Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Student Report: Elin Johansson in Japan

Elin Johansson, student of Hyper Island Business Management 06, has given us an update about her visit in Japan. She’s there for internship interviews - but also to get inspired by meeting new people, discover an exciting culture and see things she haven’t seen before.

One of her scheduled interviews is at IKEA and she hopes to become a part of their business development team. Between interviews she also has had the time to do karaoke, eat squid by mistake and practice her poor Japanese.

Japan has been on her must-visit-list since long time ago. And Tokyo definitely measures up to her dreams. She thinks that the best part of the trip so far was walking up and down at the streets in Harajuku. But she also likes to visit the arcades or sit at a café in rush hour watching all the people run by and just dream away. She is fascinated by the consumption that exists in Japan and tries her best not to exceed the 23 kilo luggage weight limit.

She is filled with thoughts about the working culture and sees a big difference between what she learned and practiced at Hyper Island and real life in Tokyo. Watching business men sleeping on the subway and at the same time read that they spend about 4 minutes every day with their children gives her lots of ideas about how to develop company culture.

Read more about her experience in Tokyo on her blog.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Program check: Interactive Art Director

Stina Norgren, student at the Interactive Art Director program in Stockholm, tells us about their latest module:

At the moment we are in the end of an 8 week module called Interactive User Experience. The main goal for this module is for us to understand the main process, digital tools and the trends related to an interactive user experience.

That’s what the course plan says but what are we really doing? Everyone is really busy at the moment since our class got one big challenge ahead of us. This is the first year that our class exists; there haven’t been any Interactive Art Director classes before us. And on top of that Hyper Island got the school at a totally new location, Stockholm… This brings us one big problem to solve. How are we going to let the world know that we are here? And how do we communicate ourselves and why should anyone care? This undertaking is really important considering that we are the first class of our kind.

Working with this task simultaneously as we are working on one sharp project from Doberman can be a bit confusing from time to time. But in the end the feeling of playing creative is so worth it. Coming up with new ideas and solving problems is a big kick and that’s why we are here.

Lots of love
/Stina Norgren

Friday, October 26, 2007

Lecture spotlight: John Lester on Second Life

John Lester, known as Pathfinder Linden in the Second Life virtual community, has worked with Second Life’s creators Linden Lab since 2005. In 1993 he pioneered the use of the web to create online communities for supporting patients dealing with neurological disorders, as Information Technology Director in the Neurology Service at Massachusetts General Hospital. He visited Hyper Island in Karlskrona to talk about how Second Life can be used as a platform for education and general learning, focusing on strategies for success. Digital Media student Erik Jonsson bringextradragons.blogspot.com reports on his visit:

Lester was grabbed in passing to give us a lecture about the Second Life network. It’s an online social role playing world where users are given avatars, designed and named by themselves. What makes this online world different from others and thus motivates a lecture to the Hyper Island Digital Media class is the freedom of creation the platform offers.

The concept of the online world is built on a grid where users with their avatars can walk around and create their own reality as far as visual content and sound goes. Scripts can be applied to their homemade environment as well with semi-advanced building tools supplied to make constructions like buildings and vehicles possible. This is more or less what you expect from any system like this online. What makes it really interesting to us students currently involved in a module about business ideas is the economy.

Second Life comes with an monetary economy of its own where you exchange your US dollars into the world’s own currency. Thus making it possible for anyone taking part in the network to realize their own ideas, may it be selling or buying, renting or lending user created content. As there are literally no rules of engagement in this world and content in a users property is moderated only by the owner of the land visitors set foot on possibilities to some seems unlimited.

If you can make your online idea appealing enough to visitors, whether it might be a programmed game, a concert hall or just a tranquil garden, it’s still yours to profit from. Theoretical examples Lester brought up on this is to mention just a few; education, live music, co-developing and online meetings. Practical use of these might be e-learning classes for students spread around the world, an architect realizing a blueprint into a 3dbuilding together with a colleague or whats come to be the most popular Second Life event yet, Artists making live appearances.

As stated this network offers a multitude of services either free or payed for with real money. Issues that seems to bother us students overhearing this lecture where the more or less obvious downsides to a system like this. For starters a world built on user created content can’t be pre-stored locally on users computers. Its streamed live from servers which puts a pretty heavy quality threshold on the graphics. As far as we are concerned it might have been an application from 2002 and not present. Knowing that fancy uptodate graphics might not be the primary need for Second Life:s user base this could be overlooked.

What disturbs us more was that people tend to pick a to most people offensive looking avatar as their physical representation in the world. Offensive in this case meaning a big pink robot wearing a tuxedo or a dwarf in a bikini. Knowing that this is just extreme examples these characters still make out the bulk population of the world. A direct reaction to this is that it might be hard to take someone seriously given the factor of the looks added to the already harsh filter on humanity online-mode is to us.

