2017 IKEA written and visual communication basics - IKEA co-creation

2017 IKEA written and visual communication basics - IKEA co-creation
© Inter IKEA Systems B.V. 2017
A spark of play everyday

                                                                        © Inter IKEA Systems B.V. 2017

          IKEA written     Version 1

                            May 2017

          and visual
2017 IKEA written and visual communication basics - IKEA co-creation
2   Introduction                                                                                                              Introduction                                         3

                                                                                                                                     "We’re all born with a
                                                                                                                                     playful spirit, and all
                                                                                                                                     people should play.
                                                                                                                                     From the youngest
                                                                                                                                     child to the oldest
                                                                                                                                     grandparent, playing
                                                                                                                                     keeps you free."
                                                                                                                                     Qian C. China

                   We believe that play
                   is critical for a better
                   everyday life at home
                                                                         conducted some of the world’s largest research
                   It makes us more creative. It connects us and         studies on the Role of Play. The IKEA Play Report                “Play should          “We understand
                   helps us unwind from modern-day pressures.            2017, is our third Play report. We’ve spent 8                be at the heart of     the world through
                   It fuels our development. Play makes the world        months connecting, on a regular basis, with                  everything we do!      playing. It’s only
                   bigger for children and grown-ups.                    more than 300 people in Germany, the US and                  If you don’t take      through play that
                                                                         China to explore how, and why, we play.                      life too seriously,    we’re able to
                   A playful approach to life sparks infinite                                                                         great things happen!   experiment, break
                   possibilities. Play is so much more than toys and     For the first time, we’re looking at play from               You stay healthy,      the boundaries
                   games. It’s a state of mind. It is a way of finding   both a child and adult perspective to understand             relaxed and fun.       of what’s normal
                   fun and joy in everything we do, regardless of        what motivates and hinders play, as well as how              People gravitate       and change and
                   where we are or who we’re with.                       people across cultures think we will be playing in           towards you and        evolve ourselves.’’
                                                                         the future.                                                  you have a positive
                   We already know that play is learning for life.                                                                    influence on the       Niklas A. Germany
                   Almost as soon as we are born we begin to play,       Our play research has shown us that part of our              world around you.’’
                   and we continue to play for the rest of our lives.    job in creating a better everyday life must be to
                   Play shapes who we are and makes us stronger,         spark even more playfulness into the home. And               Carol P. US
                   more creative and more active.                        we trust us, we take that responsibility pretty
                   That’s why at IKEA, play is pretty serious
                   business. So serious, in fact, that we have           Let’s get exploring!
2017 IKEA written and visual communication basics - IKEA co-creation
4   Contents                     Contents                     5

                               1. SUMMARY

                        2. INTRODUCING THE STUDY

                             3. WHAT IS PLAY?

                           4. WHY DO WE PLAY?

                       5. HOW DO WE PLAY TOGETHER?


                    7. WHAT ARE PEOPLE’S PLAY “HACKS”?

                         8. HOW IS PLAY EVOLVING?

                             9. CONCLUSIONS

                     10. REFERENCES AND BIBLIOGRAPHY
2017 IKEA written and visual communication basics - IKEA co-creation
6                                   Summary                                                                                                              Summary                                       7

                                                              What is play?
                                                              By asking our online
                                                              community to identify
                                                              when an activity stops
                                                              being playful and using
                                                              the process of Via
                                                              Negativa (explaining
                                                              what something is by
                                                              understanding what it’s
                                                              not) we have concluded
                                                              that play is typically
                                                              lighthearted (not
                                                              serious), active (not
                                                              passive), satisfying
                                                              (not frustrating) and
    The Play Report 2017 is our third                         spontaneous (not
    Play report to date. The scope of                         obligated). This led us
    our research has been broader than                        to a people-generated
    before, exploring the importance of                       definition of play:
    play for adults as well as children.                      ‘Play, or being playful,
    We’ve employed a qualitative                              is engaging in a
    approach – surveying 300+                                 lighthearted activity
    individuals, ages 2-90 across China,                      that is satisfying and
    Germany and the US – to explore                           spontaneous’.
    the emotional aspects of playing in
    different contexts, the key drivers
    and inhibitors of play and emerging
    trends affecting the future of play.

    Why do we play?
    People across cultures have identified 5 key
    motivators that explain why we play. We call
    these Play Needs and while multiple Play
    Needs can be satisfied through one activity,
    each has a clear emotional benefit at its core. How do we play together?                         What are the enablers and barriers
                                                    Some of the most beneficial play is when         to play?
    Play to Repair:                                 children and adults play together. By playing    Enablers to play include particularly playful
    Play helps people to rest, rebalance and        together, children and adults strengthen         spaces, environments and people, often
    ultimately repair physically and mentally.      intergenerational relationships and learn from   including children. People also employ play
                                                    each other. Whilst every culture and family      hacks into their routines, to make chores and
    Play to Connect:                                has their own play rituals and traditions, we    difficult challenges more playful. The biggest
    Play enhances bonds and helps people to get have identified six common forms of adult-           barriers to play are work, stress and day-to-
    closer to friends, family and loved ones.       child interplay play, including:                 day responsibilities.

    Play to Escape:                                Free-style Play:
    Play offers moments of freedom away from       Undirected play. It is free, spontaneous and      How is play evolving?                            Multi-Sensory Play:
    everyday obligations, rules and routines.      unstructured. The child simply follows their      People believe that, although the 5 Play         Play will become even more immersive and
                                                   own play urges, and the adult follows.            Needs identified will remain, how, where and     all-consuming. In the future, people will play
    Play to Explore:                                                                                 when people play will change considerably in     in artificial environments that are designed
    Play serves as a tool to learn and develop     Build-It Play:                                    the next 10 years. We’ve uncovered 7 play        to engage all of their senses.
    outside the usual frame of reference.          Constructive play. Children and adults play       trends that could enlighten the future of play
                                                   together using objects and toys to create         and how we, as a society, can play more          Blurring of Boundaries:
    Play to Express:                               something new, thinking creatively about          together. These include ideas like:              As life becomes faster and time becomes
    Play provides a platform to be creative,       how best to build it.                                                                              even more of a rare commodity, play will
    giving people permission to express a                                                            Return to Retro:                                 creep into all aspects of people’s lives. From
    different version of themselves.               Mirror-Me Play:                                   As technology continues to advance at a          the workplace to the gym, people will look to
                                                   Imitative play. Children mirror adult             rapid pace, people will continue to rebel by     play in traditionally non-playful spaces.
                                                   behaviour in a playful way by helping them        turning to and celebrating nostalgic games
                                                   out with adult tasks and turning these into       from their childhood.
                                                   a game.
2017 IKEA written and visual communication basics - IKEA co-creation
8   Introducing the Study                                                             Introducing the Study                                            9

                                         For this year’s Play report,
                                         we wanted to go broader
                                         than before, exploring
                                         the importance of play for                                                         people
                                         adults as well as children.

                                         In addition to desk research and literature reviews we
                                         used a new mix of qualitative research methodologies.
                                         Over 8 months, we stretched ourselves to meet people
                                         wherever they are in life to gain a deep understanding of
                                         the emotional aspects of playing.

                                         This study was conducted in Germany, the US and China.
                                         A diverse cross-section of people participated, from as
                                         young as 2 and as old as 90. New parents contributed,
                                         along with young and single city workers and retired                              months
                                         grandparents, among many others. We conducted
                                         the research in Germany, the US and China to have
                                         representation from 3 continents.

