Navigation – Plan du site

AccueilNuméros23DossierConception cultures. Between "pro...

Dossier

Conception cultures. Between "progress", "innovation" and "strategy", what signs, what devices and what organisational models to project today?

Fabien Bonnet
Cet article est une traduction de :
Introduction [fr]

Texte intégral

  • 1 Anne Piponnier, Anne Beyaert-Geslin, et Stéphanie Cardoso, « 
  • 2 Stéphane Vial, « 
  • 3 We would particularly like to thank Eleni Mitropoulou and Carsten Wilhelm, whose comments and sugge (...)

1As early as 2014, a thematic issue of the journal Communication et Organisation questioned the link between design and project from the point of view of Communication Sciences. According to the coordinators of the dossier, the two notions and their articulation could be considered as founding elements of emerging discourses, of "slogans of social action and practices".1 In this dossier, Stéphane Vial, also author of a "short treatise on design" and editor of "Sciences du design", a journal that develops the epistemological ambitions of design as a "project discipline", referred to a "conception culture".2 The aim of this dossier is to take up and discuss this concept and perhaps broaden its scope.3 Although design practices are historically based on the notions of conception and project, design does not have a monopoly on it.

2The format of the Revue Française des Sciences de l’information et de la communication (French Journal of Information and Communication Sciences) invites us to approach these conception practices from the specific angle of the complexity of signification processes, with a particular attention to the contextual, cultural, and socio-cognitive dimensions of these processes. One can conceive as a designer, but also, of course, in other ways, with other statuses, other approaches, other tools, by mobilising a diversity of representations and values. The ’conception’ activity can be claimed in these terms, or not. It can be experienced in situ or observed and formalised afterwards. Finally, beyond concrete action, it is possible to ask the question of the staging of these conception processes, that of their visibility, that of the claims they are subject to, that of the different discourses formulated, circulating, and interpreted in relation to these activities, these ’projects’.

  • 4 Françoise Paquienséguy, « L’usage, de l’appropriation au design », Ocula, no 20 (1 octobre 2019), h (...)
  • 5 Bernard Darras, « Design du codesign - Le rôle de la communication dans le design participatif », M (...)
  • 6 Catherine Foliot, Greg Serikoff, et Manuel Zacklad, éd., Le Lab des Labs (CGET, Futurs Publics, CNA (...)
  • 7 Isabelle Berrebi-Hoffmann, Marie-Christine Bureau, et Michel Lallement, Makers: enquête sur les lab (...)

3In the context of research in Human and Social Sciences, which cannot overlook the possibility of ’emergence’, of more spontaneous or organic evolutions, the question also arises of the possibility of action without prior conception or without the influence of a conceptor. Beyond the ‘vision’, the ‘invention’ and the ’progress’ desired by a certain few in their own terms, the question of collaboration, innovation and even utopia emerges. Overall, it is the question of innovation through uses that appears here, and that of its relationship to conception attempts, particularly in the context of "design" projects4, of « co-design » projects5 or claiming to be such. Within the framework of an approach marked by the idea of social and cultural communication, our attention is then drawn to the numerous ’participative’, ’collaborative’ and ’inclusive’ initiatives developed in places and circumstances that deserve to be grasped more specifically by research in Communication Sciences.: « fablabs »6, « makerspaces », cultural and/or coworking spaces more or less influenced by hacker, libertarian and maker cultures, but also, particularly in the French context, by the action of encouraging public authorities…7 

  • 8 Citons ici l'exemple de "Village by CA" pour annoncer une liste de telles initiatives, nombreuses, (...)

4It is also the border cases of these initiatives, whether they are localised, situated in a specific place or carried out on a wider geographical scale, that lead us to pay particular attention to the notion of ’design culture’ mobilised by Vial. How can we handle the discourse on ’innovation’ as a supra-ordinate goal, as a quasi-political project within certain fablabs, including when the latter are financed by private actors or integrated into their organisation?8 How can we also address the relationship between design and its artefacts, its products, while avoiding an excessive focus on the technical dimension?

  • 9 Gilbert Simondon, Du mode d’existence des objets technique, Aubier, 1958
  • 10 Georges Balandier, « Un regard sur la société́ de communication ». Actes du colloque du CNCA. Centr (...)
  • 11 Patrice Flichy, « La place de l’imaginaire dans l’action technique », Réseaux 109, no 5 (2001): 52‑ (...)
  • 12 Denise Jodelet, Les représentations sociales (Paris: PUF, 1989).
  • 13 Sandra Jovchelovitch, « La fonction symbolique et la construction des représentations : la dynamiqu (...)

5Several studies, cited here without claiming to be exhaustive, have explored the links between social imagination and techniques or innovation. Gilbert Simondon reminds us of a form of ’magical’ expectation that we have of technology,9 while Georges Balandier emphasises the proximity between the imaginary and technology and stipulates that “it is without doubt the first time in the history of mankind that the imaginary is so strongly connected to, and dependent on, technology “10. For Patrice Flichy, these imaginations "are not common to a team or a restricted work group, but to a profession, to a field of activity. Moreover, this imaginary does not only concern the designers, but also the users.”11 The question of design cultures could therefore be considered from the point of view of the production and sharing of "conceptions" in the sense of "social representations" that are both shared (i.e., collectively mobilised) and co-elaborated by actors12 as part of a process essential to the symbolic function.13

6This duality of representations considered both as capital and as production about an object allows us to take into account the precautions that Patrice Flichy called for when he dismissed (1) heuristic models focusing on initial intuition, (2) those of the sociology of translation taking into account the processual character and the place of the notion of project in the genesis of innovations, and (3) those of the interactionist sociology of science and technology (STS) favouring the focus on the social worlds of the actors and the ’border object’. A project articulated around "design cultures" should therefore integrate both the manifestations of such representations among the actors and the conditions of their emergence. It is therefore essential to consider both the designers’ view of the users and the users’ view of the conceptions.

7Beyond the notion of social representation inherited from research in social psychology, other notions can enrich our theoretical and methodological apparatus to question the possibility and conditions of expression of such "design cultures".

  • 14 Armand Hatchuel, Benoît Weil, et Pascal Le Masson, « Chapitre introductif - Modèle canonique des ré (...)
  • 15 Yanita Andonova, « Communication, travail et injonctions à la créativité » (Mémoire d’habilitation (...)

8From a management and engineering perspective, Armand Hatchuel proposes the idea of design regimes to characterise the approaches, postures and methodologies used in projects.14 The statement developed in the manual which he devoted, with his colleagues Benoît Weil and Pascal Le Masson, to the "Theories, methods and organisations of design" led to the formalisation of two main systems. One is described as "regulated conception" and implies a progressive shift from the abstract project linked to expectations and identified needs, towards the concept and then towards manufacture according to a logic of conformity to the specifications thus established. The other would be that of an "innovative conception regime", characterised by its iterative dimension and facilitated here by the C-K method developed by the authors. Innovation is understood here in relation to the performance of the design process, which is not surprising in an engineering perspective marked by utilitarianism. This very detailed presentation of conception methods, understood in the technical sense of the term, enables us to highlight the axiological, sometimes even ideological, dimension of any discourse on innovation if we are not careful to confront these discourses with observable practices in the field, on a social scale, at the level of individuals, groups, and organisations. We note, moreover, that the same precautions should be taken regarding the frequent references made to creation or creativity, whose axiological and political dimension Yanita Andonova has clearly highlighted, particularly in an organisational context.15 So let us clarify what we are talking about here. It is not a question of an "innovation" in which we believe a priori, nor even of conceptions whose geniality should be evaluated in terms of their achievements or effects. It is a question of " conception cultures ", of views on the formalisation and conduct of " projects ", not to say of projections, whether these are envisaged on an individual or collective scale.

  • 16 O’Neill, J. (2016). Social Imaginaries: An Overview. In M. A. Peters (Éd.), Encyclopedia of Educati (...)

9In 2004, the Canadian philosopher Charles Taylor proposed the notion of modern social imaginaries to go beyond the ineffective notion of culture to analyse the ways in which Western societies attempt to realise themselves through popular notions of utility and moral order.16 How can we arbitrate between the notions of culture and social imaginaries? Can the context of design and its corollary of use be indicators allowing us to assess their operationality? In our opinion, these notions remain relevant and can be mobilised for a study of the contexts of conception and use, including for what concerns an innovation qualified as social or cultural, whether it is digital or not, envisaged at a local scale or in a comparative perspective.

