Bridging the Gap: Hyper Island

The digital landscape is constantly evolving and changing - yet not all creative institutions are fully preparing their students for this fluctuating environment and how to stay ahead of the curve.

Traditional methods of learning are still in place, which feel dated and mismatched with the needs of the real world. We find ourselves in an increasingly digitalized landscape within which there is an urgent need for students to develop their skills further and lead the next generation. Is our education system failing them?

Hyper Island, an institution based in Sweden is determined to bridge the gap between education and industry.

After graduating, it is not unusual to feel demotivated, isolated and confused. Breaking into the industry is quite difficult, especially if you don’t know anyone.

It can be a struggle to find out what role suits your skills, what kind of agency you want to work for and what kind of briefs are out there.

Sarah Healy

Internships can vary in terms of the amount of responsibility you are given and guidance. One creative institution has emerged which thinks a little differently, and is renowned in the industry as one of the top digital institutions. That intiative is Hyper Island – a global institution with hubs in Sweden, Karlskrona, Manchester, Singapore and New York.

The vision of Hyper Island initially formed about 17 years ago. One night Lars Lundh, Jonathan Briggs, and David Erixon were in a bar discussing how the age of digital was surely upon us,, and quickly came to the conclusion that this fact would result in organizations need to evolve accordingly to that impending change in order to survive.

Together they recognised an opportunity to build a new institution of professional learning designed on flexibility in anticipating and dealing with ever shifting digital landscape.

Sarah Healy

The location for this institution? A former military prison located on the island of Stumholmen, just off the idyllic coast of Karlskrona in southeastern Sweden. It was here that the Hyper Island vision was born.

Hyper Island envisioned what this digital age would require. This led the institution to primarily focus on two main areas; Educational programs and courses and business innovation consulting, reflecting the overlap between education and business and also that life long learning is a key element to staying motivated and ahead of the curve in this ever changing industry. Life long learning isn’t limited to a classroom or a course. It is a way of life and consists of being constantly engaged and curious about the changing world.

There is a fear of failing, which is counter productive as we learn through failing. To fear failure to a degree inhibits the ability to learn.

Sarah Healy

What is interesting about Hyper Island is how failure is perceived. It does not carry negative connotations, but is rather embraced as a learning experience. The key is to learn from what did go wrong and to try and avoid making similar mistakes in the future. In many other creative institutions, failure remains hugely stigmatised.

This perhaps hints at why Hyper Island students tend to be more successful in the areas of creativity, problem solving and leadership which are hard to come by.

In addition to focusing on business consulting and educational programs, Hyper Island also has a comprehensive list of learners partners, who are companies that can collaborate with the students through the various course programs. This inclusion of briefs into client- based modules not only supports the development of new industry talent but also helps to bridge the gap between creative institution and industry.

In a further testament to Hyper Island adapting to fluctuations in the digital landscape, they are launching an eLearning Master Program “Virtual Reality Management” later this year that utilizes Virtual Reality technology to create an alternative learning experience. Alongside this, a new programmed will be offered in September, as 20 designers will enroll in a 30-week program with the aim of turning their ideas into full-fledged, scalable businesses. Funded by Google Funds this design school will work like a tech incubator and is a collaboration between Google, The Cooper Union, education company Hyper Island and top-notch design schools including School of Visual Arts, Parsons and Pratt.

Given its global presence and reputation as one of the top digital institutions, Hyper Island is way ahead of other leading institutions.

Sarah Healy

Given its global presence and reputation as one of the top digital institutions, Hyper Island is way ahead of other leading institutions, and it’s curious to wonder why this may be. Surely, it is possible to strengthen the connection which exists between creative institutions and industry. These connections often already exist, yet not utilised to their full potential.

Surely a more sustainable infrastructure which benefits both graduates as well industry is possible, given what has been achieved at Hyper Island. Given the unstable future of the digital age, a new way of thinking is essential in order for education to evolve.


Posted on Jul 5th, 14 by

Sarah is an illustration student at Bournemouth University.

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