Compétitive Point chaud / en émergence Tendances sociétales

Le design thinking pour réimaginer la formation supérieure?

Est-il significatif que le Chronicle ait choisi de faire du Design Thinking sa une du numéro du 15 septembre 2017 (volume 64, no 03)? Nous avions nous même expliqué les tenants et aboutissants de cette méthode de conception dans le Perspectives SSF de juin dernier…  Alors que nous avions choisi d’illustrer notre propos par des programmes qui enseignent cette façon de faire de l’idéation, le journaliste du Chronicle suit des professeurs de différentes universités américaines qui se rendent à la de Stanford University pour apprivoiser la méthode lors d’une formation de quatre jours.

Une dimension qui frappe rapidement à la lecture de ces articles, c’est à quel point le design thinking s’oppose à la manière traditionnelle de réfléchir dans les institutions d’enseignement supérieur:

“Either way, design thinking is an odd fit with academe in some respects. In design thinking, the experts are the end users, not the scholars sitting on decades of research. Emotion can outweigh intellect. A fast, cheap stab may lead to a better outcome than an expensive, fussed-over pilot program. Screwups are to be taken in stride, not minimized in embarrassment.”


“After all, academe is a hereditary culture. Scholars base their work on a foundation of knowledge built by their forebears, and they often base their teaching on that of their forebears, too. Among other things, this dynamic has led to the continuing dominance of the lecture, despite research that suggests it’s often less effective than more active methods. Ms. Britos Cavagnaro, who earned a Ph.D. in developmental biology from Stanford, says she found her way to the after coming to the realization that “I had learned in spite of how I had been taught.”


“…Amy Collier, associate provost for digital learning at Middlebury College and a former director of digital learning initiatives at Stanford, […] worries “about the design-thinking methodology favoring solutionism rather than engagement with complex problems and looking for root causes and systemic issues.” Colleges need to apply a critical eye to what design thinking can and can’t do, she says.”

D’un autre côté, est-ce que cette façon très concrète et active de penser les problèmes et leurs solutions ne pourrait pas être complémentaire à la pensée et au fonctionnement universitaires?

“…[Molly M. Wasko, associate dean for research, innovation, and faculty success in the business school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham]  asked regarding one particular icebreaker activity that found participants wriggling on the floor, “Can you imagine that in a faculty meeting?

Ms. Wasko was one of several participants who believes that design thinking offers a key to the type of innovation that universities sometimes have trouble mustering. “We do what we’re good at doing,” she says. “We have a tendency to just implement the last program that we implemented, or a variation. Or we take courses that already exist and we just mash them up in a new way and say it’s a new degree.” With design thinking, she says, innovation “is a repeatable process that can be learned and applied.”


“…[G]ames, known among the instructors as “stokes,” served several purposes. They got a room of strangers energized, and laughing and talking with each other, but they also helped illustrate, and establish, the tenets of design thinking. There are no bad ideas. Surrender your ego. Celebrate failure.”


“…[N]avigating ambiguity, fixing the right problem, considering the widest range of possibilities. Design thinking is about inspiring “a prototyping mind-set, an experimental mind-set,” which, [Leticia Britos Cavagnaro, an instructor in Stanford’s design-thinking workshop], “is ultimately a learning mind-set.”


“Evidence suggests that students are hungry for the kind of learning that design thinking offers. While they were attending the Teaching and Learning Studio, the five professors from Franklin & Marshall were in the middle of designing a team-taught course on creativity, innovation, and design that would draw from disciplines across the college… […] …[T]he only time they could schedule the upper-division course was Friday afternoons… […]

All 18 spots were taken before fall registration even began.”

Gardner, Lee, “How Design Thinking Can Be Applied Across the Campus“, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 10 septembre 2017 [article réservé aux abonnés]

Gardner, Lee, “Can Design Thinking Redesign Higher Ed“, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 10 septembre 2017 [article réservé aux abonnés]


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Jean-Sébastien Dubé

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