We Are All Designers of Play (Rethinking Toy Design)


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A 7-minute presentation given by Laura Seargeant Richardson, Principal Designer, frog design at ToyCon 2009, on the topic: "We Are All Designers of Play." Introduces the core attributes of: Reinvent, Rejuvenate, Reflect for toy companies to consider when designing next generation products.

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We Are All Designers of Play (Rethinking Toy Design)

  1. 1. Re-thinking Roles: We Are All Designers of Play By Laura Seargeant Richardson Toycon's Sandbox Summit May 2009 © 2009 frog design. Confidential & Proprietary. 1
  2. 2. SPEAKER NOTES Slide 8: How did we do it? We made the potential buyers of these products active participants at the beginning of the design This SEVEN-MINUTE presentation was given as part of a process. This is an example of what we call participatory design panel at Toycon 2009 for the Sandbox Summit. Find out – making consumers our co-creators and not just evaluators at more about Sandbox here: http://www.sandboxsummit.org the end. Title Slide: When the market crashed, frog reached out to 50 of Slide 9: Another question: How many of you are concerned our clients. And the word on the street was that the companies about age compression? What if you weren’t? that stopped innovating in the last recession don't exist This is a recent concept from frog called ECOBlocks. It is a anymore. We can increase play value by rethinking the roles of refresh on a classic sorting toy. The goal of this product is to consumers in our process. We all want to "make play" and the instill green thinking in a child's early learning. It is also meant to sooner you can provide the tools to enable mass participation, get a dialogue started between parents and their children - to the more mindshare and market share you'll reap. bring the parents into the game. Slide 4: For those of you who aren't familiar with frog, we just Slide 10: Why is it so important to bring not only parents into the celebrated our 40th year of great design. we are more than an game, but more adults? The theme of rejuvenation isn’t just industrial design firm, offering innovation workshops, research, about refreshing a product for kids, it’s about recasting it for strategy, branding, technology, design and engineering. rejuveniles – people who have tastes that are traditionally associated with someone younger. Slide 5: We are also a global firm, with our most recent office A lot of companies have been slow to recognize and capture this opening in Shanghai. Ni-hao Barbie. market, yet its an antidote to age compression. Slide 6: I have a question for the audience. How many of you… Slide 11: How many of you…Consider your product leaving have children provide your toy reviews? the shelf as its “end of life”? What if it wasn’t? A few years ago, I was compelled to write an article for Beyond the idea of reinvention or rejuvenation is reflection. Next Interactions Magazine called Design from the Inside Out. You Gen toys will better reflect what people want and need and thus, might recall Lord of the Rings when Golem cried, "The Precious, will be more meaningful. First, I think we all know that genders I must have the Precious.” You can see that a lot of time has are becoming irrelevant. We are now in a time of play without been spent on packaging the Precious. But, true reinvention is borders. not about character slapping. Slide 7: When Disney turned to frog as a partner to design its first consumer electronics line, we knew we needed to create products that emotionally resonated with kids, and had features that convinced parents to buy the product. © 2009 frog design. Confidential & Proprietary. 2 2
  3. 3. SPEAKER NOTES Slide 12: Small businesses are cashing in on the Do-It-Yourself crowd and idea of re-use. Consider the toy lab in Cincinati OH – for $14, kids get seven parts to create their new, one-of-a-kind toy. The three-headed Barbies, according to the “designer” who is four, “breathe fire and know karate.” BIG TAKEAWAY: There is a real desire for Hasbro Hacks and Mattel Mashups – will your companies be the ones leading the charge? Slide 13: The ICAN Barbie came out about three years ago - and not from Mattel. Instead, it came from a non-profit, the Intl. Canopy Network that wanted to tweak a pop icon and make it an ambassador for female scientists. This is niche novelty, but with a purpose. Slide 14: Companies are learning how to tap into social networking. [read michael dell quote] Have direct conversations with your consumers. Give your fans the tools to gift you their ideas. Slide 15: There is something at frog we call Freaks, Geeks and Cowboys – that is looking outside your core demographic for new thinking. According to Nintendo, if they had looked to their gaming fanbase for inspiration, they would never have created the Wii. BIG TAKEAWAY: Look at subculture, embrace it and seek to emulate it. And if you can’t do that, partner with big name designers to do one of a kind custom runs. Slide 16: So, what does the Transformer of tomorrow look like? Using the themes of of reinvention, rejuvenation and reflection, here are a few ideas. © 2009 frog design. Confidential & Proprietary. 3 3
