Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Reflections on 2009

Happy new year everyone! An important thing I learned at Hyper Island is to reflect on past events and evaluate them to maximize the learning outcome. Let's give it a go and look at the past year:

After teaming up with copywriter Jai in 2008 and completing creative placements in London at Wieden+Kennedy, Leo Burnett, Lowe and Adam&Eve the year 2009 kicked off with us two turning into a creative freelance team. Our first gig was at Agency Republic which continued through January and February. Even though we worked on interactive briefs before this place was the first one with full on commitment to that. Looking at all the great digital work going on around the world got me pretty excited about new possibilities to engage with people in new ways. Yet when working on set briefs we found ourselves thinking often in stereotypical categories like banners, pop-ups, virals and minisites – not very. Countless banner concepts later in March we moved on to our next freelance gig at The Bank where we helped them winning a pitch for Grolsch. In the meantime we got to meet some brilliant creative directors like Graham Fink and Dave Trott and received invaluable advice from them.

This was quite motivating and the goal was clear, the portfolio needed work so we could land a permanent position at a creative agency – but Jai and I didn't agree on how to get there and thus finished our creative partnership in May. Footloose I started planning my next steps and spend the summer in Kazakhstan. My curiosity about creative work in the interactive space led me to an unexpected option: A post graduate course in Sweden at Hyper Island. A lot of research got me hooked on this idea and I applied for the Interactive Art Director course. After an intensive application process I got admitted to this great course and I packed my things and move from London to Stockholm in August. The course started off surprising me completely. I understood that Hyper Island was not only going to be about ideas but also about the How side of things. Team behavior, facilitating of processes, leadership, giving and receiving feedback and communication in general – all splendid learnings that pushed me on another level. On top of that I've met many new people that I now consider friends.

The second module continued in September with us interviewing the industry to gain insights about their needs and their future. Those learnings were accompanied by great lectures from the industry that kept surprising me weekly. All of this combined fruited in the first competition win for our work on Lipton that we presented in Paris. It's currently in production by Tribal DDB and I can't wait for it to see the light of day. 2009 was also the foray of my sister Anna into the world wide web where she presented two of her collections, expect more to come. The last few months of the year were spent working intensively on projects with Burn, North Kingdom, IKEA and Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, oh joy.

The undeniably biggest change of 2009 was leaving London and starting at Hyper Island. It wasn't an easy decision, but this adventure has been a fantastic one and taught me many things that I am very grateful for. For me it was the year of the unexpected, change, more questions and the year of new learnings.

Now and it's time to look at this new year ahead and set goals – in the next post.


Mike said...

Here's to 2010!

All the best.

Anonymous said...

I can genuinely say that i'm happy for you Wally.

It's mad, but you were a bit of a legend, before you went to Sweden, in adland.

Anyway, enough of that bollocks, you nailed any tasty poon tang over there??

Unknown said...

thanks mike! i bet you guys will do great this year!