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Umeå Institute of Design


Serious Play 2009/10 1

For the Serious Play 2009/10 the Umeå Institute of Design is teaming up with IDEO to bring some external inspiration and experiences. Two
themes are being suggested due to their relevance to society and consequently to how and what we design. They address the issues of: ageing
population and sustainability.

Serious Play is a twofold exercise. On one hand there’s the possibility of exploring the field of game design. What’s cutting-edge on that realm?
How to design a great game? Is it playable? Is it fun and engaging? Another perspective on the subject is related to what we can learn from
games that can applied on other areas. Can we use play to help the elderly have a more active lifestyle or to make individuals save energy? Can
we help people adhere to some activity and be compliant therefore promoting desired behaviors like recycling or taking chronic disease drugs?

2 Themes | It’s up to you!

01 Old Games Old 02 Green Play
Putting the old into the gaming. Supporting green behaviors through playful activities.

In the current panorama of gaming and gaming profiles, we would like With a global future outlook on behavior change, especially regarding
students to explore what is the new role and the new opportunities for topics of conservation, recycling and better use of our resources; we
leisure activities like videogames and board games. Special focus would like students embrace the metaphor of play as the tool to raise
should be put in understanding how elderly people have embraced more awareness and encourage more green behaviors.
gaming and for which specific reason as well as how old analog
games or gaming activities have influenced/inspired the development Special focus should be put in combining indoor and outdoor activities
of new games and gaming platforms. as well as combining analog and digital platform to support moments
like creating awareness, improving green behaviors, monitoring
The desired output of this class would be a series of games / gaming consumption, improving logistics and rewarding positive results.
explorations that vary from games to ‘enrich’ elderly people’s lives
to new games inspired or influenced by old analog toys, games or or Facts
playful activities that have gone obsolete or forgotten. “Every year, the United States generates approximately 230 million
tons of “trash”--about 4.6 pounds per person per day. Less than one-
Facts quarter of it is recycled; the rest is incinerated or buried in landfills.
“Most of the developed world now has sub-replacement fertility With a little forethought, we could reuse or recycle more than 70
levels, and population growth now depends largely on immigration percent of the landfilled waste, which includes valuable materials such
together with population momentum which arises from previous large as glass, metal, and paper.”
generations now enjoying longer life expectancy.”

Who is coming?

Dario Buzzini Franz Blach Martin Frey Fabricio Dore
Interaction Design Lead Communication Designer Interaction Designer Interaction Designer

December 14-15 December 16-17 January 06-07 January 14-15
Kick off & Inspiration Set the focus Prototype & Refine Final Presentation & Reflection

Design as a Game UID + IDEO Schedule and Activities December 2009 / January 2010
Umeå Institute of Design |


December 14 - 21 December 22 - 31 January 31 - 07 January 07 - 14

User Research Synthesize Build Tell the Story
& Inspiration & Develop & Refine & Reflect

Get inspired by real people and Synthesize what you have seen At this point freeze the idea Behind every great design there’s
real stories! During this week out there and start imagining a wherever you are! From now on a powerful story to tell! What’s
you will go out there and look for few directions to pursue. it needs to become something the best way to represent your
stories from the field! tangible (on screeen or physical concept? A video? A theatre
Capture the best stories from prototype, mockup...). piece? An animation?
If you are working on theme your research and start sketching
number 2, for instance, where ideas, brainstorm as much as you From here on you have a direction What did you learn?
can you get inspired? Landfills? can and explore! to go! Prototype it! No matter
Recycling Stations? Talk to as what level of resolution feels more
many people as you can. Look for appropriate, get your hands dirty!
extremes for inspiration!

Rules of the game

(1) You will work in teams of 2. Feel free to pick your buddy!

(2) We will communicate through Posterous: To add a blog entry just send an email to: It takes videos, images, MP3s and text.

(3) Every Friday each team needs to make a 30s video describing what they have done during the week and what are the expectations and
plans for the next week. This videos will be posted to Posterous by one person from each team.

(4) Criteria for success: 50% concept & execution and 50% communication & storytelling.

(5) Play fair and have fun!


• [book] Rules of Play: Game Design Fundamentals, ISBN-10: 0262240459

• [article] Facilitating Collaboration through Design Games, Eva Brandt and Jörn Messeter

• [article] When Play Works: Turning Game-Playing into Learning, Brittany Steiner, Nancy Kaplan, Stuart Moulthrop

• [article] Game Design for Social Networks: Interaction Design for Playful Dispositions, Aki Järvinen

• [web]

Design as a Game UID + IDEO Schedule and Activities December 2009 / January 2010