In a chaotic time where we are constantly reminded of radical political change and global crisis, as designers we ask ourselves what our role is to make the world a better place. However, often design takes itself too seriously, forgetting that sometimes it’s the little things that can make the biggest difference. How can we see the world through a more playful lens? In this workshop we ask this question to take a step back and look at how design doesn’t always have to solve a problem but can be used simply as a means to create a little more joy and delight in the world through silly and playful interventions. But don’t be fooled; while it may sound superficial, playful interactions can be a powerful means to engage and provoke thought, and knowing how to apply it is a valuable asset to any designer. Through this workshop, each participant should be able to see their world through a more playful perspective, granting them a new way of approaching situations that provokes imagination and delight.

Main visual for this workshop

Sub visual for this workshop

Exercise 1: IT'S ALIVE!
Using googly eye stickers, each participant must find as many ‘hidden characters’ in the room as they can, and make a business card (name and occupation) for each character.  The objective is to start seeing the world from a more playful perspective.

Exercise1: IT'S ALIVE! tool kit contents


Exercise 2: IMERGENATE!
In this exercise participants are given an object lens. Their task is to find something in their surroundings which visually fit the object, generating new project idea by combining those different contexts.

Exercise2: IMERGENATE! toolkit contents

at Keio University in Tokyo

Exercise 3.1 : GAME&MAKE!
In this section, each group receives a designated location close by in which they must observe the interactions that occur around them. To help them in this task, each group also receives a ‘PLAYFOOL lens’, which makes it easier to focus, observe and record their surroundings.

Exercise3: GAME&MAKE! toolkit contents

at Keio University in Tokyo

Observation through PLAYFOOL lenses

Exercise 3.2 : GAME&MAKE!
Having identified a number of interactions, each group then receives ‘Game Cards’ — a set of prompting cards each containing a familiar game mechanic such as Football, Hopscotch or even Super Mario. The aim is to then combine one of the observed interactions with one of the game cards to formulate an intervention that transforms the interaction into a more joyful experience. The rest of the workshop is then dedicated to experimentation and iteration, allowing participants to find what works and what doesn’t until they reach a successful result.

Exercise3: GAME&MAKE! toolkit contents

with a student at Royal College of Art

Playfool workshop at FabCafe Tokyo

Overview of whole playfool exercises

One of the outcome from Playfool method

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