Accueil > The Great Transition - Commons, Innovation and Responsability

KEMI 2000 - Great Transition - Responsibility, Innovation, Commons (The)

Type d'enseignement : Lecture alone

Semester : Autumn 2018-2019

Number of hours : 44

Language of tuition : English



Course Description

We are living through a period of “great transition” – our economic organizations, societies and ourselves are having to face a number of critical junctures and radical challenges while contemplating desirable and undesirable futures. Those challenges can carry along unprecedented dangers but they can also open up new opportunities. A lot will depend on the forms of leadership that emerge in the coming years to confront them but also on our collective ability to mobilize, organize, propose and deploy creative alternatives. If we want to manage the great transition, we first need to understand it (THINK), we then should envision and explore alternative options and solutions (DREAM) and finally we need to act and turn those projections into concrete and feasible projects (DO). The GREAT TRANSITION is an experience rather than a course where you will go in parallel through those three phases – Thinking about the issues, Dreaming up solutions and Doing a project with a strong sense of the feasibility dimensions and challenges. There are hence two complementary types of activities associated with this Course: 1. Exploration (through 8 Lecture sessions) of the three main dimensions of our contemporary Great Transition and their associated challenges for today and tomorrow (Thinking): a. The ecological and resource transition and its potentially radical consequences b. The interface between business and society and the urgency of reinventing a responsible form of capitalism c. The great digital turn and the choices it confronts us with when it comes to economic, social and political organization As we explore those different dimensions, we show that they all boil down to a challenge of the commons issue – what are the governance solutions allowing us to allocate resources and address contemporary challenges in a manner that will maximize the common good of the generations already born and of those to come? We show in the process that our own individual self-interest is radically conditioned by our capacity to deploy creative alternative to address those common good challenges. 2. The development through the semester of a Group Project (Dreaming and Doing) for which you will be assisted and guided throughout the term through a project management infrastructure. NB: for logistical reasons you will have to plan two sessions of two hours on a Saturday (see detailed organization below) but some of the remaining five sessions are freed (and can be used for group work).


  • CARDON, Dominique (Associate Professor en sociologie)
  • DJELIC, Marie-Laure (Professeur des Universités, Doyenne de l'école de Management et de l'innovation)
  • LAURENT, Eloi (Economiste)

Pedagogical format

The course is a combination of lectures and structured group project.

Course validation

1. Individual – a 3-pages note on one of 7 “hot topics” (‘What your Boss needs to know'), due half term. 2. Collective – the Group Project. You will be creating a product (good or service) advancing the “great transition” and you will be presenting it by the end of the semester on the one hand through a note of intent, on the other hand in an innovative format (video, app, website, video game, webdoc, etc.). These “products” will be put on an open platform accessible to the entire Class. We will organize a vote and a selection of the 12 best projects / objects to be presented during an open event and in front of an external Jury.


6 seminars of two hours each (12 hours).

Required reading

  • Atwood, M. (1985). The Handmaid's Tale. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Cardon, D. (2015). A Quoi Rêvent les Algorythmes ? Paris : Seuil
  • Carson, R. (1962[2002]). Silent Spring. Houghton Mifflin Company
  • Djelic, M. L. (1999). Exporting the American Model. Oxford University Press
  • Fleurbaey, M. et al (2018). A Manifesto for Social Progress. Cambridge University Press.

Additional required reading

  • Fressoz, J.B. (2012). L'Apocalypse Joyeuse. Paris : Seuil
  • Harari, Y. (2017). Homo Deus : A Brief History of Tomorrow. Harper.
  • Hopkins, M. (1999). The Planetary Bargain. London : MacMillan
  • Laurent, Eloi (2017). Notre Bonne Fortune : Repenser la Prospérité. Paris : PUF.
  • Lewis, S. (1935). It Can't Happen Here.
  • Martin, J. (2007). The Meaning of the 21st Century. London: Transworld.
  • Orwell, G. (1948). 1984.
  • Reich, R. (2015). Saving Capitalism. Vintage.
  • Sandel, M. (2012). The Moral Limits of Markets. Farrar, Straus, Giroux.
  • Sen, A. (2011). The Idea of Justice. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.
  • Shriver, L. (2016). The Mandibles : A Family , 2029-47. Harper.
  • Simmons, D. (1990). Hyperion (and The Fall of Hyperion). Del Rey (reprint).
  • Stiglitz, J. (2013). The Price of Inequality. W.W. Norton & Cie.
  • Waugh, E. (1938[2012]). Scoop. Back Bay Books.
  • Video: Tina Seeling at TedX standford (2012): a crash course in creativity
  • Video: Ludwick Marishane at Ted Johannesburg (2012): a bath without water: