Positive Turbulence in Negatively Turbulent Spaces
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Pete Engstrom is currently the co-founder and board President of At Home Chesapeake, an innovative not-for-profit program for seniors. They want to create a new social covenant on aging so that seniors can age in place. At Home Chesapeake is a member of the Village to Village Network, where Peter is an active board member. Prior to this gig, Pete served in the US air force in intelligence, innovation and international negotiation. He is also a founding leader of AMI. To describe him as a force of nature might be an understatement.
Positive Turbulence in Negatively Turbulent Spaces With Pete Engstrom
Rob Brodnick: Welcome to the positive turbulence podcast stories from the periphery here, we journey to the edge to talk to turbulators about their experiences creating positive change. Hi, I’m Rob Brodnick.
Karyn Zuidinga: And I’m Karyn Zuidinga. In sharing these stories, these perspectives on innovation, creativity, change, and leadership. We hope to generate some positive turbulence for you. Thank you for joining us.
Rob Brodnick: I’m very excited to introduce you to a good friend of mine, Fabienne Jacquet a very successful marketer in the consumer products industry, PhD in chemistry and innovation consultant, who has created a whole lot of positive turbulence by talking about something that everyone sees but no one is talking about.
Karyn Zuidinga: What is that thing? In her book, Venus Genius, The Female Prescription For Innovation, Fabienne makes an important link to the power of feminine traits and how these are key to the front end of innovation.
Rob Brodnick: To be clear, Fabienne is not arguing to reignite the war of the sexes, nor is she arguing that one gender is somehow better than another.
Karyn Zuidinga: But she does make a terrific case for tapping into six core feminine traits that will help create products and services that resonate emotionally with your customers. And as I think we’ve started to see in many sectors an emotional connection with your customers is even more valuable than customer satisfaction.
Coming up, Fabienne is smart, charming, and engaging. She charts a path for us to tuning into our feminine traits and provides a handy chemical equation for how it all works.
Rob Brodnick: The positive turbulence podcast is brought to you by AMI and innovation learning community that is celebrating 40 years of supporting innovation and creativity for organizations and individuals learn more aminnovation.org.
Also we’d like to thank Mac avenue music group as a contributing sponsor to hear our theme song, Late Night Sunrise and other great music visit MackAvenue.com.
Rob Brodnick: I know your story really well. When you were first moving out of corporate world into your own world, whatever we want to call that, you and I, like every two weeks would have just a chat just to talk about things.
Fabienne Jacquet: Rob I’m
Rob Brodnick: had a lot of fun. I know That story really well. So I’ll be careful not to ask questions that have, no context. But I do want of back up to the beginning in fact, way back. If you can picture yourself as a five-year. No, I’m just kidding.
Fabienne Jacquet: Oh, can do that. Actually I can.
Oh yeah I was challenging everything even, I was five and a half years old. I was in a Catholic school and every morning we had the Catholic, session, whatever it was and preaching to us. And I didn’t really agree with that. So at dinner, usually with my parents, we exchanged about the day and one say, okay, so what did you learn this morning in Catechism?
I said I disagree with with the priest. I said, what do you mean? They said that, if somebody slaps you on one cheek, you have to give the other cheek to be on They sit then. If I’m snap, I, punch of back and my parents were like, oh my God. So yes, I was a rebel and innovator, a free spirit early on, if this is what you were trying to have me say,
Rob Brodnick: Oh, that’s
Karyn Zuidinga: And This is very consistent of how I know you Fabienne, as a rebel, a free spirit, an innovator, I think nothing has changed .At least as far as that goes.
Fabienne Jacquet: Just a little bit of wisdom, not to talk about age.
Rob Brodnick: I was actually thinking of fast forwarding ahead, maybe 15 to 20 years. I know you your background is science. Just give us a little recap of your corporate journey. Your journey through science, some the stops you made and some of the things you did along the way, but really what I want to get to eventually is how you broke out of that, and went into be the genius that you are today.
Fabienne Jacquet: Okay, so it was in my late twenties that I finished my PhD in organic chemistry. And then, after my PhD, the Royal path was to do research or to go to be a teacher. And I saw that, you had a lot of politics also there compared to the corporate world and didn’t make money.
So I said, if I have to take politics, better go to the corporate world. So this is how I joined a company. Let’s say a hotel in France in research and development and working on hypochlorite bleach, which everybody say, oh, it was boring. No, it’s a fantastic molecule.
It’s a beautiful product that saves lives by the way. And so I found how to ally my chemistry background, my love for science, with a purpose. I was always trying to find a purpose. So I joined and two years after we were acquired by Colgate-Palmolive and Henkel, and we had proposals from both.
And I chose Colgate-Palmolive and I loved it. After a couple of years, I said, okay, I want to move to marketing. And they looked at me and said, you’re nuts. Remember we are in France. They looked at me and say, you have a PhD in chemistry, you’re a scientist… No way you move to marketing you stay in technology. And this is when the five-years old kicks in. And I was like, okay. And then I’d still have that in my mind. And we had presentations in English and my English was no, I couldn’t really speak a word of English except reading, publications obviously and scientific stuff.
