Can anyone play?

Almost 300 students, companies, designers, researchers and experts gathered at the final day of DesignCamp2018. And the message was clear: We need to become better at playing!

A strategic coffee game that teaches young people about coffee and sustainable production. A payment experience that visualises your goals and dreams. A character universe linked to a popular dairy snack, which gives children a play experience out of the ordinary.

These are just some of the solutions that were presented on Friday 2 February at Design School Kolding. The day marked the end of the annual DesignCamp and the culmination of an intense two-week design process as 100 students from Danish and international universities presented their solutions for how to create playful processes, products and services in companies.

Play with perspective
And there was much excitement about the projects. Concept Director at LEGO Group Søren Lethin is ready to pitch the student project to the LEGO management. A concept that focuses on how to leverage social media to target girls age 10+:

”I am excited. Both about their concept but also about their approach. What I think is so great about these design students is that they are user-driven. They take their point of departure in the current needs and try to analyse these, and instinctively they incorporate insights into their design. The biggest strength of what I witnessed here today is actually that instead of saying, well here comes a company of old men and we need to address this and this target group, they say ok – this is our starting point but then they take a leap and say, we need to go all the way over here. I think that shows power. What separates this from our own processes is that we become aware of new perspectives. Sometimes you become blind to the things that are right in front of you. What’s great about Design School Kolding is their holistic approach. We can’t do anything we just a great idea. If you don’t understand the process that’s behind the idea or understand why it’s relevant, then it’s just your great idea – and I can’t use that."

Students teaching companies to play
The Camp, with the title ’PLAY – The Design Way’, took place from 22 January to 2 February and intended to show how open-ended and playful methods can be a catalyst for the development of strategic design and playful products.

To that end we gathered 100 MA students from Design School Kolding, The University of Southern Denmark, Aalborg University and a handful of international universities. 36 nationalities were represented at the Camp! For two weeks they worked on specific challenges presented by a number of companies and public authorities: Arla, Danske Bank, EYEBAB, Fredericia Kommune, Givskud Zoo, Ledon, LEGO Education, LEGO House, LEGO System, Nicolai for børn, Peter Larsen Kaffe, Sprogeriet and Starbucks.

- The purpose has been to inject inventiveness and radical reframing into the solutions to issues surrounding the provision of products and services, explains Lene Nyhus Friis who is Head of the Lab for Design for Play at Design School Kolding.

Anne Louise Grønnebæk Hansen, Lead Designer at Designit and expert on strategic design, adds:

- If we want to do something. If we want to take society forward – and our products and the way we produce things – we need to reconnect with the playful human being and use this in our creative processes.

The students approached the challenges using design methods including research, ideation and prototyping, and they succeeded in creating playful solutions as systems, actions, experiences and identity. Design concepts that are ready to meet the world and make a difference.

DesignCamp2018 is organised by the Laboratory for Play & Design at Design School Kolding in collaboration with the University of Southern Denmark, Aalborg University and the innovation network D2i - Design to innovate.
The DesignCamp2018 is funded by the Region of Southern Denmark and the EU Social Fund.

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