Agile reorganization of a higher education institution

Client case

Higher education institution

AGILE reorganization of a higher education institution

About the client

Our client is a leading public school and research institution specializing in organizational and decision sciences. The university is renowned for the quality of its teaching in economics, law, political science, mathematics and computer science. Each year, it is one of the most highly regarded institutions among recruiters. Located on 3 sites, it welcomes 11,000 students, 520 research professors, 2,000 external contributors and 500 administrative staff for an annual budget of 120 M€.

What were the results?

  • A description and sharing of the principles of the target organization
  • An agile transformation of the organization and processes, allowing for adjustments to the transformation schedule and the configuration of services while remaining aligned with the principles of customer orientation
  • Involvement of all concerned agents in the construction of the new organization, to facilitate the adoption of the new operating modes
  • Three new departments built with and by managers, in consultation with the stakeholders concerned, and meeting the objectives of governance
  • An organization structured around its clients: students and teachers, researchers, companies

What was the key to your success?

We focused on the value provided by the organization to its customers. Moreover, the design of this target organization has involved the agents to a large extent, which facilitates its deployment.


1 Partner, 2 consultants

Where did you start from?

The context of higher education in France has become highly competitive and leads institutions, beyond the implementation of development strategies, to optimize their organization in order to improve the service provided to their students and research professors, to deliver the service at the best cost and to seek new resources from external partners (companies).

It is in this context that the new President wanted to transform the organization of the institution by adopting an innovative and “soft” method to reconfigure the organization around 3 service poles oriented towards students/teachers, researchers and companies.

What was your approach to the issue?

A benchmark of the organizations of the universities and grandes écoles had been established beforehand. The reorganization support was done in three phases:

  • A first phase of 3 months to establish a diagnosis and organizational principles according to the expectations of the organization’s stakeholders
  • A second phase during which the organizational changes were validated by the governance (definition of a target) and the principles were tested with the management in order to validate the model and establish a change dynamic
  • A final phase of defining the new directions in consultation with the various stakeholders (existing services, teaching departments, IRP) by prefigurators

The approach adopted is based on the participation of a large number of actors at all levels of the organization: individual interviews to take stock of the situation, working groups on the main themes of the transformation to build the target, implementation of experiments, change management led by the actors of these experiments. The processes and the precise target organization are not defined a priori but are co-constructed by the teams with a prefigurator.