That’s so I did the presentation. I had learned everything by heart and I did the presentation was perfect. And then the VP asked me a question in English and of course I couldn’t answer. But I found my way around. The guy say Hmm, I like this girl, would you like to go international? I said, oh yeah, absolutely. And they suggested to go to Liege Belgium. I said, I’m not sure about that because it’s close to home, same language. I want something different. So then I moved to Piscataway New Jersey in technology. again, I had this in the back of my head, I give up on something.
And I knew that I wanted to understand what was happening in the consumer’s mind with the products, because I knew what happened in the beaker between the molecules. But what effect did that have on people’s mind and why would they buy this product?
So it was innovation and, innovation is the thread of my career and innovation is what has driven all my moves. Challenging and reconsidering what’s is acquired. When you master something is boring. This is my philosophy.
I joined there and after two years, I say, okay, I want to move to marketing, but this is America. This is the land of opportunities. And they told me, okay, you want to move to marketing? Okay. You start from scratch. So I started in the middle of my career from scratch as assistant product manager. And I’m telling you in the corporate world, the stuff. You lose your big office with the windows and the phone. All the perks that go with the corporate life. I ended up in a cubical in a marketing where my boss was 10 years younger than I was and say, who it’s this crazy old lady from science who comes to marketing. And so it was not an easy move, but again, I know what I wanted. I want you to really, to understand the entire process. And then I made up my way in marketing.
I’m not somebody who, moved from a high level in technology to high-level in marketing. I’m really starting from scratch. And I learned in the field with the sales guys and all the dirty work and believe me, they gave me a lot of dirty work. It was tough, but I say, okay, I have to learn. So then, I was equipped with business, marketing and so on, but I continued in innovation.
I did innovation short-term long-term strategy. And the last seven years at Colgate-Palmolive actually I was in external innovation. And it was fantastic because I was trying to get technologies outside of the company, with startups and small businesses, and bring them in to compliment what we had in science. And it was a fantastic job. I loved it, after several years, same thing. They didn’t have really an opportunity for me at that time. I found the opportunity to move to IFF, International Flavors and Fragrances moved to Amsterdam, which was also another experience that was great.
After three years I left the corporate world and I started my own innovation consultancy, which is called Innoveve which is innovation and the feminine with Eve. And as I saying the book, I recently published Innoveve, the name came to me in a dream. This was really my intuition. I did a lot of work after the corporate world.
I, had a break, I settled, I thought I said, you know what? At my age, I don’t know the last move. I wouldn’t say it’s the last one, it’s a significant one. So I want to make sure I pick something that has impact and makes me happy. And very importantly allows me to be my authentic self.
Okay, who I am really smiling, bubbly because it’s me. And so I started Innoveve but I took my time. I started to speak, have speaking opportunities, get some small clients, but then the pandemic hits. And this is when I wrote the book Venus Genius: the Female Prescription for Innovation.
It’s a parallel between my personal and my professional journey. My personal journey being brought up between two brothers and being a scientist and being in a very masculine environment. Using my masculine traits. I was successful with that because I lived and we all live in a very masculine world.
But then as I say in the book, I realized that personally it was hitting me. It was hurting me not to be balanced and not to recognize my feminine energy. This made me think about how important it was for me, I say, but it if it’s so important for me, it’s also important for innovation.
And I started to research and say, yeah, I remember when I was younger, when I was an innovator, I was a little bit into the lonely wolf, the next Marie Currie… Very focused and. Innovation is not that it’s really, collaboration is intuition. It’s all these beautiful feminine qualities that are not really leveraged in the corporate world.
So I had an opportunity to talk about that and I did it in the book because it was my way to express it during the pandemic and perfect activity for the confinement, I must say. It was some sort of a therapy, I would say somewhere, just thinking about my personal journey and the innovation journey, the professional that really brought me to where I was today and where I am today, trying to bring more humanity, more balance between the feminine, the masculine, more meaningful, sustainable innovation, have empathy for mother nature. If we think of a mother nature from the get-go and we innovate with her in mind, then we create solutions that are respecting her by nature by definition.
Karyn Zuidinga: Your book is wonderful. Venus Genius, if you didn’t pick that up earlier. Love the title, love the cover, love the book. But I got to say Fabienne, on the one hand I’m inspired yes, we need to balance. We need to bring in this feminine side.
On the other side, I find myself feeling well, not just a little bit angry because I’m like, what the? Why aren’t we doing this? There’s so many stories in the book around how it’s not happening and you give some great tips for how to make it happen. Why do we ditch the feminine?
Fabienne Jacquet: When I did the research for the book and I found that research from the anthropologist Francoise Heritier, she unfortunately died quite recently, but she was a genius of anthropology. She really was describing that from the very beginning, from the, yeah, from the very beginning, the feminine was considered to be inferior to the masculine. So the masculine was superior because the feminine was passive. It was like, getting there and waiting to be fertilized. And the active and the saver was the man who knew who was coming, the masculine was coming and creating a life and so on, but we are actually, the feminine is creating life.
