Designing play is not ALL play

Design School Kolding’s LAB for Play and Design is ready to develop competences

The work will take place inside the Capital of Children’s new laboratory in Billund.

In the future, companies who focus on developing and producing for children will be able to get inspiration from the very children who make up their target group. Together with experts in development process design from Design School Kolding, the children will play a main role in the Play User Lab, which is a new laboratory for companies in Billund’s Capital of Children.

- When we in the Capital of Children say that we want to create optimum conditions for learning through play, it has to do with much more than school. It is about inspiring and developing the producers of play, learning and creativity. With the Play User Lab these companies are now able to access knowledge about play as a driver, knowledge exchange, counselling and research. At the same time we are setting up a physical laboratory in Billund where companies can experiment and develop, do interviews, and co-create and co-test with children, says Mette Højborg, CEO of the Capital of Children.

A special innovation platform
She calls the Play User Lab an innovation platform that does not exist anywhere else in Denmark because it combines the collective knowledge about children, design, play and learning that has been generated in and around Billund – including 80 years as the LEGO Group headquaters – and through Design School Kolding’s strategic focus on play and design.

Design School Kolding’s department for Play and Design will be facilitating the development processes and competence development within the companies that decide to participate in a Play User Lab programme.

- Designing play is not ALL play. You need knowledge, user insights and the right methods to create positive play experiences for the children of tomorrow. This is exactly what Design School Kolding is good at, and the Play User Lab allows us to share our competences with companies who are interested in design-driven innovation, says Karen Feder who runs Design School Kolding’s Lab for Play and Design.

- User-centred design methods will help to include the children in the development process, which will enable the companies to produce better products and services, she ends.

Growth and jobs
The Play User Lab is set up as a project to promote trade under D21 - Design to innovate and is funded by the EU Regional Fund, among others, with the purpose of creating growth and jobs. For a period of four years, the project will offer six-month development programmes for small and medium-sized companies. The first group of three companies have already started. They are: alutoys ApS, Løgumkloster, Højer Møbler A/S, Vodskov and Ledon A/S, Gram.