Friday, July 29, 2011

Meet Interactive Media Design & Management Student Jonathan

We had a chat with Jonathan Barnes, student at Hyper Island's pilot program Interactive Media, Design & Management in Manchester.

Hi Jonathan, tell us a little bit about yourself and your background?

I grew up in France from the age of 5 until 18 and have English parents.

I would say that the things that have defined my life are sports, (I played Squash for France), coaching sports (to people of all ages and standards) and travelling.

The people who have influenced my life the most are my parents, my Squash Coach, Steve who I used to work with and a few famous people (such as Ricardo Semler).

I also spent 4 years at The University of Manchester and Manchester Business School which has made me love my new city. I love old music, being inspired by visionaries, trying to inspire others and Nutella.

Why did you apply to the Hyper Island program Interactive Media Design & Management in Manchester?

I applied to Hyper Island because I got the impression I had finally found a place that shared some of my views of the world. I don't really believe in fate but it was a very strange coincidence. I was backpacking in Guatemala with a friend of mine and I was thinking about two things which I think I could do to change the world. First of all, I felt that by going into businesses that are stuck in the past and consulting them in regards to participative cultural change I could empower people and change their lives whilst also delivering far more creative environments for people and businesses alike. The second point was that I feel that for the most part, the education system is in serious need of reform as it doesn't empower the natural instinct that children have to be creative, to be engaged, to be interactive and to participate through doing.

And it was a day in El Salvador when I finally formed my opinion that these were the two things I could contribute to the world, that I received an email about Hyper Island. An application and Skype conversation later with Jo Schofield and David McCall and I was so excited and I had the impression that I had found an organisation for me. I can confirm almost 3 months later that I have.

What has been the hightlight so far during your time at Hyper Island?

Difficult one. Everything!
I have met some extremely inspiring people such as David Erixon and Andrew Shoben but the most impressive thing is that I feel a part of something. Too many times in my life, I have felt like the lone wolf, the outsider, almost crazy at times. But here at Hyper Island I feel that I am in a class full of people who get me and we are all on the same wave length. So I guess the highlight for me so far is the confirmation of my beliefs that my peers share in terms of participative culture, creative and innovative environments and underlying belief that we can all change the world in our own ways by remaining open and reflective.

What has been most unexpected?

Exactly that! I've never spent so much time surrounded by people who could one day be forces for positive change. I was shocked at the conversations I was having with people simply because I would share my beliefs and not be looked at like an alien. The people here think a lot, about themselves, about the people around them and about the impact they could have on the wider world. It's very refreshing.

How do you define creativity?

I think in the past I was stuck in an old mindset that creativity was something visual. Hyper Island broadens my definition of creativity by the day. So whilst my definition is a constantly evolving thing, I'll have a stab at it: "A mindset for positive change driven by the intent of thinking differently". :-s I'll try to improve that as I evolve...

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In ten years time, I would like to be in control of my own time. I would like to have travelled a lot. I would like to be in a position to create important change within small settings that would serve as examples for wider societal change moving forward.
A part of this is that I would like to hope I would be a force for change in eduction and business in regards to empowering human beings to meet their potential. I'm not sure what the vehicle for this will be yet, but it will involve my own business, maybe consulting and maybe even a form of alternative education (I say "alternative" but my aim would be for others to qualify it as "progressive").

Lastly, what's up next? (you can interperet this question as you would like, this weekend, in a month, privat/non-private. Up to you!)
Next?! Well I really think that our upcoming internships will be important in defining a direction for us.
So, remaining the eternal optimist, I would hope that next, I will find a company that is open minded, open to positive change and that would be open minded enough to see me as an opportunity to be a potential catalyst for positive, participative and creative change within their organisation. That's in the immediate future.
For 2012, I would hope to cement really strong relationships with like minded people I have met through my Hyper Island journey and pursue adventures with them as well as personally.
Finally, to be an advocate for this incredible experience. I'm only half way through, but I feel that this is something I will always promote to others and that I would like to help fly the Hyper Island flag in the future.

Thanks and good luck! Drop Jonathan an email if you'd like to get in touch for more info on the Hyper Island experience, internship possibilities or anything else!

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