The Ideas to Innovations Program

ESB and Professor Gregory Polletta present the Idea to Innovations, iGNITE Convergence Program in Design, Engineering and Innovation for Bio-Materials New Product Development: a hands-on, intensive system creating the next generation of MacGyver innovation leaders in parent organizations. The base program, created and running at multiple universities, corporations and world governments internationally since 2005 combines 36 case studies, 36 tools and 36 radical hands-on learning techniques providing participants the design, design thinking, engineering, finance and innovation mindset plus practical tools to drive design + R&D efforts and business ideas into high value commercial propositions focusing on bio-materials and renewable resources.


This program is suitable for mid to senior-level managers, CEO’s, Board Members, scientists, engineers and industrial and product designers who are focusing on developing their innovation capabilities and to inspire breakthrough mentalities from their teams.

Program attendees come from a broad range of sectors and diverse nationalities globally to develop innovative products, services and processes.

No technical background is required but those with high levels of inspirational, technical and artistic leadership capabilities are strongly encouraged to attend. This program is created to be a weekend program so as to not impact busy international executive’s schedules.


Participants will emerge with a solid toolkit and industry proven capabilities to become MacGyver mindset enabled design, engineering, innovation plus entrepreneurial and intrapreneurial leaders and to inspire innovation from others inside their organizations. This program has been delivered to thousands of participants worldwide since 2005 and has driven innovative thinking and design capabilities within multinational business, government and military organizations worldwide.

Attendees will learn how to deal with the complexities of innovation change in uncertain times; improve methods for design driven creative thinking to explicitly shape new products & services; and push attendees to become the next generation of organizational leaders via entrepreneurial and corporate innovation capabilities.

The ESB Innovation Department is dedicated to solving complex industrial problems. A specific team is built around those, mixing top class animator, concerned company executives, ESB experts and creative students. ESB will find the very best persons for each case. This multi-skilled and pluri-disciplinary approach focus on a variety of innovative solutions.


  • Participants will receive an internationally executive certificate in Design, Engineering and Innovation for Bio-Materials New Product Development from the leading US, European / Chinese bio-materials programs: ESB – France and partners.
  • A global networking environment across multinational and government organizational silos.
  • Teams will create and Design new product development business opportunities, crafting a story and designed artifacts around the opportunity, build the right business model around template innovations, navigate the R&D organizational and corporate mindset as well as external entrepreneurial possibilities to negotiate for resources and successes for breakthrough products.
  • 36 case studies, 36 toolsets, 36 exercises, Immersive group work via an intense experiential & intensive workshop environment focusing on the EBS created Immersion > Ideation > Implementation model.


With lectures, workshops, presentations and output organized throughout the program focus on 4 different phases and 5 different key learning outputs for participants:

  • focusing on innovate products / services from renewable resources.
  • lead and manage a project in a collaborative and open manner.
  • manage an interdisciplinary approach to foster the emergence of trans-disciplinary capabilities.
  • drive an innovation approach using design and creativity tools and methods.
  • integrate innovation objectives that meet the expectations of partnering firms.


Rotating Program Modules with unique ESB Bio-Materials system based on:

1: Ambition – Design Thinking Tools and the Artists Mentality

Immersion, discovery, strategize or supposition, Participant and team progress and learning is based on each group member rotating in the role of design leader and team follower based on 12 design thinking tool case studies and exercises. In addition to aesthetic and physical product and service design advising, teams focus on the leadership skills necessary to utilize the “artists mentality” and how art and artistic thinking directly influences new product development in scientific as well as non-scientific efforts.

The 3-day program has a very time-intense and focused atmosphere where teams of five or six participants develop and craft new products or services for the real world utilizing artistic tool sets and design thinking models with manufacturing executives from multinational firms who also participate in the program.

Graduates of The Ideas To Innovations Bio-Materials Program In Design, Engineering And Innovation For New Product Development often say they had no idea they could use art and design thinking methodologies to create so much in so little time and are constantly amazed at the level of professional design driven output that they can accomplish in this portion of the program.

