Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Birthday present - Paris

It was a good day. Today I turned 27 and right in the morning we received an email that our team (Nathan, Robbin & me) won the Creative Contest set by Tribal DDB Paris for the DDB Digital Days. Not only did three other teams from Hyper Island made the shortlist (making HI the most shortlisted school, thus winning an additional school price) but our concept seemed the juries favourite that got us to the next step: client presentation. They've booked us on a plane (leaving in 7 hours) to Paris so we can present our concept in front of the Tribal DDB team and the global brand manager of Lipton Ice Tea. Bags are packed and fingers are crossed.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

5 experiences, 10 days & lots of learnings at Hyper Island

Real-time is running quick at Hyper Island so it's hard to keep up with blogging everything. I would like to reflect on the last 10 days and what I took out of them. Ordered around five key experiences:

1. Objectified, a documentary film by Gary Huswitt
After Helvetica Gary Huswitt set out to explore product design. A great journey into the minds of different product designers that we witnessed on the big screen last week with a few fellow Hyper Islanders. It was very satisfying and inspiring to watch it and think about the insights in the movie. Some that got me thinking: Can we design objects that get better over time? How do objects function in complex systems? Does design separate? Design is translation. Think about the value chain beyond the obvious. Entrepreneurial logic rather than employee logic. If there's no philosophy behind design practises, design may become useless. Design will become more collaborative. Form doesn't follow function anymore (example: iPhone). How and where can I apply my design thinking?

I'd like to re watch it and link more of those thoughts together and apply them to creative problem solving for brands. As the movie fits perfect into the current interactive user experience module, the educational DVD edition is already on it's way to Hyper Island.

2. Workshop on interactive copy writing / storytelling
Karin Ernerot alias Karinskii is a Creative Director, Copywriter & Screenwriter. She works closely with traditional agencies and educates them about digital media. The web is not just another media channel. Whereas in traditional media a brand buys media space and advertises a certain amount of time, interactive media requires a long term digital presence. The brand is always available, 24/7.

All those differences between offline & online mean that there are different questions we should ask ourselves during the creative process:
  • How can the brand activate people?
  • How can we create brand loyalty online?
  • How can the brand keep an ongoing dialogue?
  • What are the goals for the conversation?
  • How can the brand become a tool?
After this dive-in, into what digital media does best, we switched to storytelling. We discussed different aspects of storytelling. Structure makes it easier to write stories. Stories can be enhanced by adding some things or taking some away. A twist in the story makes a big difference. What are the motives? Karin showed us different structures like the three act structure, Jung's 12 character archetypes and the hero's journey. It's great if you take the archetypes and apply them to brands to define their tone of voice, of the hero's journey on a movie to see it working. The second part which will be more based on writing exercises will continue on Thursday – my expectations are high!

3. Workshop with Doberman
Doberman is a Swedish agency specialised in digital design and service development. They practice the Service design approach and work out how to improve everyday experiences. They shared the making of a new mobile service provider store with us today.
If you want to create a magic experience you have to hide the technology and put the fun in the foreground. Understand people's situation: How do they feel? What do they need? And what drives them? We received a new assignment for this week to work out a new user experience for a dull, scary or embarrassing situation in everyday life. A challenging assignment.

4. DDB creative contest for Lipton Ice Tea
The brief was to come up with a way to communicate Lipton's brand idea of 'Drink positive' in a way that could not have been possible five years ago, because of technology or people's behavior. We worked on this brief for two weeks in a team of three and delivered a pretty satisfying result. I'm hoping to share it once the results are in. Not only did we develop a great amount of ideas but we took the best one and presented it in a case movie that describes the background, the thinking and the user experience of this idea.

5. Lucy McRae
Today we had one of the most inspiring lectures so far: from Lucy McRae. Before she went into delivering craziness that makes people think, she was a ballerina dancer for 14 years, studied interior design for two years, and worked in architecture in London for another 5 years. She had a break through at Philips as an 'Body Architect' and worked on multiple projects with Bert Hess which you can see here.

It was amazing to hear her talk about the process of creating her pieces. About bringing immediate and spontaneous ideas to life using the simplest tools. She talked about her work at Philips where she created interesting visions for them such as Electronic Tattoos or Probe skin dresses. She worked in multidisciplinary teams, with a creative partner and on her own and shared her thoughts on those. What if computers would be more sensible to what we're feeling? A new whole bunch of new thoughts entered my head after having her speak how a huge company like Philips could benefit from findings of an artist like her and create actual products from those insights into the future.