                                         We conducted 18 Play Visits,          We interviewed 8 professionals         We brought 15 consumers
               By using qualitative      evenly spread over Germany, the       with different perspectives on         together for a one-day

               research methodologies,   US and China. During these visits,
                                         we met people while they did
                                                                               play, dependent on their field of
                                                                               expertise, including a Futurologist,
                                                                                                                      workshop with our product
                                                                                                                      developers, innovation leaders
               we strove to create a     something that they define as play.
                                         For example, they took us to the
                                                                               Child Psychologist, playful Fitness
                                                                               Instructor, Immersive Theatre
                                                                                                                      and managers to explore the
                                                                                                                      key elements of play.
               people-generated Play     gym, to their workplace, we went      Practitioner, Magician, Teacher,

               report, with a clear      bowling and did tai chi.              Sportsman, Tea Ceremony Expert.

               focus on understanding
               the human realities and
               emotions that fuel how    We hosted chats in online communities in:
               and why people play
               every day, across all
               aspects of their lives.

                                                 Germany                                     USA                                  China

                                         We spoke to 293 people in an online community for over 8 months, where people were asked to explore their own
                                         views, behaviours and experiences related to ‘play’ through a combination of tasks, including creative artwork,
                                         video diaries and group brainstorms.
2017 IKEA written and visual communication basics - IKEA co-creation
10   Research Questions                                Research Questions                              11

                                    Our aim in this study was to build upon the insights we
                          gained through our previous Play research, by adding an exploration of the
                                 importance of play for adults to the study of children’s play.

                                        Specific questions we sought to answer were:

                                             WHAT IS PLAY?

                                         WHY DO WE PLAY?

                                           HOW DO WE PLAY?

                                         HOW DO WE PLAY
                                       ACROSS CULTURES?

                                WHAT ARE THE ENABLERS
                                AND BARRIERS TO PLAY?

                                       HOW WILL WE PLAY
                                        IN THE FUTURE?
2017 IKEA written and visual communication basics - IKEA co-creation
12   What Is Play?                                  What is Play?         13

          "So in play we have      Play is a topic studied and explored
          the most serious,        by both academics and companies.
          yet the most trivial     Together with our online community,
          activity through which
          our children learn.      we set out to create a people-
          And we find it hard to   generated definition of play.
          define. It slips away
          from us as we try to
          grasp it."

          ROY LANGMAID,
2017 IKEA written and visual communication basics - IKEA co-creation
14                                                 What is Play?                                  What is Play?                                15

                                                                                                                  Play rarely exists when an
                                                                                                                  activity beomes too:

UNDERSTANDING PLAY                                                                                                PASSIVE

A key challenge to defining play is that – for    If play is rarely serious, then play is
many people – play is dictated by and driven      typically lighthearted.
by freedom of spirit, regardless of the form
it takes. Ultimately, play is multi-faceted. It   Once an activity starts to become more
means different things to different people.       serious it starts to lose its playfulness and
                                                  becomes something else, for example,
Therefore, instead of asking people what          sport. Play, therefore, needs to be fun and
play is, we asked them when it ceases to          conducted with a smile.
exist or is translated into something entirely
different.                                            “The same activity can start as play, but
                                                   quickly turn into something completely
They told us:                                      different! Take 5-aside football, for
Play rarely exists when an     activity            example. A kick-about with friends can be
becomes too serious.                               playful but once we start getting into teams
Play rarely exists when an     activity            and keeping score, it’s a lot more serious.
becomes too passive.                               Play has turned into sport.”
Play rarely exists when an     activity            RIGOBERT T. GERMANY
becomes too frustrating.
Play rarely exists when an     activity
becomes too obligated.                             "The minute we start to evaluate it,
                                                   measure it, train for it, it becomes more
When looking at the implications of each           serious.’
statement, the process of Via Negativa (a way      ROY LANGMAID, PSYCHOLOGIST
of describing something by saying what it’s
not) helps to provide some structure around
play. The boundaries highlight that play can       "Play can become serious at moments,
start and stop within the same activity.           but that’s normally when play translates
                                                   into feedback. For example, think about
Play is dictated by a state of mind, rather        when a child plays and accidentally touches
than a type of activity. This state of mind        something hot, it’s not going to be fun and
stretches across countries and cultures.           they’re going to get instant feedback. They
                                                   may then start to play again."
                                                   JASPER GREEN,
2017 IKEA written and visual communication basics - IKEA co-creation
16                                               What is Play?                                                                                                 What is Play?                    17

                                                                                                                                                            WE CONCLUDED
                                                                                                                                                            The four boundaries help to
                                                                                                                                                            provide some structure around
                                                                                                                                                            play, and help to build a people-
                                                                                                                                                            generated definition of play.

                                                                                                                                                            "Play, or being
                                                                                                                                                            playful, is
                                                                                                                                                            engaging in a
                                                                                                                                                            activity that is
                                                                                                                                                            satisfying and

If play is rarely passive, then                                           If play is rarely frustrating,       If play is rarely obligated,
play is typically active:                                                 then play is typically               then play is typically
                                       "Play is always active. You have   satisfying:                          spontaneous:                          "The rules of play are in the minds
Play only exists when the              to be engaged. Once you are                                                                                   of the players. They might be
participants are engaging in the       engaged you are connecting to      Play is rarely associated with a     Once a playful activity becomes       written down somewhere in a
activity. This could take the shape    your senses and connecting to      feeling of anger or annoyance. In    goal-orientated and/or part of        formal game, but in most games,
of mental engagement (e.g.,            your emotions."                    contrast, at least some level of     meeting an obligation, it ceases      they’re not. They’re made up as
imagination) as well as tangible       YESIM KUNTER,                      satisfaction and enjoyment should    to be playful. In contrast, play      they go along."
and physical engagement through        PLAY FUTUROLOGIST                  be derived during, and potentially   enables a break from routine, rules   ROY LANGMAID,
the body. Ultimately, playing                                             after, a playful activity.           and structure.                        PSYCHOLOGIST
requires some level of physical or
emotional focus.                       "Play is active but that doesn’t       “Come to think of it, when           "Timesheets are a good
                                       mean it has to be behaviourally     you’re playing a game with your      example; people are now to           "Play does have rules but I think
                                       and physically active. You could    kids and you or they start to get    attempting to make timesheets        they’re made in the moment at
    ”I find watching ‘Lord of the      be sitting and playing in your      frustrated for whatever reason,      more fun, to improve completion      that specific time; they have to be
 Rings’ playful! My imagination        head, for example."                 the play immediately stops right     levels. However, while a different   spontaneous."
 goes into overdrive. However,         JASPER GREEN, TEACHER               there and then. You can never be     approach may make timesheets         JASPER GREEN, TEACHER
 when I’m tired and flicking                                               playing while annoyed or angry at    more engaging, I wouldn’t
 through channels, it’s the furthest                                       the same time.”                      consider it playing because there
 thing from play; I’m bored and                                            YING W. CHINA                        is a clear end goal."
 un-engaged, simply filling time.”                                                                              KARLA F. US
2017 IKEA written and visual communication basics - IKEA co-creation
18   Why Do We Play                    Why Do We Play              19

                      Theories abound as to why we play.
                      Some track the roots of human play
                      to the importance of promoting
                      harmony and balance within hunter-
                      gatherer societies; others focus on
                      highlighting the role of play in providing
                      stimulus for both motor and cognitive
                      development, especially for children.
20                             Why Do We Play?                                                                       Why Do We Play?                                          21

      Roy Langmaid, a leading psychologist, argues that Object Relations   "The relationships we have with objects are the source
        Theory offers a clear, rationale for how and why humans play,
       from both a child and adult perspective. In simple terms, Object    of who we are. We all start as children, seeking comfort
      Relations Theory attempts to explain how people interact with the
     world through a mixture of unconscious needs and lived experiences.       and then we start to develop our relational world
      The theory argues that people’s interactions with the world around
           them are driven by a combination of four innate desires.         through play. As we grow towards being an adult, we
                                                                             begin to develop power and creativity as more adult
                                                                            expressions, but that doesn’t mean we stop playing!"

