Q&A Interview with Frederik Tollund Juutilainen

Frederik Tollund Juutilainen is 24 years old and is currently studying Philosophy and Computer Science at Roskilde University. Through his participation in the lab ‘Hacking the City’ at Sprout Talent Week 2015, Frederik got a student job at The Alexandra Institute. Read about his experiences at Sprout Talent Week.


Photo: Frederik Tollund Juutilanien at Sprout Talent Week 2015

Q: Which lab did you participate in at Sprout Talent Week 2015 and why?

A: I chose 'Hacking the City' because this lab offered tools and methods that were unknown for me at the time. I didn't know what to expect, where the other lab 'Sensing the City' offered tools such as programming and aesthetic data processing which I was already familiar with. I basically wanted to be out of my comfort zone so I chose 'Hacking the City'.

Q: What did you do at 'Hacking the City'?

A: A lot happened in a week. In the beginning, we worked methodically by collecting data in the public spaces, then we slowly started developing the concept and refining it before we began prototyping it. We used a lot of time on getting to know each other's professional "luggage" and how we could get the most out of the different skills. Our group was really mixed of Service Designers, Interaction Designers, Sociologists, Urban Planners and Architects. Due to the different backgrounds, we of course have our own individual professional language so we sketched a lot to show each other what we really meant, instead of throwing keywords around. We were really good at taking responsibility for different parts of the project and it wasn't necessarily within the professional field we come from or work with. In my group, we made a prototype of Virtual Reality Binoculars that would show a totally different location then the one you are physically located at. The idea was to place the Binoculars on one of the cranes at the BLOX Building.

Q: Which experiences did you get at Sprout Talent Week?

A: I learned a lot about organizing a project, the whole development process and how to stretch my professional skills. You only have five days, so it is important to find a balance in the team so all the members have equal ownership of the project. It is also important to let go of your inner control freak because there is a lot of deadlines.

Q: Do you still keep in touch with the people you met?

A: Yes, I mostly keep in touch with a couple of the people from my group, because prior to Talent Week, we made an installation at Roskilde Festival in cooperation with Sprout. At Talent Week we were all really good at learning everyone's names and connect straight away on social media. This way you create a network of different skills and professions that you can draw upon in future projects.

Q: How did you get your current work at the Alexandra Institute?

A: From the beginning, a lot of the participants at Talent Week had a mindset about networking, getting contacts and maybe get a job. I come from a completely different educational background, so I didn't think about this from the beginning. The lab I participated in was organized by The Alexandra Institute and at the last day of Talent Week I talked with some of the people from the organization. They thought I had a funny approach to the project which was probably due to me being out of the comfort zone. I think it was good I didn't have this "job mindset" and instead I just had fun with the concept and development of the project throughout the process. After Talent Week, I got hired as a student programmer and work a lot with concept development - currently I'm working on the new exhibition at DAC calledUpdate. My autumn went with a lot of meetings and development of the concept for the exhibition. The skills and knowledge you demonstrate at Talent Week is very different than what you can usually write on your CV or resume when you finish school. You are forced to work under pressure in a totally different context than you normally do in a school setting.

Q: Last, do you have any good advices for future Talent Week participants?

A: I think it is important to always asses your profile and professional skills and then cultivate these. Ask yourself what is my niche, where would I like to work and what do I need to do to get there? It is also about finding a perfect balance between the theoretical and practical work - sometimes it's good to leave your theoretical and analytical background at home and just throw yourself into the project. Sprout offers a really good platform to get out of your comfort zone and still be able to feel like you are contributing and owning the project you are working with.

>> Read about Sprout Talent Week 2016

>> Read about The Alexandra Institute

Last updated Tuesday, March 15, 2016