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Hipsters, Hackers, Hustlers, Humanists in the Classroom

Whilst it teaches us some fantastic things, group work can be tedious at the best of time. From clashing personalities to idea disputes, it can be hard to find a way to build dynamic teams in the classroom. You can check out the free team building resource on Our Resources page.

The idea of 'Hipsters, Hackers and Hustlers' has been used in the startup space for quite a while now and is often used for businesses looking to build their team. In essence, this theory states that every team should comprise of three key types of people and highlights the strength of each. We first learnt about this theory at a startup event, we've started using it in our workshops and we've seen it's a great way to get students identifying their strengths and delegating tasks.

The three core personalities you need in a business are the hipsters, hackers and hustlers.


Our hipsters bring the creative energy to the team and every team needs one. They are great at coming up with ideas, focusing on the design and bringing a bit of imagination to get the rest of the group thinking differently. Our hipsters are crucial in order to get the rest of the group thinking outside of the box and they are also essential to ensure the end product looks pretty and works well.

In a business, the hipsters typically handle the design and marketing work.


Our hackers are rock star problem solvers. These product orientated humans are incredibly meticulous and truly believe the in the detail. Once given an idea, the hackers will bring it to life and often go above and beyond to ensure it has all the bells and whistles!

In a business, the hackers typically handle product development (traditionally coding).


Our hustlers are the leaders of the group. They ensure everyone stays on track and gives a bit more clarity and direction with all the ideas and designs flying around. They set goals and ensure that the group are hitting said goals. They are also great at promoting, sharing and finessing the final product.

In a business, the hustlers are the CEOs and moneymakers.

Introducing Humanists

While not an original role in the team, we have found our humanists are the community-minded members. They are all about the 'human' elements in the project. They ensure the user (the focus of the task or the teacher) will be happy with the solution of the team and checks the usability. They align the ideas and solutions to meet the criteria.

In a business, the humanists would be in customer service or public relations roles.

So, how can this be used in the classroom?

What we love to do is first introduce students to these personas and talk them through each. Once they have an understanding of each persona, we get them to form four groups - one for hipsters, one for hackers, one for hustlers, and one for humanists - with the students identifying which of the four they resonate with the closest.

Once in the groups we give them 5 minutes to discuss and then present to the group on why it is so good to be a hipster/hustler/hacker/humanist. This is a great way to have them identifying their strengths and what they can bring to a team.

After their initial presentations, we then get them discussing and brainstorming why it is so good for them to work with another persona (why it's is so good for hipsters and hackers to work together, etc.) and then give another 30 second presentation. This is another great way to get them identify how to work in a team and also assign roles, jobs and responsibilities. Try the team building resource for yourself!


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