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Johanna Frelin, chief executive of Hyper Island, says creativity, innovation and management should be interlinked – and learning is not just for the young

3 min read

During the past decades, we have seen a rapid evolution brought on by digital, the transformative technology of our times. Digital techniques have disrupted, and created new behaviours, industries and services. For example, the internet has given billions of people a voice via social media and turned the whole media industry upside down. It has become clear that these changes are not a step on a path towards some new norm, but the norm itself.

So what can be done to meet these changes? How can we prepare ourselves and our businesses to cope with this new norm? The answer is that we never can prepare ourselves fully. But we can and should at least do our best to try.

Those who claim to be experts today will have a hard time coping tomorrow as things change at such a rapid pace

One thing that we tell our students is that we need to be in constant learning mode. Those who claim to be experts today will have a hard time coping tomorrow, as things change at such a rapid pace. The same thing goes for industry professionals, company managements and boards. The ability to learn (and unlearn), encourage creativity and new perspectives, and embrace change are some of the most crucial skills professionals – indeed everyone – can possess. This can lead to innovation. Learning has become as crucial for management as it is for young people.

An inspiring example of a client we have worked with recently is one of Sweden’s leading media companies, Aftonbladet. To face the turbulent times of the industry, Aftonbladet initiated an organisational journey to support their vision of moving from a “print company with online presence” to an “online company with a printed paper”.

They turned to Hyper Island to be part of their Online Academy, to facilitate them through their journey and to increase digital competence at all levels within the organisation. Aftonbladet’s top management had realised that to reach their vision and to stay successful in the future, they needed to invest in the organisation and its people today. To become truly innovative, the whole organisation would need to be part of the creative process, have general knowledge of internet logics and be open to change. Innovation can happen anywhere. 

Such a change and preparation for future success can and will only be fully achieved when creativity, innovation and management are tightly interlinked.

Taking the leap from being a print news company to becoming a profitable online news platform is bold and no one can predict the future for Aftonbladet. But with a clear vision and determination to bring everyone on board for the journey of constant change, I’d say they are quite prepared to face whatever the future holds.