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Hyper Island - Vans Project done by Tiago / Daniel / Edwina / Gaelle / Qing Qing



s t n e t n co About us Our image

- The Soul is the Culture

Timeline Feeding brains

- The Art of Research

Finding th e sound or figh ting th e sound - Ideation Crisis Th e album - The Big Idea Th e managers talk on business - The Business Plan Lets smash guitars - The Prototype O show time when we are still young - The Pitch Off stage

- Conclusion

s U t u Abo Seapunk: noun. A “tiny” subgenre internet-based phenomenon, birthed out of the tumblr and twitter universes (Stephens, 2014) as a means to describe a lifestyle aesthetic that is all things oceanic, of the sea, Roman statues, Azalea Banks, and borrows musically from styles such as witch house, chiptune, drum and bass and southern rap. (Detrick, 2012) There were mixed feelings after the brief. The energy in the room was mostly of skepticism. A brief that engages the “new female consumer” without showing a single female in the “About Van’s” deck. A client that with prodding, admitted their goal is just to “sell shoes.” Inside our group, rumblings of conflicting feelings are surfacing. Some liked it. “It’s refreshing to get a client who speak the truth.” Some fear the unabashedly commercial values of the brief. “Selling shoes” became a complex word for a group of idealistic grad students. Who are these students and what do Daniel, Edwina, Gaëlle, Qing Qing, and Tiago, have in common? One thing

evident of the group from the start were the strong skill sets between five people and two programs. Together we were three designers and five strategists and a collective hive mind of creativity. The team name “House of Vanity” may reflect this initial confidence. The temperament of the team is also similar. We were all medium-pace people who valued thinking alone, but also crave disruption and energy from our team. The evolution of the group name to “Seapunk” is indicative of this rebel undercurrent. Initially an online subculture that we unearthed from research, it is a name and movement that embody the irreverence and “punk energy” we all felt beneath our somewhat quiet exterior. Seapunk also found its way into our visual and story narrative. As Roman statues collapse onto texts, our final pitch wrestled with the idea of “selling shoes” and empowering women, and it came from somewhere within the team. Three out of three women from Seapunk at some point of the project felt they were being too bossy or being too pushy. We turned the question around, what can Vans do to empower an structural unbalanced society. Instead of exploitation and one-way conversations that traditional advertising reinforces, how can we celebrate authenticity and find real empowerment for women? This is the story of our journey together to figure that question.

e g a m I Our s i l u o s e Th e r u t l u c e th

Days 1-16 Activities • Sharing previous team experiences and what we saw as hindering and helping behaviour. • Communication tools: • Slack • Facebook messenger • Google docs • Google slides • Reflection • Check-in & Check-out (Every day) • Team Developments • Outings

Key Learnings Activities We didn’t write down our • Flyer on a piece of paper culture for everyone to see,Canvas which • Business Model could havesocial been media good to • Website, have. We didn’t suffer that much from it because we had the post-its from the culture setting-session, up on a flip-chart all the time. We should have done more reflections to open up the communication more. If someone in the group is missing a part of the process for any reason, a clear and understandable recap is of highest importance to eliminate confusion, irritation and/or disengagement. Everyone needs to be on the same page before the team can proceed.

All teams have their own soul and finding that soul is a core element of building a successful team. Every team member brings a piece of that soul and we have to join the pieces together to form a complete soul. The tricky part is that in the beginning none of us knows where and how the pieces will fuse. The only way to figure it out is to communicate with each other. We were all curious and excited about the fusion of DMM and DXD in the same module. But we also approached it with a bit of cautiousness. Why cautiousness? Because we all knew that for the first time we had set roles just by the fact that we came from different areas of expertise and interest. So setting our team culture, one of the first things we did was to strip ourselves of these roles, just to take away any assumptions and expectations we might have had. By taking away the boundaries of roles, we could have a more dynamic, educational and open workflow, learning from each other by sharing tools and methods. We agreed that roles would probably be more handy further into the project. We discussed individual goals and what we wanted to get out of the project so we could understand and get to know each other better. We picked the name House of Vanity and went for vegetarian food.

