Afterthoughts from the 1st month at Hyper Island

The first four weeks of student life at Hyper Island have been defining. Rather than nailing in their culture upon us, the individual and team exercises we went through set a solid foundation that helped us think clearly, understand what the value in a team is and how to work with people.

Come along as I relive the 4-week journey.

  • Hyper Island Way-week— Challenging, scary, red face, shaky, exciting, new friendships, FUN!
  • Vision-week — Interesting, mind-blowing and I realised how little I knew about the world of tech and just how much potential lies herein (are robots gonna take over the world?)
  • Boom! Working with our first client. Feelings? Inspiring, challenging, exciting, awesome and… a bit scary.

Designit Stockholm collaborated with us for this workshop, leading the ideation process as well as guiding us through the nitty gritty. They posited this intriguing idea of “Design for humans by humans”, indeed, we need to design stuff looking from a user’s perspective first.

For example, I recall many instances where I bought something that I needed to use on the spot, but instead had to wait till I got home to open the stupid package. Why make a bulletproof packaging for a phone charger? Maybe in the future when we all have powers like Superman, but until then, let’s make it easy to use?

After some guidelines from Designit, us 240+ students were divided into 40 groups with one person representing each program in every group. Step one was now to create our own group culture.

How do we want to decide things in the group? What are our do´s and don’ts? What is a success and what do we think is a failure? What am I good at and what do I want to learn? What is my stinky fish and do we need a security word?

We all started with presenting ourselves and, then individually wrote down notes about what success and failure meant to each of us. We shared our thoughts with each other and came to the agreement that being inclusive and having fun were the utmost important for us, as a group. We decided to raise hands if anyone ever felt like they couldn’t get into the conversation and we also found out that it was good to have a “I have to go to the bathroom” — word which was Poppiloppi.

With the first piece of the culture jigsaw put in place, it was time to start the process…

Wednesday was ideation day. How do you create an idea in 24 hours? I had no idea, many of us felt stressed, worried, but also curious and excited. I guess knowing next to nothing about how to ideate added to our anxieties.

You know what? It turned out awesome! We did a lot of different exercises, but I’ll tell you about the one that stuck with me … “Speed-Dating”.

No, I didn’t fall in love..

In ten minutes we had a 2x1 meter big table covered with ideas. How did we do that? Basically all of us stood around the table and while being quiet we had 2 minutes to draw or write our idea. After those two minutes were up, we stepped aside and were given two more minutes to develop on our team-mate’s idea.

I had never seen an idea develop that quickly. My original idea turned out to be 1000 times better after four more people had put their mind into it.

After a few more exercises coupled with new tools that proved really helpful in uncovering new ways to see/think about our challenges … we landed with one idea and a united group. The funniest part of this was that after a whole day of discussing what must have been a 1000 ideas, all we came up with was… a button. But it was perfect because it helped us identify a question to center our focus and efforts on —

How can we make this simple?

On Thursday, it was time to take our idea, and build a presentation which was to be a 2 minute movie and a PDF-file that described our idea in greater detail. We felt aligned with the simplicity approach which meant simple illustrations on paper and easy word animations. You might think that making a movie simple would not take that much time. But it does, I tell you, simple is hard! Grapes, candy, frustration, sweat, a loot of coffee and hours later we were finally done and I felt like I had that proud smile on my face going home at 9 pm.

With a big thermos of coffee I left home Friday morning. It was time for our presentations. I was eager to see what all the other groups had come up with during these days.

I must say that I was really impressed by everyone, but most of all I was surprised how different everyone’s ideas and movies turned out even though we all went through the same process, using the same tools. That made me realise how much impact every individual makes on a group, and how different our idea would have been if anyone in my group was missing.

I left school tired, happy, proud, inspired, relieved and also a bit sad. So many learnings during these days and so much fun. Sad to leave my amazing group, but filled with inspiration and excitement for upcoming projects! The journey begins :)

About the writer

I’m Moa, a Motion Creative student at Hyper Island here in Stockholm, Sweden. I like stories, travelling, drawing, running, cooking, creating, surfing and… I’m addicted to coffee, I wish I had my own espresso-machine just to be able to make cool patterns in steamed milk.

My dream is to work on what I love, that challenges my creativity and that forces me to develop almost everyday. And since I love to explore and travel, that could be anywhere in the world.