Innovation Show

 Innovation Gala – RNI- Monday, December 10, 2018 (Paris)


“Learning innovation:

Lessons from interdisciplinary and creative pedagogical experiences in higher education”

Coordination: Jean-Claude Ruano-Borbalan


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Argument :

The question of innovation, in a broad acception, is nowadays – as everyone knows- a kind of «graal» for both economic or political stakeholders, and also for techno-scientific, education and research actors. Though the question is one of the most studied in social sciences and management or engineering sciences, the question of « learning and training by and for innovation» remains less explored.

It seems to remain a «hiatus» between, in one hand, an abundant, important and robust researches and reflexion about learning sciences and pedagogical innovation, especially in the educational systems and processes, and, in another hand, discourses about learning innovation in Higher education, often full of wishful thinking and «anti-education ideology», often spread off by new technology and communication «zelotes», or entrepreneurial actors and “milieu”.

Innovation and creativity, has been initially conceived and are still often seen (in engineering, managerial or political sciences), essentially as growth factors. Training or education institutions or programs for innovation are thus often viewed as ancillary dispositive, only understandable as « technology to «transfer», in all cases less interesting for «noble» research ( i.e. economy or sciences).

Meanwhile, in the last decades, micro or mezzo social preoccupations are increasing in social, behavioral or cognitive sciences literature: emphasizing on networks and individuals in action, organization and innovation processes. Research scholars, but also political and economic or organizational actors preoccupation are going down from large views (innovation milieux and institutions) to individual empowerment and creativity, supposed to ensure innovation processes in actions and projects, in all aspects of social, political or economic reality. Obviously, the question of reproducing and standardizing the training creative and innovation capacity and dispositive is increasing dramatically, in a political and public policy sense.

One have seen, since the end of the XXth century, the dramatic and kind of spontaneously growth, in Higher education institutions, of new institutions and programs to learn and practice innovation. Those programs, schools or institutions have grown up and spread off worldwide in universities (engineering schools ; management schools ; art and craft/architecture/design schools ; humanities or political sciences departments) . They Often are following first experiences such French program « Arteme» in Nancy gathering Engineering , Art/Design & Management local schools, or better Known MIT Media Lab , Stanford design school, Aalto design factory, etc. Those programs and schools share more ore less the same objectives, material organizations and practices rooted on collaborative, interdisciplinary (or if we follow the moto of MIT Media Lab : antidisciplinarity), partenarial and new technology oriented pedagogy,  focused on project and entrepreneurial realizations, often but not systematically using design thinking or approaches as a way to « reinvent» pedagogy.

Vernacular discourses (from social, political or economic actors) tend to see each institution or program separately and as if it was kind of small isolated places of transformation for and by innovation, transdisciplinary, using new technologies and strongly linked with sponsors and partners/contributors from economic, administrative or territorial fields.

The aim of our panel is to focus on (and confront it) some examples rooted in Higher education institutions or Universities (In Paris, Nancy, Grenoble, Francophon Belgium, Aalto University, Hangzhou/China), etc. in order to catch specificities and commons of those programs, schools for and by innovation. It benefits from current researches developed by panelists on French and international innovation programs by Innovation department and laboratories they belong.

The initial hypothesis, coming from our current researches, see the innovation promotion discourses as common and positive objective in all learning, educational or training activities in higher education and in educational systems. It doesn’t mean that new innovation training and learning programs approaches are shared in all Higher education departments or disciplines, but that more or less, it is considered as positive goal or practices

As discourse and sometimes, pedagogical practices, innovation allows creativity and individual initiative valorization, especially in a more and more globalized and competitive higher education field. It often works as a «justification belief» that drive and allow the return of a symbiotic alliance between Higher Education and enterprises or public institutions (it was strong in the XIXth century in engineering schools for example) . Really close to «makers» or enterprises development practices or innovation places, the «new» pluridisciplinary and partenarial innovation training and learning programs, schools and institutions, are obviously not only to be considered as producing or helping production of ideological and promotional discourse on innovation or project oriented pedagogy, but as a set of practices, and transformation of learning processes. One of the main question will be to discuss about the so-called radical novelty and generation of creative or entrepreneurial capacities for students, the studied innovation programs and schools presented, allow:




Valerie Chanal

  • Professor of Management
  • Scientific director,  Promising Program
  • Responsible of pedagogical innovation and interdisciplinarity, Grenoble Alpes University.

Intention :

Presentation ( with Apolline Le Gall, post-doctorate) of a current research on different ways to mobilize design approaches in pedagogical. Merging different practices ( between american “design schools” (Stanford),or french interdisciplinary centers (Centre Michel Serres à Paris) or Art and design schools in design, we will propose a four type of mobilization of design approaches modeling innovation pedagogy. This model underpins a conception tool for pedagogical teams, including obviously students, they can use to choose their position, ways and final projects they aim to produce.

Marie Goyon

  • Anthropologist/Sociologist, responsible IDEFI Gen I.D.E.A. Emlyon Business School et  Ecole Centrale Lyon- Programme I.D.E.A.

Intention :

Return on experience l’IDEFI Gen I.D.E.A.: presentation of the project, objective and results (pedagogical modalities, imact on Establishment involved).

Jean-Claude Ruano-Borbalan

  • Professor, head of Sciences and technology within society Research laboratory, responsible of the innovation department of Cnam-Paris, and research activities in Michel Serres Center of innovation, EHAM University.

Intention :

Presentation of a socio-historical frame to understand emergence and spectacular development of contemporary innovation pedagogy in Higher Education. Presentation of a comparative international project of research on innovation and design programs (Aalto design factory ; ID Campus –Creative Wallonia, China Academy of Art innovation center, MIT Media lab.


Laure Morel, 

  • Professor, University of Lorraine, ENSGSI-ERPI
  • Director Laboratory ERPI

Didier Lebert,

  • Professor, ENSTA ParisTech, Paris-Saclay University, Applied economy unit.