                           PLAY                                                           ROY LANGMAID, PSYCHOLOGIST


                                                                               Desires for play and comfort help                                   "I definitely think play
                                                                               children to make sense of the world                                 is fundamental, when
                                                                                                                                                   you’re young, as a tool
                                                                               as they grow and develop. We seek                                   for making sense of the
            DESIRE FOR RETREAT AND RECOVERY                                    comfort as babies, and as soon                                      world, the nature of the
                                                                               as we’re able, we start to play.                                    physical environment
                                                                                                                                                   and the nature of the
                                                                               Later, as people achieve maturity, the acquisition of power and     people and the laws
                                                                               creativity becomes more important, and we seek to access            that govern it."
                                                                               them. We do so by modelling and associating ourselves with          JASPER GREEN,

                                                                               people, places and things that confer power or creativity.          TEACHER

                                                                               Interestingly, Roy explains that as our search for power and
                                                                               creativity begins in adulthood, people don’t just stop playing
                                                                               and seeking comfort. Instead, people start to use play in a
                        DESIRE FOR STATUS                                      more progressive way. For example, play can actually provide
                                                                               a springboard to help people achieve their desires for power
                                                                               and creativity.

                                                                               This theory is supported by the people we’ve met during
                                                                               our Play Visits and in our online community. People across

                                                                               cultures primarily talk about how play helps them to seek
                                                                               comfort. In these instances, play is used as a tool to repair and
                                                                               to escape from the stresses and pressures of everyday life.

                                                                               However, people also talk about play in the context of
     DESIRE FOR LEGACY OF IDEAS AND CREATIVITY                                 developing themselves or enhancing a moment. In these
                                                                               instances, play is used as a tool to help people in their search
                                                                               for power and creativity – from playing to explore yourself and
                                                                               the world around you, to playing to feel liberated and free to
                                                                               express creativity.
22                 Why Do We Play?              Why Do We Play?   23

                                                PLAY TO

     Play can be mapped in lots of different
                                                PLAY TO
       ways, however the people we met
     during our Play Visits and in our online
     community consistently talked about
       how play answers five key needs.
                                                PLAY TO
       Importantly, these Play Needs are
         rarely isolated motivations and
        often a moment of play or playful
      activity is driven by a combination of      04
        needs being met simultaneously.         PLAY TO
     These needs align with the conclusion
       argued by Object Relations Theory,
      that play helps to answer a series of
      evolving desires as people grow up.         05
                                                PLAY TO
24   Why Do We Play?                   Why Do We Play?                                        25

                                                         WHEN THE DISTRACTIONS
                                                         FROM THE WORLD AROUND
                                                         US INCREASE, OUR NEED OF
                                                         FINDING TIME TO RELAX AND
                                                         UNWIND ALSO ESCALATES.

                                                         While our need to repair
                                                         can be answered through a
                                                         variety of passive activities,
                                                         from resting to meditating,
                                                         play also has a universal role
                                                         in helping us to repair.

                                                         The people we spoke to
                                                         often connected this play
                                                         need with their childhood,
                                                         and played to seek comfort
                                                         and security in anxious,
                                                         difficult or uncertain times.

                                                          “I work hard all week long and feel
                                                          that play is a way to get some of
                                                          my energy back. I feel worn and
                                                          taxed after a week of work, and
                                                          time to play is time to relax and
                                                          unwind and enjoy myself for a
                                                          KARLA F. US

                                                          “Life sometimes is like a spring;
                                                          if you push it or stretch it too
                                                          hard, it will be broken. So it is
                                                          important to play, to relax and
                                                          have some fun once in a while in
                                                          order to recalibrate.”
                                                          WEILIANG L. CHINA

                       Across cultures,                   “You play alone, or together to
                                                          switch off, to let the soul free,

                       many people are                    leave the everyday life behind.’’
                                                          SABINE B. GERMANY

                       working longer and
                       harder, with less and
                       less leisure time.
26                                           Why Do We Play?                                                                                            Why Do We Play?                                                  27

Play to Repair
manifests itself in
two different ways:

                                                                                                             1                                                     2
                                                                                                                 Firstly, people told us that they                        Secondly, we consistently heard
                                                                                                                 often turn to familiar activities                        people adapting their environment
                                                                                                                 when they’re looking to repair and                       to play in a more natural context.
                                                                                                                 recalibrate, for example, by playing
                                                                                                                 the games that they grew up playing                      This was especially important for people living
                                                                                                                 as children.                                             in big cities and over-stimulating concrete
                                                                                                                                                                          jungles. From hiking and gardening to running
                                                                                                                                                                          in the park, if done playfully, people told us
                                                                                                                                                                          that a simple and natural setting helped them
                                                                                                                    “I am very relaxed when I play a puzzle
                                                                                                                                                                          to relax, unwind and repair.
                                                                                                                 on the iPad. I am always looking forward to
                                                                                                                 it and enjoy it. This is a good feeling
                                                                                                                 for me.”                                                    “Playing outside, whether I’m going for
                                                                                                                 LUDUIG L. GERMANY                                         a run or having a picnic in the park, helps
                                                                                                                                                                           bring me back to my more original self
                                                                                                                   “I really like reading or listening to music.           (childlike self). Nature has the power to
                                                                                                                                                                           make people feel more centred.”
                                                                                                                 So when I have free time, I choose a book
CULTURAL NUANCES                                                                                                 and find a quiet place, and I can read the
                                                                                                                                                                           LORENA R. GERMANY
                                                                                                                 book for the whole day. It makes me feel
Interesting cultural nuances emerged:                                                                            very relaxed, and I learn a lot and feel                     “Activities to unwind for me are things
                                                                                                                 recharged mentally.”                                      like walking along the lake, hiking,
                                                                                                                 ZIJUAN L. CHINA                                           gardening, spending time outside with my
                                                                                                                                                                           son, going on a picnic.”
                                                                                                                    “Yoga clothes are cozier, they’re not like             KARLA F. US
                                                                                                                 tight work clothes. When you get into yoga
                                                                                                                 clothes, it’s like climbing out of everyday
In the US, the trend towards        In Germany, there is a trend        In China, play to repair is              routine and into a relaxed world, and it’s                  “I need to be away from my work and
                                                                                                                                                                           reset myself once in a while. Running is one
‘mindfulness’ is fuelling play      towards familiarity through         consistently highlighted as the          still really playful in a way.”
                                                                                                                                                                           of my favourite activities and I forget about
through natural experiences.        ‘Thought Play’, known as            most important play need. Many           SHANNON U. US
                                                                                                                                                                           everything when I run. After running, my
Mindfulness is a term used to       Gedankenspiel. Thought Play         Chinese talk about a challenging                                                                   pressures (both physical and mental)
describe an individual, having a    is used to describe the use of      work-life balance and use play                                                                     are relieved.”
more intentional sense of           imagination to step outside the     through the comfort of familiarity                                                                 SHAN L. CHINA
what’sgoing on inside and outside   strains of the everyday; examples   in order to deal with it.
them and in the US this was often   include immersing in a familiar
done in a playful way               book, film or memory.
28   Why Do We Play?           Why Do We Play?                                    29

