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Play is our brain’s favorite way of coming up with new ideas. And because play is often social, it helps us develop empathy for the humans we design for.

That is why we have developed a methodology called playful innovation to help teams answer the most challenging questions.

 
 
 

 
 

TEAMS WILL ASK US

 
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How might we design a product that is both impactful AND fun?

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How might we grow our community in authentic ways?

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How might we empower our team to think out of the box?

 

These are all great questions. And they are super easy to tackle using playful innovation; think of it as a mix of human centered design and the science of play. Here are a few principles we use all the time.

 
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EVERYONE IS A PARTICIPANT

When we play, we participate. And the way we play, how we use our body language, how we interact with others, can tell us a lot about who we really are. Within the magic circle of play we are all present, connected, ready to listen and learn from each other.

How we use this principle

We kick off every project with a playful human centered design workshop that brings a team together to contribute insights, identify challenges, imagine solutions and invent prototypes. While of course having wild fun!

 
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PLAY GIVES MEANING

Think back to every game you have ever played; there is always a clear goal, something you have to do to win the game, a reason for you to keep playing; play gives meaning to our actions.

How we use this principle

When we kickstart our design process we always start by defining the “need to act”, the reason for users to embark on a product experience. This helps us to craft incredibly engaging and meaningful interactions that keep your community of users deeply motivated for a long time. 

 
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IDEATION IS DYNAMIC

When we play a game our world is in flux; the experience is defined by elements such as the space we are in, the other players who are there, how we interpret the rules to form a strategy as to what to do next. As a result every round has a different outcome based on how these elements co-exist. This notion of play as a dynamic, iterative experience is what makes games so engaging and unique. 

How we use this principle

Just like play we consider the process of coming up with ideas a dynamic one. We prototype early and often, iterate as we go and constantly play test solutions with the humans who will use them. We find this approach especially helpful when designing for impact and creating interactions people want to use again and again.

 
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THE FUTURE IS A FOLLY

Play might be a word that is rarely mentioned when people discuss world changing innovations. But the truth is that many of humanity's biggest accomplishments can find their route in the pursuit of fun. Take the Book of Ingenious Devices which was published in 850 A.D. by the Iranian brothers Manu Busa and illustrated highly engineered toys- eventually predicaments of automation and code, or the group of MIT students in the 60s' who created Spacewar! a videogame to explore what is possible with their giant DEC PDP-1 computer, a seemingly silly pastime which led to the invention of the personal computer.

How we use this principle

We are deeply influenced by the history of play and innovation. Our work thrives in delight and you will often find us building impossible machines and ridiculous prototypes. We think that the best ideas are often found where people are playing, tinkering, experimenting with concepts- sometimes just for the pure joy if it all.