[Portrait] Thomas, Innovation Program Package Manager

23 November 2023 Group Human ressources Innovation Story

New trades call for a new innovation governance structure. Thomas Lecacheux came back to his roots in Cherbourg thirteen years ago, joining the local Naval Group site as Submarine Equipment Studies Manager. At the end of 2022, he was appointed as Innovation Program Package Manager (IPPM), a role newly created to give substance to the group’s new innovation governance.

A graduate of the French engineering school *ENSIMEV, Thomas Lecacheux takes an in-depth and cutting-edge approach to his role as IPPM in his core area of expertise, namely auxiliary systems. The innovation focus pertaining to auxiliary systems is vast, ranging from steering gears to hoistable masts to physically integrating drones and contributes to Invulnerable Ship, one of Naval Group’s strategic orientations.


A mission, means and methods

The IPPM’s very first mission consists in defining the scientific and technological strategy for their field of expertise, making this a pivotal role.

“We must always be on the ready for our customers, anticipating needs as yet unexpressed.  We take a proactive approach, converging information captured from various sources: feedback from the field, input from marketing and product lines as well as economic intelligence. We rely on all this data to forge and refine our knowledge of the user and offer unprecedented solutions”, explains Thomas.

Thanks to this approach, the IPPM ensures that innovations are aligned with program and product line needs as well as those of various entities, never losing sight of the desire to sustain the integration of new innovations on our ships. This is perfectly in line with the new innovation governance, aimed at better prioritising efforts and closely managing the maturity of projects thanks in particular to the Innovation Maturity Committees (CMI).


A battery of hard and soft skills

A thorough grasp of technical and technological dimensions as well as knowledge of Naval Group’s strategy are prerequisites to playing an IPPM’s role  effectively. Equipped with a solid technical baggage, the IPPM is expected not only to be at the cutting-edge of their field but also have a perfect command of the group’s strategy and ambitions combined with an understanding of its strengths and weaknesses with respect to our competitors. The IPPM also has a thorough command of Technology Readiness Level (TRL) scales and a sound knowledge of intellectual property, more specifically all matters relating to filing patents.

“Much like the PPM, the IPPM is organised, thorough and attentive to customer needs. They are solution-oriented and are capable of bringing together various teams and fields of expertise to serve a common cause. This job calls for good analytic capabilities, a critical eye and the capacity to summarise information and ideas. The IPPM is capable of decision-making and demonstrates leadership qualities”.


Accompanying project maturity

Thomas Lecacheux provides his teams with the latest, cutting-edge strategic and technological surveillance content and helps in developing the maturity of a portfolio of innovative projects. To succeed, the capacity to federate is essential, as demonstrated in the course of the project relating to the electrification of steering gears, mobilising expertise from Lorient, Angoulême-Ruelle and Cherbourg. The project brings together actors across sites and areas of expertise, perfectly illustrating the dynamic of innovation in the group today: giving navies a head start, paying close attention to market needs and preparing the naval solutions of tomorrow. 


To organise resource management and recruitment, Naval Group has mapped its trades into 10 main families covering the entire naval defence value chain. To learn more about our trades, go to the Careers section!


* ENSIMEV : École nationale supérieure d’ingénieurs en mécanique et énergétique de valenciennes