Sticky ideas at Hyper Island's Playground event in Vancouver.

Sticky ideas at Hyper Island's Playground event in Vancouver.
Sticky ideas at Hyper Island's Playground event in Vancouver.

How do you get the upper-echelon of B.C.’s creative professionals to seriously consider dropping US$4,000 on a weekend in Vancouver in early December?

You eschew digital marketing wholesale—tempting tweets, minimalist emails and online testimonials from rock star creative directors—for some good old-fashioned face time.
 
It also helps that concepts like “the death of digital” and “experiential, in-person” connection are being discussed as the future of marketing by the very guests you’re trying to sell.
 
And so it went last night in Vancouver’s gentrifying Railtown neighbourhood, where the Sweden- and New York-based Hyper Island Education Institute hosted its Hyper Island Playground series, described as “a collection of experiential gatherings designed to bring creative minds and thought leaders together.”

The invite-only event chummed the waters by inviting 70-plus senior marketers and offered a two-hour sneak peek into what the three-day Master Class involves, which is, based on last night and the breathless testimonials of graduates (as they’re known), a lot of inner analysis and difficult questions about why you do what you do.

“But its’ not all psychoanalysis,” says Jordan Eshpeter, of Vancouver-based web agency Domain7, who helped bring Hyper Island to Vancouver for the first time. “The analysis of your place in the future of the industry is blended with seminars by incredibly smart and visionary people talking about things like the future of our food and human migration patterns in North America.” His own Master Class experience in New York City last year shaped his thinking about the future of technology, he says, and he made friends with whom he meets for lunch whenever he's in New York. Eshpeter partnered with Richard Sandor from Eustress Marketing Coaching to bring Hyper Island to B.C.

The dozens of energetic invitees mingled for an hour in Domain7’s new warehouse space on 37 Dunlevy Ave. over a spread of guacamole, chips, charcuterie and an open bar featuring local wine and a full complement of Surrey’s Red Racer beer. When it was time to get to work, three New York-based organizers coaxed everyone’s focus by asking attendees to write their “stinky fish” (concerns, fears and annoyances) on sticky notes. Everyone was then asked to write down important events from 2012 until 2018, then break into groups and streamline the themes. These were then posted on a timeline (pictured above).
 
The next exercise involved breaking into groups organized by professional industries—marketing, government, wellness, automotive, as well as more curious umbrellas like skin care and beauty. These were just a sample of the categories fully explored in the Master Class, according to New York-based Jaclyn Ciamillo, Global Partnership Director at Hyper Island who served as one of the event’s facilitators.
 
Participants discussed the future of their respective industries and then a representative presented insights to the crowd. Spoiler alert: we’ll get flying cars before a fully functioning United Nations.

The Master Class takes place in Vancouver on Dec. 4-6. Click here for more info and to register.

Were you at the event last night? Or have you been to a Hyper Island event in the past? Is the program worth the money? Comment below.