We are the ones who are pregnant and give birth.. hello? It has been all along. It’s been, we haven’t been really neglected and have been pushed back because of that, everything is is related to it, to to that. So we have to come a long way. And when it comes to innovation, the problem with innovation is that it’s handled like a business with masculine energy. So to your point, fact-based, data-based KPIs performance, speed. Even though we know we’re all innovators, innovation doesn’t work like that, it just doesn’t work like that. Yes, there is a phase when you have a prototype and you go to execution to the market, of course, there you need to be organized. This is another story. But the front end of innovation, where the magic happens, this is where the feminine is fantastic because, and this also linked to something else that the feminine is messy organically we’re messy. Okay. I will not go into details, but and this has been pointed now I’m serious. And this has been pointed against women as, oh, you’re messy. So the feminine is chaos and the masculine is order. And people say, so it’s better to have the masculine in the world. Nope, Nope. And especially in innovation, because innovation is chaos. It starts in chaos. And this is why I love this positive turbulence because to me, turbulence is irregular changes, unpredictable, unexpected, surprise, choas. Is very feminine. This is this very creative energy we have in us that is chaotic and that we have to respect. But in this world, again, that is really according the rules masculine, the hierarchy and so on is not valued.
Karyn Zuidinga: It feels from where I’m sitting, it feels like Venus Genius is an idea whose time has come. It’s a pathway, where, maybe innovation isn’t happening for you or not happening well enough, but , start opening up, connect to this other side.
Fabienne Jacquet: And to complete my answer, because you touched on men, women and so on. Its very interesting because. I always say is not men versus women, it’s the feminine versus the masculine. We all are on a spectrum between the masculine and the feminine. And we talked about that and that I’m quite masculine as I mentioned. And when I speeches and so on, I always have this poll and ask people if they are rather masculine or feminine.
And it’s amazing, I did that in the energy sector and it was like 80% masculine. It was all women. And then I did it in finance. It was 75% women. Then I did it in fashion and it was 20% masculine. And I did it in wellness and it was like 30% masculine. So according to, the sector, according people use more or less their masculine and feminine, but we should have. Regardless. And I demonstrated to them in the energy sector, we want to have really renewable energies and we need to innovate with the feminine side. Okay. With the care, for mother nature, for the care, for the people who live next to, to the to the energy centers.
And I have also some pushback say, oh, and I’m the first one to say, I don’t like to put labels. I refuse to be a scientist or a marketer. unique. I’m bringing my unique skills. And so don’t like to say masculine, feminine, but it’s for the lack of other vocabulary. What do you want to say? I say, oh, you could say soft skills and say no then. And soft again. Negative is inferior to the strong hard skills. So you come back to that and we cannot ignore that we have the masculine and the feminine that we’ll have day and night, the ying and the yang. It’s a fact. Now how we use that and balance that to be better human beings and to do better innovation. It’s really what I’m trying to help people with.
Rob Brodnick: I think it’s fascinating, as you talk and particularly as you’re giving the metrics on the different industries, it’s obvious to me, it’s oh yeah, I see that. It’s been there all the time. And I think what is so genius about what you did Fabienne in writing the book, and taking this approach is you talked about something that everyone saw, but no one could talk about. That’s happened over history in a lot of different kinds of ways. It’s just someone restates the obvious, but someone finally said it.
I just think it’s fascinating. And now that I have your frame as a lens to use, to look at things, more things make sense to me. I knew the facts before, but now almost like, yeah. Now I’ve got a little more of the insight into the why.
So here’s my question. I’m curious, were you watching this over the years and not knowing what you were seeing? When did the insight come that this is it, this is what’s happening out there. I need to talk about it. I need to write about it. I need to use this tool to add value across the value chain because its important. People need to see it. How did you make that leap? Because its genius. I got to say.
Fabienne Jacquet: Oh, thank you first. I’m not sure I deserve as a genius title, but this is a very good question, because to your point, I think I didn’t realize that at all, as I was going through my career. You are in a in a frenzy and you do things and you know how it is when you are in a career and so on was having fun and I was learning and I was growing and, the corporate world is a fantastic opportunity to get the best training, to travel, to know people.
I have friends now all over the world, thanks to the corporate role. So it’s good, but you are still in, I will say I wouldn’t say brainwashed, but you don’t have time to think and reflect as we should. And so you just go. And I think this is when I stopped and I left the corporate world that I took six months to breathe and think and better understand who I really was. because you are so into this environment that is trying to fit you in that is trying to put labels on you. That is trying to have you fit the mold. And it’s funny because I was reading through the positive turbulance article, excellent, by the way. And when it comes to periphery, I love it because this is where the trouble happens, but innovators always are at the periphery of an organization.
And how many times would I say Ooh, one day I will be kicked out because really at the periphery, because you don’t fit.
Because we’re outliers and what is outliers is considered bad. But again, to me, this is a compliment because it means you’re thinking differently. You’re looking at things under a different lens, and this is where brings the real innovation, not, being a clone and brainstorming among ourselves. It doesn’t bring any new idea. So I have to be to favor diversity, collaboration go outside. I think I had absorbed your point of that. And as I described in the book, intuition is not having a crystal ball. Intuition is really very scientific and it’s when you are an expert or you have gathered a lot of information on something or topic, you let it settle.
So you. You do meditation, you walk, you do nothing. You, whatever is good for you. Then our brain, I will beautiful, wonderful, powerful brain connects the dots, and this is what happened. So I relaxed, I did yoga. I was walking. I saw friends, so I had no pressure. No deadline. I was waking without an alarm clock.
