Innovation is a key factor for businesses as they look to ensure their development and sustainability. To meet the challenges of innovation, managers will increasingly need to work in, and with, multidisciplinary teams. This is why IÉSEG has partnered with Yncréa Hauts-de-France (formerly the Groupe HEI ISA ISEN of engineering schools) to offer students in the Master cycle of the Grande École Programme the opportunity to work with engineering students on a range of innovation consulting projects.
These are real innovation projects (for example, products or services, or corporate reorganization process) that have been entrusted to the engineering students, and those from IÉSEG, by companies or organizations. They are carried out in the framework of the co-eLAB projects run by Yncréa Hauts-de-France and are implemented in transdisciplinary teams within the ADICODE spaces (at Vauban and Euratechnologies).
The projects implement key concepts such as co-development, transdisciplinarity, collective intelligence, creativity, codesign, and allow students to acquire multiple skills, as they are confronted with real life business challenges (time constraints, cost, and working within a multidisciplinary team, etc).
Weekly meetings take place with academic tutors while meetings with the business/organisation are also scheduled as often as needed. These projects also include co-design sessions within the ADICODE® spaces, bringing together students, academic tutors and company representatives. These sessions are led by facilitators from Yncréa of Hauts-de-France.
Cyrine BEN-HAFAÏEDH, professor at IÉSEG, who is responsible for the innovation consulting projects, explains, “students in the Master cycle of the Grande Ecole program have the possibility to participate in these projects which in total last one semester. The goal is to give them a better understanding of the innovation challenges facing companies, and to complement the other classes and courses they follow at the School. In order to prepare the projects, students first work on a ‘mini-thesis/dissertation’, which focuses on an innovation-related topic.”
“They are then expected to work in ‘start-up’ mode for 3 months in a transdisciplinary team in the ADICODE® spaces in Lille (Vauban and Euratechnologies),” she adds. For the first year of this collaboration with Yncréa Hauts-de-France, ten IÉSEG students have been involved in this initiative, working on topics such as artificial intelligence, co-creation in the retail sector, or sports technology. IÉSEG hopes to increase rapidly the number of students involved in these projects in 2016- 2017.
Antoine François-Marsal, an IÉSEG student, who participated in this initiative in 2015- 2016, underlines that it was very rewarding to work with people of different profiles and interests and to have the opportunity to combine ‘dissertation’ and ‘consulting projects with a focus on innovation. “It allows you to have something concrete at the end of 3 months, and especially to experience the new methods of managing innovation, » he adds.