16 July 2015

The “Michel Serres Diploma”

The Centre Michel Serres Diploma (DiMS) is a 5 year post baccalaureate diploma issued by heSam Université. It is open to holders of a diploma at least equal to a degree (or equivalent), regardless of the speciality. It is given for course lasting two academic years, dedicated to projects and classes, followed by a 4 month paid internship in preparation for a job.

The purpose
The objective is to prepare those who follow the curriculum to become agents for change, innovative process facilitators in public and private organizations and clusters:
• project managers (organization, development, innovation, etc.) or project team members in companies or public organizations
• administrators and / or leaders in outside organizations (incubators, nurseries, FabLabs, Makerspaces, etc.)
• project managers on innovations in specialist agencies or firms, contract research organizations, knowledge or technology transfer structures, etc.
• communication officers for innovation projects,
• etc.

The students are able to choose between two specializations:
• Digital uses and practices,
• Product and service Design.

Innovation projects
The curriculum allows a significant amount of time for innovation projects. These projects have sponsors (companies, institutions, administration, etc.), which tends to make them both prospective and operational and bring students closer to real life in businesses and public and private organizations. These collective innovation projects are conducted by multidisciplinary teams of students.

In particular students must assert their ability to design solutions that break with dominant trends and address the many challenges of modern life:

  • Longer life expectancy
  • The divide between territories (urban density vs rural desertification)
  • The scarcity of fossil fuels and energy transition
  • The widespread diffusion of digital technologies
  • The decline in the non-cost competitiveness of French companies
  • Deindustrialization and the need for neo-industrialization of territories
  • Global warming
  • Etc.

The choice of diversity and the hybridization of skills
The first of these issues is highly interdisciplinary, in accordance with the principles of the Centre Michel Serres, and is reflected in:

  • A very open approach to student recruitment (as a minimum holding a degree or equivalent) from all disciplines, which enriches the composition of the teams working on collective innovation projects
  • A variety of knowledge offered and of access modes
  • Personalized curricula, through individual choices of teaching units and individual projects, but with a common core for all.

Target skills
Creativity is central to becoming an agent of change and innovation. But the transition from idea to innovation requires development work, either entrepreneurial or intrapreneurial. This requires training and communication skills, and an ability to bring together and unite the human, technical, and financial resources necessary.
Creativity, entrepreneurship, communication

These three qualities are central to the educational objective of the Centre Michel Serres curriculum. They are based on the students’ ability to:

  • Observe and question the diversity of the environmental to identify, and even anticipate, the developments of citizens or consumers / users
  • Establish relationships between people, knowledge, and events
  • Reason differently, through analysis and intuition, and facilitate the emergence of new ideas
  • Measure and manage risk and its technological, economic, social, and societal diversity
  • Organize and implement the technical, human, and organizational processes that underpin the implementation and viability of any innovation
  • Share the challenges of the project with internal and external stakeholders.

The educational model
The curriculum is organized into four academic semesters followed by an internship. The first semester (S1) takes the form of a “Michel Serres Semester” associating an innovation project and a knowledge project
In S1 the “knowledge project” is collective (common core for all students). It consists of 4 workshops attended by all students:

  • Creativity
  • History and sociology of innovation
  • Writing
  • Project management.

S2 and S3, the activities are divided into 5 areas (each student choosing four out of five, including one mandatory):

  • Cognitive science
  • Humanities and social sciences
  • Digital culture
  • Management of organizations and projects (all students)
  • Design and architecture.

In S2 and S3 students have a significant amount of work in three cross-cutting areas (in small groups):

  • Innovation management (only in S2, all students)
  • Digital uses and practices (S2 and S3, specialization)
  • Design of products and services (S2 and S3, specialization).

In S2 each student follows two 60-hour modules: one in innovation management (all students) and one of two others – the one that corresponds to the specialization (digital uses and practices or design of products and services). In S3 each student follows a 120-hour module related to the specialization.

Between S2 and S3, students must do a summer internship. It is recommended that it be in a social or humanitarian context.

The 4th semester (S4) takes the form of a “Semestre Michel Serres” associating an innovation project and a knowledge project

The 2nd and 3rd semesters (S2 and S3) are dedicated to sequences in which tutorials and small projects take precedence.

In S4 the “knowledge project” is individual and corresponds to the student’s career plan and the specialization chosen (digital uses and practices or design of products and services).

Note: English classes are provided throughout the course. It is validated by the level of progress made by the student over the two years.

After S4, the final internship is direct preparation for entering the workforce. The internship lasts at least until December (4 months minimum). This internship is paid.
At the end of the course, after all the units have been validated, students receive the Centre Michel Serres diploma.