I’m remember Karyn, talked to that though about that. I was like, oh my God, this is genius. I love that. So have no constraints and your body and your mind recognizes that because otherwise, you are so tense and so in to achieving and doing and having objectives and so on. I had no objectives. That’s just to let it go, which I did. And I did it physically. I did in my mind, and this is how one night I woke up, it was like 2:00, 3:00 AM. And I just burst out, INNOVEVE!. And my husband is like, what the? You said it in French and he was not polite, but anyway, and I cannot blame him. And I was like, oh, this isn’t a new company. This is innovation and the feminine. And he was like, where does he come from? No. So I used to, I went to my computer. I searched the trademark to see if it was free.
I went on the,
Rob Brodnick: no one else had it.
Fabienne Jacquet: and then we went and I went also to see the website and URLs. And then I say, this is it. This is what I have to do this my purpose. This is what I have to your point. I accumulated all of these years and that I can give birth to now to try to help the others and share this experience. This wisdom that I know is bringing better innovation. So this is the story Rob.
Rob Brodnick: That’s awesome. I love it. I think it’s fascinating. How you get the insights, and how it it struck you. And part of it is, I I was thinking rat race when you were describing the corporate world, but as soon as you step out of that race among the other rats, and you become who you are a little more, you start to observe and witness these dynamics and these forces And the insight comes.
So talk a little more, and I’m really curious about going from insight to utility. You see the world. You’ve got this potential set of tools here. This insight that really could help people, how do you then translate it into something that you can give to others? And of course you wrote a book you’ve started your consulting firm. You’re working with clients, you’re teaching, speaking, all that cool stuff, what, happens inside that takes the insight and turns it into a tool to share?
Fabienne Jacquet: I’m not sure I get your questions.
Rob Brodnick: Karyn, restate that great question for me.
Karyn Zuidinga: It is a terrific question.
Rob Brodnick: too many semi-colons In there.
Karyn Zuidinga: What Rob was looking for was what was the catalyst? You have all these floating ideas in your head, and, as you were talking as a woman, who’s lived in tech for the last 30 years. I have my masculine armor. I can put on and walk in the world of tech. I don’t do it as often anymore. I don’t wear that in armor as often anymore, but it’s there, it’s handy. I got it right over here in the closet.
I think I might’ve reacted differently than you, instead of saying, oh, it’s about balancing the masculine and feminine, and here are the things we need. I might’ve, simply not seen it. So what was the catalyst? You had that experience of living in your masculine self for so long, you stepped out, you started reconnecting with who you are, but then to bring that back and go, oh we’ll have. This is what’s missing. What was the thing that tipped it over.
Fabienne Jacquet: I think this is the beauty of connecting the dots. You don’t know what your brain is doing with information. You have. And again, when you don’t direct your brain, because I can direct it, I say, oh yeah, the concrete on your scientific reasoning. I see that. Therefore there, I have. to do that.
Okay. But here I didn’t do that. I gathered information. I let it settle. And this came to me. So this is something to your point. If I now understand your question, Rob is it was from the inside. It was inside my brain. It was inside my body. It was inside me. This was an energy that was pushing me and showing me the way I say a, this is the way to go.
You know, me, I’m a scientist. When I brainstormed some possibilities for my future life, I have an Excel sheet, like big like that with all I can, I could do, including my childhood, including my childhood dreams to be a translator. And as I say, but as I say, somewhere, it comes to you with a twist. Because I ended up translating between scientists and marketers in the company because I understood both sides.
And it was very precious actually to the success of the projects. So somewhere it comes back, what you had in your mind when you were younger? I think this was also, as I said before, the confluence between the parallel between my personal life and my professional life and seeing how, when I reconnected to my feminine in my personal life, suddenly I met my husband. Interesting. Why did that didn’t that happen before? Because I was sending not the right vibes to people, this masculine energy, I don’t need anybody. I’m strong, blah, blah, blah. With a feminine. I think it, it came with that. So I just thought if I apply the same thing in innovation, it should work.
And then I did a lot of research. Again, scientific background. I selected all the qualities that are needed to be a good innovator. Then I screened them through the feminine lens. I say, is that feminine? Is that feminine? Yes. No. And this is how I selected this six feminine traits that if you’ll remember from the book, I put my little chemical formula, which is not really chemistry.
Karyn Zuidinga: What? Wait.
Fabienne Jacquet: Disclaimer to the scientists around. It’s not really, but I did it because it was fun. So you have empathy, you add the nurturing, then inclusivity, intuition, gratitude, and the reaction is catalyzed by collaboration. And then you get a little heart, which is something in innovation that emotionally resonate with consumers plus dollar sign, because yes, it brings money because when, and especially with women, this is another very important point.
I also noticed in my own life not well-served I was as a woman in life, the product service, everything is created by men for men. And no, by the way, let’s shrink it and pink it for women. And I thought, this is not fair. So if we want to innovate for women, we’ll have to understand who they are. You have to understand their feminine qualities and that sometimes they buy something is not for the features is so emotional. It’s so intuitive. It’s it’s really talking to the emotional, which is again, considered more feminine than masculine. I think this is how all the pieces of the puzzle came together to these epiphanies.
For example, when the pandemic has just started and I was like, Ooh, this will be tough. And then I talked to to a lady, I continued the networking online, and this young lady told me, oh, by the way, you should write a book. And I was just rolling my eyes. I’m not a writer, I’m a talker.
It would never work, blah, blah, blah. But then she convinced me and she connected me to this famous Creators Institute (https://www.creator.institute) with whom I have written the book. So it happened to me, but also I grabbed that opportunity. As we evolve in your thinking. Things are coming into your life because you have the right energy. You’re attract the right people at the right time. And then you have just to leverage that and jump in. Does it answer your question Rob?