As the work proceeded, all seemed to flow almost too well and after our team development session we realized that we probably still were in stage 1 and not in stage 3 (Tuckman, 1965). We might have tricked ourselves because of the good flow. Since all groups go through all of the stages at some point, stages can not be skipped. The following days after team development we experienced both highs and lows and that was when the different pieces of soul really started to fuse. We changed our name to Seapunk because it was happier and a name we all could rally around. It represented us as a team better. We ate a lot of meals together, and these outings became the glue of our teams soul. It made it easier for everyone to understand each other and loosen any rising tension. At a crucial point of the project one of the team members wasn’t able to attend in the decision making and had to accept the decision that was made. The

team gave a recap to the member that had been missing, but when we discussed the situation later on it became clear that the communication had been insufficient. The miscommunication had created irritation and frustration in the team. As we had foreseen, towards the end of the project roles came naturally and discussions were much more open and constructive. Our difference of opinion has been very fruitful in the sense that we are all proud of each other and what we delivered as a collective. As Seapunk.

e n i l e Tim Day 1

Day 2

Tues 30/6

Wed 1/7

• Brief

• Morning open reflection - very helpful

• Presenting ourselves, our background and our expectations

• Setting up the culture • Decided not to divide roles but divide tasks instead. Going for organic facilitation instead of dictatorship • Collaborative planning • Brainstorming around the research topics • Separate research

Day 3 Thurs 2/7 • Research • Check in • Presented our findings • Reflected on the process • Daniel had too many topics he felt a bit lost • Edwina would have liked more time to look at creative expressionists • Tiago wanted to look at more influencers, more edgy ones • Qing Qing really likes Vans • Gaëlle doesn’t like consumerism • Check out

Lauren’s lecture How To Build A Community Around Your Idea • Was inspiring, grounded in action and generous!! • The PERFECT antidote to mid-Hyper crisis.

• Took a field trip to talk with people and see the stores: Black Sheep, team building ice cream, Vans, JDs, Schuh • It was good to go early, take actions and immerse ourselves, talking to real people.

Day 4 Fri 3/7 • Morning soul feeding reflection / mid Hyper Crisis • Check in • Questions for the interviews • Taking the brief apart, asking whys, went philosophical really good and inspiring. • Went for interviews/talk. Field research, people are helpful, generous and insightful • Talked with Anna, realised we don’t know who that woman is, the client does not either. We only have a lot of assumptions. • Decided to go back to research to clear that out. • Check out

Day 5

Day 6

Mon 6/7

Tues 7/7

• Presentation to the crew of our process • Talk by Mary about business strategy • Shared research from the weekend - forgot to set aside time for sharing our interview findings • Discussed the plan • PBO as first ideation tool to find big directions - good tool, created clear themes and got our first “apples out” • Check out

• Sound, level of energy check in • Team reflection • Planned ideation • Did How might we questions - good to build on our idea of the day before and go a bit deeper • How might Van’s keep its values and apply them to a new punk? • How mights Van’s empower women? • 5 whys - didn’t work so well. Not very insightful. It’s better for wider subjects. We got too stuck in a rabbit whole. • Brain dump: find ways to toast bread - fun and good to warm up and think visually • Go crazy - good because free from physical, financial constraints. We could have pushed it a bit more. Maybe allow longer time span so that everyone has enough time to think • Bad Idea VS Good Idea - it was not as exciting as previous times. We are not weird enough • Started the lists of Tiago’s method • Clustered our ideas into different themes. • Planned our team outing • Decided on continuing ideation tomorrow • Check out

Day 7 Wed 8/7 • Team development - more energised from it. Not afraid to speak up and spark positive conflicts. • Decided planning chaos into our agenda - changed name to Seapunk. • Chose client themes: Space/Golf/ Startup-hacking • Tried mash up with Tiago’s list for a short time but were pressured by time - fun and creative but not enough time. Could use as a warm up. • Client meeting: frank and direct feedback, no space and golf. Really liked the new punk, startup idea. • Told us to have a cleaner presentation next time. Not a post it vomit. :( • It was a positive stress and rupture point in the day that energised us • We decided to stop ideation and change the programme to go into research again around our themes:

Day 7 Cont. • Hackers, women, accelerators, startup, business strategy • Planned the next day • Checked out.

