Nadine Van Son is an expert at Capgemini’s Quantum Lab

Nadine Van Son is an expert at Capgemini’s Quantum Lab

 August 29, 2023

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Quantum computing is one of today’s most exciting emerging technologies.

If someone said they worked in quantum computing, it might be assumed that they were a math genius or technology wizard. But the reality is more subtle, more uncertain… more quantum.

Here Nadine Van Son – an expert at Capgemini’s Quantum Lab – reflects on the background, skills, and passions that drive a successful career in quantum.

"I work with clients, identifying business opportunities created by quantum computers, which takes an agile, creative mindset," explains Nadine. 

Always interested in disruptive technologies

Capgemini Nadine Van Son

Nadine has worked with Capgemini for three and a half years in the financial services team, mostly as an innovation consultant. She is also the financial services lead for Quantum Lab – the “virtual” team working across all Capgemini regions and business units. With an MSc in innovation management, Nadine finds inspiration in combining technological developments, trends, and insights from history, psychology, and physics to see how these affect business and society.

“We spend our time exploring quantum technology and asking what applications might emerge from it,” she explains. “I act as a bridge between the technical team and our clients, helping to identify business opportunities.”

Nadine’s professional experience in innovation – in addition to her master’s degree in innovation management – has given her a thorough grounding in how to embed new technologies and concepts within organizations. 

“I was always interested in disruptive technologies,” she says. “Right now, quantum computing is like an unexplored landscape. We are yet to understand how influential it might prove to be. In that sense, we’re working at the frontier, shaping its development – and I find that very exciting.”

Combining technological developments

Working with uncertainty 

For all those working in the quantum sector, there will always be a degree of uncertainty – indeed, this is a fundamental pillar of quantum mechanics. However, Nadine and her colleagues work with a different kind of uncertainty: how exactly will quantum computing blossom in the years to come?

“We’re not futurologists,” says Nadine. “We can’t predict exactly how this technology will impact society just yet. But this is often the case when you’re working with something that’s really complex and cutting edge.”

Keeping a flexible mindset

For Nadine, it’s about taking a journey with clients to imagine what applications could be important while remaining flexible enough to respond to new developments. “One of the key skills we need is agility, in order to respond to where the science and our clients’ needs take us. We’re being pushed by the science and pulled by new use cases,” she says. 

Once her client has expressed a particular need – such as how to improve their climate-related risk management – Nadine will discuss the problem with her colleague Camille de Val. “I’ll ask him whether we can come up with a model or demonstration that explores how a quantum computer might solve this problem. If he can develop a model, we will consider whether it could potentially convey any benefit to the client, now or in the future.”

Working in Quantum collaboration

However, while the technology is still developing, there is definitely room for non-experts to make a meaningful contribution, says Nadine. “Even the most informed scientists don’t understand everything about quantum physics, and this actually makes it quite an inclusive space. As long as you are curious and enthusiastic, you will find your place. We need domain experts who are able to see the limitations of classical (non-quantum) technology, quantum experts like Camille who can build the models, and strategic thinkers like me who can spot the opportunities for clients.”

Through knowledge-sharing and collaboration, Capgemini is helping its clients prepare for the coming quantum age.

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