50 days @ Interbrand
This summer has been a fulfilling one. While most people took this 3-month window to wind down and relax, I took off in a different direction and plunged myself into the marketplace as in intern in Interbrand. I really wanted to use this extra time on my hands to contextualize my first year of university education. Honestly, I have always been slightly skeptical about the relevance of design education (despite being a recipient of one haha). Apart from being equipped with hard skills, how applicable is our curriculum in this fast-changing industry? I needed some answers, and Interbrand was a great place to search out for them.
To me, internships are short-term stints that pay you to learn. We are granted access to live projects and real clients, we get to be part of dynamic teams and work amongst the experienced, and we get paid haha. Of course, we still have to produce and deliver. But I believe that we gain a lot more than we give. Thinking back, I’ve gained so much more in these two months compared to what I’ve learned in school. This caused me to further question the relationship between education and the industry.
What I’ve learned in Interbrand
Price of collaboration
In one of my earlier post, I wrote about the horrors of working with people. But I was determined to change this mindset within my 50 days here. It is really interesting to observe the dynamics of collaboration across departments and hierarchies. One key nature of collaboration I’ve identified is its absence of clear authorship —it’s simply not possible to credit a project or an idea to a single person any longer! As a creative, we have to let go of our own egoistic lust for personal credit and public recognition in order to work effectively in a group. Don’t fall too deeply in love with your own ideas and get obsessed with owning them.
On my first week here, I created a new note on my desktop titled ‘QUESTIONS’. I realized how asking good questions was a practical way to tap into the wealth of knowledge and experience that I have been positioned amongst. In the past, many have advised me on the value of networking, and how “who you know will determine where you end up”. However, this mentality often made me uneasy due to its self-serving nature. I have once been instructed to compliment someone of importance simply to gain favor. How absurd! In this 50 days, I realized that there is absolutely no need for that. Genuine curiosity and hard work can get you to places just as well. These questions have led me to various involvements throughout my time in Interbrand.
The ‘knowledge sharing’ economy has been a buzz word across industries in these recent years. But it was so heartwarming to see it in action! Interbrand frequently hosts ‘academy’ sessions that connects all 21 offices across the world for a knowledge sharing session online through Adobe Connect. During my time here, I learned about building brand experiences, observing trends and branding destinations from various industry experts across continents. In addition, these sessions were interactive and strongly encouraged audience participation. Technology has truly made it so easy to not just connect, but engage individuals on a global scale. If this carries on, I anticipate the culture of knowledge sharing to play a critical role in the future of education.
So going back to my initial question: is my design education relevant in the creative industry? Well, yes.
We need different kinds knowledge to receive a holistic learning experience. Episteme — those you gain through books, Techne — those you get by doing, and Phronesis — those you gain through experiences. My internship with Interbrand falls under the latter, but it is heavily supported by the episteme and techne knowledge that I have gained from school. The industry informs education while education prepares and anticipates for the industry. I don’t think it is solely the job of teachers to make education relevant, but also the responsibility of students to seek its relevance through external experiences. The truth is that some things just can’t be taught, but has to be experienced.
So thank you Interbrand, for this invaluable experience. And as for now, back to school!