Day 8 Thurs 9/7 • Checked in with different teams on their subjects • Skype with Lindsay • Skype with David • Research until beginning of afternoon • We decided to push ourselves further • Danger of the elitist start up world • MELTDOWN • Ideation on the roof around the start up idea to build it up. • CRISIS • Decided to go the Hilton cafe to calm down and solve the crisis • Skype with Anna, gave us a really good feedback and interesting propositions • We decided to keep on with this idea and “magic happens in execution” • Happy check out

Day 10 Sat 11/7 • Check in • Presentation of new ideas • Picked the co-creation one • Did customer journey -- very useful to nail the details of the mechanism further • We still need to find a sexy twist to it

Day 9 Fri 10/7

• Team dinner / shared dinner (Qing Qing forced Daniel to share his dinner)

• Check in • Started the business model canvas. Stopped • Started the personas. Stopped because of the lecture • Lecture from Laura and Reason Digital • Started looking at different ways to monetize the idea -- are we being too complicated? Does it have to be that much charity? • Back to Startup original

Day 11 Sun 12/7 • Work on filling in the answers for David’s questions.

Day 12

Day 13

Mon 13/7

Tues 14/7

• Clarified the idea with the 10 questions from David -- really helpful to be on the same page • Brainstormed names for the project • David feedbacks --very strong and helpful • Business model canvas --so good to get through it at last. Helpful but hard because of the nature of our project and our none business backgrounds • Presentation outline • Brainstormed the start of the pitch -- really good to be creative around the pitch. Never done that before • Separated the deck --amazing cookies from Daniel and good song energizer from the other team • Worked on our parts of the deck • Gathered for check in and sharing. We are the last ones to pitch. We’ll have to be creative • To be continued tomorrow • Check out : which mythical creature are you?

• Worked on the deck • Looked into the Art Direction less pastel / gradient • Customer journey more precise • Which question should we ask for the 1st challenge? • Tapas dinner • Back to work

Day 14 Wed15/7 • Worked on the pitch • Worked on the presentation • Rehearsed

Day 15 Thurs16/7 • Rehearsed • Pitch • Feedback



g n i d e e F Brainsarch e s e r f o t r a th e

We dropped in the world of Vans. Exciting brief. How women are perceived in this world, we ask ourselves as a starting point. In a pool full of unknowns, we dive in to discover more. ..

The pool of unknowns Dive in But before dive in, we brainstormed in which waters we would like to swim. Seapunk style, we pull out our colourful post-its and wrote which topics to explore… The ones that stand out were: Vans heritage, punk culture and other subcultures, influencers, talented and successful womens ( creators and entrepreneurs ), newish interactive and emerging tech things, millennials lifestyle, retail experiences and benchmarking. These were all good topics for desk research that we divided between each other, but we felt we needed a more insightful and real approach to start, therefore we went outside and took a field trip to talk with people and visited some stores like Blacksheep, Van’s, JD’s, Schuh. We also had a well-deserved team building ice cream. Refreshing.

Reflecting on the go As a reflection, we can conclude that it was really good to go early, take actions and immerse ourselves, talking to real people. Was also fruitful to had watched the Dogtown and Z-boys film (Peratta, 2002) to go to the roots of the brand and understand why Vans as such a relevant role in the skate culture.

Research the Culture Dive in The next day, we got together to share our research, findings and initial insights. We dug deep into the skate punk culture, so connected with Vans culture, and quickly understood that disruption was a core value. Once applied in a more destructive way, from the punk culture of the 90s. But applied in a more constructive way nowadays by the new millennials. Makers, thinkers and doers are the new punks. Vans audience are irreverent. They do not necessarily accept rules imposed by society. They are proud to be away from the mainstream culture. They are a proud subculture. So, by researching other sub-cultures we discovered Sea Punk which inspired us as a name and has a style. We also used Pinterest to collect our visual research. Pin it. Pin it. Pin it. Pin it. Pin it. Pin it.

Reflecting Keep researching From the feedback we found that all the research was very fruitful, but we were still in the very beginning… Daniel had too many topics to explore, so he felt a bit lost. Edwina would have liked more time to look at creative expressives Tiago wanted to look at more influencers, edgy ones. Qing Qing really liked to explore Vans heritage, she even bought a pair of classic Vans. Gaëlle didn’t liked to discover all the consumerism about other brands after her benchmarking.

