We are thrilled to introduce David Erixon, founder of Hyper Island, Doberman, Nowhere and now Head of Digital and Customer Innovation at Ulster Bank as one of our speakers at our Makers of Tomorrow Leadership Hack. We caught up with David to hear a bit more about him, his journey in the digital world and what he will talk about during the event.
Hi David! You are one of our appreciated keynote speakers during our Makers of Tomorrow Leadership Hack – warmest welcome!
Thank you. This is the first time I will speak in Gothenburg, which is odd since it's where I'm from. But I'm really looking forward to it!
So who are you and what do you currently do?
I'm currently running the digital bank for Ulster Bank in the Republic of Ireland. I'm also tasked to drive customer innovation across the bank including championing a culture of innovation and new ways of working such as Agile. On the side I'm also running a streetwear venture called Nowhere, which tries to bring some innovation to fashion retail. I'm also doing an MBA at Trinity Business School while simultaneously lecturing there. It keeps me reasonably busy!
But your digital journey started many years ago by co-founding Hyper Island – how did it all start?
The short version: I was running a number of multimedia projects at the time – this is before the internet became world wide web – and I couldn't find enough qualified people to work with. So me and my partners decided to start a school. It wasn't necessarily a short term fix, but an interesting one.
But as always there were much more to it. Personally I was very interested in digital media and education – both as separate topics – but this was an opportunity to bring the two together. Also, having been very involved in student politics from early years, I saw this as an opportunity to test a lot of things I'd be advocating for. For example, we started the school on a "No Manifesto", which meant No classroom, No teachers, No textbooks, No grades, No tests and No boring. No wonder it became such a hit.
And what happened since?
Hyper Island has grown quite a bit with campuses in Karlskrona, Stockholm, Sao Paulo, Manchester, Singapore and New York. More than 6000 students have been through our various programmes. It's been dubbed the 'Oxbridge' of digital and global companies seek Hyper Island's help to transform both digital skillsets, culture, and ways of working. We were very lucky with our timings, and we also had the courage to break out of the mold and try different things. Never underestimate the power of being brave.
I have since had the fortune to work for a lot of interesting global businesses and live all around the world. But for now I have settled in Dublin. I like the energy here. My sister thinks it's because I'm a fairy. Spiritually that is.
And finally, what will you talk about during our Makers of Tomorrow day?
I will talk about culture and how we are all in the business of the unknown. How we must learn to manage risk differently while jumping on opportunities to accelerate growth and serve customers in new and better ways. It will be a mix of facts, failures and futurism.