Behind the scenes of FaberNovel’s high-tech April Fools

When FaberNovel, the innovation firm prepares an April Fool’s joke, it does it seriously and by respecting the codes of the tech. Thus was born a voice assistant connected to Slack. If all seems true, it is that the product was designed in the rules of art.

When you are an innovation professional, you have to be as innovative for your April fool’s joke. The proof with the connected speaker of FaberNovel which is not so far from what is on the market.


It’s on the ground floor of the building occupied by the FaberNovel Innovation Consulting teams that everything has been woven into the sandbox – the sandbox if you prefer. That’s about thirty square meters, elegantly arranged looking like makers’ landmarks. No wonder it is the spirit of this space to offer employees of the house the opportunity to come hack, test, experiment or develop prototypes, especially for the customers of the house.




It is also the intermittent kingdom of Julien Breitfeld, head of the FaberNovel Lab, an initiative that brings together the company’s volunteers who want to make a prototype. But we do not do anything, we must «that it can serve, that it develops the skills and that it allows to acquire skills», explains Julien Breitfeld. Joining the gesture to the word, he shows the main projects out of the famous sandbox. Most are «secret» because developed by customers who did not necessarily proclaimed on the roofs that they had worked with this agency. And yet, some ended at CES in Las Vegas … but shh. Let’s talk about what is allowed, like, for example, this skill (the equivalent of an app) developed for Alexa of Amazon, thanks to which one can have his route to get to a place in Paris, using the Google’s transport API data.

It is in this same place that has been developed a feature on Slack randomly putting each week the employees in relationship, two by two, to get to know themselves service service. Or that was created the welcome tape with the photographs of all the staff. This means that we are not just there to laugh or to be delirious.


Except April 1st and again. Once again, it was the voice-activated terminals that inspired the team. «We are consulting in innovation, it is important that we are ahead of phase», testifies Julien Breitfeld, showing a boned terminal and describing the different elements: an on / off button, a rabspberry pi, an internet connection, a microphone and a speaker. From the technological point of view, «nothing revolutionary,» says the head of the FaberNovel lab. From there, you have to create a service. In this case, it was a question of connecting this vocal assistant «to Slack account of the boss Stéphane Distinguin». The latter no longer needs to type a message on his keyboard, he just need to dictate to his assistant and the employee (s) will receive his message. In total, it took two weeks of work to develop this prototype, all based on volunteerism.


Once the prototype was made, the house designer, Ferdinand Barbier created the object that would house it, taking the codes of the flagship objects of the 60s 70. From outside, it looks like an intercom used by Don Draper in Mad Men. On the «bench» of the lab, we see the three versions of the product, in cardboard, then in 3D printing and finally realized by a professional prototyper!

To get to the bottom of the idea, the volunteers who worked on this project also created a product page online for the first of April, with the possibility of pre-ordering it. It will also be found on, the North American site referencing all possible and imaginable innovations.




What would happen if tomorrow consumers ordered what was at first a joke? «We could sell it,» explains Julien Breitfeld, who has already left for the Lab’s next project.

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