     People are increasingly
     living more of their
     lives online and the                        PLAY CREATES SPACE IN
                                                 OUR BUSY LIVES TO SLOW
     ability to deeply                           DOWN AND GET CLOSER
                                                 TO FRIENDS, FAMILY AND

     connect with one                            LOVED ONES. PLAYING WITH
                                                 LOVED ONES ENHANCES

     another is limited by
                                                 BONDS AND CAN MAKE AN
                                                 ACTIVITY MORE ENJOYABLE.

     constant distractions                       “Playing games has always been
                                                 very important for me to connect

     in the modern-                              with other people and to develop
                                                 further. So I met a lot of people.

     day lifestyle.
                                                 I used to play cards with my
                                                 girlfriends sometimes, and that
                                                 was always a lot of fun.”
                                                 PETRA P. GERMANY

                                                 “I like sharing play with my friends
                                                 and family because that makes
                                                 me feel happier when I am with
                                                 KEGIN Z. CHINA

                                                 “I’m a teacher, so I see the
                                                 different ways that my children
                                                 play and I play, but that they all
                                                 involve making a connection with
                                                 LISA W. US
30                                             Why   Dohead
                                                Section We Play?
                                                            here                                                                                                 Why   Dohead
                                                                                                                                                                  Section We Play?
                                                                                                                                                                              here                                                   31

Play to Connect
manifests itself in
two types of play:
Stretching across both progressive and regressive motivations. The

                                                                                                                    1                                                       2
people in our online community told us that connecting through play
                                                                                                                        INTIMATE BONDING                                             STIMULATING PLAY
can be intimate and comforting (regressive). It can also be
                                                                                                                        Play offers people across cultures the                       Play can also be the spark that forms
stimulating and a catalyst for forming new connections (progressive)                                                    opportunity to seek comfort and security                     new connections, naturally encouraging
                                                                                                                                                                                     cooperation within a group of people, both
                                                                                                                        through engaging in a playful activity with
                                                                                                                                                                                     small and large. People told us that socially
                                                                                                                        a small number of individuals they connect
                                                                                                                                                                                     stimulating play typically involves higher
                                                                                                                        with on a deeper level. The playful activity                 energy activities that break down the
                                                                                                                        typically brings familiar individuals (e.g., old             boundaries that often inhibit people from
                                                                                                                        friends, family) closer together. People see                 finding or building new relationships.
                                                                                                                        play as a perfect tool for facilitating real-life
                                                                                                                        relationships and use it as an antidote for
                                                                                                                        living more of their lives online. We heard                       “I can connect with friends, with family,
                                                                                                                                                                                      with mates, with classmates and with sports
                                                                                                                        intimate bonding through play often come to
                                                                                                                                                                                      colleagues. You can use card games, social
                                                                                                                        life through traditional activities like card and             games or sports games. But you can also
                                                                                                                        board games.                                                  play with each other in a band or in a sports
CULTURAL NUANCES                                                                                                                                                                      club or in sports lessons or the youth group.
                                                                                                                                                                                      It is important to have fun and get to know
Interesting cultural nuances emerged:                                                                                       “Playing for me is interaction with human                 each other and to exchange ideas.”
                                                                                                                         beings. Facial expressions and gestures are                  KORNELIA L. GERMANY
                                                                                                                         a part of it. Having a good time together.
                                                                                                                         With a computer I cannot share beautiful
                                                                                                                                                                                         “I like playing games together with my
                                                                                                                         moments. With my card game buddies
                                                                                                                                                                                      friends, and we sometimes play Xbox
                                                                                                                         I can remember those evenings and
                                                                                                                                                                                      together. It is really fun and enjoyable to
                                                                                                                         emotions involved. I don’t have that with                    fight together or fight against each other.
In the US, there is an emphasis      In Germany, there is a trend              In China, people highlight the            a computer.”                                                 We talk or sometimes make fun of each
on creating real connections by      towards connecting through                importance of intimate bonding            JANA P. GERMANY                                              other when we play together.”
unplugging from technology and       traditional activities, especially arts   through play. They tell us that                                                                        XING LONG C. CHINA
the digital world, often talked      and crafts, often labelled as ‘retro'.    frequently playing together as a
about as ‘reducing screen time’.     For example, group pottery and            family is important, and family              “I think I play to connect, because I
Families across the US tell us how   knitting are seen as particularly         activities often include board            consider games with your loved ones or
they worry about not spending        playful activities for the younger        games and picnics. Outside of the         friends to develop a better relationship
enough time together; and parents    generations. Such activities bring        family context, social stimulation        between them. Personally, I have seen as
often see technology as the most     people together and facilitate ‘real’     through play often occurs in the          people who in their personal relationships
significant barrier to intimate      connections.                              form of popular social activities,        go very bad, but at the time of playing
family-time.                                                                   such as karaoke.                          these people can join and set aside their
                                                                                                                         problems and this can even help them to
                                                                                                                         improve their relationships.”
                                                                                                                         LIPING L. CHINA
32   Why Do We Play?                  Why Do We Play?                                    33

                       No matter how happy              THESE MOMENTS OF
                                                        FREEDOM ARE OFTEN

                       and content people
                                                        BEST WHEN THEY’RE
                                                        PLAYFUL, BREAKING
                                                        THE STATUS QUO AND
                       are with their jobs,             INTERRUPTING ROUTINES.

                       daily obligations and            "I mostly use play to get away
                                                        from the stresses of my daily life.

                       family commitments,              My job can be very, very stressful
                                                        and it is often difficult to unwind

                       they consistently
                                                        and relax when I leave. I like
                                                        to go places and do things that
                                                        I wouldn’t typically do and that

                       express a strong need            gives me a chance to escape … I
                                                        use play as a way to have fun and

                       to take moments of
                                                        give myself some much needed
                                                        relaxation time.”
                                                        EVE K. US

                       freedom away from
                       their everyday lives.
34                                            Why Do We Play?                                                                                             Why Do We Play?                                              35

Play to Escape
usually translates
into two different
                                                                                                                1   TRANSFORMATION
                                                                                                                    Transformative Play is a tool people use
                                                                                                                                                                     2      DISTRACTION
                                                                                                                                                                            Playing to escape is distraction. While still
                                                                                                                                                                            immersive, playing as a distraction is often
                                                                                                                    to step outside of their everyday life, by
                                                                                                                                                                            a more spontaneous form or play, quick
                                                                                                                    allowing a different or new version of
                                                                                                                                                                            bursts forming brief moments of escape. It
                                                                                                                    themselves to take over through a variety
                                                                                                                                                                            seems to be fuelled by the ever-increasing
                                                                                                                    of playful activities. This transformation can          repertoire of devices. Online games such
                                                                                                                    be internally driven, for example by using              as Candy Crush and Sudoku are frequent
                                                                                                                    imagination and fantasies, or externally                examples of how play can offer people bite-
                                                                                                                    driven through immersive environments that              sized moments of distraction. The people
                                                                                                                    facilitate play. Disneyland, VR technology and          in our online community talked about these
                                                                                                                    the theatre are all cross-cultural examples of          moments as a small oasis, offering peace and
                                                                                                                    how immersive environments facilitate play              calm across a busy and stressful day.
                                                                                                                    by transforming people from the ordinary to
                                                                                                                    the extraordinary.                                         “Playing online games is my favourite
CULTURAL NUANCES                                                                                                                                                             thing to do in my free time. I forget about
                                                                                                                                                                             anything, particularly things that make me
Interesting cultural nuances emerged:                                                                                   “Disney Park makes me feel that I can                unhappy.”
                                                                                                                     play for escapism. Disney Park is a magical             ZHIZHAN G. CHINA
                                                                                                                     world to me. When I enter the park and
                                                                                                                     immerse myself in the rides and attractions
                                                                                                                     in the park, I leave the whole world
                                                                                                                     JON B. US
In both Germany and the US, people mostly play        In China, playing to escape is typically articulated as
to escape through transformation. People from both    small moments of distraction. Generally, people tell
cultures offer plenty of examples of when playtime    us that they have less time and lots of working rules             “I enjoy playing computer games. I
allows them to break away and escape into another     and obligations and they crave small, and distracting          imagine myself as the character in the
world or into another version of themselves. An       playful moments to break the monotony and stress               game. The reality seems to be so far away
example: when playful, travel is seen as a common     of the everyday. These distractions commonly, these            from me when I immerse myself in the
way to actively change an environment to alter        distractions take the form of sending lighthearted             games.”
your context and break the traditional rules of the   messages to friends and colleagues during work                 SIXUE W. CHINA
everyday. A benefit of transformative play is often   meetings, or taking 30 seconds out to play a quick
perceived to be a shifted perspective when one        game online.
returns to ‘normal’ life.
36        Why Do We Play?   Why Do We Play?                                     37