Which brings me to the third issue of the expanding world of possibilities second life is. The ever ongoing digitalization of our social life. To most people text chat or as of late voice chat to replace regular telephony suffices as far as digital communication goes. Being in this very module, oriented around online marketing and services generating economical revenue, these are of course not great obstacles to overcome for a young creative constantly on the lookout for new areas and platforms to spawn ideas into. It’s just that the lecture about Second Life, the possibilities, the looks and the inhabitants left us a bit reluctant and puzzled.

All in all the environment felt perhaps too unmoderated for our Scandinavian (with some exempts) culture. Perhaps too colorful to take serious or to withstand the test of time. Which might be illustrated in a current example with the exodus from previous social networks with more user created content to the syndicated environment of Facebook. After a brief inquiry in the class following John Lester's lecture just a handful had ever tried Second Life and not many saw it as a lasting medium for planting business ideas to grow.

Erik Jonsson

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Report from Designboost

Digital Media student Johanna Boäng visited Designboost , that took place between the 17th and 19th of october in Malmö. Here is her story on the event:

As a student of Digital Media at Hyper Island in Karlskrona, I was invited to go to Malmö last week to take part in Designboost, a new, annual meeting between different types of practitioners within the international design industry.

It is a new concept on the Swedish design market, where participants spend day one on the boost meetings to discuss current issues (this year focusing on sustainable design), day two at the boost chats, and day three visiting the boost show. The boost meeting are open to invitation only, while the boost chats and boost show are open to the public.

Designboost is an initiative by David Carlson, who works as an consultant with design and brand development issues, and Peer Eriksson, who has his own communications agency, together with City of Malmö and Region Skåne.

- It’s important to look upon things from a new perspective and be given a push forward, which is exactly what the word boost means. When it comes to sustainable design it’s likely that things need to be questioned. Since the world is constantly changing and the maps rewritten it’s impossible to sit around and wait, says Peer Eriksson.

-There are plenty of design events in Sweden. We want to create a different and unique arrangement that will function as a creative arena and meeting point that gathers people, companies, organisations, institutions and schools that all work with design, in one way or another, David Carlson says.

Personally I had a very exciting three days, and I feel very fortunate I got the opportunity to attend. The first day, the boost meetings, were held at the top two floors of the Turning Torso tower in Malmö. We were 10 groups with 7 participants in each (though at least one person was absent in each group), having discussions in three rounds of 2 hours and 15 minutes each, changing groups for each round. My three groups got to discuss the following subjects:

” Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want. How can the consumers best use this power to take active part in the development of a sustainable future?”, “How can we use design to create a sustainable society?” and “How can we define sustainable design?”.

The second day took place at Europaporten, and consisted of a number of interesting lectures, most of them 18 minutes long, and some of them extended to about 40 minutes. It gave a new dimension to the meetings the previous day, especially as many of the people talking had been in my discussion groups. It was a day full of inspiration and interesting view-points.
The Thursday was concluded with dinner at the beautiful town hall of Malmö where we could continue conversation, before some headed back to their home countries and others to the after party at a nearby night club.

On the Friday the boost show opened at Fridhemstorget in Malmö, displaying different types of products that have been produced with a sustainable future in mind. Entrance to this exhibition is free, and if you happen to visit Malmö before its closing day November 17, you really should check it out.

What did I get out of this experience myself? Well, it opened up my thinking to new possibilities for the design of the future, rather than restrictions, and I feel highly inspired. I added to the philosophy of my own design work a kind of fourth dimension. Instead of as usual thinking in 2D or 3D when designing, why not think in 4D? Sustainable design starts with a sustainable thought process, and a long-term perspective.
Cheers to David and Peer for their work with Designboost!

Johanna Boäng

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Hyperisland Blogosphere

Besides this place, the official Hyper Island blog, the blogosphere is filled with Hyper Island related stuff.

There are right now over 50 individual Hyper Island student blogs, where the students are documenting their work in a first-person narrative.

If you are interested in the Hyper Island education these blogs have lots of valuable information, but keeping track of them all is pretty hard so we've made it a little bit easier for you.

At the bottom of the right sidebar (and below in this post) you will find a widget showcasing the RSS feeds from the Hyper Island student blogs, as well as a link to the Yahoo Pipes page we use to parse all the blog feeds.

PS. If you have a Hyper Island blog and we've missed you, let us know!

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Experience Technology Movie

Well, we gave you the Experience Technology blogs, we gave you the Experience Technology magazine, but your life will not be truly fulfilled before you've seen the Experience Technology movie. Check it out:

Monday, October 15, 2007

The Experience Technology Magazine

The Digital Media students in Stockholm and Karlskrona collaborated on a magazine documenting their Experience Technology module. Check it out here!

