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Remote Design With Hyper Island: Event Recap

Written by 
Emilia Åström
November 30, 2015

Hyper Island is a creative business school that specializes in real-world industry training, applied to digital technology. It was founded 1996 on the islands of Karlskrona in Sweden. Today, it has campuses in Sweden, Brazil, UK, US and Singapore.

As provider of solutions for remote design, MURAL was invited for the second time to give a workshop about remote design facilitation with the Digital Media Creative students at Hyper Island.

In August, I conducted the first three-hour workshop at the campus in Karlskrona in the south of Sweden. It was given as part of the course Creating Digital Futures with Sebastian Sjöberg from 10X Labs.

A shot from the workshop in Karlskrona

The second time, we had to do it remotely. From Buenos Aires, I conducted the three-hour workshop via video conference. The students had a webcam so I could see and interact with them while they where watching my screen.

split screen
Split screen: Left - Hyper Island in Karlskrona, Right - home office in Buenos Aires

Both sessions were based on the same theme and structure. To kick off, we began with a short introduction to what it means to immerse design thinking in organizations and collaborate with distributed teams.

Before the break, we had the first Q&A session. Even though we interacted through video call, we had a meaningful discussion. The Digital Media Creative students are soon starting their internships and we talked about how they could help the companies where they end up be more innovative. One way could be to during the internship introduce the company to the tools they had practiced at Hyper Island, reflection for example which is one of the most powerful tools to achieve effective learning.

To warm up, we started with an icebreaker exercise in a mural. The participants created personal presentations, adding images to represent themselves to the group. Using the “Follow Me” feature, we took turns presenting our profiles.

Personal Presentations
Some of the personal presentations created by the students.

When it was time to start the workshop, the participants left the conference call to find a place to work away from the rest of the group to simulate a distributed team. The students divided into two groups working in separate murals. They also started their own hangouts to communicate during the workshop.

go through mural
Students completing the exercise together in MURAL.

For the workshop, we created an experience map. The participants had to define personas and then map out all the steps of an experience. Steps were represented with sticky notes and images. The goal of the exercise is to identify the pain points of the users and come up with opportunities for improvements.

An up-close look at one group’s in-progress experience map.

When the exercise was finished, we reflected on the experience as a group.

Their first spontaneous reaction to the remote workshop was that it wasn’t as awkward as they first thought it would be. Because they had a visual real time reference to watch during the conference call, they felt they had a shared experience.

A couple days after the workshop, I asked the participants what their lasting impression of the workshop was. Tim Månsson, one of the current students in the Digital Media Creative program, shared his insights with me. He said:

MURAL is awesome, I like it a lot. The existing maps are very helpful, not just for online collaboration but also for analog use in regular projects. It's great to have ideation and project tools all in one place. As I am exploring the facilitator role, I find this very handy and I will use MURAL in my upcoming projects for sure.

So thanks to Tim for those thoughts and for everyone who participated. We were excited to be working with such enthusiastic students at Hyper Island.

About the author

About the authors

Emilia Åström

Emilia Åström is a facilitator and coach of creative and collaborative processes that support digital transformation.