                                              PLAY IS OFTEN A KEY
                                              TOOL THAT ENABLES US
                                              TO LEARN AND DEVELOP
                                              THROUGH EXPLORATION.

                                              People experience a need to
                                              play that takes them outside of
                                              their usual frame of reference,
                                              not only as a potential escape
                                              (as noted above), but primarily
                                              as a way of discovering more.

                                               “I 'play to explore' because I like
                                               to discover new places, new music
                                               and new movies.“
                                               NINA K. US

     People are curious,
     looking to learn and
     develop by better
     themselves and
     their social and
     physical context.
38                                              Why Do We Play?                                                        Why Do We Play?                                                 39

Play to Explore
manifests itself
in two distinct
forms of play:
In our research, we’ve found that people across cultures play in order
to expand their horizons and discover the world. Parents tell us how
                                                                            1   IMMERSIVE PLAY
                                                                                Is a form of play where people are
                                                                                                                                  2      PLAY TO DISCOVER
                                                                                                                                         Is a form of play that facilitates exploration
                                                                                                                                         of either the inner or outer world. A wide
                                                                                completely engaged in an environment and
their children are learning and developing through exploratory play,            set of stimuli. The environment can be real
                                                                                                                                         range of playful activities enable discovery;
                                                                                                                                         these activities focus on identifying new and
                                                                                or imagined, but people use that high level
                                                                                                                                         previously unknown learnings. For example,
developing language, emotions and creativity, as well as physical, social       of engagement to explore new possibilities               this form of play includes the discovery of
                                                                                by interacting with the stimulus they’re                 new emotions, physical skills and intellectual
and intellectual skills. With adults, play to explore manifests in two          surrounded by. Specific examples include                 capacity. Play to discover is inherently linked
                                                                                Virtual Reality, where a person is immersed              to learning and development; activities tend
distinct forms of play: playing in a completely immersive environment           into a new and different world, and Role Play,           to be less structured than other forms of
                                                                                where a person immerses themselves in a                  play.
or setting out on a playful journey of discovery.                               new and/or different persona.
                                                                                                                                             “Take your kids abroad, somewhere
                                                                                                                                          totally different. For me the best way to
                                                                                   “I discover when I am confronted with                  play is to take away some of the technology
                                                                                 another world foreign to me: as a city                   and allow us all to learn more about nature
                                                                                 person this can be the forest or the farm.               and its beauty through play.”
CULTURAL NUANCES                                                                 As an office person, this can be the nature.’’           PATT C. US
                                                                                 GEORGE C. US
Interesting cultural nuances emerged:
                                                                                                                                             “I like play to explore. It is interesting to
                                                                                    “Travel is my favourite playful activity,             find out / learn new things. The Samsung
                                                                                                                                          Gear VR glass is very cool, which enables
                                                                                 and I think it belongs to play to explore.
                                                                                                                                          me to enter a unique virtual world, inspiring
                                                                                 When I travel to other places, it really                 my imagination.”
                                                                                 broadens my horizons and enables me                      JIAN Q. CHINA
                                                                                 to have different experiences. I can see
Across the USA and Germany, people are concerned                                 different sceneries, try different food, meet
about schools moving away from play as a form of                                 different people or even learn a                           “If you do something different, you
exploratory learning and discovery for children. People                          new language, yet somehow it’s all                       might discover new traits and talents of
share a genuine fear that too many parameters are                                really playful.”                                         your own.”
being put in place to guide and instruct play, diluting                          YUN Q. CHINA                                             WOLFGANG B. GERMANY
the potential to explore and discover. There is a
perception that specific expectations and targets are
                                                                                    “I can also dive into another world when
being set for children from a very young age, which                              I dress up as a medieval man; I walk in full
distracts from their opportunities to explore                                    armour and imagine how I shoot my dinner
through play.                                                                    with a bow and arrow, it’s very playful.”
                                                                                 BRIDGET R. GERMANY
40   Why Do We Play?                    Why Do We Play?                                       41

                       The world we live                  AT WORK, EMPLOYEES HAVE
                                                          A SET ROLE AND CLEAR

                       in isn’t typically set
                                                          OBJECTIVES; AT HOME,
                                                          PARENTS OFTEN IMPOSE
                                                          SET ROUTINES INTO THE
                       up to encourage and                HOUSEHOLD TO HELP
                                                          CREATE AN EASIER AND

                       inspire people to be               MORE EFFICIENT LIFE.

                       different and unique;
                                                          While the real world is filled
                                                          with limitations and barriers,
                                                          a more playful world can
                       and as a result,                   break down those barriers.

                       people often neglect               In doing so, play can give people
                                                          permission to express a different

                       their creativity.
                                                          version of themselves, as well as
                                                          a platform to be creative.

                                                           "For me, you don’t have to be an
                                                           artist to feel playful or expressive;
                                                           you just have to feel comfortable
                                                           with who you are.”
                                                           MARY P. US
42                                              Why Do We Play?                                                                                            Why Do We Play?                                                    43

Play to Express
manifests itself
in two ways:
When people are express themselves through play, they’re typically
either experimenting by trying new or different versions of themselves,
or they’re using their creativity as an outlet to build or create
                                                                                                               1   EXPERIMENTING
                                                                                                                   People tell us that through play they
                                                                                                                                                                   2         CREATING
                                                                                                                                                                             Play is a tool that allows people to access
                                                                                                                   can have fun testing different and                        their creativity. From activities that require
                                                                                                                   often more extreme versions of their                      a more creative mode of thinking, (eg.,
                                                                                                                   personality, style and identity. While the                painting or acting), to activities that enable
                                                                                                                   experimental process may be playful                       people to tap into their imagination, (eg.,
                                                                                                                   and fun, it often indirectly allows people                actively dreaming).
                                                                                                                   to evolve and formulate themselves as
                                                                                                                   they grow and develop, helping them                       Creative play can also be a small and subtle
                                                                                                                   become more comfortable in their own                      manifestation of self-expression that adds
                                                                                                                   skin.                                                     an element of play to the everyday. (eg.,
                                                                                                                                                                             decorating a locker at school or buying a
                                                                                                                   The boundaries of experimentation vary                    colourful or quirky phone case).
                                                                                                                   from individual to individual.

