Tien Nee polished her soft skills to stay ahead as a designer

Meet Tien Nee, Owner & Creative Director at ThinkingCouch Interactive and former Hyper Island student. She is passionate about creative and design thinking and has worked with clients from various industries ranging from hospitality, healthcare, public service and tech.

Hi Tien! How did you decide that Hyper Island was right for you?

Tien: “When I learned more about Hyper Island’s unique way of structuring and delivering their course modules, I sensed that I would not only be acquiring knowledge but also “soft skills” like collaboration, facilitating and leading transformation. These skills would just be equally critical for me to gain in order to remain relevant in the workforce. I think I say this with a little bit of hindsight, but it was really a strong gut feel back then, that I know this MA program will help me beyond just acquisition of hard knowledge.”

How would you describe the experience?

Tien: “At the end of (Fintech) module, I was reminded of this proverb “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” A beautiful Chinese version of this proverb that goes like this “授人以鱼,不如授人以渔”. The experience at Hyper Island is kinda summed up in this proverb. Having learned how to go about exploring, understanding and interpreting complex systems and processes in this dynamic environment has given me a sense of empowerment to tackle future challenges.”

As an entrepreneur, how were you able to apply learnings back to your business?

Tien: “Learning at Hyper Island is not just about increasing one’s knowledge capacity but rather, developing an ability to facilitate and apply that knowledge to lead change, create opportunities and solve problems. A recent module on Future Mapping led me into a world of futures, long-term strategy planning, and scenario planning. It was pretty mind-blowing but at the same time, when I began to draw relevance from my module learnings and individual research work into my creative work, it widened my perception and added more depth to my thought and creative thinking process.”

What did you learn about yourself as you went through the program?

Tien: “The learning experience at Hyper Island is never a passive affair, instead, it is all about active participation, exploration, collaboration and hands-on experimentation. During these experiences, I developed stronger self-awareness and understood better how I should and could work on areas of my strengths and weakness.”

Do you have any message for people who are also looking to go back to school but are too hesitant to take the first step?

Tien: “For mid-career individuals like me, to be able to go back to a school environment to learn at such depth is really a privilege. The crew members, trainers, and speakers at Hyper Island are a bunch of amazing people. Their curiosity and positive attitude towards learning; their enthusiasm and energy really rub off on others. No doubt, the process can mean time away from existing priorities, family or social commitments but you’ll be amazed at how enriching the experience will be. Embrace the mindset of learning. You are never too old to learn.”