Renault Blockchain VP Odile Panciatici tackles global transformation
“Humanity and people are so good at doing impossible things.”
“The automotive industry is always changing. I’ve witnessed how fast it moves,” said Odile Panciatici. “Today, we’re not just talking about cars anymore—but about mobility.”
Panciatici is the Vice President of Blockchain Projects at Groupe Renault. She’s been with Renault throughout her entire career and has led numerous projects, including heading vehicle engineering—for which she was named Industry Woman of the Year in 2014.
Panciatici’s love of cars goes back to her childhood; her father and uncle were passionate automotive enthusiasts. She excelled at science and math, pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering. After an internship at Renault, she was hired as an assembly project manager for the Renault 19, a family car. She was the only woman in that department at that time.
Panciatici went on to work on other lines: Captur, Clio 4, Twingo, Twingo 2, and the first generation of Logan, where she served as Engineering Vice President.
As head of vehicle engineering, she led a team of 2,500 engineers. She worked on improving the attractiveness of engineering to women.
In her car design work, she especially loves the innovation and teamwork needed to make projects happen.
“It’s a fabulous human experience to make big projects with so many actors,” Panciatici said. “I love the fact that in the automotive industry you have diverse types of work.”
Renault has changed a lot in terms of strategy, according to Panciatici. “If we want to understand the digital world, we need to be digital within our own company,” she said.
That’s why Renault has significantly invested in digital transformation, with specific focus on blockchain technology.
“Everyone is thinking about the supply chain,” she said. “It’s a very convenient technology in the case of a wide ecosystem. The automotive industry is an enormous ecosystem—including manufacturers, dealers, suppliers, and customers.”
Panciatici sees the potential for operational excellence through this technology. And it’s not only in the production of cars. All domains of the automotive and mobility industry will be impacted, she said.
Blockchain creates a collective intelligence within that ecosystem, allowing secure information exchanges with confidentiality levels set as needed.
Beyond production conformity, blockchain has several other use cases. With Hyperledger technology, for example, information is shared very quickly throughout the huge network of dealers of Renault around the world.
Panciatici also thinks about use cases for blockchain with customers. Tasks like maintenance and repair, even how the car was driven: all salient data points that help with transparency and ultimately, car value.
On a larger scale, she’s examining how to manage relations between multiple companies—some of which may be competitors—within this vast ecosystem.
“How do you succeed in making all these ecosystems work collaboratively?” she said. “This is what is interesting.”
And this is what gives her so much purpose: finding ways to collaborate, having people working together. Finding the bottlenecks, solving the issues.
She also acknowledges the importance of smart innovation and end-to-end experience.
As head of vehicle engineering, for example, she realized that while the company’s focus on technology was driving it forward, it needed to focus on the customer too.
“You can have the best high-tech car,” she said. “But if the customer doesn’t have a good experience, it doesn’t work.”
The auto industry is quite the same: if you have a siloed view of your technology, that’s just one part of the equation.
“After you enlarge your view, you can see how big the future can be,” she said.
Part of Panciatici’s love of the automotive industry is that it’s so vast. And while cars themselves may change—whether electric, CO2 free, no wheels, flying—the relationship between people and mobility will go on.
Panciatici has a saying she loves: it’s not because things are impossible that we don’t do them. It’s because we don’t do them that they are impossible.
“Humanity and people are so good at doing impossible things,” she said. “I’m quite confident. Perhaps too optimistic? But my past confirms that yes, we can.”
Transformation on that truly global scale will, again, require collaboration and partnerships, between existing and new partners. Startups, for example, and other partners she may not yet even know exist.
“We’re changing the way we think,” she said. “The future will be collaborative.”