Rob Brodnick: yeah
Karyn Zuidinga: I think it answers the question. I think you’ve answered the question beautifully. I’m also channeling, the entrepreneurs that I know that people running startups, the tech sector. And I’m hearing the pushback. I’m hearing the yeah but time and I’m hearing the, oh, agile user stories, epic, blah. blah, blah, blah. And, oh, we’ll iterate. That’s the answer to innovation is, oh, we’ll iterate. We’ll iterate on that. We’ll start with MVP and then we’ll iterate, what do you say? Yeah. And how do you respond to that pushback? How do you respond to the, yeah, but time time? The, oh, we’ll just create an MVP and it’ll be fine. And then we’ll iterate.
Fabienne Jacquet: This is interesting because you’ll have an entire jargon associated, like the jargon innovation. So now you’ll have this order, a drug and water and even innovation. This is why I took a chapter in the book to demystify innovation and make it approachable because nobody understands what it is. If this black box is very fancy thing, reserved to the elite and you need a lot of money and the objective is to be famous. No. It’s not that it’s really creating value for people or for something new. So I said, it’s something new that creates value. that simple. What is not simple is to do innovation because it’s hard work. It’s sweat, tears, and blood, as a way to say. It’s not an easy endeavor. When you are passionate and you have the right tools, it works.
Now how many times did I see in companies? People wanted to innovate so they put together an innovation team. They hire a big consultant and the consultant comes in. They leave with a pack like that, of slides, beautiful slides and more wonderful process. And then say, Oh, no, It should work. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t work because you don’t have the skills, the human skills to have the process run.
I don’t say we don’t need processes. We do need them, but you have only the processes is an empty shell. What is really making innovation happen is human creativity. And human creativity is not unleashed in a very competitive and unsafe environment where people don’t feel comfortable expressing themselves.
So you have to create a safe environment. So then you have to nurture people, nurture idea. So we come back to, again, this feminine traits of having empathy for the consumers, for the colleagues, for our bosses. To have intuition to let it go instead of oh, data driven and no, and then you have this analysis paralysis and nothing happens.
So you have the gratitude for the others for the other functions. I remember when I was in technology and I decided to move to marketing some scientists. You’re going to the enemy. And I was like, what is that? But seriously that seriously. And, you have this old war between marketing and science and then still, now we have a lot of silos and this is not favorable. Innovation doesn’t like silos. And again, positive turbulence. the choas the ideas colliding, this is beautiful. And this is what we need to have in order to have something that is meaningful innovation, not another product, another service that will be, creating a lot of harm to the earth.
Rob Brodnick: Curious. I’d like you to look into the future a little bit. And, let’s say that a larger percentage of organizations are starting to figure it out, right? They’re starting to balance the masculine and feminine in the innovation process. What’s the recipe to move into the future. You can pick a company as an example and describe what you would do with them, or what has to be happening. Because I heard two things so far in what you shared with us.
One thing is first you have to have this lens and you have to understand that across the innovation spectrum the front end to the back end, there’s differences in the masculine and feminine characteristics and the approaches and the mindset. And then there’s also the set of skills that you have to build empathy, collaboration, other things. Help help us understand, how do we get to this future? What are the things that you need to see happen in order for the innovation process and this magic of creativity to really take a firmer hold.
Fabienne Jacquet: A lot of people are excellent in the innovation field at dealing with processes And so on. And I can do that Also. I’ve been, doing that, for a long time, but this is not what I am interested in. We have all this processes. We know how to do that. What the added value I think I can bring is to say, okay, now that we have that, we need to nurture the human creativity.
So how do you do that? I help people just realize what it is. And I remember at the end of a workshop, two men, it was very early when I started. Two men came to me at the end of it, like I’m in trouble. Say, thank you. I say why that, because you know what, you’re right. I didn’t realize that I was pushing back. This soft, feminine traits, like intuition, for example, I’m very intuitive, but I didn’t trust it because it was not recognized in my company. And now I know that I can work on that. So like in the book also I take each feminine trait, I explain what it is, why it’s important for innovation and how to practice it.
And these are very simple tips. For example, for nurturing, just start cooking with your friends, with your parents, you nurture mother nature. You nurture you’ll have empathy for the people who produce the ingredients. Then you have you, you create something, you prototype, you fail. Yes. Okay, fine. Then you go back and you. You learn by doing, and this is why it’s a long life experience. Innovation is a mindset. So I’m helping change the mindset. So recognizing innovators to their feminine traits, helping them understand it’s not bad on the contrary, give them the tools to practice them.
To add to the previous question. What happened also is that I saw it happening. I saw that when I spontaneously applied these feminine traits. I didn’t know. I didn’t analyze at that time, but when I did the way I did. So I said, why did it work? I cross that with a research. I cross that with a lot of other things. And again, the brain connected the dots. And then when you have that, you have small projects, you have small teams and so on, they are trained and you can really do innovation. And then you have other people take that and translate into something that goes into the market. That is commercial because it doesn’t require the same skills you can be in one person, which is wonderful. But most of the time, one not skilled enough to do everything. The good news is that if you have diversity, you have different people who can take care of the different steps and be happy where they are. I’m happier in the front end in the discovery. This is me. I can do the rest, but I’m not interested in.