Interviews Ice-breaking questions Seapunk to organised some questions in a form of a interview to dive deep in the souls of the Vans audience. We went on field research at these locations: Afflecks mall Arndale shopping center Projekts MCR skatepark Cathedral Gardens We asked some ice-breaking questions such as: 1. Why do you like Vans? 2. What do you do in your spare time? 3. In your next life, would you choose to be a man or woman and why? And a few other ones to keep the conversation going.Luckily people were approachable, nice and very insightful.

Reflecting Who’s that girls Vans? Through talking and sharing our research with Anna, we realized we don’t know who that woman Vans is, the client didn’t either. We only have a lot of assumptions, therefore we decided to go back to research to clear that out.


s w e i v


d n u o s e h t or

Fighting the sound

Days 5-13 Activities • The Five Whys • Problems, Barriers, Opportunities • How Might We • Brain Dump • Go Crazy • Bad Idea vs. Good Idea • TCL: Tiago Cluster Lists • Business Model Canvas • Persona • Outline • Customer Journey

Key Learnings We learned maybe it really wasn’t possible to bypass conflict. We were stuck with the idea, and problems with the idea transpired to differences in the team. We learned the importance of finishing, some of the ideation were abandoned half way because the idea didn’t sit right, but the power with an idea is in “filling in the blanks.” That is the power of a customer journey.

A team with five overachieving-leaning people meant that, we sought to suck the marrow out of life. In design terms, or the evolution to finding that “idea” through the elusive ideation process, it meant hauling out every design method or tool we had between us and try and fail with them. One of the methods that affected us the most was the “Five Whys” (Ohno, 1988) before doing field research. Gaëlle led us through this ritual of going deep by deconstructing the brief. Together we asked “what is authenticity” and “who is the new female consumer” to untangle a murky question. The insights helped inform our interview questions, and introduced a layer of depth into the problem we’re solving. This is an important learning. The design process sometimes feels like a science, and as long as we “trust the process” we’ll reach a smart solution. But we should remember too that design is emotional, and meanings must be unpacked and understood. Why gets to a deeper level. We went strong on ideation from there, trying every method until we settled on three areas: startup, golf, and space. Momentum was building when we decided on the startup direction, but crashed head first when skepticism entered: Is it too elitist? How can we monetize it? Crises mode went on for what felt like days. We wafted between long pauses, face planting, a walk in the city, a visit to Cloud 23 cafe to rinse our minds. One moment we convince ourselves the next we were back in failure land. It wasn’t until putting extra hours on a Saturday did we reach the depth of co-creation in our idea.

Brain Dump

“hauling out every design method or tool we had between us” PBOs

5 Whys

Brain Dump


5 Whys PBOs Brain Dump Go Crazy but crashed head first

back i

in failure land.

m u b l a e h t vanscollective The big idea

Taking a closer look at the brief, we came to the conclusion that Vans probably already know how to sell shoes. And also how to sell them to women. What they need however is a long-term strategy to recover the dialogue they used to hold so closely with their customers at the beginning of the their history. On the other hand, we realized that girls generally lack confidence when it comes to be creators. They need a safe space to try and fail, fall and get up. The idea is vanscollective, a girls only co-creation platform to enable the dialogue between Vans and their female customers in order to create innovative solutions. Girls, whether they are doer, maker or thinker, co-create with Vans’ staff members around a big societal question that relates to both parties during a weekend. Something that the girls feel they can contribute to, and that Vans can benefit from knowing. The goal being to reach the most innovative solution by Sunday night.

The missing slide A feedback we got from the client was that our presentation was missing an explanatory slide that would show the whole ecosystem for more clarity. We took the advice and here is the missing slide.

e g a n a The m s s e n i s on bu Building a business model Let’s talk about money

