Learning Lab with Paris College of Art

It’s a pleasure to share this article written by Maurizio Serena about our recent collaboration in Paris…

“PCA – Paris College of Art – is one of the few D-Schools in Paris and so it seemed to make a great deal of sense to hold a workshop in collaboration with Hyper Island.


The innovation wind blowing from Scandinavia via Manchester brought Lauren Currie, who is leading Hyper Island’s Digital Experience Design MA to the PCA’s campus next to Gare du Nord.

As participants started to arrive they were welcomed with a glass of wine, the social lubricant par excellence of Parisian nights! A warm and friendly atmosphere started to develop among the participants. Who would doubt it? Wink wink!


The workshop set off with a welcome note by Linda Jarvin, PCA’s Dean, who reminded all participants, a mix of PCA Design Management students and externals from the worlds of finance, business management and transmedia storytelling, that another event with Hyper Island Sweden was in the pipeline for the month of April. I was delighted to be co-host of the evening, as a strategic designer and design management faculty at PCA I talked about PCA’s courses and the recently introduced MA/MFA in Transdisciplinary New Media. Finally, Lauren introduced Hyper Island and the MA in Digital Experience Design.

After the initial presentations, I kicked the workshop off with a lecture on Experience Design, the rationale for designing experiences, the principles to follow (the time, the brand, the product-service-system and the user journey or the user’s story) and the proposal for a model for further investigation.


And to energize everyone before beginning to work on a concrete project, Hyper Island style, everyone played ‘Extreme Rock,Paper,Scissors’ choosing an opponent within the room. Every person who lost would go on cheering their opponent by shouting their name in the quest to decree the final winner. The final pair of players had the school room turned into a sort of ‘fight club’ full of screaming maniacs! What a boost of adrenaline! Perfect to get down to solving the upcoming creative challenge with lots of enthusiasm and passion.

As the time was ripe, Lauren launched the challenge for the night:

Participants, divided into two groups, would need to discuss their worst experiences as customers and trace its different moment using a customer journey map. The purpose was to highlight all ‘sweet’ and ‘pain’ points that had made that experience so memorable, for good or for bad.


Lots of laughter, animated discussions and creative sketches followed. One group decided to focus on the metro experience in Paris while the other decided to look at the luggage handling system within airports.

In order to make the team focus in on the challenge, they were then asked to highlight the pain points of their experience and come up with innovative solutions to improve the overall level of customer satisfaction.

What amazed all was the level of integration and synergy that the two groups had managed to develop in such short time. In less then 10 minutes, several solutions were presented using Legos to build prototypes and narrate the new user experience through storytelling.

The final ‘touchpoint’ of the workshop experience was for all to gather in a circle to check out. This is a tool Hyper Island use to concludes experiences of all shape and sizes. Everyone involved, before stepping out of the circle and ‘checking out’, said a few words about what they learnt or took away from the workshop. It was a very emotional moment, an apt conclusion to a very special and unforgettable night.

Thanks Lauren and thanks Hyper Island!”