Karyn Zuidinga: I think that, that sense of both front end and backend innovation, that process from initial ideation, building empathy. Your book deals a lot with that front end deals only with that front end. But I think that not forgetting that there is also an important aspect, like you can’t, it’s not okay just to have the idea,
Fabienne Jacquet: No, because then it’s just creativity and innovation. Is this not for me? I think it’s steve jobs. I dunno what say innovation is creativity that sells. Now I will go a step further because Rob, you asked me, so what do you do? So I do that. I have all this programming and so on. I speak, I inspire people. And I know that when people come to me say, oh, I never thought about that when I talk to financial advisors all women I never thought that I could have an approach in finance that was really more feminine. I do it naturally, but I have to leverage that more. Because, money is about emotions at the end of the day. It’s not numbers. Robots can do numbers. Computers can do numbers. but nobody will really go into your life and say, okay, what is your purpose? What is your vision? Or what do you want to achieve? And then I’m here as a financial advisor to help you achieve that. But the end is your vision is not the bottom line.
Who are you? Who are you to tell me what I have to do to bring it even further? because It’s the world now is tough to change things that are now. So to your point, turn corporations and have them really reconstitute or the feminine is not an easy task because it’s so ingrained. And it’s so into all the processes into the mentalities and so on, like no diversity and so on. It’s difficult to change.
So say, okay, let’s be more proactive. And when I published my book and some friends told me, you know what, I bought your book, but I couldn’t read it. I said, why is that? So well, my teenage daughter took the book from me and I can’t get it and get it back. I was like, this was not the intended audience, but this is interesting.
So I interviewed the teenagers. And and they told me, wow, this was great because I thought he was another boring business book and it’s not, you, it’s very serious. You have to research and you know what you’re talking about, you have a lot of expertise, but you present that in a way that was palatable to me, that I understood. And that’s cool. Nobody talks about innovation. Nobody talks about the feminine, the masculine I thought that I’d never thought I could embed that into my daily life. And this is what the book is about. It’s like the practices I gave you is every day, because it’s a mindset is a habit. It’s not a tool. It’s not a quick fix. The quick fix people like that. I don’t believe in that.
I signed up for a video course with the same creators Institute wrote to the book with, and I was planning to do the video course. The same audience has the book based on the book. And then I said, you know what? I will do this video course based on the book, but targeting teenagers because they are the
Rob Brodnick: Oh, wow. Yeah.
Fabienne Jacquet: This is to your point, Rob, if I want really to change things, yes, I can help organizations who are willing to do that. I’m happy to do it. I do it and this great. However, it’s even better. If we can embed this mentality of I can do it, I can be an innovator. Whatever my social level is, whatever my IQ is, I can be an innovator and change the world. If we teach the kids that and the teenagers, the young adults, then we create generations that are open, that are more collaborative, that are more in touch with their feminine thing. What I talked about this, I say, I did not realize you’re right. I’m very, masculine. I say see?
I think that this is my next step. So your point on how to contribute to innovation and try to help the future, because you have to look at the future and innovation is at the front end. This is why women have to be in innovation.
Because again, by definition, by nature, psychologically and sociologically, we are more feminine than men is a fact. That’s okay. You’ll have, of course the entire spectrum, but generally speaking one more. So having more women in innovation is good because you create something which is more sustainable, more respectful because women care about their family, the community, and the world and mother nature more.
And coming back Karyn, to the financial advisors, women invest more in impact investing than men. You have numbers who have a lot of statistics around that. So investing in women is good. Same thing with entrepreneurs. Because if male entrepreneurs are more successful in the first years, women entrepreneurs are most successful in the long run because they develop relationship because they are persistent, resilient and so on.
So again, having women is good, but then you have the next generation, you have the youngest, they are so smart. They are doing, when you see all these startups and you see all these teenagers who want, and are, changing the world, but they do it better with our support though, between generations, we have to support each other with what we know. It’s a fantastic adventure. I’m very excited about this course. I’m it’s a little bit difficult because I have to reach them where they are and I don’t have kids.
I’m already learning a lot about this audience, I will take the time, but I really am really keen at bringing that to to, to market because I think it will help the other generations. It’s another view besides the teachers, besides the parents, besides their peers and other social media, there is another voice talking to them. And I think this is always nice to have that neutral. I have no vested interest except that I really want to create a better world, even if I will not be part of it.
Karyn Zuidinga: Even if the payoff is a long way away.
Rob Brodnick: I think it’s really smart. I think it’s really smart. I’ve, part of what I do is, is I teach college, higher education has been part of what I’ve done for a long time now. And I’ve seen dramatic changes in the 18 to 25 year old age group. More and more open to understanding the dynamics of gender and how it plays out where in the past, you were given a role play it the best you can for the rest of your life. Now I see in the 18 to 25 year olds, they’re thinking about I’m a balance of these multiple characteristics. And in fact, my world is as well where we thought at one time organizations were the dominating domineering world of the male run by power and control. Now we’re understanding
Hey, there’s a lot of ways organizations can run and be effective and I can choose multiple roles in that.
I’m thinking back to the question I asked earlier about how did this genius come forward? How’d you get the insight? How’d you turn it into a great tool. Maybe the time is for this to really create a tsunami, a pretty significant impact on the world. And if young innovators can understand the power of this tool, as they’re just starting their innovation careers, imagine what it’s going to be like in 25 years. So thank you for reaching out, first of all, for writing the book, but second of all, reaching out to those audiences.
