Don’t call him “Director” but “Captain of 42 Lausanne”: Christophe Wagnière is at the helm of 42 Lausanne and shares with us his journey and his beliefs.
What motivates you in being Captain of 42 Lausanne?
What stimulates me the most is to be able to interact with different people, students as well as candidates, companies, partners, and so on. It’s fantastic to exchange and to have such a wealth of points of view, stories, and problems to solve. The energy of the place is phenomenal: it’s my role to cultivate and channel it to move the issues forward and to create a culture of mutual aid and sharing. We are all different at 42 Lausanne between the students, the Bocal, the partners. At the same time, we aree also all equal. That’s what carries me every day. The other advantage is that I love making pizzas. My house is a little too small to accommodate too many people, here I can make pizzas for 100 without putting them all over my house!
What was your background before 42?
I discovered the web during a summer job at the very beginning, in 1993. Shortly after I entered the Ecole Polytechnique de Lausanne. Three years later, I was offered a large-scale project to create an information platform for young people on the Internet in Switzerland. This became my first business, and I stopped my studies. I went bankrupt and continued to work in other startups. With the burst of the Internet bubble in 2001, I turned to the banking world to develop e-banking solutions. After many positions, takeovers, hard knocks, and after 13 years, I became interested in education during a professional training. I worked for HES-SO (Switzerland’s second largest university) before discovering 42 and realizing that this was what we needed: opening a 42 campus in Lausanne.
What does the future hold for the world of education?
I think we’re going to see a much more diversified education than we have today. The models are not going to change: we will still have about 80% of people for whom the classic system already works very well, and 20% of atypical profiles. However, we will have more alternatives such as 42 that practice active pedagogy, and above all, we will have more bridges so that the systems can intermingle. The good ideas of some will enrich the realities of others. Education will be more adapted to all profiles.
How, then, can we put forward the different educational experiences that we receive?
One of the stones of this edifice would be to create a kind of portfolio that gathers all our learning experiences throughout our life. Thanks to tools like Linkedin that group our certifications, we already have some of that, and in IT, it’s already common. There are many different ways to learn, we will increasingly accept that even a concrete professional experience on a project is a learning phase to be valued. Today, the challenge is to make all our learning more coherent and legible.
Why is diversity such an important value for you?
This is the element that touched me the most when I discovered 42. I really believe that collective intelligence works for the good of humanity. If you only have 25-year-old white men speaking English in Silicon Valley, we’re going to go straight to the wall! Diversity, on the other hand, means diversity of profiles and origins as well as diversity of ways of thinking. It’s important that 42 allows profiles that work in another mode to adapt to them, or at least to allow them to find their place and to be able to play a little differently with the tools. This is what I experienced on the front line when I successfully passed the Piscine this summer. The diversity of ages, profiles, origins and personal stories makes things so much stronger emotionally and intellectually.