Each year, the teaching team proposes a general theme, an innovation challenge related to digital service. For example, it has addressed challenges around mobility, energy, federal elections, productivity tools, etc. This general theme is explored during 15 weekly sessions of 90 minutes, which offer a pedagogical path covering the entire spectrum of a project from its launch to the evaluation of a concrete realization. Each session consists of a workshop during which the technique is presented and then implemented in the context of the chosen challenge. The students, coming from different disciplinary backgrounds (Computer Sciences, Information Systems and Services Science, Social Sciences, etc.), are asked to work in groups mixing their disciplines.
This teaching project is based on two elements. First, fabrication as a prototyping mechanism that can be applied to both the tangible and the intangible. The idea being that an artifact (objects, results) represents a very powerful element to transmit knowledge and to support collaboration and co-learning. The second element is Design Thinking as a process of innovation and conception that encourages experimentation and the right to make mistakes in solving complex problems. The teaching team relies on a traditional Design Thinking cycle that begins with an empathy stage to become familiar with the problem to define it. Then, an opening phase is used to generate ideas to make choices for a prototyping phase. Finally, the prototype is evaluated and can be used as a basis for further iterations.
The teaching team supervises the groups of students to help them contextualize the work environment specific to each challenge (e.g., project related to the HUG). She also accompanies them in each step of the process of defining a solution. The artifacts produced by the students can vary greatly (a story, computer code, drawings, flyers, a website, a concrete object, etc.). The materialized result depends on the project itself. Students must submit a final report on their project and make an oral presentation of their project. The evaluation of learning is based on the report and the presentation.
A project such as ThinkData, a data protection and transparency awareness service, is a good illustration of service and content production, but other types of artifacts can be produced such as service specifications or more concrete productions. Projects with field immersion are also planned (e.g., with the Clair Bois Foundation).