Norwegian innovator Johan Brand is on a mission to make learning fun. He’s the CEO and co-founder of Kahoot!, a new game-based learning platform used by millions in classrooms worldwide. It encourages scholastic engagement via customizable content and a user-friendly interface that incorporates smartphones. Brand believes that games are based on our first language—play—the crucial element to how we learn about the world around us. In 2015, he was awarded Founder of the Year at the Norwegian Nordic Startup Awards and was named one of the 100 most influential leaders in EdTech. Check out his interview in the November 2016 issue of Viking and see more of the conversation below.
Q: Did you struggle with any subject in school?
A: I loved science because I could see the connections to my life early on. The science classes throughout my education felt playful because they were hands-on. If we covered some deep, difficult theories, we could always relate it to real life. With Kahoot!, we’ve tried to bring that relatable aspect back to the classroom.
Q: How does your experience so far with Kahoot! compare to your previous work with companies like Mercedes and HP?
A: It’s similar in that we are working in small teams of experts devising digital solutions that aim to engage people in furthering their skills—to learn and have fun, to be self-motivated and progress towards a goal. However, it’s quite a big difference between being hired in to solve a defined problem within a large multinational organization versus setting up your own business with no resources and a huge dream.
Q: What advancements or expansions do you predict for Kahoot! in the future?
A: We will stick to our core mission of making learning awesome. We wanted to create a company with a brand, technology, and user base that we could invest our time and resources into so that our dream could come true. We are one of the fastest-growing learning brands and can be credited with making game-based learning mainstream in K-12 education. The job now is to keep investing into the product so that we enable students to become true creators of their own educational content. We call this “learner-to-learner,” and it’s our foundational pedagogy.