What are the objectives? How is the context? On what can we rely on?

2:  Solution – Innovation, Engineering and New Product Developement

Ideation, imagination, sketch or proposition, Product Design, Service Design, Logistics and Innovation methodologies and tools are the focus of section 2 related to the engineering and manufacturing necessary used to hone the artistic intent and design thinking focus from section 1.

Engineering focused project ideas are not given by the instructors, nor are they crowd sourced, they are discussed and selected by participants in each team on the first day. Twelve design innovation, engineering and disruptive design tool case studies and twelve exercises are completed.

Participants focus on what and how a game changing new product or service can be built for maximum impact in the ecosystem for which that product or service has been created, based on, when possible, specific scientific and R&D capabilities.

How to see what the other can’t? How to connect the dots?

3:  Result: Entrepreneurial & Intrapreneurial Goals

Implementation, Production, Ship or Save, Focused, tight, design centric, financially viable, engineering validated, and beautiful products are the cornerstone to bringing innovations to light in the real world.

Participants walk away from The Ideas To Innovations Bio-Materials Program In Design, Engineering And Innovation For New Product Development able to present and frame their ideas to partners, collaborators, manufacturers, VC’s, investors, other engineers and strategic partners, employees and collaborators.

Teams have multiple runs to perfect their designs, communication styles including elevator pitches, role playing and via feedback throughout the program by instructors and other team members. This program is not meant as a feeder for TechCrunch, Y-Combinator or for investors looking to fund ideas generated by the program.

The format of The Ideas To Innovations Bio-Materials Program In Design, Engineering And Innovation For New Product Development means that the specialized IP of each team member remains with that participant and is not used in the projects of the program or with industry experts, professors, and outside experts on hand to lend guidance. Specific direction if participants are interested is through these individuals on a one on one basis after the program.

How to make ideas to real life? What the prototype experience tells us? How will this engage the market and investors?

4:  Presentations

With a constant focus of group work and interactions between team members, Group Feedback & Scoring, Industry Networking participants pull all of the tools, techniques, capabilities and efforts of the past 3 days, the culmination of all teams comes together to capture the attention and generate the enthusiasm for all stakeholders, participants and external industry executives.

In these intense last interactive session participants craft and deliver a full innovation narrative, R&D process, new product development output and leadership efforts and are graded by all participants, course directors, industry experts and honored guests who together see the fruits of the full course participants leadership and new product development growth.


The Ideas To Innovations Program In Design, Engineering And Innovation For Bio-Materials New Product Development at ESB is led by an international team of world class experts in design, design thinking, engineering, innovation and bio-materials new product development. The team brings over 100 years of combines experience and internationally recognized expertise in these fields.

Professor Gregory Polletta – Program Creator

Catalyst. Engineer. Designer. Gregory Polletta has made a career of producing work that startles, gets the job done, and continually pushes boundaries in a broad range of fields that encompass the artistic as well as the practical and scientific having been a full professor at France’s Grande Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées ENPC PhD Engineering and MBA program + The ENPC Paris Tech in Paris, and the Parsons School of Design in Paris, France and New York as well as lecturing at the Royal College of Art in London, UK; IFM in Paris France, The European School of Economics Milan and Rome, and many other international universities on the topics of design innovation, strategic management, research and development commercialization, entrepreneurship, industrial design, and new product development. After almost 10 years with the ENPC PhD Engineering & MBA Program and after more than 500 industry professionals have passed through his iGNITE Convergence program classes created in 2005 as the world 1st fully integrated design, design thinking, engineering, new product development and innovation program, Professor Polletta was named the most inspirational professor in 2014 at Grande Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées ENPC Paris, France.

