Here at Hyper Island, we hear your burning questions and do our best to answer them in the most relevant and insightful ways we can. Here, we provide the answers to the following questions: Which companies do students work with during their MA programs? And more importantly, what kind of real business challenges do they solve?

We talked to the program leaders for our Digital Management Master’s program that’s available as both full-time and part-time options in the UK and Sweden. The course is designed to drive change by taking a fresh approach to problem solving, design thinking, business transformation, and leadership as an individual and in teams. We thought we would share a few valuable examples of recent client projects. First of all, here are some quotes about students’ pitches:

“Your consideration for the brand is phenomenal. This is a beautiful extension of something we did a while ago, but better, and takes it to a way cooler space.” Ayesha Martin – Director Global Purpose at Adidas

“I am speechless. I don’t know what to say. I think this is fantastic and you only had three weeks!” Fortum Internal – Innovation Team

“I think this is fantastic, but I want to do it too! Why are you only focusing on Millennials!?” Allen Smith, Director of Digital Experience – Elextrolux & Gabriel Bake – VP UN Association
From a UN project idea aimed at Millennials to a non-millennial panel who wanted in, the panel followed up on taking the idea forward.


The meaningful briefs our students are tackling


So, where did these quotes build from and what companies are we currently working with?

Let’s start with 2 examples from the Full Time Digital Management Masters which run at our schools in Manchester and Stockholm. 2019 saw the launch of the Full Time Masters in Stockholm, for the first brief for Design Thinking the students collaborated with Adidas as a client. Henrik Hallberg, Senior PR and Newsroom Manager for Adidas Nordics joined us as the client lead pitching the brief and answering Q&As, the pitch itself was at the Adidas Headquarters the students excitedly filed in to pitch their ideas to the specially selected Adidas panal. Resulting in feedback like “When can you have it ready and how much will it cost me” from Henrick and his peers. Supporting thor adventure through Design Thinking was Karin Lyke their industry Leader.


For their Design Thinking project, Digital Management Manchester Full Time students worked with Noisy Cricket, MHC, Street support, and the Mayor’s Fund to look at re-employment of people with genuine experiences of homelessness. This is important and challenging with multiple barriers to people finding, securing, and sustaining work opportunities. The project was based in Manchester but it also addresses a global issue.


While the third and public sector have solid solutions and support services in place to get people back into employment, the personal issues experienced by the individuals in question, along with workplace cultural challenges, and limited opportunities have an impact on success rates.


The students posed the question “How can we improve the systemic, cultural, and personal process to enable those people looking for gainful employment to find their success story?” They were supported by Andy Young, their industry leader who takes on the role of a design and innovation consultant in the real world. He has worked across the private, public, and third sectors, using techniques drawn from design and creativity to support change in organizations and among people.


The full-time students in Manchester often take on a brief situated in their city for the first project to help them learn more and navigate their new surroundings as we have a high mix of new nationalities entering the city. Other briefs have been with the BBC where worked on understanding the changing workspace for the neurodiverse. Also, Keep Britain Tidy, where students had to figure out how to design practical solutions or innovative approaches that will lead to a reduction in litter.

In the digital technologies industry, the Digital Management part-time students in Stockholm worked with Teenage Engineering. They were given new tools instead of a focus area. It was ‘where’ to focus that became the big challenge. They had to reinvent how people interact with the web using synthesizers as controllers instead of touchscreen or mouse and keyboard. The result was to present a customer journey where the synthesizer is used as a means of interaction, why and how this would be delightful, as well as unexpected for the customer. Then they would present the business perspective. They sailed through the tech sea with Jakob Widerberg, maker, hacker, and teacher of innovation and transformation. He’s also the Senior Innovation Manager at Volvo Cars!


Other briefs have included working with startup, HoloMe looking at how they can use their products to raise the profile of augmented reality (AR) as a platform for positive change and engagement. Also, students in Stockholm Full Time have worked with Klarna, Europe’s most highly valued private fintech company.

Business Transformation in its very nature brings NDAs (Non Disclosure Agreements). This allows the students to work with a company freely, but not to reveal what they have done, we can however reveal that our students have worked with clients such as Adidas, EY, MAG, and Weekday! The students work with great Industry Leaders like Mary Wallace from IBM & Erik Brandrup-Wognsen Head of Strategy & Business Design, Director CGI.


The Innovation Project


The Innovation Project has seen students work with numerous clients, such as Leon, The GMP Drones Unit, Berghaus, and Speedo, however, on this year’s full-time and part-time programmes in all locations, it was decided to have the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a focus. There was an open brief with the student team aligning to a UN SDG they wanted to work on.


In Stockholm full time Digital Management the students worked in teams on the brief with the guidelines of the Industry Leader, Maksimilian Khaled, CEO and founder of the Popup Agency. The teams conducted research, ideation, prototyping, testing, and more ideation before proceeding with the structure and storytelling of the pitch. The pitch day took place at Hyper Island. The students on the full-time program in Stockholm pitched to a panel of senior industry experts including Fredrik Göransson, Senior Architect Google Cloud, Allen Smith, Director of Digital Experience, Elextrolux, Hanna Nyström, Manager Digital Channels, Keep Sweden Tidy, and Gabriel Bake, VP UN Association, Sweden. In the audience, there were staff from Hyper Island and other industry experts invited by the students, such as Zoran Matic Innovation Manager at UR, Sweden Public Radio, and Broadcast Service.

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Article updated on: 27 May 2024