  • 17 François Dubet, Les mutations du travail (La Découverte, 2019).

10Beyond the stereotype of the inspired genius, conception practices deserve to be questioned at the level of the social dynamics, the organisational processes they imply, whether it is a question of ’project mode’ of any other organisation of activities, or of the conditions of their practice and evaluation.17 Moreover, from the point of view of temporality, project-based management is apparently opposed to the perspective of "continuous improvement" set up as a supra-ordinate goal by Lean Management practitioners. The hypothesis of a time and functions dedicated to conception upstream of implementation, which has been present since the Renaissance in the discourse on projects, particularly architectural projects, is questioned. In this context, it would undoubtedly be useful to specifically question the gaps between the temporalities which seem to characterise different design cultures.

  • 18 Norbert Alter, « La crise structurelle des modèles d’organisation », Sociologie du travail 35, no 1 (...)

11Discourses promoting methods described as ’agile’ presuppose a form of rusticity of previous organisational models. The perspective of a learning organisation has been replaced by that of a more or less equipped collaborative dynamic, from a practical, methodological, and conceptual point of view. The very status of the notions of organisation and organisational models regarding managerial practices is being questioned.18 Under these conditions, a problem emerges relating to organisational cultures in connection with design approaches. The evolution of practices observed in the field of project management, that of the devices mobilised and the discourses produced within this framework seem to justify an examination of the representations mobilised by the actors of these projects concerning the notion and practices of organisation. In this regard, research in Communication Sciences could address the question of the place and roles given to uncertainty and the non-finite within projects and change processes, particularly in terms of discourse and meaning.

  • 19 Umberto Eco, Sémiotique et philosophie du langage, trad. par Myriem Bouzaher, Formes sémiotiques (P (...)
  • 20 Umberto Eco, Lector in fabula, trad. par Myriem Bouzaher, Grasset Biblio essais (Paris, 1985), 95.

12Within the framework of his semiological approach, inherited from literary studies but frequently transferred to other fields and objects of analysis, Umberto Eco proposed the notion of encyclopaedia to designate the background of practices, knowledge, and skills available to an actor and against which he can evaluate and interpret what is happening. He also distinguished this encyclopaedia from a dictionary specific to a given language, which would tend to specify the meaning of each term out of context and would in fact be limited to a simplistic approach to language, in particular to the conditions of enunciation19 and ultimately, of language use. Beyond the specific problematics of language, we can think of conception practices through encyclopaedic competence.20 Collaboration, the participatory dimension, can induce new mindsets and stimulate the interpretive potential according to the specificity of the contexts, both in conception and reception. If collaborative initiatives activate even more the pooling of encyclopaedic skills, it is interesting to see what place these initiatives leave for personal, or idiosyncratic, contributions outside the encyclopaedia. This question becomes particularly attractive when we think of conception in terms of creativity: since creativity is becoming a priority for contemporary cultures, is this imperative (let’s be creative!) not a paradoxical form of conception? In this notion of encyclopaedia, we find the question of what is mobilised what exists and what is called upon to conduct a project and give it meaning.

  • 21 Georges Perec, L’Infra-ordinaire (Paris: Seuil, 1989).

13All the notions we have used so far seem to be able to be articulated in order to question both what is mobilised and what is produced, from the point of view of culture and representations, in conception processes and projects. To what extent does the conception of communication devices today mobilise a culture of the sign, of meaning, a semiotic culture? If digital devices are numerous and are the subject of extensive analyses, what can be said about the digital culture, or the culture of the digital mobilised in the design processes today? And insofar as the designer is rarely alone, what can be said about the organisational culture of those who are today the carriers or actors of design processes? Are ’strategy’, ’innovation’ and ’progress’ so obvious, so sub-ordinary21 that they have no cultural depth? We doubt it and, through this dossier, we would like to question this cultural dimension of projects.