To build our business model, we used the canvas from the book Business Model Generation (Osterwelder, 2008). Throughout the process we used an example of Nespresso’s business model canvas as a reference to help us build our own. We looked into the superfan or extreme user (IDEO, 2015) and who she was. We determined our target was a female between 16 and 25 years old. She is a creative expressionist. We chose this specific group because they are at the heart of Vans’ target and because of the need they have of a platform to create and be supported. We used a tool of IDEO to help us explore all the possibilities of this group, because their needs and attitude are amplified, the extreme users are a great tool to help pull out meaningful behaviours. In the Vans’ case, our extreme user in an

urban grunge girl. She is a great skateboarder, and also a maker, she looks for every means of expressing herself. We then turned to the center of what our business model would be, where the value lies and where it needs to be created: the customer relationship. What we want to offer Vans is to re-establish the dialogue between them and their female customer. From there it was easy to develop the channels we would use for this conversation. As we were doubtful concerning the revenue stream from such a project and didn’t know how Vans could monetize the ideas created during the event, we looked closer at similar projects that other brands had initiated: Virgin Atlantic (100%Open, 2015), Lego (Wood, 2015), Starbucks (Fawkes, 20120, etc. They had all observed a high return on investment through diverse methods like licensing, taking equity or purchasing ideas. An important source of indirect revenue seemed to be around earned media and content creation because of the buzz the website and event would drive.

k l a t ers KPI How do we measure success? Number of visitors on the website number of votes number of comments shares on social media numbers submitted and selected ideas

Key Learnings

On value creation

Using the Nespresso example was very helpful as a reference to be sure we were in the right direction for each section. Our use of the extreme user could have been more in depth, we should have used it earlier in the process. It was however helpful for us to empathize. After our presentation, the client noted that we should have been bolder and not consider money revenue but instead only keep the indirect impacts e.g. the increase of brand awareness, social value (Kiser C, D Leipzig, 2014) and the importance of the conversation with the Vans’ girl. It was however a great exercise for us to push our limits and venture into new territories of money and business.

h s a m s s Let guitars. or

e p y t o t o r p e h t Day 15 Activities • Flyer • Business Model Canvas • Website, social media

Key Learnings It’s always good to get feedback on the idea. If anything, it helps clarify how we might frame the solution more clearly. Making the flyer, website and social media prototype really forced us.

Our graphical prototypes included website interface, social media, and a flyer announcing the first vanscollective challenge. This series really forced us to think through the idea, as each element made it more concrete. The business model canvas also helped us identify needs, resources, partners and more, which made the idea not only a standalone, but something situated in the universe. All wonderful exercises. One thing we could have really benefited from was taking the idea into the universe and getting feedback. Part of that process would have been just pitching the idea to others until they understand it. This would have helped us better craft a succinct and provocative story. The other would be to see how girls react to “pitching themselves” as opposed to an idea, which is a strong element in our idea. The lack of time should not have stood in the way, as field research and feedback is one of the most powerful tools of ideation.

e m i T w o h OS ng u o Y l l i t S e r A e W Wh ile

Day 16 Activities • The Pitch • Feedback

Key Learnings Be more precise with the idea and exactly what it looks like. Practice makes perfect. We could have done a few more rounds and empowered each other more with feedback. Be more specific with the methods and tools we learn at Hyper Island. Other people will not be as familiar with co-creation, ideation etc.

The team met early to prepare for the presentation. We went through it three times, each time better than last, but we could have benefited from more. Arriving at the Creative School, we were presenting fifth, and brought the room to a new energy level with a dynamic intro and idea. The delivery of the pitch was near perfect as all team members were on point. The immediate client feedback included powerful delivery, beautiful visuals, great idea, but needed more clarity on the specifics of the delivery. The client wanted to be able to imagine it exactly. Also we need to be aware of things we’re taking for granted that we’re learning at Hyper Island and tools such as co-creation and other ideation methods. We would have greatly benefited from describing these methods in clear detail. Daniel commented this was the best feedback he had ever gotten, and that feeling is incredibly empowering. In reflection, Qing Qing talked about how she wanted to learn to better empower others, whether it’s collaborating better with the designers, or helping others to pitch better by breaking down the elements of a powerful story.

