Where Is the Edge of Culture and How to Not Fall Off?

This week, Claire Hyland, head of The Youth Lab at THINKHOUSE, spoke with LBB’s Zoe Antonov about the time she did a ‘dumpster dive’ in Brooklyn, and how THINKHOUSE deep dives into youth culture to drive change...

Claire Hyland, head of The Youth Lab at youth marketing company THINKHOUSE has had one persistent problem ever since she was in school. As the chemistry teacher told her mother, “Claire’s biggest issue is that she wants to know everything!”

It was this innate curiosity rooted in understanding people and what drives them to be as they are that ultimately pushed Claire to pursue a career in creativity. Growing up in the west of Ireland, Claire was far from the bulk of the ‘industry’s’ ad houses and creative agencies, but in her words, her father “worked hard to open up Ireland to foreign investment.” So, her curiosities began leaning towards business, but, specifically, “the human dynamics of business.”

So, Claire pursued a degree in business and German, majoring in marketing, and started her first job for the Irish pavilion at Expo 2000 in Hanover, Germany. On the first weekend of her job, she met a designer who owned a graphic design agency in London, and “the rest is history.” “I was hooked on the bigger world of creativity that existed outside of the typical corporate culture,” she says.

Today as head of The Youth Lab and somebody who has historically always wanted to be closest to where “change happens”, Claire oversees a team of strategists who investigate, decode and translate youth culture (18-35 year olds), to inspire business and category leaders and their teams to make responsible decisions that benefit the next generation.

The Youth Lab’s work includes attitudinal and behavioural insight and strategy work that underpin business and brand propositions; the establishment of immersive educational programming; and the development of future-consumer communications strategies, designed to help businesses be relevant, innovative and lead the change in a time of climate and biodiversity crisis.