Playgrounds

playground
Ian Fitpatrick’s Five Provocations is a good read.

This bit really leapt out at me:

Ben Durrell, who’s now with Artists for Humanity, but spent years heading up exhibit and experience design at the Boston Children’s Museum, gave a talk at this year’s Planning-ness summit in which he asked people to draw the place they played as children. He later related that almost no one draws pictures of playgrounds.

Playgrounds are adult constructs of idealized child play: safe, repeatable, easily constructed from component parts, requiring that the child bring little of their own to the experience — these are my words, not Ben’s. They serve a parental need, clearly — give the children a place to play outside, in clean air — but they’re not designed purely for children, who often prefer a made up game in an open field.

I bring this up because I think that we, as marketers and advertisers, build a lot of playgrounds. We bandy about references to ‘user-centrism’, but frequently we find ourselves in the business of creating safe, repeatable, componentized experiences designed largely to bathe people in brand juice. I think we can do better.

It’s a mistake made by designers and managers of all kinds, and a serious pitfall for facilitators.

Hat tip: TIm Kastelle’s tweet

One thought on “Playgrounds

  1. Pingback: PKM and MOOC | Harold Jarche

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