Fabienne Jacquet: When you talk about this at tsunami, there is a wave now and we are at a point where either we can continue as we are, and it’s a disaster, or we can really move towards this, more understanding, compassionate and so on and so on, all the things we said before. And I think this is the right time. More people are telling that the same message again and again, the better it is, and this is why I’m very happy to be part of the journey, but I would not change things by my own, but I’m very proud to, to to be part of that and to bring my unique perspective, because again, I’m meeting so many wonderful women who are trying to change things and everybody in their different disciplines, different backgrounds.
It is fantastic. And men also, of course, and men who are of course. and we can say, we cannot do it alone. And when I said the teenagers, so should the course be only for girls or for girls and boys? They say you have to include boys, otherwise nothing will change with. However, the people who volunteer to review my sweeped old girls, the boys were like after school, little things to do.
But again, this, and I explain in the course, I say, you know what? This is your brain. Your brain is different. So while more similar in terms of brains between men and women than different. But still we have some statistical differences. And especially when you’re a teenager, the hormone thing, and boys are driven by testosterone. Okay. And it is like sex and its power and its competition and the pecking order. And you have to understand I say girls. Don’t be, oh yeah. They said, think about sex. I don’t say that they shouldn’t respect you. They should respect you, but understand why they are struggling with, because this is what is happening in their brain.
And when you, your young brother, tell us he was something and he, that he panicked. He doesn’t understand because these are your hormones. This is all you’re developing your sensibility and you go chatting to your best friend for hours and son. This is your hormones. This is oxytocin, the bonding hormone. So you have to understand these things because if you understand the other, you will be better together. And again, we’re all in the spectrum and they love that. Actually, they know that this image, of the continuum and say, Hey, I got to express my sexuality or who I am different. And this is beautiful. This is freedom. And they don’t need me for that because they’re already there to your point. I think that the young generation really gets it more terms of the gender fluidity. Absolutely. It’s more, the old guard has to revise their opinion.
Karyn Zuidinga: But I think the time is right though. There’s all these layers of change that are possible. If you’re talking about digital technologies, you can talk about learning code, and learning how to write code, where you can learn about understanding the systems below that, or in your case, you can go one level deeper and understand each other better. I think you’re coming at a level that’s very deep and human and we’re finally, I think we’re finally ready to have that conversation about opening up and understanding our whole selves and each other.
So I’m understanding there is a masculine and feminine understanding that, the little boys are coming from the place they’re coming from and a little girls are coming from the place they’re coming from, but it’s okay. It’s not, that one is better than the other is more value in one or the other. It’s just, we understand that we have differences And oh, by the way, little girl. Who’s high on oxytocin. You got some testosterone going on there too.
Fabienne Jacquet: But this is fascinating. What do we say about the systems? Because I tackle cybersecurity, which is if there is a domain that is really male, is that. And I have actually in the book, a quote from a man in cybersecurity, who said, I want women in cybersecurity because they have a different approach compared to men they code differently. But also they are into the human relationships. And guess what? At the end of the day, who is at the end of the thing, this is the hacker, this is a. And if you have empathy for the hacker, understand what their objectives are, what is their life and so on, you are better at countering what they are doing because technology, again, technology against technology, fine to have robots, you have computers, but really having this layer of understanding and empathy for the other person, even the enemy is precious.
And also he said that also women collaborate better and cybersecurity is so complex. You have so many moving pieces and so on that when you have all the people, all the different capabilities working together is far more effective.
Rob Brodnick: I’m so glad you started with innovation. There’s more here, right? What’s the next book you’ve got innovation now it’s about leadership, organizational design. I can see a dozen other topics where the same lens could have the equal, if not greater impact. So you have another, book up your sleeve?
Fabienne Jacquet: Nope. okay. You know what? I have this video course, and this is really far more difficult than the book because it’s not the same audience and it’s not the same medium. And it’s a lot of social media say, oh, you have to go on Tik ToK. I say this is interesting, yes. Why not? It’s another leap. It’s another thing. So I’ll have to learn another thing I have to to yeah. To learn how to do that correctly. So I think I lately have had a tendency and Venus Genius was not happy with me because I think I piled too many things on my plate and I’m a little bit tired now. So I think I have to practice what I say in the book, the the dutch concept, nixen do nothing. And I have really to slow down and, take care of myself a little bit. So I have to apply what I preached to would be good.
Rob Brodnick: well, at six months after that, I know that there’s going to be a new idea. that you’re going to be bringing saying, Hey, Rob, you wouldn’t believe this.
Fabienne Jacquet: don’t know to your point, when you ask me it could be another book. Why not? But I will see in six months from now where I will be, according to the people, we meet the insights I get this telling me my teenage daughter took the book and I was like, there is something there.
Rob Brodnick: Yeah.
Fabienne Jacquet: in my life in six months, I would say I could do that. also I have make sure that I finish what I start. Okay. Because I have but I have to reconnect sometimes to the masculine to execute.
Rob Brodnick: You have me thinking a little bit about organizational development and you my background as an organizational psychologist, i, work with organizations and I try to help them balance as a whole, in order to meet their mission or do whatever they need to do. And you commented on the various industries, where they are maybe on the masculine feminine spectrum.