Pics and movies from the Digital Media exhibitions

Last week the Digital Media students in both Karlskrona and Stockholm had exhibitions , showing off their projects in the "Experience Technology" module. All in all nineteen groups made interactive projects and presented them for the public. Check out some of them below.


Group 3: Sound Memo, an audial version of the classic Memory game.

Group 4 showed their scary Star Trek abstract noise cube:

Group 7: Marble’s Inferno, a javascripted interactive physical marble track.

You can read about all the projects from the Karlskrona Digital Media students following the links to their group blogs here.

Also check out a feature on the Karlskrona exhibition by Swedish national radio here.


Group 2: The Beamograph, a tool for creating electronic music.

Group 4: Style Win, the digital dressing room.

Group 5: Myoa, which records motions and transforms them into colour on-screen.

You can find links to all the Stockholm Digital Media group blogs here

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Interview with Tim Guest

Journalist and writer Tim Guest has been documenting the rise of new virtual communities for magazines like The Guardian and Daily Telegraph as well as in his own latest book “Second Lives”. Last week he came to Stockholm to hold a lecture for the students at Hyper Island and we sat down for an interview with him.

What concept is hardest to get across to people with no experience with communities?
- Probably just how enchanting these virtual words can be. It is like cinema – it is easy to understand that you play still images really fast and you get a sense of movement – but it is much harder to understand how magic that can be.

As a kid the car racing video games that had real advertizing felt much better than the others, would you say that commercialization of the new virtual worlds only validates them in the same way?
- In the eyes of people who have no experience of them, yes. It condones the space. Some people are of course complaining about it. When [pioneering design agency] Rivers Run Red moved in to Second Life and bought an island there were a few people that went to that virtual island with signs to demonstrate against it. I am not so worried about this commercialization as there is no scarcity in Second Life – a company’s presence does not exclude others to be there as well. Also it is much cheaper to build something in Second Life than in the real world. Almost anybody can have their own building but not many could do that in the real world, so that is a leveling effect.

What is the difference between Second Life and Myspace?
- Well, there are two ways to answer that question. One: When you go to someone’s profile on Myspace or Facebook it is like going into someone’s living room when they are not there. On places like Second Life you have a direct connection which is very different.
- The other way of answering is of course that there is no difference at all. Even now we see virtual worlds that are implementing Facebook-like features. Vside is one example of that. As time goes by these two things will blur together.

What else do you see in the future?
- There will be a fundamental shift as to how we perceive virtual worlds. Right now they are supposed to be different from the real world – Second Life even says so in its name. But what we will see is how these two worlds will merge. One example: Maybe you will have your sunglasses react to your surroundings. You can look at a hotel and you’ll get ratings for that hotel shown in your glasses.

Like The Terminator!
- Yeah, why not? That technology is not that far away. Or you’ll just hold out your phone and get the information there.
- Whenever there is a new paradigm it is really hard to predict what will happen. It is like a new music genre, until you hear it it is hard to understand how it will sound.
- At the Hyper Island party I met someone who showed me this Pacemaker thing [Tim brings out a flyer for the Pacemaker DJ tool]. Obviously it is more than just a new kind of mp3 player - there is an idea about sharing and a community that makes the product just a part of the whole package. I’m just guessing but what we will see is probably where the network and the physical come together. This Pacemaker thing is already on its way towards that.

Sebastian Suarez-Golborne

Monday, October 8, 2007

Program check: Digital Media Karlskrona

In Karlskrona the Digital Media course is running on full speed. On October 11th they will showcase their projects at an open exhibition at Båtmanskasernen, Stumholmen. Carl Bergman is a student there and tells us this about the course:

What is happening in the digital media industry? After the first engaging Information Society module the students of Hyper Island Digital Media in Karlskrona are diving even deeper into the business by kicking off the Experience Technology module.

What is modern technology used for today? How will this change in the future? By creating new products out of today's hot products the students are challenging the everyday use of modern technology. What possibilities lies under the white cover of the Nintendo Wiimote? Is there anything you cannot do with an Arduino board?

Also feel free to read the Project Blogs:

Group 1
Imagine yourself running through the rain forest with chittering monkeys around you, or maybe swimming at the bottom of the sea. All of this - possible in our surround room!

Group 2
The WiiMote is communicating with the computer while inside the cube[...]

Group 3
It was a long time I had a saw in my hand but after awhile I was used again. It felt really good, almost like back in the days, when you was a kid.

Group 4
For this to be possible we have to have figured out a way to transform our keyboards buttons in too much bigger and more sensitive touchpads.

Group 5
...our sound generator/simple synth patch prototype is finish and have been working together with the photoresistor to create the fundamental light string trigger.

