Dorothée Lenes has been a Program Director at Veolia’s Research & Innovation department since 2014. Her role is to define and head up research projects on the theme of “turning waste into a resource.” With her team of six project managers, she works to develop the solutions of tomorrow from a circular economy perspective (materials recovery, energy or agronomic recovery): formulating new materials to increase the lifespan of facilities, using artificial intelligence resources to improve sorting, coming up with innovative solutions for recycling complex waste, and putting in place expert tools to strengthen Veolia’s position in selling secondary raw materials such as composts and plastics. The aim of the program that she oversees is to effectively meet the Group’s needs, whether this involves Veolia’s business units or clients.
“Over and above the technical aspects, it is essential to anticipate and manage the changes associated with implementing each innovation, in terms of organization, activities and new skills for Veolia employees,” she remarks. Having joined Veolia in 2002, working in Veolia’s technical division in the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2014 and then the Middle East from 2016 to 2018, Dorothée’s solid international experience is a real asset in her current position. She places particular importance on this multicultural and versatile approach, shaped by her career path within the Group:
“At Veolia, we may be faced with widely different local contexts and issues. This represents a real challenge — both global and local — that we have to rise up to. Being on the ground allows us to become aware of the specific needs of each region of the globe. The environmental challenges in the United Kingdom & Ireland and Africa Middle East zones are very different. We must therefore find solutions that meet each of these needs.”
“Innovation,” she emphasizes, “consists in turning an idea into a solution that has to create value. This value must not only be economic but also environmental and social. I believe that that we have to strengthen these three inseparable elements when it comes to sustainability.”
Proud of contributing to the Group’s innovation, the director reminds us of the strengths of Veolia’s Research & Innovation department: scientific and technical excellence, highquality laboratories and test pilot schemes, and professional project management. Not to mention an Open Innovation approach and a robust network of internal and external partners (academics, industry, etc.). And, above all, the passion and creativity of the researchers!