  4. 4. o erings Innovation Strategy Global Design Research, Market/Product Strategy, Organizational Governance Media Design & Development Mobile, Software, Web, Environmental, Print, Packaging, Brand Industrial Design & Mechanical Engineering Consumer Electronics, Lifestyle, Media, Healthcare © 2009 frog design. Confidential & Proprietary. 4
  5. 5. WE ARE ONE GLOBAL TEAM 460 PEOPLE / 32 NATIONALITIES / 40 YEARS OF GLOBAL EXPERIENCE Amsterdam, The Netherlands Stuttgart, Germany Seattle, WA San Francisco, CA Milan, Italy New York, NY San Jose, CA Austin, TX Shanghai, China frog design o ces Aricent o ces © 2009 frog design. Confidential & Proprietary. 5
  6. 6. RE-invent © 2009 frog design. Confidential & Proprietary. 6
  7. 7. © 2009 frog design. Confidential & Proprietary. 7
  8. 8. Moving Flames Rhinestones and flashing lights Shapes that reflect Virtual reality, a child’s interests wrap-around screen © 2009 frog design. Confidential & Proprietary. 8
  9. 9. RE-juvenate © 2009 frog design. Confidential & Proprietary. 9
  10. 10. © 2009 frog design. Confidential & Proprietary. 10
  11. 11. RE-flect © 2009 frog design. Confidential & Proprietary. 11
  12. 12. © 2009 frog design. Confidential & Proprietary. 12
  13. 13. © 2009 frog design. Confidential & Proprietary. 13
  14. 14. "These conversations are going to occur whether you like it or not. Well, do you want to be part of that? My argument is you absolutely do. You can improve your reaction time. And you can be a better company by listening and being involved in that conversation.” Michael Dell © 2009 frog design. Confidential & Proprietary. 14
  15. 15. © 2009 frog design. Confidential & Proprietary. 15
  16. 16. Transformers of Tomorrow Take inspiration from Enable entrepreneurs, Online and o ine as one subculture creators, hacks and DIY Smart transformers that sense Designer Vinyl elements – Sponsor Hasbro Hacks and proximity (tamagotchi style) “blank” transformers for color Mattel Mashups customization. Transformer has an online life Build Your Own Transformer without you – plays while you Cater to collectors – provide – create online for custom sleep extremes and purposefully tier experience the product lines Transformers with GPS Create Transformer “kits” tracking. Register your Transformers spread the “go where I can build it myself Transformer, personalize it and green” message – from “trash” it becomes your real world to transformer or add solar Partner with Edison Nation avatar to communicate to panels for extra “power” for new ideas from inventors other Transformer owners. of all ages Transformers as art, limited Transformers partner with Nike edition or are co-created by Like Disney, partner with for the ultimate exercise game subculture “artists” Zazzle for on-demand of movement – the shoe character clothing and transforms the child and the Release blind box toys - toys accessories and get mini-transformer inside is the that are sold with their unprecedented agility conduit between the online contents enshrouded in and o ine world for tracking secrecy activity. Note: young kids are the fastest growing consumers of blind box toys © 2009 frog design. Confidential & Proprietary. 16
  17. 17. Transformers of Tomorrow Think of a “system” of toys Design for Rejuveniles and Play without Borders Transformers with Lego-like interchangeable parts Transformers for girls Transformers that are Bring back old Transformer practically purposeful lines – rejuveniles fall in love (transforms into a child’s table all over again and children or a bed) discover why they were special in the first place. Transformers that are more cohesive – the di erent sizes Transformers desk objects – work together to form a larger Give the transformers a third experience. purpose, such as: media player, calendar, alarm clock, speakers, radio, mouse, usb flash drive Design for a “lifetime” of play – like the Stokke chair, that literally grows with you. © 2009 frog design. Confidential & Proprietary. 17
  18. 18. Transformers for girls, ribbit! © 2009 frog design. Confidential & Proprietary. 18