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.

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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.

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