Imagine Quality of Life

Sodexo’s 50th Anniversary marked a unique opportunity to explore the future of Quality of Life with discussions from a panel of international experts:

  • Prof. Sugata Mitra, Global Educational Researcher and Professor of Educational Technology at Newcastle University,
  • Isaac Getz, Professor of Leadership and Innovation at ESCP Europe Business School
  • Dr. Laurent Alexandre, Entrepreneur and author of « The Death of Death »
  • Malene Rydahl, Author, speaker and coach.

The conference took place on October 4, 2016. 

The best of the conference in replay



Meet the conference speakers and learn more about their point of views on Quality of Life

Malene Rydahl

Malene Rydahl

Author and Speaker, goodwill ambassador and expert on happiness

Malene Rydahl has 18 years of rich and extensive experience in the corporate world, most recently as Director of Corporate Communication for Hyatt Hotels & Resorts in EAME, in 2012 she qualified as one of the “24 women of the year” according to the French magazine L’Express.

Prior to her time with Hyatt Hotels & Resorts, Malene worked six years for Bang & Olufsen during the period of the turnaround of the company, she also held a position with WPP in France heading the key account “Le Bon Marché” (LVMH) of the agency.

She is now a full time writer and speaker and wants to share the secret of what the Danes can teach us about happiness and how we can all live better, more purposeful lives. She also explores why Danish employees are some of the happiest in the world and how that directly impacts results financially in a positive way. She works with major French and international companies and she has recently been selected by the Secretary General to speak at OECD on happiness and how to live better lives. She has spoken at ENA (the French prestigious school which teaches future civil servants) and she was invited as a speaker at TEDx INSEAD in Singapore in 2015.

She is the author of the book “ Heureux comme un danois” (As happy as a Dane) published by Grasset in France in April 2014. The book became a best-seller and was awarded the prize of the most optimistic book in 2014. It has been published in Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Russia and will come out later in 2016 in Turkey, Germany and United States. 
Alongside her career, Malene Rydahl has taken strong commitments. She was part of the advisory committee for the creation of Positive Economy Forum in 2012, an initiative lead by Jacques Attali under the sponsorship of the President of the French Republic. She is also an associate of the Danish start-up 42° Raw, a healthy fast food concept with 4 current restaurants in Copenhagen. Moreover, she supports Europe Tomorrow, a French social start-up which aims at mapping local social and environmental innovations across Europe.

In 2014, her childhood dream of becoming an ambassador came true as she was appointed Goodwill ambassador of Copenhagen.

Malene lives in Paris but travels all over the world.

Sugata Mitra

Sugata Mitra

Professor of Educational Technology at Newcastle University and Global Educational researcher

TED Prize winner Sugata Mitra is at the forefront of a new approach to education which challenges how we teach today’s children in a technological age.

He is Professor of Educational Technology at Newcastle University, UK and previously a Visiting Professor at MIT in the US.

Sugata is currently working on the School in the Cloud, which is the culmination of over a decade of research and observations from all over the world. The School in the Cloud is learning at the edge of chaos - a community, place and experience to discover and explore children’s learning as a self-organising system.

From his earliest experiments while working at NIIT in Delhi with the Hole in the Wall project, through to setting up SOLEs (self organised learning environments), Sugata discovered that children’s innate sense of learning is magnified when they are given the freedom to explore the internet in small groups.

Children in these environments, regardless of who they are or what language they speak, can competently search for answers to ‘big questions’, drawing rational, logical conclusions from their research. These are questions far ahead of what is expected of them in their school curriculum.

In 1999 Sugata and his colleagues at NIIT made a hole in a wall bordering an urban slum in Delhi, installed an internet-connected PC, and left to see what happened. Almost immediately, children from the slum began playing with the computer and in the process taught each other how to use it and get online.

This experiment, which inspired the book ‘Slumdog Millionaire’ that went on to become the Oscar winning film of 2009, was replicated in other parts of India, both urban and rural, with similar results.

It challenged some of the key assumptions of formal education, demonstrating that, even in the absence of any direct input from a teacher, an environment that stimulates curiosity could result in learning through self-instruction and peer-shared knowledge.

However, his research has shown that it’s not simply a case of taking teachers out of the equation: children in remote areas often perform poorly at school because they do not have access to good teaching.