* * *

So what have I learned? How to make a case movie from scratch. How to disassemble user experiences and gain insights from this process. How to tell a story in writing with the help of existing structures. How to use technology not for technologies sake, but to add value to people interacting with it. How to apply thinking from different disciplines to the creative process. How to combine interactive thinking with people's needs and objects in the real world. How to approach a problem from the point of view of the user. And most importantly – I don't know anything and there's still an abundance of things out there to explore and combine.

Monday, September 28, 2009


How many questions did you ask today? More great drawings of wisdom on

Friday, September 25, 2009



Monday, September 21, 2009

Sounds from the cloud

I'm a music collection addict, actually music is the only thing I collect. If I hear a good song I need to get it onto my hard drive. (Insight: nowadays people collect less actual stuff but way more data & information)

My iTunes library is completely sorted without missing album covers and of course everything is labeled correctly. I feel like I need to 'own' the music. Here at Hyper (and Sweden I guess) quite a big part of the music is listened through Spotify. I have a hard time liking this app, I can't imagine not having my music collection. Robbin, a fellow art director, has deleted his extra large (over 40 Gig) music collection and switched to Spotify completely for his music needs. He describes it as a very fresh feeling, a cleansing of old music. I won't go that far (yet?) but I should get out of my comfort zone and will have a iTunes free week. Let's see if I can survive on sounds from the cloud and discover some new audio goodness in the process. After all, music is part of my business.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Module no.3 has begun. Interactive User Experience is the topic. It will last for seven weeks and we have a huge assignment, the client: IKEA. The brief is very open so the opportunity is huge. Client presentation will be in 40 days but we'll have plenty of workshops in between so there are only 16 effective days to work on this brief. We're in new teams again which consist of 4-5 people. I'm working with Natasha, Filip & Anna María and our team name is Insexnyckel, the Swedish word for the Hex Key / Allen Key which is used to assemble most IKEA furniture.

The Insexnyckel team
The first part of the assignment was completely dedicated to producing a group steering document and to discuss and form guidelines for our team. Here's our outcome:

The Insexnyckel- Manifesto
We've started with the idea development and will spend the next days researching and understanding the brand before we continue to generate more ideas and develop them further. And yes, I'm into time lapse lately.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Update from HI

Life's great at Hyper Island. We finished off the second module with a client pitch / presentation which we prepared within 5 days. There was a total of three different clients but we were divided into groups so everyone was focusing on one. Our team was working on ICA Banken, a sub brand of a supermarket, similar to Tesco Finance. The brief was about imagining the future banking experience in 2015 and find ways for ICA Banken to become the most innovative bank on the market. We delivered a pretty cool concept and presented it well, it seems like it got the job done and inspired the client. If there's going to be time we'll put the idea it in a case movie / video format and I'll share it here.

Simultaneously we're working on a competition brief for DDB's Digital Days 2009 in Paris. The brand to work on is Lipton Ice Tea. We've spent all Sunday at school working on ideas for this brief because Hyper Island doesn't schedule any contests in the curriculum. After the concept session decided to finish the day off practising my drawing skills. I've got an idea for my desk here at Hyper, it's all work in progress but here's part one:

Monday, September 7, 2009

7 Insights from Hyper Island

Last week we finished the first part of the second Module. In eight days our team of seven members interviewed seven people (Noah Brier - the barbarian group, David Droga - Droga 5, Iain Tait - Poke, Ben Malbon - BBH labs, Richard Gatarski -, Carlos Bayala - Mother, Annika Lidne - Disruptive Media) and listened to three lectures (Jonathan Briggs - co founder of Hyper Island, Petter Warnsberg - Kingston University, Mans Adler - bambuser founder) while crawling the web for countless hours. Using all this information, analyzing and connecting it was a very valuable experience. In the process we identified seven insights that are relevant to the media industry and that we think are worth sharing:

#1 In order to innovate we need to cross bridges between industries and categories
We need to look beyond the obvious and keep our eyes on other categories that are disconnected with our interests. Rather than focusing too much on technology we should look for new ways for suitable applications and combinations. Mashups and APIs are great example of exciting possibilities when blurring boundaries.

#2 Screens are not enough anymore, they are mere obstacles to seamless integration
Technology is getting smaller. Augmented reality is only the beginning. Interactivity can reach a new level if we interact beyond the screen with our surroundings.

#3 Emphasis will shift towards connecting ideas rather than remembering and gathering information
Tools like twitter allow for concentrated streams of information. We have more access to information than ever before. The world doesn't need more blogs, it needs better blogs. Inspiration VS Information – It's much more valuable to inspire than just to inform.

#4 The Baby Boom is yet to hit the Internet

A new generation of users is growing up with the web. Kids will flood the web with a lot of time on their hands and change they way we approach our work. We need to rethink our way to design interactive experiences because of more segmented user groups.