                                                                                                                                                                                 “My 27-year-old daughter likes to
                                                                                                                        “I miss being creative and I am                       dress up with her friends and go to anime
CULTURAL NUANCES                                                                                                    trying to find new ways to be playful                     conventions. I also like to dress up for
                                                                                                                    and expressive now I am a mommy…                          Halloween and make my costumes myself.
Interesting cultural nuances emerged:                                                                               I find music and dancing work!”                           It’s dressing up but it’s creative, playful and
                                                                                                                    DOROTHY A. US                                             personal.’’
                                                                                                                                                                              VICTORIA H. US

                                                                                                                       “I feel like I can express myself
                                                                                                                    through music. I like singing with my                        “I like playing basketball to express
                                                                                                                    friends in KTV. Singing allows me to                      myself. I feel like I can be the person I
                                                                                                                                                                              want to be (my dream as a child was to be
In Germany, there is a trend towards Live Action          In China, playful self-expression is generally            fully express myself and be who I am;
                                                                                                                                                                              a professional basketball player). When I
Role Play (LARP) as a form of playful experimentation.    manifested in ‘smaller’ moments of non-conformity.        different songs represent different                       am on the basketball court, I play with an
LARP involves dressing up and immersing into a            These playful moments are often stimulated by a           emotions.”                                                alternative version of myself.”
real-life fantasy world where people can play a king      desire to act outside the typical group norm.             HAIYAN L. CHINA                                           PARK Z. CHINA
or a knight, among other roles. It allows people to
experiment with different sides of their personality in                                                                "In real life, I could not walk through
a playful and protective environment.                                                                               the city and just go straight, no one                        “A nice pillow or blanket placed
                                                                                                                    would really make space and as soon                       somewhere can be playful. A certain level
                                                                                                                    as I kicked someone there would be                        of playfulness can be found in furniture and
                                                                                                                    trouble. In the LARP [immersive play],                    decoration. It’s through those little things
                                                                                                                                                                              that I reflect myself every day.”
                                                                                                                    however, I was able to push people
                                                                                                                                                                              MARIANNE C. GERMANY
                                                                                                                    to the side, stalk them, and everyone
                                                                                                                    saw it as a game and responded
                                                                                                                    CHRISTIAN H. GERMANY
44   How Do We Play Together?                                     How Do We Play Together?                                    45

                                Play allows children to develop their
                                creativity, nurture both their physical
                                and emotional well-being and explore the
                                world through mirroring adult behaviour.
                                But it is not just children who benefit from

                                In fact some of the most beneficial play is when children
                                and adults play together, whereby they connect and
                                strengthen intergenerational relationships and learn from
                                each other.

                                “When caregivers and children play together, they’re actually making emotional connections.
                                They are learning about each other. They are learning both about who they are as well as
                                about the other person and they are exploring together. At the same time, they are learning
                                how to observe things together and how to take risks together.’”
                                YESIM KUNTER, PLAY FUTUROLOGIST
46   How Do We Play Together?           How Do We Play Together?   47

                                Whilst every culture
                                and family has their
                                own play rituals
                                and traditions. We
                                have identified six
                                common forms of
                                adult-child interplay.
48                         How Do We Play Together?                                                                        How Do We Play Together?                                        49

      'Free-Style’ Play                                                                                    ‘Build-It’ Play
                                                                                                                    Children and adults play together      This type of play teaches adults
FREE-STYLE PLAY     The child simply follows their         This type of play nurtures a child's   BUILD-IT PLAY     by using objects and toys to create    and children how to think more
IS UNDIRECTED       own play urges. Adults immerse         confidence and decision-making.        IS CONSTRUCTIVE   something new, thinking creatively
                                                                                                                    about how best to build it. Together
                                                                                                                                                           creatively about problem-solving
                                                                                                                                                           together and is primarily motivated
                    themselves in the world the child      It also allows adults to regress by
PLAY. IT IS FREE,   has created, providing no              experiencing the world through a       PLAY.             they experiment, explore and           by ‘play to express’.
SPONTANEOUS AND     direction or rules so as to not        child’s eyes, freeing up new ideas                       celebrate their accomplishment.
UNSTRUCTURED.       inhibit creativity. Most of all,       and shaking up normative thinking.
                    they enjoy being silly together.
                                                           This play form is primarily
                                                           motivated by ‘play to explore’.

                                                                                                       Build a sandcastle, creating a fort in the
                    Fantasy role play
                                                                                                       living room, building with Lego or Jenga

                                 "Child and adult interplay is    “Kids are constantly                                            “Lego or other building
                                 at its best when they both       engaging with imaginative                                       blocks are a nice
                                 forget what they’re doing        play where they create a                                        experience, creating
                                 and they’re completely lost      world and ask you to join in.                                   something together. We do
                                 in the game. And the game        (Eg., playing pretend rescue                                    this at least once a week
                                 takes over reality and the       heroes, pretend school,                                         at some point, not always
                                 game becomes reality.            pretend doctor & patient).                                      together, though. Someone
                                 They’re lost in play and         These are fun because                                           starts, then someone else
                                 time disappears."                kids say really unexpected                                      picks it up and at some
                                 ROY LANGMAID,                    things you did not realize                                      point there is the final
                                 PSYCHOLOGIST                     they picked up on and you                                       result.”
                                                                  just go along with it.”                                         ARIANNE C. US
                                                                  LISA W, US
50                         How Do We Play Together?                                                                     How Do We Play Together?                                             51

      'Mirror-Me' Play                                                                          ‘Muddy-Boots’ Play
                                                                                                                 Children and adults play together      This type of play allows both
MIRROR-ME PLAY      Children mirror adult behaviour      This type of play helps children     MUDDY-BOOTS        in physical or sporting activities,    children and adults to use up
IS IMITATION PLAY   in a playful way by helping them
                    out with adult tasks and turning
                                                         develop social skills and helps
                                                         adults to de-stress, turning
                                                                                              PLAY IS PHYSICAL   typically outside, and spend quality
                                                                                                                 time together. They let-go, run
                                                                                                                                                        energy, release endorphins and
                                                                                                                                                        feel happier. This form of play is
                    these into a game. Children often    a frustrating chore into a           PLAY.              around and free themselves of          primarily motivated by ‘play to
                    come up with imaginative ways        lighthearted, satisfying activity.                      physical and social constraints.       explore’.
                    of completing the task that adults   This form of play is primarily
                    hadn’t thought of.                   motivated by ‘play to connect’.

                     Examples:                                                                                    Examples:
           Playfully helping with chores,                                                               Throw and Catch, Hide and Seek
            baking or cooking together

                                  “I really enjoy cooking                                                                      “We played handball
                                  together with my child. I                                                                    together. We love physical
                                  like teaching her to make                                                                    activity. For fun and to
                                  various kinds of food. And                                                                   compete against others. I
                                  she seems happy when we                                                                      love playing football with
                                  cook together. We learn and                                                                  our boys or together with
                                  play around with different                                                                   our dog in the garden.
                                  ways to cook. We really                                                                      These activities feel good.
                                  enjoy the process, during                                                                    We move, we have fun
                                  which we usually have good                                                                   and enjoy the play. It lifts
                                  communication.”                                                                              the mood and elevates the
                                  ZU H. CHINA                                                                                  communalities between us.”
                                                                                                                               YUKI A. GERMANY
52                         How Do We Play Together?                                                                         How Do We Play Together?                                            53

‘Out-of-the-Box’ Play                                                                                       ‘Formal’ Play
                    Out-of-the-box play is artistic play,   This type of play promotes a more                        Formal play is typically less          This type of play brings families
OUT-OF-THE-BOX      but not necessarily with a creative     creative mode of thinking, allowing   FORMAL PLAY IS     spontaneous and more structured        together and is a fun way to help
PLAY IS ARTISTIC    output. Through arts and crafts,
                    children and adults release their
                                                            adults and children alike to tap
                                                            into their imagination and a world
                                                                                                  STRATEGIC PLAY.    than the other types of adult/
                                                                                                                     child interplay outlined. It is
                                                                                                                                                            adults and children to focus, relax
                                                                                                                                                            and solve problems creatively.
PLAY, BUT NOT       inner creativity and express a          beyond rules and obligation.                             focussed, yet enjoyable, and allows
                                                                                                                                                            This form of play is typically
NECESSARILY         more creative, open side of their                                                                everyone playing to find respite
                                                                                                                                                            motivated by ‘play to repair’ and
WITH A CREATIVE     personality. In turn, they gain pride   This form of play is primarily                           and distraction from everyday life.
                                                                                                                                                            ‘play for comfort’.
                    and joy from the creative process.      motivated by ‘play to express’.                          Children and adults either play with
OUTPUT.                                                                                                              or against each other to solve a
                                                                                                                     specific challenge.

