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NEOMA's world

Thematics :

Because technologies are constantly evolving, many economic sectors are having to reinvent themselves, and higher education is no exception. Faced with new challenges (information overload, attention deficit…), if schools and universities want to avoid the now well-known disruption effect, they have no choice but to adapt. 

The academic system as we know it was conceived for the industrial era and its aim was to train young people for very specific jobs through mass teaching of well-identified techniques. However, today we know that 85% of the jobs that will be available in 2030 don’t exist yet!* In this context, adapting is crucial. But how?
That is why, since March, NEOMA BS has had a new digital transformation department managed by Alain Goudey, Professor of Marketing and disruptive innovations expert at NEOMA BS.
Let’s find out more about this new department and its purpose.

1.    Why has NEOMA Business School introduced this new department?

This new department is the result of three observations. Firstly, management and commercial transactions have seen a significant shift, in the broadest sense, through the influence of digital technologies. Secondly, almost infinite knowledge is within the reach of any smartphone, and finally, the students’ attention span has changed radically in the last decade.
In order to understand and enable learning, digital tools are an interesting means of improving the relevance of teaching techniques.
In summary, the educational sector is undergoing tremendous changes and the combination of the three factors previously mentioned has led us to rethink our actions and modernise. It would be particularly dangerous if we stuck to classic teaching methods where the teacher delivers knowledge and the student is just there to receive it. Nowadays, the learning process is more about acquiring skills than knowledge. The model by which the teacher (the one with the knowledge) showcases a theory supported by illustrations and demonstrations is long gone: the role of the teacher is evolving, their methods must evolve, learning spaces need to be redesigned, etc.
In this context, my goal is to deepen the school’s transformation in its structure, culture and pedagogy as well as its purposes. Anticipation is key in continuing to build the future. It is especially true when your ambition is to train the managers and leaders of tomorrow.

2.    Can you introduce the new digital transformation department? How is it organised and what is its purpose?

The digital transformation department that I lead is directly linked to Delphine Manceau, Executive Director at NEOMA Business School. Our goal is to be totally transversal so as to be the catalyst for the entire school’s transformation. The department is structured into two work hubs: one around Marie-Laure Massué who is in charge of the Learning Lab, a complete R&D unit dedicated to exploring new pedagogical approaches; and one around Cédric Delabarre who supports digital transformation related to the school’s functions and services.

3.    What are the digital transformation department’s areas of work? How will it work?

The digital transformation department is based around five areas:
1: Transforming the learning experience: Making the student experience more fluid, efficient and relevant, both “online” and “offline”, including the campus’s structure itself and its learning spaces.
2: Reinforcing DNA 21: As far as tools are concerned, it is simple; it just takes a little monitoring. The most difficult part is to share this cultural transformation that the latest technologies represent with all our staff and allow each and every one of them to make it their own. In this context, our role is to inform and train them in practices, methods and even the right vocabulary. In the end it is not as much about technology as it is about sharing a cultural pattern. Another important notion in what I mean by DNA 21 is “test and learn”: asserting the right to make mistakes without restrictions constitutes a real source of innovation.
3: Digitising our practice: We are going to study all the existing functions and professions within NEOMA Business School to propose new tools to our staff to make their work easier and faster. We are working with the ISD to develop a chatbot to answer the most frequently asked questions in the student Hub.
4: Monitoring: Through this approach, look at the best practices found in France and abroad. Innovating and making sense of our teaching methods, as well as understanding and envisioning what a new technology can bring to teaching.
5: Communicating: Internally to explain our choices and externally to challenge the best schools. It is a unique opportunity in a school’s history to be able to operate a 360° transformation on all parameters at the same time.

4.    What are the department’s current priorities?

We are currently focusing on two priorities: streamlining and structuring the many initiatives that have already been started within the school’s different departments and redesigning our learning spaces.

5.    How are the implemented actions taking form?

Several concrete digital actions have already emerged in the school. A new intranet named NEOMAgora was launched at the start of the school year, as well as an application for students to facilitate their communication with the school. Using the app, they can find their timetables, their grades… We are also improving the browsing experience and design of our e-learning platform “Courses”, in a more recent, modern version that is currently being pre-tested by about 50 of our students (which will be launched school-wide in January 2019).
Another example: the HR has set up a self-training tool which will allow people to train in digital transformation via a playful training platform offering a genuine learning pathway. This pathway was designed by the digital transformation department to be completely compatible with NEOMA Business School.
Through all our actions, we hope to involve as many people as possible to work on the needs of the different departments and to develop a digital response that makes sense.

6.    Will there be alumni involved in any aspects of NEOMA Business School’s digital transformation?

Of course, digital transformation will help our alumni to improve their relationship with the school. They are in fact at the forefront of getting a feel for and experimenting with the new technologies used within businesses. It is still too early to disclose, but we actually have a few projects in mind.