We’ve had an internship programme at Clearleft for a few years now, and it has served us in good stead. Without it, we never would have had the pleasure of working with Emil, Jon, Anna, Shannon, and other lovely, lovely people. Crucially, it has always been a paid position: I can’t help but feel a certain level of disgust for companies that treat interns as a source of free manual labour.
So this year we decided to try a different approach by scouring the end of year degree shows for hot new talent. We found them not in the interaction courses as we’d expected, but from the worlds of Product Design, Digital Design and Robotics. We assembled a team of three interns , with a range of complementary skills, gave them a space on the mezzanine floor of our new building, and set them a high level brief to create a product that turned an active digital behaviour into a passive one.
The three interns were Killian, Zassa, and Victor—thoroughly lovely chaps all. It was fun having them in the office—and at Hackfarm—especially as they were often dealing with technologies beyond our usual ken: hardware hacking, and the like. They gave us weekly updates, and we gave them feedback and criticism; a sort of weekly swoop’n’poop on all the work they had been doing.
It was fascinating to watch the design process unfold, without directly being a part of it. At the end of their internship, they unveiled Chüne. They describe it as:
…a playful social music service that intelligently curates playlists depending on who is around, and how much fun they’re having.
They specced it out, built a prototype, and walked us through the interactions involved. It’s a really nice piece of work.
You can read more about it around the web:
- An Ingeniously Designed Speaker That Creates Crowdsourced Playlists on Wired.
- Social Radio : Let’s Talk about Chüne with Victor Johansson on The Globe’s Finest Treasures.
Victor has written about the experience from his perspective, concluding:
Clearleft is by far the nicest company and working environment I have come across. All I can say is, if you are thinking about applying for next years internship programme, then DO IT, and if you aren’t thinking about it, well maybe you should start thinking!
Aw, isn’t that nice?