Digital Transformation - Play

Digital Transformation: Play!

Design thinking? Design doing!

Many of our customers sense digital transformation is out there. It’s one of those business issues that challenges boardrooms to become aware of the opportunities. To truly understand its impact. And to be able to anticipate fast. Rather than just reading and talking about it, we think that play is key in order to learn, engage and innovate. Our adult managerial digital aspirations is for many unknown territory. A landscape that should be entered with care.

Our digital aspirations and opportunities are already reality for today’s children. My ten-year old son re- shapes ‘things’ from our analog world (like apples and bananas) into digital functions. Even more, he already acts like a design thinker solving some wicked problems. Yes, it’s play! But what he is doing is labeled exploration, prototyping and learning! And it’s not only about fruits. It’s about digital play with just about every object.

Makey Makey is “an invention kit for the 21st century.” It’s a toy developed by Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum, who have been working with invention kits for the last decade. With Makey Makey you can turn everyday objects into touchpads and combine them with the internet. This specific kit is based on research at MIT Media Lab and was originally funded by a kickstart campaign.

How does it work? It’s easy: Use one cable to connect Makey Makey to your computer. Add other cables to connect MakeyMakey to any object: a banana, a piece of paper, your little sister’s arm. just about anything in the physical world: things, persons, floors, walls. This chosen object will soon be able to replace the function of ‘space bar’ or ‘click’. Now go to a website or game. By touching the object you can do anything the software provides you to do: Chase ghosts in Pacman with some lemons, make drawings with your toes, transform flowers into a xylophone, play piano while you walk up the stairs. Makey Makey connects online (the digital world) and offline (the physical world) in its most basic form. And you will be suprised about the endless possibilities.

Professionals excel in making things unnecessary complex. Or hip. Sure, design thinking is hot but let’s face it: it’s nothing new. Here, at FutureFlock, we never designed foresight driven change journeys other than user centered. We prefer to work by taking short sprints and prototyping in co-creation with users. To learn and be able to optimize continuously. You can call it ‘agile’ or ‘scrum’ or ‘design thinking’, we call it: just the way we work.

My son and his friends don’t bother finding fancy names or business jargon for what they are doing. For them it’s obvious: experimenting with stuff they learn at school, combining it with games, programming and other things they do at home, and connecting it with toys, blocks, boxes and everything they find on their way. They just give it a try and see what happens. Design thinkers pur sang!

Today’s youth show us how easy, how effective, and how fun it is to just start experimenting. It shows us that it’s only our mindset that prevents us from creating our future. Don’t only talk about new technologies. Play. Embrace our new destiny of virtual reality, robots, the internet of things.  Our kids show us that the future is now! And it’s just starting in our own fruit bowls.

Written by

Marriette van Muijen

Marriette van Muijen

Creative Consultant, Design Thinker


M: +31 (0)6 14 16 84 16

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