PLAY - the design way

PLAY - the design way

22 January - 2 February 2018

The ability of playfulness to inform many, if not all, design processes and outcomes was the driving principle of DesignCamp2018 at Design School Kolding. It recognised how open-ended and playful methods can drive idea development and strategic design potential. In that way, the purpose was to inject (a much-needed) inventiveness and radical reframing into the solution to issues surrounding the provision of products and services.

The students worked with concrete challenges made available by:

  • Arla
  • Danske Bank, IT
  • Fredericia Kommune
  • Givskud Zoo
  • Ledon A/S
  • LEGO System A/S
  • LEGO House
  • LEGO Education
  • Nicolai for Børn
  • Peter Larsen Kaffe
  • Sprogeriet
  • Starbucks

Strong collaborations
For over a decade, Design School Kolding has focused on the concept of play and specifically on how to integrate play and games in design processes. At this year’s Camp, we joined forces with the strong SDU Product Design, AAU Sustainable Design media and ‘German students’ to initiate a massive, cross-disciplinary and cross-cultural set-up. As well, one of the strongest innovation networks in Denmark, D2i Design to innovate, supported the Camp.

Play is the clue
Play has in past decades been defined as something outside serious or practical processes, however in DesignCamp2018 it was considered the clue. We combined two principles – how to act playfully together with users and stakeholders within a design process in order to activate the innate inventiveness, and how to translate this into solutions that contain a degree of playfulness in the widest sense of the word. The Camp finished with a playful bang through an open conference with international keynote speakers and exhibitions that displayed the playful inspirational solutions by the students. The conference took place on Friday 2 February and was open to everyone.

DesignCamp2018 - løsningerne

Play in all its rich variety is one of the highest achievements of the human species, alongside language, culture and technology. Indeed, without play, none of these other achievements would be possible.

Dr. David Whitebread

Play enables us to explore, practice and try out ways of tackling similar challenges in the real world. Skills like problem-solving, creativity, empathy, communication and teamwork all have their foundations in play.

The LEGO Foundation

The creation of something new is not accomplished by the intellect but by the play instinct.

Carl Jung, Swiss psychoanalyst (1874-1961)

Creativity and innovation are now driving the economy, reshaping entire industries and stimulating inclusive growth.

The 2014 OECD Forum

Creativity will be the 3rd most important work skill by 2020.

World Economic Forum, 2016


We spent some of the breaks with partners and speakers. Hear what they had to say about the importance of play - and what kind of super powers they woul like to have.


DesignCamp2018 was 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 was funded by the Region of Southern Denmark and the EU Social Fund.

The DesignCamp concept

Since 2009, Design School Kolding has hosted the annual two-week International DesignCamp gathering Danish and international students, companies, designers, researchers and others with an interest in design. Through an open conference, real cases and an intense design process, the Camp expounds on a specific theme and produces design concepts related to this theme.


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