Gregory is the founder of iGNITIATE, an innovation strategy and industrial design firm that specializes in disruptive design — the art and science of creating new and innovative products and services that can transform a product category, shake up a market, and ensure international firms’ continued success. Polletta is also the co-founder of the international award-winning design brand gregorysung. Polletta is a true 21st-century Renaissance man whose research, start-ups and designs span many fields, including furniture, lighting, nano technology, architecture (where he and his team have designed eye-catching facades for buildings under renovation), medical technology, computer memory devices, mobile phone software, furniture design, artificial lighting, object design, and consumer product packaging. He has brought his talents for high-tech research and development commercialization and design to bear for such clients as Guzzini, Roche-Bobois, Fujitsu, Louis-Vuitton, and Pfizer. Prior to iGNITIATE, Gregory Polletta worked at the legendary Xerox PARC Labs, the American Management Center for Advanced Technology, and DARPA/Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Gregory is the designer of REUTPALA – the permanent award for the World Retail Congress given on the date of its launch to Alberto Alessi as a lifetime achievement award for design and retail. Gregory was the 2nd highest ranked speaker at the inaugural True Start/True Capital R:evolution conference and a past designer in residence there, is the Chairman of the 2015 Global Leadership Conference on Design and also a judge of the $1M President Clinton HULT Prize, the A’ Design Awards, the Cannes Lions Festival Awards for Product Design, the Clio Awards and a 2017 Candidate for the US Presidential Innovation Fellows Program at the White House.

Dr. Philippe Blanchard – Program Director

Dr. Philippe Blanchard is head of the ESB innovation program having completed a master’s Engineering Degree in Polymer Science – Université du Maine; a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and Design – Université de Compiègne and a PhD from Arts & Métiers ParisTech. The ParisTech is Frances Most Prestigious Engineering system made up of 12 of the most rigorous French institutes of engineering education and research institutions and which awarded Dr. Blanchard a PhD for his thesis on Design and Innovation in the dual ParisTech PhD Engineering and ENPC MBA program in Innovation and New Product Development.

Dr Blanchard has managed an international a design studio specializing in Industrial and Global Design and later joined L’École de design Nantes Atlantique in 2006, where he set up the pedagogical programs in innovation for the school and has been in charge of the dual engineering and industry program at ESB – École Supérieure du Bois since 2013.

Dr Mark Irle: Research Director

With over 100 publications in the world’s leading wood and bio-materials scientific journals Mark is a world leader in the fields of Wood Anatomy, Wood Science, Wood Chemistry, Natural Fibers, Wood Products, Lignin, Wood technology, Cellulose and Lignocellulose. Dr. Irle has a degree and PhD in Wood Science from the University of Wales, Bangor. After a short period of post-doctoral research, he was appointed as a lecturer at the same university. He left Bangor in 1994 to help create the Forest Products Research Centre at Buckinghamshire Chilterns University College, now Buckinghamshire New University, and in 1996 he became the head of this new department. He has worked in France since 2002 as the Research Director of Ecole Supérieure du Bois in Nantes and for a while as Deputy Director of the institute, but now he is focusing once more research.

His research interests cover all wood-based composites and their dimensional stability in particular. He has published more than 50 papers in refereed journals and over 250 articles in magazines, conferences and books. He has successfully supervised the research of 24 PhD, 3 MPhil, 20 MSc and numerous undergraduate students. A summary of his current activities includes: Vice-president of Innova Wood; country representative for COST Action FP1303; coordinator and participant in several national and international research projects, and he is a Fellow of The Wood Technology Society of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining (UK).

