is probably already on your radar, famed for its yellow pencils and commitment to shepherding student talent into the industry advertising, and in case you haven't heard of Hyper Island
, the Swedish organisation takes a similar educator role, specialising in digital/interactive communication, business management and leadership.
Known for a unique in-house methodology of experience-based learning, developed in a prison based in Karlskrona, Sweden, back in 1995, Hyper Island runs intense short Master Classes in Sweden, the UK and the USA. For media professionals in all departments, Contagious
joined the gang for last week's course at Wallace Space in London's Covent Garden..
Day one started with a good breakfast, though hot coffees and bagels took a little longer than usual to scoff down due to the frenzy of conversation between an assorted rabble of expectant attendees.
The informal chats and a group introduction session revealed an articulate and eclectic bunch which would make for an interesting couple of days, which got started in earnest with short 'energiser' exercises to loosen up the group.
From there on in it was a roller coaster ride of digital trends, identifying challenges, idea development, post-it notes, brainstorms, magic marker fumes and some very, very interesting solutions to complex problems. We came, we saw - we learnt.
Insight came from a variety of industry experts:
Daniele Fiandaca, former European chief executive at Profero, talked us through taking ideas online after giving us a great overview of challenges ahead.
dropped by to oh so casually talk through (and almost talk down) his journey so far, including starting his own agency with his brother, roles at LOWE Worldwide
, and coming back full circle as he now sets up his own shop again with Tesch Ltd
. One comment Contagious
loved: once advertisers realised that the internet was 'a money making machine, they just needed to figure out how to make it work'.
from Tinker introduced us to The Internet of Things,
talking us through Arduino
bunnies, and explaining how seemingly inanimate objects can feed back to the internet, and vice versa. Jon Sharpe
, chief digital officer at M&C Saatchi
guided us through two sessions on digital strategy, explaining the importance of creating talkable ideas, sending us back to the drawing board to re-work previous solutions to end with an idea people would actually talk about.
One of the highlights of the course was a visit from Hyper Island/The Other Media
co-founder and Kingston University
lecturer Professor Jonathan Briggs
, who had the seemingly unattractive task of taking the group through SEO in the last slot of a long day. How he made Google reputation, adwords and link bait so interesting is beyond us, but the group were collectively scribbling away, hanging on every word, wondering how and why they hadn't heard of these tools and insights before: his blog
is definitely on our recommended reading list.
The group was set some great briefs over the course, and tutors
encouraged attendees to approach these with unorthodox and
remarkably effective techniques. Back in group workshops, we students
found ourselves employing the same techniques on later briefs, throwing
out things we had learnt before and embracing the new structure, post-it
notes piling high and hierarchy thrown out the window. As we
approached deadlines bad ideas were quickly tossed aside before the
awaiting Dragons Den-esque panels of judges.
This fantastic, intense course let all comers converse with interesting and sharp minds, listen to and learn from a host of industry experts and leave with new ways of thinking, of approaching and evaluating ideas, and of understanding digital, communities and even the organisations we work for.
But don't just take our word for it: earlier today Richard Perry, COO at GyroHSR, called us from the very Swedish Prison where it all began in to let us know how he and the 32 young creatives the agency have taken out there (from their academy program) are getting on with their Masterclass.
'Important stuff like this tends to get put back or pushed to one side
due to everyone being extremely busy,' he said. 'So we got booked up
and committed to complete focus - no phones, laptops, Foursquare, Twitter. We've achieved in three days here what we'd usually manage on a whole year on a regular course.'