14We thus formulate the hypothesis according to which the recourse to the notion of "design culture" is likely, within the framework of the Communication Sciences, to feed the reflection on what is claimed or displayed as a "project", as much on the individual scale as on that of groups or on the societal level. Beyond the intentionality, tools, methods, and interaction of actors, we wish to examine and think about the interest, both scientific and practical, of an approach to these "projects" in terms of the complexity of the processes of signification and in the light of a mediation anchored in the diversity of the situations and the actors.

15Based on this intention, the contributions presented in this dossier constitute a first stage of reflection. They cannot, of course, cover the entire field of investigation. Rather, they are intended to compare the approaches developed by researchers from different disciplines whose work can, in our opinion, shed light on the debates surrounding such elusive and essentialized notions as ’progress’, ’strategy’ and ’innovation’.

16Stéphane Vial and Thomas Watkin propose to put the notion of conception culture into perspective by studying its manifestations in the field of a large company engaged in conception processes in which the confrontation with the figure of the user is essential. The latter generates different practices among designers and ergonomists, mobilises different imaginary worlds and gives rise to various power games between actors that the proposed study makes it possible to characterise. To study these interactions, the two authors propose to mobilise the notion of professional culture.

17Manuel Zacklad and Marie-Julie Catoir-Brisson are interested in the specific context of intervention research and the way in which projects carried out in this context can be based on cooperation between researchers and designers. The authors begin by framing the notions of intervention and design and then describe their intervention research through Co-Design (RICO-D) approach. It then appears that the mobilisation of a Design culture in such projects is manifested particularly by the mobilisation of various techniques of mediatisation in favour of mediation among the actors of the design process. It is then the possibility of a « environment design » in favour of research that is questioned.

18Niklas Henke’s contribution questions the fact that the mobilisation of a specific conception culture can be at the heart of a consultancy service. Through the notion of ’Creativity Consultancy’, he highlights a form of delegation of creativity in a context where creativity is perceived as an imperative for many organisations faced with competition. The objective of innovation thus leads to a circulation of design discourses and practices outside their context of emergence, a circulation whose meaning effects the author proposes to question.

19Dorian Reunkrilerk and Estelle Berger also address the question of the perception and appropriation of design culture by actors from other professional environments. Far from the idea of a simple toolbox that can be appropriated by non-designers and reduced to a rationalisation of design practices, the authors propose to consider the potential of what would be a real encounter between two sometimes dissonant design cultures, engineering, and design. While the focus here is also on mediation and mediatisation, particularly through the status given to intermediate objects, the notion of ’tact’ is proposed, on the borderline between logic and tactile, to equip a mediation whose transformative potential is put forward.

20Anne Beyaert-Geslin approaches the question of conception cultures from the specific angle of values - values of the creators of devices, especially digital ones - values claimed by organisations through various discourses whose crystallisation can be envisaged in terms of a brand. The author develops a semiotic approach to the interface proposed by an application such as Vinted. Based in particular on the work of Jean-Marie Floch, this contribution makes it possible to consider conception cultures in diachronic terms, in particular through the hypothesis of an axiological renewal linked to the considering, by organisations and the public, of contemporary environmental issues.

21Smail Khainnar also proposes to consider conception cultures from the angle of their mutations. The author looks back at the major developments that have influenced the way in which urban planning has been thought out and implemented. By linking urban planning, design, and communication, he proposes to introduce, beyond what would only be an incantation to collective participation, the idea of a more profound evolution of "urban conception cultures" of which he details five complementary dimensions.

22Finally, in the field of digital publishing, Valérie Larroche and Antoine Fauchié question the conditions of production - or perhaps of emergence – of editorial commons. This contribution highlights the framing games specific to the tools used in the conception process. The possibility of fully collaborative editorial commons is thus linked to the existence of mechanisms allowing their conception, both in terms of writing and governance of the collective. The authors insist on the need for a tool that allows a specific conception culture to express itself, particularly regarding the hybridisation of tool conception and content production.

Haut de page

Notes

1 Anne Piponnier, Anne Beyaert-Geslin, et Stéphanie Cardoso, « 

2 Stéphane Vial, « 

3 We would particularly like to thank Eleni Mitropoulou and Carsten Wilhelm, whose comments and suggestions have greatly enriched the reflection we are sharing today.