Group 6
Our idea is to project a wall on witch you will be able to do some graffiti with a simple LED. You will stan some meters away, facing the wall, and paint.

Group 7
We probably got the brightest, reddest red color you could find, and with such a colorful expression we are surely likely to catch everyone attention at the exhibition. Its certainly going to be hard to miss us.

Group 8
I'm working on the sketches for the construction and I intend to send them to some construction companies (such as Beijer) and ask for sponsorship.

Group 9
I've done some tests generating random motion based on the sensor measurements and it works pretty good.

Group 10
Take a break from your computer and the IT-world and just break it, hit the drums!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

More Tim Guest related stuff

Check out this little documentary about Tim Guest who is giving a lecture as well as appearing at the Hyper Island party this thursday:

Our own Tim Guest interview will be up on the blog sometime next week.

Subscribe to the Hyper Island blog

The Hyper Island blog is updated roughly three times a week, spotlighting the going ons at Hyper Island as well as giving an insight to worldwide developments in interactive media. If you want to keep track of the blog you have several options, subscribe through RSS or through E-mail. You can find both links in the sidebar.

Program check: Business Management in Karlskrona

The Business Management program in Karlskrona is a two year program, graduating students for a future career as managers. The main focus of the program is to educate students to meet the upcoming needs for modern and visionary management in companies, organisations and projects. We caught up with Sofie Andersson, project manager in Karlskrona, for a quick chat.

What are the Business Management students doing right now?

- Finding a Mentor, coaching, process leading and work shop training are some of the things the Business Management students in Karlskrona are doing in the module called "Coaching and Mentorship".
- When designing this module I wanted to give the students an opportunity to put some of their knowledge in to practice. So one assignment is to coach one person within Hyper Island and one external. The coaching is based on solving problems, reaching goals and together make an action plan on how to reach them or just listen and be a sort of mentor. Jörgen Jonsson, a consultant from the communication agency Imagine, gives the students valuable and inspiring tips about coaching all through the module.

And what about the "mentor" part?
- I also would like every student to find a mentor that they can keep for at least one year after graduating. By doing that now I think they'll create a bridge from school out in to the work life. The mentor should preferably be a person that complement the student and its skills and knowledge. In that way, I think, it will be a win-win situation for both student and mentor.

What else have you been up to?
- On top of all assignments (seven!) the module of course also has some lectures. Last week the students (well, us co-workers just had to go as-well!) went to see Kay Pollak give his famous lecture "To choose happiness". It was inspiring, fun and worth considering! Actually, the best part of the whole lecture was afterwards, when I asked a student what she thought of the lecture. She said: "Well, it was good and fun but what Kay was talking about, that you are in charge of your own life, that's what we are practising at Hyper Island all the time.

Sebastian Suarez-Golborne

Workshop: Juho Parviainen and IDEO

Former Hyper Island student Juho Parviainen made his internship at world renowned IDEO back in 2004. That internship led to a full-time job at the agency, which according to Business Week “redefined good design by creating experiences, not just products”. For the “Interactive User Experience” module he came back to Hyper Island and held a workshop for the Interactive Art Director program in Stockholm.

What is the atmosphere at IDEO like?
- We are 500 people working at IDEO. The company prides itself in having an open, non-hierarchical culture. IDEO is all about collaboration – we work in multidisciplinary teams throughout our projects.

What kind of qualities are you looking for in an IDEO employee?
- At IDEO we are what we call "t-shaped" people. You need a deep knowledge of your expertise area, like interactive design, but also a broad understanding of many different disciplines. And you need to be humble to be able to collaborate with people with different kinds of knowledge. IDEO is definitely not the place for the lone genius designer rock star.

What would you say your approach is when it comes to design?
- Design is not longer about just making something look pretty. What we at IDEO do is help organizations innovate and grow through design.

- There are several aspects you have to take into account for successful product and service innovation – the business needs, the technology and whether or not the product or service is desirable from a consumer perspective. Traditionally companies have focused innovation around technology – a new technological breakthrough. They have then looked at the business viability – how do we sell this? – and finally delivered a product to consumers to ask them whether they like it or not. At IDEO, we use a human-centred approach to reveal people's latent needs and bring to market new products, services and experiences that respond to those needs.

How has your Hyper Island education helped you at IDEO?
- The way that Hyper Island teaches is very good, as it is aimed at learning how to work in a group. I think that is absolutely crucial and specially for a company like IDEO , where collaboration in the teams is essential.

- Another nice thing with Hyper Island is that teaching focuses on teaching you how to learn. You're encouraged to find, learn and try new ways of doing things, not just stick to one technology, tool or way of doing things. This enables you to become flexible and versatile designer.

Sebastian Suarez-Golborne