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Renaud Saboly, Innovation Acceleration Manager is driving agility and innovation advancement with a start-up atmosphere at FAB’LAB 58.

You didn’t choose the Fab-Lab – the Fab-Lab chose you?

When looking for someone to deploy the FAB’LAB 58 strategic vision, Renaud Saboly was FAB’LAB 58 founder Vincent Langlois’ first choice. His close work with Vincent on transition projects, from systems to the test center, and now at FAB’LAB 58, have proven his ability to foster transformation.

Professional Solution Finder

Renaud’s background is in Telecom, something that is gaining relevance in the industry with electrification. His studies focused on finding solutions, and learning how to manage and approach a project. “It’s a transferable skill that I use over and over.” Renaud shares. “My master’s in raw materials financial trading is where I gained a love for project management.” 


Reflecting on his career path, Renaud shares, “My career began more on the service end. I have continually moved to working with more concrete solutions, from services to innovation projects on a manufacturing front.”


With hobbies, Renaud is all about the latest innovation. A long-time fan of kitesurfing, he recently tried foil surfing. The technology sparked Renaud’s interest as much as the sport itself.  “Foil surfing uses technology borrowed from aerospace to reduce drag in the water. The board lifts out of the water on a hydrofoil under the surfboard. It makes it possible to surf on a much less powerful wave.”

FAB’LAB 58 role? Infuse energy, inspiration and entrepreneurial spirit

“I wanted to create a fab-lab energy bubble to advance faster on innovative subjects.” Renaud goes on, “I needed people who can approach and resolve a problem.” Renaud’s vision is to create a start-up within the enterprise by bringing together intrapreneurs with different backgrounds.


On autonomy, Renaud shares, “The people who make up this team know how to promote themselves internally and externally. They are good presenters. This comes with a sense of autonomy and intrapreneurialism.”


To start, Renaud recruited Julien Viard, FAB’LAB 58 Manager, and Sebastien Carlier, designer internally. The requirements for the team lie more in the soft skills. From internships and PhD students, to engineers, technicians and researchers, they need to have an innate craving to create solutions.


Multiple hats are another start-up parallel. Renaud strives to instill constant movement with the team. This means managing many projects and having the liberty and means to go after new ideas. “The tools are there: simulation, digitalization… The team is here to take ideas further – test, correct, and develop ‘industrializable’ ideas ready for the project teams.”


Working with the fab-lab also benefits the team. “They get to meet interesting people, work on high-profile projects, and have a great variety between concrete and theory,” Renaud shares.


In the same sense, the fab-lab’s start-up atmosphere ups the pressure. Renaud explains, “The team has a strong sense of autonomy, if you don’t advance projects, then it’s over, they cease to exist. That is the beauty of empowering our team –if they are successful it is because of their efforts.”

Fab'Lab 58 whiteboard session

Developing Partnerships

Another goal for Renaud is to help develop partnerships – internally and externally. Renaud shares, “From research centers to start-ups, we constantly research potential new technologies, if we don’t have the internal capability, we go externally. It’s an easy dialog because we have our unique hydraulics expertise to offer and start-ups are often open to co-innovation.”


Renaud continuously looks for ways to exchange with potential partners – for now, mostly virtually—with hopes to attend or host in-person tech jams. This fall, FAB’LAB 58 will sponsor *CETIM’s Innovation Challenge, a big opportunity for start-ups. The prize may even be an incubation period at FAB’LAB 58. Other projects include internal innovation challenges bringing together different skill sets to help teams approach challenges with a fresh set of ideas.


Envisioning the fab-lab becoming an incubator space, Renaud is seriously studying this evolution. He is interested in mechatronic start-ups. “We want to ID and develop value-add tech building blocks, compatible with our technology, move them to advanced studies, contribute to our collective know-how, and ultimately deliver ideas that improve solutions for our clients.”


*CETIM – Technical Centre for Mechanical Industry


Interested in collaborating with FAB’LAB 58? Contact Renaud Saboly Innovation Acceleration Manager or Julien Viard, FAB’LAB 58 Manager