I’m thinking across the silos within an organization now, and you told your personal story about the jump from science and R and D over to marketing and eventually into innovation. But are there unbalances, across the masculine, feminine spectrum within the silos, within an organization, I’m thinking like, the executive office versus the accounting department versus marketing versus some of the others. And of course each industry has their own mix internal offices, but I’m just wondering, not just the lesson for the innovation team here about, understanding the front end versus the back end of innovation. But when it comes together as a whole, does everyone in the organization not just the innovator need to balance out to get better results.
Fabienne Jacquet: You are right on, Rob because yes, a big thing about the corporations is the silos And you are totally right. So R&D, he used to be very masculine. Luckily he has changed, but when I joined, oh my God, it was really a lot of it. So marketing was more, okay. And it’s still there now. Commercial was, or the guys and all the roads. So he was very masculine. And so HR, it was feminine. Diversity at all levels interaction between the the functions and make sure that again, to your point, no function is stereotyped as being male or female is extremely.
Now you have an imbalanced. Today we still have a huge issue with women. I’m sorry, not equal pay and so on. And I’m not a feminist ho I know I’m not an activist and so on, but I am a feminist in the definition of having equal rights. And we don’t yet. I knew the corporate world We don’t certainly. And and not only the corporate world, by the way, everywhere. There is still some work to be done. And this is why I’m trying to inspire girls. And they spontaneously turn to me from this book. So there is something there. And as I say, the course is open to any teenager, any sex, any gender orientation who is passionate, curious, and is ready to work hard at changing the world. So this is a profile. This is not a demographic. This is a profile, a psychological profile, and this is what I’m aiming at, but naturally girls, are more willing to do it fine, but boys are welcome.
Karyn Zuidinga: Thank you so much. I have been looking forward to this conversation and I have not been disappointed. It’s been lovely and wonderful and beautiful to feel your energy again. I always, come away feeling just so full and so happy after I’ve connected with you. So thank you for this time today.
Fabienne Jacquet: But thank you. Thank you so much to you both for having listened to me, having me, given me this opportunity to express my passion and for being So enthusiastic, because this is what is carrying me along is that it’s the people who believe in it who give positive feedback. Who say, yeah, you’re right. Go for it. Because it’s tough.
Rob Brodnick: Powerful Stuff though. You got to keep talking about it.
Fabienne Jacquet: I will.
Rob Brodnick: Awesome.
Karyn Zuidinga: it is. Thank you again it’s been just delightful.
Rob Brodnick: Yay. It was good to spend time together, although I haven’t seen you in so long I’m anxious for the time we get to see each other again.
Karyn Zuidinga: Hey, lovely listeners stay tuned to find out where Fabienne goes to find some positive turbulence, but first, a huge thank you to AMI who have nurtured us in developing this podcast is the source of so many of our guests. And of course the founder, Stan Gryskiewicz is also the author of the original book. And dare I say, the Gertrude Stein of positive turbulence.
Rob Brodnick: AMI as a pioneering nonprofit organization, comprised of committed individuals who foster and leverage creativity and innovation in organizations in society. AMI identifies leading edge innovation, shares experiences, sponsors research, and recognizes innovation and creative processes. Find out more at aminnovation.org.
And thank you to Mack avenue music group, our contributing sponsor for providing our podcast soundtrack Late Night Sunrise. (where do you get positive turbulence)
Let’s see where some of our guests go for their own positive turbulence.
I was thinking about a book or talk that inspired me lately and I bought this beautiful book, which is called Wise Women is from Joyce Tenneson and it’s a book that okay. She interviewed women between 60 and a hundred years old. and the book is each double page is a white black and white picture Of the. And, when you are a hundred years old and photograph is beautiful, and to the right, there is a quote, some wisdom, and I’m telling you, when I feel down with my mission, I say, oh my God, what did I do is very difficult.
I just open the book and I discover more wisdom. There is something also to be said we didn’t talk about that about ageism not respecting the wisdom of older people, especially women. And so this book is really a beautiful resource. When I feel like I talk a bit down and say, Hey, you have no recharge the energy because you mentioned Karyn, I have a lot of energy, but still, you need to be fed. And this book is a beautiful one. And then. At the end of the spectrum, I received this Ted talk. I don’t know if you have to watch it. it’s Molly Wright and she’s the youngest Ted speaker. She’s seven years old and her talk is how every child can thrive by five. And I will not spoil her recipe because it’s beautiful. She is oh my God, she’s fantastic.
So at the end of the spectrum, again, this struck may, as you have a seven years of so full of wisdom for more wisdom than a lot of adults, and you have these older women and so on The collaboration, all this feminine energy that we can harness, we can learn and we can share. It was really beautiful. So those two really resonated with me lately.
Karyn Zuidinga: If you want to share a positive turbulence moment or otherwise comment on what you’re hearing, please drop us a line at email@example.com. We welcome your thoughts.
Rob Brodnick: Be sure to tune in next episode for our conversation with Jenny Rudolph executive director at the center for medical simulation in Boston, where they use simulation to transform teamwork and learning in healthcare.
Karyn Zuidinga: You can also head over to positiveturbulence.com to find out more about us, get a transcript of this episode, get links to find out more about our guests, or positive turbulence! Until next time, keep the turbulence positive.