                       Examples:                                                                                        Examples:
                   Colouring, dancing                                                                               Chess, board games

                                  “We’ve been very playful                                                                         “Play with my child feels
                                  when we created Easter                                                                           shared when we are both
                                  decorations for Easter.                                                                          laughing and getting
                                  We had a lot of fun                                                                              excited such as in a game
                                  experimenting with colours                                                                       of Jenja when we are
                                  and materials. We laughed                                                                        working together to win and
                                  a lot and felt very close.”                                                                      especially when all of the
                                  WALTRAUD J. GERMANY                                                                              blocks fall over.”
                                                                                                                                   VICTORIA H. US
54   What Are The Enablers & Barriers of Play?              What Are The Enablers & Barriers of Play?   55

                                                 In our research, we’ve found that play
                                                 is unanimously seen to be a power
                                                 for good. A world without play is
                                                 viewed as world not worth living in...
56                                  What Are The Enablers & Barriers of Play?                                                        What Are The Enablers & Barriers of Play?                     57

there are many things that stop people from
playing and that provide unwanted barriers
to play.
•	Stress and responsibilities at work are
   commonly cited as barriers to play as well
   as rigid daily routines that enforce certain
•	Many see play as an activity (for children),
   as opposed to a mind-set that can be
   employed to bring joy to everyday
•	Play is seen as a luxury – a 'nice to have'
   moment when all other serious activities
   have been taken care of, partly due to
   the difficulty in quantifying the 'return on
   investment' when it comes to play.
•	Modern day life is quick to steer people              The external environment
   away from play. Adults feel that it is                can often provide that
   socially unacceptable to embrace a                    trigger point, specifically
   playful mind-set and are often concerned              environments that felt very
   that modern day education discourages                 different from the norm.
   children from playing to learn and develop
   through play, a fear that was supported by            People highlight the impact
   some of the ‘experts’ we spoke to:                    of playful designs, décor and
                                                         structures within a space as well as   A special occasion or activity           A range of internal and                 “I have a wonderful
                                                         natural changes in the environment.    can often become an enabler              intense emotions can also               memory of visiting
 "We sit in a military system nowadays.                                                         of play.                                 trigger play.                           my Mom in the
 From a young age, kids are taught in a                                                                                                                                          nursing home and
 directive manner. They’re increasingly being               “I went to a Japanese restaurant    People tell us that the excitement       The people in our online community      playing bingo at
 told to confirm and to think in a certain                recently that made me feel            produced around special occasions,       talk about play as an opportunity       Thanksgiving. The
 way.’’                                                   playful. I like their simple but      as well as the people participating in   to jump from a negative mindset to      staff made bingo
 ROY LANGMAID, PSYCHOLOGIST                               elegant design which made             those moments help them move into        a more positive one. (eg., play as      special on that day.
                                                          me feel relaxed. Also, their          a playful mindset.                       a reliever of stress or a distraction   When we had bingo
                                                          waitress is so friendly and caring,                                            from boredom).                          instead of hollering
 "As adults, we get very much scared of                   their service is great. I had an                                                                                       BINGO we had to say
 making mistakes. Failure is frowned up and,              enjoyable experience.”                    “The time that made me feel                                                  GOBBLE GOBBLE.
 as a result, we forget how to play, we’re                CHA C. CHINA                           playful was when I attended a              “No one is able to do work           The laughter was
 scared of taking risks, of asking too many                                                      concert last month. It was a rock        continuously without stopping. For     wonderful.”
 questions and we often close the door on                                                        n roll concert. I sang out loud, and     me, to make my everyday tasks          VICTORIA A. US
 our own curiosity.’’                                        “One year, after a long dry, hot    danced with the music.                   more playful, I would take breaks
 YESIM KUNTER, PLAY FUTUROLOGIST                          spell, it began to rain about 11 PM    I had so much fun and felt relaxed       during the day to refresh my
                                                          at night. I woke the girls and we      as I forgot about my pressures           mind, and make me feel that my
But it’s not all doom and gloom. In our                   went out and played in the rain.       during that moment.”                     day would not be so boring.”
research, we’ve also heard about several                  The neighbours even joined us!"        SHU L. CHINA                             TOM T. CHINA
enablers of play, used across cultures.                   MARTHA L. US
58              What Are The Enablers & Barriers of Play?                             What Are The Enablers & Barriers of Play?                             59

                                                                                                           For parents, we heard that the
                                                                                                           behaviour of their children is often a
                                                                                                           trigger for play.

                                                                                                           People tell us that bored or badly behaved
                                                                                                           children can be tiresome and frustrating and
                                                                                                           that parents often encourage play to change
                                                                                                           the atmosphere.

                                                                                                              “I don’t need to think of anything when I
                                                                                                            am with them, and I don’t need to pretend
                                                                                                            to be someone else like I do when I am
                                                                                                            with my colleagues /clients. I love being
                                                                                                            with children, they make me forget about
                                                                                                            my daily pressures and I can fully enjoy the
                                                                                                            SHUSNHUO C. CHINA

                                                                                                              “The most playful moments I've had with
                                                                                                            children have definitely been when (as an
                                                                                                            adult) I entered fully into their imaginative
                                                                                                            world, or when as a child, another adult
                                                                                                            entered into mine.”
                                                                                                            JILL M. US

                                                                                                           For a lot of people, childhood
                                                                                                           memories and a sense of nostalgia
                                                                                                           triggers a playful moment.

                                                                                                           This can, for instance, be expressed through
                                                                                                           childhood games being re-purposed for
                                                                                                           modern-day families and spontaneous and
                                                                                                           unexpected moments of nostalgia that spark
“I also joke around with my friends on Facebook             People also tell us that the presence
                                                                                                           fits of laughter.

posts. I use sarcasm, puns and word play,                   of other people can trigger play.
emoji's, and stickers. A few people do not like my          Friends, family, colleagues and even
                                                                                                               “The best game is to find all the letters
                                                                                                            of the alphabet from road signs. When you
humour, but most of them like my humour.                    strangers encourage a playful state of mind     are on a trip as a family you are in the best

I have a whole group of friends who talk together           through their engagement and interactions
                                                            as well as their personality. In contrast,
                                                                                                            mood and anticipating the fun ahead. I
                                                                                                            have so many great memories of playing as
every day on FB. We try to outdo each other with            people also talk about how they trigger play
                                                            in a social context, driven by a desire to
                                                                                                            a kid and now when we get in the car, we
                                                                                                            always play!”
funny remarks.”                                             build relationships and connect to others.      ELKE S. GERMANY
60                                  What Are The Enablers & Barriers of Play?   What Are The Enablers & Barriers of Play?   61

Uncertain situations or difficult
choices may trigger a playful

People tell us that they used play as a way
to experiment and navigate the new and
different without the perceived, and often
real, consequences that a more serious
approach entails.

