Teaching at Hyper Island – Week 4

thumb_IMG_8862_1024The final week at Hyper Island and the team’s visited the BBC at Media City in Salford. We’re very grateful for the BBC’s involvement in this project – providing a real brief and venue for the final presentations.

Each team did an amazing job and, despite each being set the same brief and taught the same methodology, came out with unique perspectives on the BBC’s challenge.

Presenting without screens

thumb_IMG_8861_1024One stipulation I made for the final presentations was the banning of screens. The teams had to be creative and hands on in order to present and think more about their individual roles.

At IDEO our equivalent mid point presentations often have the same physical design with posters and props taking the place of projectors and laptops. At this point in the process presentations should feel like ‘work in progress’ and open to questions and improvement. Screens signal completeness, worse still you’ll spend/waste time finessing the way it looks rather than what it says.

There are challenges of course: you should plan very carefully the layout of the room, and how it can support your storytelling, but generally tangible presentations better engage your audience.

Cat Buckets

The students in this year’s Digital Experience Design crew were very lucky to have Colin Burns as thier client. After the presentations he made time to review each group and gave fantastic constructive feedback.


One area we discussed was the naming of Opportunity Areas. At IDEO we use the term Opportunity Area to encompass an area rich with potential for ongoing design. We often share them at the halfway point of a project and work with our clients to pick the ones we want to dig deeper into in the second half of the project. The teams from Hyper Island were tasked with presenting their areas, but most lacked a memorable name.

Colin recommended something evocative and arresting. For example “Cat Buckets”. When you hear the phase cat buckets you’ll immediately picture something, and the chances are you’ll remember it. It’s a great example of a simple phrase that contains a lot of information. Something you should strive for when naming your own Opportunity Areas in the future.



The final thought from me is to say congratulations to all of the students for completing the Understanding People module, and good luck with the rest of the course.

The whole group was highly engaged throughout and picked up new ideas and methodologies with great skill and thoughtfulness.

I’m sure they’ll all go onto great things, and I hope to cross paths with them in the future.