Dr Franck Michaud: Associate Professor in Composites Materials

Dr Franck Michaud is an expert in the areas of Eco-conception; Biobased Materials; Morphology of materials; Bio-Materials Research; Science of materials; Education and Sustainable development; Wood-based composites; and Wood Polymer Composites. He holds a Master’s Degree in Fundamental Physics from Evry Val d’Essonne University, France; a Master’s degree in Wood Sciences from Bordeaux University, France; a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Wood Sciences – Grade Doctorate from Bordeaux 1 University with joint supervision between Université Laval (Canada) and Université Bordeaux 1 (France); a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Laval University Quebec, Canada in Wood / Plastic Composite with Forintek for Wood fiber application to MDF panels; is a researcher at the University of Bordeaux in ANR ECO-COMPOSITES focusing on Experimentation and modeling of the creep of wood / plastic composites, Environmental analysis of a WPC composite: decking applications, Mechanical properties and behavior at the WPC interfaces, and Multi-objective optimization of a WPC product using particle swarms; is a Visiting professor at North East Forestry University Harbin, CHINA; is a director of studies at ESB – Nantes in the wood anatomy laboratory and the Xylotheque of the Ecole Supérieure du bois focusing on the ECOMATFIB project: Multi objective optimization of an insulation product based on wood fibers (ADEME funding); Axis 1 pilot of the Team Bois project (Financing Region PdL): Development of a decision support tool for the valuation of end-of-life wood-based products – UVED module available on this subject and Wood aging: Identification of interactions between biotic and abiotic factors on the aging of wood outdoors (out of contact with the ground) while having co-created and co-piloting of a Specialized Masters in COMPOSITES BIOSOURCES: Innovation and Eco design, opening January 2020.

Dr Michaud ‘s activities include: Wood and Sustainable Development; Wood Sciences, LCA, Composite Materials; Supervision of PhD students, trainees, apprentices; Research projects in: European FLEXIBI research projects; Franco-Brazilian composite sludge / PLA project (ESB / UFPR); and Project multifactorial approach to wood ageing systems.

Dr Christophe Belloncle: Director of Research

With over 50 publications in the world’s leading wood and bio-materials scientific journals Christophe is the head of ESB’s research institute holding a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Rennes 1 one of the most prestigious chemical engineering programs in all of France.

Patrick Ryan: Program Lead

Patrick’s specialty is MEP engineering, and as an advisor to many high impact social organizations, including Outward Bound, where he has served on their board for the past 15 years spearheading community outreach programs at the national and local levels. His recent work as Project Manager, Capital Projects for two residential towers in Boston, Patrick has played a commanding role in the design and build process for a 50+ year old structure upgrading the heating and cooling plants, domestic hot water system, as well as structural enhancements to name a few of the areas needing engineering and construction solutions.

Patrick has also worked at several non-profits in managerial positions ranging from homeless shelters to the Yale University School of Medicine, where he played an operational role for a multi-million dollar Workforce Development grant to create and build a quasi public/private academic startup focused on health care systems change in the State of Connecticut. His work at Yale also resulted in co-authoring a major journal article published in 2010. Patrick graduated University of Connecticut, BA, Political Science & Environmental Policy; M.A. in Performance, Double Bass-Jazz with Pi Lambda Theta Honors, Steinhardt School, New York University and a MBA from Columbia Business School. He is a professionally trained musician (double bass) and bodhran player who has been a regular performer in the NYC Tri State Area as well.

Patrick speacks intermediate Japanese and French.

Join the program

At ESB on Monday August 31 – Tuesday Sept. 8, 2020

Location: ESB – La Chantrerie – 7, rue Christian Pauc – 44300 Nantes – France

The ESB program is a fee-based certificate program of 38 hours spanned on a range of 5 days.

It is open to all disciplines, alumni, and corporate employees. € 12 500 for corporate participants

Group Discounts Corporate & Government Pricing are available.

Travel and Accommodations are the responsibility of participants.

To participate in the ESB program – Three easy steps:

1. Complete the downloadable ESB

Application and title the document with your name (e.g. ESB_2020_Julio_Smith.doc)

2. Email your application

Email your application packet to: with the title ” Application for ESB iGNITE Convergence Program 2020 “

3. Upon acceptance, make a payment via our secure server in link sent to you by our team

Contact us

Patrick Ryan

Published on 13-Aug-2020

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