    “Today I was forced to make a present
 basket for one of my colleagues and since it
 was from work, it was also obligatory! But I
 approached it playfully and decided to create
 'a little wonder’'! I played with colours and
 decorations and made it really fun.’’

A chore or unpleasant task can also
be a trigger for play.

People tell us that they look to turn
routine daily tasks into games, to distract
themselves. By doing this, the task
transforms from ‘completion’, to ‘enjoyment’.

    “To make everyday task more enjoyable,
 I sometimes promise myself a reward. For
 example, I take an ice-cream out of the
 freezer while I'm cleaning the kitchen. Then
 I hurry so the ice-cream doesn't melt!’’

Finally, a more contemporary and
less spontaneous trigger for play is
a positive life outlook or attitude.

    "I actually deal with everything with
 positive thought!!!! Then life is much easier
 to cope with! I challenge myself again and
 again, to be spontaneous rather than live a
 life dictated by a fixed ritual."
62   What Are People's Play "Hacks"                   What Are People's Play "Hacks"   63

                                      We define a play hack as a conscious
                                      physical or emotional action that
                                      makes a moment, conversation or
                                      chore more playful. In our research,
                                      people told us that they often looked
                                      to purposely inject play into their lives
                                      through a variety of play hacks.
64                 What Are People's Play "Hacks"                                                    What Are People's Play "Hacks"   65

                                                    We heard that some play hacks
                                                    involve the introduction of physical

                                                    For instance, a fun accessory on their desks at
                                                    work, or post-its on walls at home.

                                                        “For long car trips, instead of hearing,
                                                     'Are we there yet?' five minutes out of the
                                                     driveway, I would start each of the kids with a
                                                     roll of quarters. Each time they complained in
                                                     any way, I would take a quarter from their roll.
                                                     When we reached our destination, they would
                                                     get whatever money was left in the roll.’’
                                                     MARION D. GERMANY

                                                    But a play hack can also involve
                                                    removing a physical or virtual object.

“I make sure that                                      "I make sure that at certain times across
at certain times                                    the day, I ban technology from the house. That
                                                    frees up the time and space for the kids to
across the day, I ban                               actually play together and with us"
                                                    ANGIE O. US
technology from the
house. That frees up                                Translating a task or chore into a
the time and space for                              game is also a common play hack
the kids to actually play                           With a little imagination, the least-fun chores
together and with us"                               can be turned into games and playful challenges.

ALLAN D. US                                             “I think I like to make cleaning into a game
                                                     of sort. My husband and I share the duties
                                                     of cleaning the house now that we are both
                                                     retired and we like to see who can get their
                                                     portion done first, so it's like a race. I also like
                                                     to set a timer and accomplish so much in a
                                                     10-minute segment just to test myself.’’
                                                     BETH T. US

                                                    Finally, some people told us how they
                                                    participated in role play, as a hack to
                                                    inject play into their everyday lives.

                                                        “In real life, I couldn’t walk through the
                                                     city and just walk in a straight line, no one
                                                     would really make space and as soon as I
                                                     kicked someone there would be trouble. In
                                                     LARP however, I was able to push people to
                                                     the side, stalk them and everyone saw it as a
                                                     game and responded accordingly.’’
                                                     KLAUS G. GERMANY
66   How Is Play Evolving                     How Is Play Evolving       67

                            People across cultures don’t believe that
                            the motivations driving them to play will
                            change or adapt in the future. The five
                            play needs identified will likely stay the
                            same in the future. However, while the
                            innate human needs driving people to
                            play won’t change, people believe that
                            where and how we play will change
                            considerably in the next 10 years.
68                                               How Is Play Evolving                                                                                                How Is Play Evolving                                             69

                                                                                                                                                           offer new and exciting spaces and        predicted to drastically shorten the
                                                                                                                                                           dimensions for play. Technology          average working day, the reality
                                                                                                                                                           will also free up more time in the       has been quite different.
                                                                                                                                                           future, removing daily chores and
                                                                                                                                                           potentially opening up more leisure      Across cultures, people highlighted
                                                                                                                                                           time to fill with play.                  7 trends that they believe will
                                                                                                                                                                                                    influence how they and society
                                                                                                                                                           However, while more permission           will be playing in the future, with
                                                                                                                                                           and technological advancements           a specific forecasting lens on the
                                                                                                                                                           may encourage more play in the           next 10 years:
                                                                                                                                                           future, a combination of factors
                                                                                                                                                           could restrict how we play. When
                                                                                                                                                           play becomes better recognised           Back To Retro
                                                                                                                                                           and defined, there is a risk that        As technology continues to
                                                                                                                                                           it will also become formalised           advance at a rapid pace, people
                                                                                                                                                           and structured. The people in our        will continue to rebel by turning to
                                                                                                                                                           online community are concerned           and celebrating nostalgic games

HOW WILL WE BE                                                                                                        "As society progresses, automation
                                                                                                                      means there’s going to be no
                                                                                                                                                           that rules typically follow structure,
                                                                                                                                                           and too much guidance around
                                                                                                                                                                                                    from their childhood.

PLAYING IN THE FUTURE?                                                                                                reason for us to move around other
                                                                                                                      than to play. As time goes on, I
                                                                                                                      think there’s going to be more and
                                                                                                                                                           how people should play and where
                                                                                                                                                           people should play risk damaging
                                                                                                                                                           the spontaneous and unobligated
                                                                                                                                                                                                    From old board games to the
                                                                                                                                                                                                    Game Boy, there is a desire to
                                                                                                                                                                                                    keep play simple.
                                                                                                                      more and more things cropping        nature of play.
The experts we’ve spoken to have        recognised mental and physical         “As a society, we play to be ready     up all over the place that are
identified a set of play enablers       health benefits. For example,          for the future. When you look back     encouraging us to play."             Despite continual time-saving                "What’s happening with
that would encourage more play          science has already proven that        at Egyptian times, they played to      DANNY BENT, PLAY                     innovations that provide people           technology is actually scary! Yes,
in people’s lives in the future.        laughter can dramatically reduce       understand how to fight, because       ENTREPRENEUR                         with the tools to open up more            it will completely change the way
To start with, as the benefits of       stress levels and a recent study by    there were wars. So to understand                                           leisure time across their lives,          we play in the future but I think
play become more tangible and           the VU University of Amsterdam         how we’ll be playing in the future                                          people worry that an increasingly         people are starting to rebel. They
measured, society will encourage        found that playful workplaces result   requires us to think about what we     Secondly, technology will            individualistic culture will continue     don’t want it. Play is simple and
playing and adults as well as           in better communication levels         are preparing for. For example, how    drive new forms of play in           to drive the sentiment that ‘time is      pure and we’ll see a big drive
children will have more permission      between co-workers.                    can play help to prepare us for AI?”   the future.                          money’ and ‘every second counts’          back to the games we used to
to play. In the future, playing could                                          YESIM KUNTER, PLAY                                                          leaving people with less time             love from years ago, the retro
become as important as a trip to                                               FUTUROLOGIST                           For example, advancements in VR      to play. For example, while the           games will become mainstream
the spa or a run in the park, with                                                                                    technology and wearable tech         invention of the email in 1972 was        again."
                                                                                                                                                                                                     HEIKO G. GERMANY
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