#rp15 Speaker: Johanna Frelin


Johanna Frelin; photo credit: Hyper Island

Johanna Frelin, Swedish CEO of the Year 2013 and with Hyper Island since 2011, will be speaking at re:publica for the first time this year. Her digital innovation school in Stockholm is hailed as a “Digital Harvard”: Founded in Karlskrona in 1996, Hyper Island today has offices in New York, Sao Paulo, Singapore and Manchester, where it educates the digital workforce of tomorrow. The various programmes of the school include Digital Media Management, Motion Creative and Digital Data Strategist. The latest addition to the curriculum is a Masters Degree in Digital, a course composed of business strategies, design thinking, strategic leadership, digital technologies, start-­‐up and group dynamics. The degree is intended for companies and executives aiming to keep up with digital innovation.

All of the courses have the rule that there are no exams, and that no books are used for teaching. Everything is organized according to “learning by doing” principles. The students work in project groups, without a strict curriculum, and instead of professors and academics, industry experts are invited. Johanna Frelin worked with the Swedish National Television for many years and believes that you can only find creative solutions, and learn for the future, with practical, project-­‐based work. The students choose the subject they would like to specialize in, and are personally responsible for what they learn. Hyper Island prefers to encourage the curious mind, instead of accepting only a single source of knowledge. In a world that is constantly changing and accelerating, it is ever more important to keep learn, says Frelin – this is the only way we can stay innovative.

Digitalization is at the core of her enterprise, and for that reason, she believes that “we are always searching for a balance between intellectual challenges and groundedness. The ‘techier’ we become on the one side, the more we should work with our hands and bodies on the other.” Frelin gets her daily dose of inspiration from her horses.

And Johanna Frelin’s take on this year’s re:publica motto, Finding Europe? She is convinced that digital technologies are still expanding the discursive space within Europe, and national borders are becoming even less important. This in turn is connected to the issue of Internet legislation, “the greatest challenge yet awaiting us”. We are looking forward to May, to hearing what the Swede has to say about Self-­‐Leadership, amongst other things.