DESIGN FOR CREATIVE INNOVATION*

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Vocational programs from the business point of view

Vocational programs from the business point of view

An interview with Rodolphe Bary, Design Manager at La Poste, about overseeing apprentices at L’École de design Nantes Atlantique.

Can you please introduce yourself?

After studying literature and computer science, I began my career in a software publisher’s R&D unit. Then I joined La Poste, handling contracting duties for their information system, prior to moving to their Innovation department. While there, I was in charge of heading the design team, which we built and developed with the help of designers who were already there.

Actually, Luther Quenum, who is a designer at La Poste, describes the Studio as “a multidisciplinary team devoted to design and innovation in usage and user experience.”

The Studio is a team made up of in-house and external designers and students. We mainly work on interface design and service design.

I am in charge of this team. My role as Design Manager involves integrating design into the company’s projects and ensuring that the work produced meets our quality standards.

From left to right : Rodolphe Bary, tutor at La Poste, and François Ruaud in apprenticeship and student at l’École de design Nantes Atlantique

How did you come to the position of tutor for François Ruaud?

Every year, the team takes in students from universities and design schools. That is how François came to join the team as part of his vocational training.

How do you address design at La Poste?

Right now there are highly stimulating cross-functional initiatives in service design going on at La Poste, which will help spread powerful messages about what design is, and what it can offer.

In tandem with those initiatives, design becomes an integral part of day-to-day life, setting up processes that are identified and shared by the various people involved. In the first place, design is addressed by inserting clear conceptual phases into the project schedules, which will help to unravel the right methods and allow designer know-how to express itself.

How long have you had vocational students from L’École de design Nantes Atlantique?

We have been taking students from the school for the past three years, as apprentices and trainees. Broadly speaking, we take students who are in their 3rd, 4th or 5th undergraduate year.

What do you see as the benefits of taking an apprentice?

A two-year vocational apprenticeship is an excellent idea.It helps you to observe the apprentices’ qualities, to increase their potential, to work on technique and to enjoy the benefits of their growing skills over time.

Vocational programs are also a way to vary the disciplines we’re working on, which helps students to position themselves, and to have a clearer idea of what is going on when they enter the job market. They will also show more self-confidence than a student who has not done a vocational program. Over a two-year period, you gain a good perspective on the “business world” and you have learnt how to live in it.

What is your fondest memory as a tutor?

As François Ruaud’s tutor, most certainly a special kind of presentation of an interface model. One seldom has a chance to rehearse in-house presentations, to precisely work out the sequencing of talks and visuals, the pacing and the flow. Well we did it this time, and it was a most pleasant experience, as well as being highly effective!

How much time do you spend as vocational teacher/tutor in your work?

It’s hard to measure, given that the students take an active part in what is produced; their involvement in the team and in the tasks is absolute. So the difference between my duties and the role of vocational teacher is not always obvious.

We engage in specific vocational teacher/apprentice discussions about how the vocational program is going and the integration of project teams into the company.It is an opportunity to take a step back from the work, to consider it through the eyes of apprentices, and to share their perception of the experience.

Have you completed any other projects/involvements with the school?

We made a presentation about the Studio to students in François Ruaud’s class, explaining our work and a few achievements. The discussions about design and vocational programs was of great interest both to them and to us.