has forced us to stop, pause and think. We had to ask bigger questions that take time to answer. We’ve turned this Covid period into a source of inspiration.”

Anne Laure Sellier - Turning Points Chair with Cartier

“We want our Chair to be a playground to explore core issues such as new forms of consumption, de-consumption, sustainability, gender… What makes this Chair unique is its ambition to foster transversal thinking  and to confront  the reality of today’s world - something that not all corporations are ready to do.”

Prof. Frank Bournois and Eloïc Peyrache praised Cyrille Vigneron for giving ESCP and HEC Paris this outstanding opportunity to collaborate.

The ambition of the Chair is to share a research culture and to inspire Maison Cartier to face the current and future challenges of the business world and its societal issues. It is a great project that will not only benefit from research conducted by two professors from both schools, but also a whole community of students and alumni.

HEC Paris Dean Eloïc Peyrache highlighted excellence as a common value between HEC and ESCP. He added : "Research is about anticipating and conceptualizing the world, and coming up with solutions to the challenges ahead of us."

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An observatory to study emerging generational and cultural changes

The GenZ Observatory is a prime example of how both schools’ students can contribute to the Chair’s activities. The Observatory is an initiative from the Turning Points Chair to study emerging generational and cultural changes. Each month, students are challenged to become trend spotters and opinion seeker on a given topics. The Observatory has already explored a wide range of topics such as work and workplaces, activism, interpersonal relationships or sustainability.

“Professionally, GenZ employees want to do things that they are inspired by and that create impact. They want to be value creators. They also crave for mental health and life balance while being ready to take on multi-experiences and multi-challenges”, said Sylvie Rood and Martina Bersani, both ESCP students

Research results and insights shared today will inspire and prepare both students and managers for upcoming challenges.


An unprecedented partnership between Maison Cartier and two leading Business Schools

ESCP and HEC Paris have always questioned their responsibility to build the future and the role of education as a lever for societal transformation.

What is at stake? Students expect from their schools both an awareness of societal issues and a strong determination to act beyond the classroom. For several years now, ESCP’s and HEC Paris’ course offering has been enriched with mandatory courses integrating essential topics related to sustainability and ecological transition.

Sustainable development, new relationships to consumption, behavior of generation Z, new ways of working... These are some of the many turning points the world is facing. It is thus essential to create spaces for reflection on these challenges, which is exactly the role of the Turning Points Chair.