4 Françoise Paquienséguy, « L’usage, de l’appropriation au design », Ocula, no 20 (1 octobre 2019), https://doi.org/10.12977/ocula2019-9.

5 Bernard Darras, « Design du codesign - Le rôle de la communication dans le design participatif », MEI, no 40 (2018): 141‑58.

6 Catherine Foliot, Greg Serikoff, et Manuel Zacklad, éd., Le Lab des Labs (CGET, Futurs Publics, CNAM, Codesign-it, 2019), https://www.codesign-it.com/publications/le-lab-des-labs-en-telechargement-libre.

7 Isabelle Berrebi-Hoffmann, Marie-Christine Bureau, et Michel Lallement, Makers: enquête sur les laboratoires du changement social (Paris: Éditions du Seuil, 2018).

8 Citons ici l'exemple de "Village by CA" pour annoncer une liste de telles initiatives, nombreuses, dont la forme la plus ténue peut être la revendication d’un « mode projet » au sein même des organisations.

9 Gilbert Simondon, Du mode d’existence des objets technique, Aubier, 1958

10 Georges Balandier, « Un regard sur la société́ de communication ». Actes du colloque du CNCA. Centre Georges Pompidou. (Dir. E. Duckaerts, J.-M. Vernier, P. Musso). Paris, 1986, p. 161

11 Patrice Flichy, « La place de l’imaginaire dans l’action technique », Réseaux 109, no 5 (2001): 52‑73.

12 Denise Jodelet, Les représentations sociales (Paris: PUF, 1989).

13 Sandra Jovchelovitch, « La fonction symbolique et la construction des représentations : la dynamique communicationnelle Ego/Alter/Objet », Hermes, no 41 (2007).

14 Armand Hatchuel, Benoît Weil, et Pascal Le Masson, « Chapitre introductif - Modèle canonique des régimes de conception », in Théorie, méthodes et organisations de la conception, 1re éd. (Presses des Mines Transvalor, 2014), 11‑29.

15 Yanita Andonova, « Communication, travail et injonctions à la créativité » (Mémoire d’habilitation à diriger les recherches en sciences de l’information et de la communication, Université Bordeaux Montaigne, 2019).

16 O’Neill, J. (2016). Social Imaginaries: An Overview. In M. A. Peters (Éd.), Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory (p. 1‑6). Springer Singapore.

17 François Dubet, Les mutations du travail (La Découverte, 2019).

18 Norbert Alter, « La crise structurelle des modèles d’organisation », Sociologie du travail 35, no 1 (1993): 75‑87, https://doi.org/10.3406/sotra.1993.2109.

19 Umberto Eco, Sémiotique et philosophie du langage, trad. par Myriem Bouzaher, Formes sémiotiques (Paris, France: Presses universitaires de France, 1993), 75.

20 Umberto Eco, Lector in fabula, trad. par Myriem Bouzaher, Grasset Biblio essais (Paris, 1985), 95.

21 Georges Perec, L’Infra-ordinaire (Paris: Seuil, 1989).

Haut de page

Pour citer cet article

Référence électronique

Fabien Bonnet, « Conception cultures. Between "progress", "innovation" and "strategy", what signs, what devices and what organisational models to project today? »Revue française des sciences de l’information et de la communication [En ligne], 23 | 2021, mis en ligne le 01 septembre 2021, consulté le 23 octobre 2021. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/rfsic/12135 ; DOI : https://doi.org/10.4000/rfsic.12135

Haut de page

Auteur

Fabien Bonnet

Articles du même auteur

Haut de page

Droits d’auteur

Licence Creative Commons
Les contenus de la Revue française des sciences de l’information et de la communication sont mis à disposition selon les termes de la Licence Creative Commons Attribution - Pas d’Utilisation Commerciale - Partage dans les Mêmes Conditions 4.0 International.

Haut de page
  • Logo SFSIC
  • Logo ICA
  • DOAJ - Directory of Open Access Journals
  • OpenEdition Journals
Rechercher dans OpenEdition Search

Vous allez être redirigé vers OpenEdition Search