As a result of further research which showed the importance of an encouraging adult in these circumstances, the Granny Cloud was born, after Sugata put out a plea for retired teachers in the UK to come forward who were willing to interact with children in India via Skype.

Isaac Getz

Isaac Getz

Professor of Idea, Initiative, and Innovation Management at the ESCP-EAP European School of Management

Isaac Getz is a professor of Idea, Initiative, and Innovation Management at the ESCP-EAP European School of Management (Paris/London/Berlin/Madrid/Torino) Paris campus, France, ranked 2nd in Europe by Financial Times, and was Visiting Professor at Cornell and Stanford Universities and at the University of Massachusetts. He graduated in Computer Science, and then obtained a M.Sc. in Management Science, and Ph.Ds in Psychology and in Management. Before becoming a professor, he worked for several years in the area of Information Systems.

Dr. Getz conducted and published research on diverse topics related to innovation, management, corporate excellence, vision, and growth. In 2000, the leading French business review l'Expansion named him among the best 8 professors of Management in Europe. Dr. Getz is an active speaker on the topics of idea and innovation management, organizing for the freedom of initiative, corporate excellence and change, and gave executive conferences, keynote speeches and training seminars for leading speakers bureaus and management development institutions including European Speaker Bureau/The London Speaker Bureau, Thought Leaders International, Speakers Academy, Business International, Promostudio, Paroles d’Experts, APM, Key-People, IMS. He also led corporate seminars in many leading European and American corporations and delivered key-notes in such organizations as The Lisbon Council (of which he is a member), Aspen Institute, Telecom Italia Nobel Prize Colloquia, Association of European Regions and in innovation summits with the leading public authorities of the European Union, USA, Holland, Italy, and Africa.

When the time allows, Dr. Getz’s gets involved in helping a few selective organizations in their transformation and innovation efforts. Dr. Getz’s work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Financial Times Deutschland, Il Sole 24 Ore, Het Financieele Dagblad, De Gelderlander, Le Figaro, Les Echos, Entreprise, Nouvel Economiste, l’Usine Nouvelle, Stratégies, Il Tempi, RAI, Telequattro, TV5, TV MBC, BFM, Radio Classique and other media.

In 2003-2004, Dr. Getz has co-authored a book InnovationsPOWER in German (also in French, Italian, Dutch, and Spanish) which details the key role of idea management in improving corporate innovation, and sustainable growth. It was one of the 3 finalists for the annual Manpower Best Book Award in France. In 2009, he co-authored a new book: Freedom, Inc.: The Remarkable, No-Cost Way to Lead Your Business to Higher Productivity, Profits, and Growth appearing with Crown/Random.

Laurent Alexandre

Laurent Alexandre

Co-founder of the website, expert in new technologies and artificial intelligence and President of DNAVision.

Trained as a surgeon and urologist having graduated from Science Po, HEC and ENA.

During the 1990s, this hyperactive internet pioneer, who runs marathons, co-founded with Claude Malhuret. In 2011 he wrote a paper entitled “La mort de la mort” (Death of Death), and nowadays takes an interest in future upheavals threatening the human race alongside progress in biotechnology.

An avid follower of transhumanism, he frequently writes press articles on the subject. A keen supporter of Alain Madelin and admirer of Jacques Attali, he is also a columnist for both the Huffington Post and Le Monde.

In 2000, he set up Medcost, publishing company for the Doctissimo website that Lagardère bought for €139 million in 2008.

In 2004, he founded DNA Vision, a Belgian DNA sequencing company. In September 2013, online marketing firm Hi-Media, which had acquired an equity stake in DNA Vision one year beforehand, sold its stake to Groupe Hima owned by Laurent Alexandre. Following the transaction, the DNA Vision shareholders were Groupe Hima with a 68% stake, Laurent Alexandre with 28% and JCG Médias with 4%.

50 years logo


  • Opening remarks from Michel Landel, Sodexo CEO
  • Fostering happiness: The Danish perspective from Malene Rydahl
  • The future of learning from Sugata Mitra
  • Corporate liberation & the Service sector from Isaac Getz
  • The new frontiers of personalized medicine, interview with Laurent Alexandre
  • Round table 'Imagine Quality of Life'
  • Closing remarks from Michel Landel, Sodexo CEO
  • Opening remarks from Sophie Bellon, Chairwoman of Sodexo's Board of Directors
  • eNOVchallenge Award Ceremony