Interviews - November 2, 2020
Each month, one person from our Expert Community will be showcased in an article highlighting their background and experiences during their time with the Solar Impulse Foundation. The Expert of the Month award places a spotlight on an Expert who has gone above and beyond in their role to help label sustainable and profitable Solutions.
The Expert of the Month award for October 2020 goes to Benedicte Deryckere! Benedicte is one of our longest-serving Experts, having completed 20 Solution Assessments since joining us in April 2019. A huge thank you to Benedicte from everyone at Solar Impulse Foundation for her dedication to her role as an Expert!
Benedicte is originally from the south of Alsace, France, but has been living in Geneva for the last fifteen years. Benedicte completed an MSc in Computer Science and Business Administration, before moving into work in ICT, consulting, business and teaching.
Could you tell us about your career so far?
I started working at the end of the 80s for Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), a high-tech company. I was managing pan-European software development projects. DEC was an extremely advanced company technology wise with a true transnational/global mindset and strong focus on its employees as its primary asset. A dream of a company. Sadly the company disappeared in the 90s.
I then experienced 12 years of project management experience in international contexts, working on projects aimed at improving the efficiency and profitability of multinational companies through standardisation and cost-cutting programmes, often at the expense of the loyal and dedicated work-force in place. I often wondered “why?”, questioning myself about the purpose of multinational companies and their impact on society. After those years in consulting and business, I started teaching in business schools, incorporating societal and environmental KPIs next to the financial KPIs and thereby reflecting on the societal and environmental impacts of business firms.
To teach at a higher level of education I embarked in 2012 into a DBA programme, my thesis work was devoted to analyse the mental models through which corporate managers make sense of societal and environmental issues. I obtained my doctorate in 2018.
Could you tell us a little bit more about your work?
I am today acting as an independent Expert for the Solar Impulse Foundation, the startup accelerator MassChallenge and the NGO Your Public Value, trying to humbly act as an ambassador of the research streams of early systems thinkers such as Russel Ackoff, Donella Meadows, Peter Senge and Walter Stahel and their views of companies as social systems embedded into larger economic, societal and environmental systems; advocating for new economic paradigm such as qualitative growth and a circular economy.
What’s the most exciting part of your work?
Independent and free will. The opportunity to share on contemporary societal, environmental and economic issue and push forward for new systemic models with the hope for a better world.
Why did you decide to become an Expert with the Solar Impulse Foundation?
I was fully adhered to Bertrand Piccard’s vision of qualitative growth.
You’ve been part of the Solar Impulse Foundation for a long time now! What does being part of the Foundation mean to you?
Opportunity to share and exchange with like-minded and promote solutions, which will help us move away from the current economic paradigm while taking care of society and nature. Sometimes however, solutions remain anchored in this paradigm, being part of the Solar Impulse Foundation then means advocating and fighting for a systemic view and paradigm shift.
Where would you like to see the labelled Solutions, and Solar Impulse Foundation, go next?
I would like to see all the labelled Solutions assessed as a whole, fitting into a systemic model unleashing its collective potential for supporting an economic model based on qualitative growth and circularity.
Are you interested in joining the Expert Community? Find out more about becoming an Expert here.