e g a t s f Of The conclusion Part of being at Hyper Island is the macro-understanding of the world we gain with each project. Yes, every project includes the Double Diamond - diverging and converging (Hunter, 2015) until we land on an golden nugget of an idea. Yes, we learn more about each other and ourselves through Johari’s Window (Luft, J. & Ingham, H., 1955). On this project, our perception of the world and where we fit in it became a central question. The Business Strategy module is right in the middle of our Hyper Island experience, as such, we’ve dubbed this crux our “Mid-Hyper Crisis.” With this moment, we reflect on where we want to go next. What does the design world need? The Business Strategy module is a ruthless wake up call in some sense. We were barraged with the question of “how should we monetize?” This question guided our idea, but also our sense of self. We alternated from embracing the power of business and

strategy, to momentary skepticism and cynicism of the ethics implied. We had trouble with how we might empower women and really have a viable business model. In the end, eight teams came up with ideas that dealt with co-creation, crowdsourcing, and a deep focus on women. We did not come up with campaigns. We did not come up with products. We came up with eco-systems that will support real women as they gain a bigger voice in the world. We’re coming away from this project with a better knowledge of the imbalances that exist within our society, and how we might make a difference even in a “business pitch.” This moment will be with us when we step out into the world, as we become the maker, doer and thinker, we will be reminded of how we should use our skills - for that of a better world that we ourselves believe in.

s e o h S g in ll e S n o s t h g u My Tho WOMEN ARE COMPLEX reads the last page. At the end of this brief, I think we can all agree that women are complex. Like many problems in society today, they deserve a complex solution. Maybe it’s important to realize it’s not a problem in the first place, the answer was never pastel, it is about empowerment through being real, and money, fame, and most importantly, glory, will follow. You feel like mini-Don Draper, throwing in your childhood for Kodak, not sure how many emotional marbles you have left to sell shoes. Drake’s “Over My Dead Body” plays for the 156th time. His mass appeal is pretty devastating. He’s cooler than an Apple keynote. We’re all walking keynotes now, walking in these smog cities, dying in these smog cities. I used to listen to white people music when I’m feeling complex. Now I can only listen to black music. I wonder if this is a consequence of seeing race. If only America could see it more, we’d all be listening to Kendrick out of affirmative action for our iTunes playlist. No, I have not tried Apple music. Don’t you know it’s not cool anymore? If you haven’t trade in your 6 for Xiaomi you’re insane. Think about it. Think about your Kodak childhood and what actually mattered. The days when you didn’t see shoes, or race for that matter. When it was just you and your Nana, dirt and grass, bubbles and handkerchief. Except you never called your grandma Nana and this is all a commercial about soap.

Qing Qing

a r g o i l Bib 100% Open (2015). [Online] Available at: [Accessed: 22 July 2015] Detrick, B. (2012). Little Mermaid Goes Punk: Seapunk, a Web Joke With Music, Has Its Moment. The New York Times. [Online] Available from: Seapunk-a-Web-Joke-With-Music-Has-Its-Moment.html?_r=0 [Accessed 22 July 2015] IDEO (2015). Design Kit: The Field Guide to Human-Centered Design [Online] Available from: [Accessed 22 July 2015] Fawkes, P. 2012. Which Crowdsourced Ideas Did Starbucks Bring To Market? PSFK. [Online] Available from: http://www.psfk. com/2012/01/starbucks-crowdsourced-products.html [Accessed 22 July 2015] Luft, J.; Ingham, H. (1955). The Johari window, a graphic model of interpersonal awareness. Los Angeles: University of California. Hunter, M. 2015. The Design Process: What is the Double Diamond? Design Council. [Online] Available from: http://www.

aphy Kiser, C & Leipzig, D. (2014). Creating Social Value. Sheffield: Green Leap Publishing Ohno, T. (1988). Toyota production system: beyond large-scale production. Portland: Productivity Osterwalder, A. and Pigneur, Y. (2013) Business Model Generation: A Handbook for Visionaries, Game Changers, and Challengers. United States: Wiley Peralta, S. (2002), [Online] Dogtown and Z-Boys, IMDB. Available at: http:// [Accessed 22 July 2015] Stephens, A. (2014) The Abyss: #seapunk #splishsplash #oceangang. Cluster Mag. [Online] Available from: the-abyss-seapunk-splishsplash-oceangang/ [Accessed 22 July 2015] Tuckman, B.W. (1965), Developmental sequence in small groups. Psychological Bulletin, 63(6), pp. 384–399 Wood, B. (2015) How Lego Became The Apple Of Toys. Available at:http:// [Accessed: 22 July 2015]

Follow the Plan

Profile for Gaëlle

Seapunk Zine  

This fanzine tells the journey of our team at Hyper Island for a brief given by Vans.

Seapunk Zine  

This fanzine tells the journey of our team at Hyper Island for a brief given by Vans.

Profile for gaellelgd