Find comfort in disagreement. (Episode 42)

Interview with Emmanuel Lagarrigue, Chief Innovation Officer of Schneider Electric and a member of its Global Executive Committee.

It’s called “strike up a conversation” for a reason. Why go into a conversation with someone who is just going to agree with what you have to say? That might just as well be called “a double monologue”…

No, instead make an effort to go into conversation with people who do not think like you. Who might even oppose what you do. Who have opposing view of the word. Where there is a bigger chance that the conversation will spark doubt, create disagreement, provoke provokations and generally make you feel challenged. Or to use the words of Emmanuel Lagarrigue: “Find comfort in disagreement”.

Emmanuel Lagarrigue, is Chief Innovation Officer of Schneider Electric and a member of its Global Executive Committee. His mission is to create new profitable growth platforms for the company and to drive a culture of open and collaborative innovation.

Schneider Electric is leading the Digital Transformation of Energy Management and Automation in Homes, Buildings, Data Centers, Infrastructure and Industries. With global presence in over 100 countries, Schneider is the indisputable leader in Power Management – Medium Voltage, Low Voltage and Secure Power, and in Automation Systems.

I sat down (on Zoom) with Emmanuel to talk about reaching out to people not like you.

Emmanuel told me: “I am looking for misfits – the kind of people who half of the company hates, and the other half admires. People who have a habit of going over budget, going around processes and so on. Not because I want them to go over budet or break processes, but because I want to hear from people who are not like everyone else. Sometimes the misfits are the best fits.”

Emmanuel also told me how he makes sure to follow, connect with and communicate with people and organisations that are on the totally opposite side of what Schneider Electric does. Organisations like Extinction Rebellion. Extinction Rebellion is a global environmental movement with the stated aim of using nonviolent civil disobedience to compel government action to avoid tipping points in the climate system, biodiversity loss, and the risk of social and ecological collapse. Hearing their views on current trends, innovations or events gives a totally different perspective to Emmanuel.

Which organisation is your diametrically opposite? When is the last time you talked to them? And more importantly: when is the last time you listened to them? Not to convince them of where you stand, or what you believe, but to get fresh approaches on how to view the world. If there is one thing I am in total agreement with Emmanuel Lagarrigue about it is the need for all of us to more often find comfort in disagreement.




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