#5 Brands no longer compete with brands, they compete with everyday live and all media out there

More sources than ever fight for our attention. People are able to create themselves without very little costs. Creativity is the ingredient that will make a huge difference, if used for the right reasons.

#6 It's impossible to keep track of everything, we need to establish filters

Today's information society is ever evolving, we have to accept that we cannot follow everything. Identifying filters is important, and there is great potential in this direction. What sources to trust? What's a balanced mix of filters? Who controls them? It's crucial to realise that we cannot just fill our heads with the newest stuff – we need to stop and reflect and create something new out of those findings.

#7 When telling a story, digital media gives it the possibility to evolve and never end
The future is about collaboration and influences between industries. In contrast to traditional media, where a TV spot or campaign had a beginning, a middle and an end, interactive media gives us a platform to tell the story on and on and to re-engage people more frequently by letting them participate in the process and allowing them to navigate a story at their own pace and level involvement.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Interview with Iain Tait

After the whole preparation bits we started the second module at Hyper Island. It's about today's Information Society and The Future Digital Industry. We're working in groups of seven people, researching different sources around the web in order to find out what's happening at the moment. We also conducted a series of interviews with industry leaders. One of them was a short one with Iain Tait from Poke:

Hyper Island: Before we can attempt to change the digital industry, we'd like to understand what it's about so maybe we can start off with the stuff you like about it right now. What are your favourite bits? You've been in the business quite long and must have seen it all, what kind of stuff gets you excited nowadays?

Iain: The things that excite me about digital are the same as they've always been. Empowerment, democratisation, decentralisation, and so on.

We tend to quickly forget how much the world has changed in the last 10 years. I remember in my first job having to go to a library to look something up. Imagine that!

The book that started it all for me was a book called Being Digital by Nicholas Negroponte. It still amazes me how few people actually 'get' the fundamental premise of digitisation. And how once things can be digitised and connected the game totally changes.

HI: What do you think about all the new trends and technologies that are popping up daily? How do you keep yourself in the look and how are you able to keep up with everything? Do you have any tips on how to filter the important stuff out?

Iain: That's a great question. And it's actually at least 2 questions.
Keeping up with everything is impossible. You need to give up now or your brain will explode. It's always been impossible to keep up. The problem is that we've now been sold a lie. We've been told that thanks to wonderful software and gadgets it's possible to stay in the loop with everything. It's not.

Here's my tip for everyone. *Fish in different ponds from everyone else*. Of course you should make sure you know about the big important stuff. But don't just read the same blogs as everyone else. Find some niche stuff. Find some crazy MIT department that specialises in quantum storage theory and subscribe to their RSS feed. Join a Russian techno forum. See how oddballs are using technology. Then start making connections. Interesting stuff happens when you make connections.

Knowing how to filter the good stuff from the bad is tough. It's just a case of watching things over and over again, then you start to spot what works and what doesn't. You'll never get it right all the time, but you'll start to spot patterns and develop instincts. It's the same as anything really, the more you do it, the quicker and better you become.

HI: We guess you guys know some things about Hyper Island. We heard that you even recruit from here. How do you think Hyper Island prepares us for the roles we want to fill in the future? What are your expectations on HI graduates? And maybe you'd like to share what those expectations, tell about Poke and your goals?

Stay curious. That's really vital.
The thing that really excited us about HI students is the fact that they've been given a broader education than most. They've been exposed to a broader set of things that most students. And they've not just been taught a bunch of tools. Most importantly of all they seem equipped to learn!

HI: For the final question we'd like you to take out your crystal ball in order to make a prediction on what the next years of digital media have in store for us? It's always better to be a few steps ahead!

Iain: I think we've been through a couple of distinct phases of the web. Firstly it was about websites and software and technology. Secondly it's been about people and connections and creativity. I reckon the next big shift is going to be about connecting 'stuff' to the network.

Nike+ and Fiat Ecodrive get people really excited because they're examples of networked stuff.

But they're both really manual, early examples. You have to take out a thing and connect it to a computer and manually click on things before you get anywhere. What if all that stuff was connected to everything else all the time? In smart ways that made our lives better?

Millions of tiny dumb computers connected to the net that together make something so much bigger than they could ever be on their own. Of course there's loads of things to figure out. Things like privacy and network capacity.

Things like Twitter are also interesting pre-cursors to networks of small bits of information. In the last 3 months I've always heard about celeb-deaths first on twitter, and often I hear about incoming weather first on twitter too. Silly examples, but both show how a kind of real-time network of tiny pieces can start to be incredibly useful.