8 May 2006

Design as play

Be the first to share

Ulla-Maaria Mutanen
According to modern western thinking, work and play represent two opposing concepts, writes Ulla-Maaria Mutanen in her blog “Hobbyprincess”.

Play is associated with enjoyment, irrationality, spontaneity, experimentation and fun, whereas work is serious, rational, economical, normal and entirely predictable. The juxtaposition of work and play is partly explained by the Protestant work ethic, which holds work to be a virtue and a model of the good life. According to this philosophy, sensible and hard work could not be, and was not allowed to be fun, entertaining or anything that would promote disobedience, enjoyment and smugness, all of which were thought to be ruinous to true Christian belief.

The juxtaposing of work and play may also originate from the view that play is a child’s activity. Especially within the fields of psychology and education, play among children and animals is studied as a phenomenon connected to biological and cultural development.

Removing play from the scope of socially significant work and adult activities has led to its trivialisation. Play has no place in the professional world or the social innovation system.

In the light of current trends, however, it looks like the role of play in work, especially in design and research work, will have to be re-evaluated. One reason for this can be found in the ongoing innovation crisis within established institutions and businesses. Organisations trimmed to maximise their economic performance no longer represent the kind of environment in which the best new ideas and innovations can develop.

Instead, scholars such as Eric von Hippel and Henry Chesbrough have highlighted how the latest applications are being developed in the fringes, among communities of users, hobbyists and amateur developers.

Read full story (to be published as an article in the Finnish Design Yearbook 2006)

Be the first to share
19 June 2015
Nesta report and case studies on people-centred smart cities
For smart cities to reach their full potential, they need to focus on the citizens living in them, not just technology, write researchers Tom Saunders and Peter Baeck of Nesta, the UK innovation charity Traditionally, smart …
13 June 2015
[Book] Designing Connected Products
Designing Connected Products: UX for the Consumer Internet of Things By Claire Rowland, Elizabeth Goodman, Martin Charlier, Ann Light, Alfred Lui O'Reilly Media, May 2015 726 pages [Amazon link] Abstract Networked thermostats, fitness monitors, and door locks show that the Internet …
13 June 2015
Examining the proliferation of magical narratives in technology
There has been a lot of talk about magic lately in critical, cultural and technological spaces; what it does, who it is for, and who are the ones to control or enact it. As a …
9 June 2015
Alice Rawsthorn on the pros and cons of new digital interface design
Alice Rawsthorn asks why the aesthetics of something so pervasive [as digital user interfaces], the design of which is deeply sophisticated in other respects, are often underwhelming. Developing a definitive design aesthetic as Braun once did …
6 June 2015
Europe’s White Working Class Communities: A Report on Six EU Cities
Europe’s White Working Class Communities, a research series published by the Open Society Foundations, documents the experiences of “white” communities in six cities across Europe. Each report focuses on a specific district or neighborhood within a …
2 June 2015
The user experience of binge watching (and other behavioral shifts in the multiscreen home)
Today, consumers are prepared to spend significant amounts of time binge watching because they can determine their own viewing schedules, allowing them to watch what they want, when they want, writes Colin Morrison, Vice President …
1 June 2015
Exploring the ‘next nature’ that people and technology are creating
The Next Nature website sets out to radically shift our notion of nature: Our image of nature as static, balanced and harmonic is naive and up for reconsideration. Where technology and nature are traditionally seen as …
28 May 2015
The driverless car push ignores challenges of people and context
Autonomous or driverless cars are based on a technology push strategy. Beyond statements like “freeing up time”, “reducing accidents” and some simple scenarios on “remote parking” or “vehicle sharing”, there is far too little thought …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

5 May 2015
Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록 in Design 4 Disaster

Design 4 Disaster features an engaging illustrated safety manual for ship passengers, a personal project by Experientia designer Dohun YuLuck Jang 유록. After the Korean ferry accident last year, Yuluck (who is Korean) wanted to find a way to make safety manuals more interesting to read. He spent one year designing an interactive safety guide […]

16 March 2015
Better Health and Wellbeing: Giving the elderly in Singapore sparkling golden years

Invitation: sharing session, Singapore, 30 March 2015   What are the hopes and fears of the elderly in Singapore? How can designers offer solutions that support the elderly in managing their health and wellness? What can healthcare professionals do to help them keep active? What role can technology play in the elderly’s daily lives? Design consultants […]

1 January 2015
Happy Playful New Year
21 December 2014
Experientia’s Twitter feed live

Experientia has now its own Twitter feed. Four months of Putting People First posts and other links have already been uploaded. If you followed Experientia on Twitter through the feed of its CEO, Mark Vanderbeeken, make sure to now also follow the company (but don’t unfollow Mark, who will keep on tweeting away). And while […]

19 December 2014
Putting People First blog redesigned

Experientia’s Putting People First blog has been redesigned. It is now entirely responsive, allows for easier browsing, searching, and filtering, and features larger images on the posts. The entire history of posts remains accessible as before. We are still tweaking things and welcome any feedback.

27 November 2014
Why the world needs anthropologists – an update

Why the world needs anthropologists – Coming out of the ivory tower Location: Padua, Italy, Centro Culturale Altinate/San Gaetano Date and time: Friday, 5 December 2014, 13:00 – 18:00 Padua, Italy, 5 December 2014 – The second edition of the international symposium of applied anthropologists attempts to erase the boundary between ‘pure’ and ‘applied’ anthropology, […]

See all articles