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Fun for life – designerly opportunities for lifetime extension in toys

Du Bois, Els; Veelaert, Lore; Vermeesch, Brecht; Zelck, Sander; Van Gogh, Dirk

In order to broaden our understanding of product lifetimes in support of a circular economy, within this research, we focused on toys, which unfortunately often have a relative short lifetime of 3-4 years according to several studies. In addition to the huge amounts of toys that are discarded, another reason for focusing on toys is that while using toys, i.e. playing, children are influenced, generate certain behaviors and retrieve many values and norms. Consequently, toys with short lifetime might teach kids that it is normal that things are frequently replaced without questioning the value. Being in the transition towards a circular economy it is crucial to change people's behavior, so it is of large importance to consider children's environment as well. The aim of the research was to define designerly opportunities for extending the lifetime of toys. The research was done by means of an education-oriented approach in which an exploration was done to investigate and evaluate potentials for design-driven innovation to increase product lifetimes of toys. The resulting concepts that were generated by the students were categorized through a survey based on various criteria as well as semantically organized in categories. Next the results were discussed with a selection of experts. The concluding concepts were mostly tackling lifetime shortness by focusing on emotional value and the opportunity to grow, in addition to the technical maintenance and repair possibilities. To enlarge or convey values and norms, most concepts focused on the connectability of different types of toys as well as concepts that aim to inspire children related to understanding nature, and taking care of the environment.
Published in: PLATE – Product lifetimes and the environment : 3rd PLATE Conference, September 18–20, 2019 Berlin, Germany, Universitätsverlag der TU Berlin
Published by ISBN 978-3-7983-3125-9