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Fun For Everyone - one toy for different children with equitable use.

Fun For Everyone – You have in your family children with and without disability – it`s possible to create interactions, and learn together.

Photo of Aneta
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Updates: How has your idea changed or evolved throughout the Prize? What updates have you made to this submission? (1500 characters)

Our first steps were quite chaotic but when I discovered “The Field Guide to Human Centred Design” everything has changed. We create a Project Plan and build a team (2 “Project Manager” and 3 graphic designers). The most useful was Interview (parents and children) and Expert Interwiev (therapist, teachers). We knew that we want to respond to children diversity and create a toy that is usable for and accessible to as many children as possible so talking with Extremes and Mainstreams was crucial. We decided that we should try Immersion and we spend some afternoons with families that have children with and without functional limitation (in the same family). By the end of the Inspiration and Ideation phases our team had created brief that show us crucial points of our products. That was the base for our Product Development team. When ideas of products were ready we started the phase of prototyping and testing. Different models and mock – ups for every single board game and puzzles. For almost 1 year prototyping getting Feedback integrate Feedback and Iterate - that was our reality. And now is time for Create a Pitch – the most difficult part. We have fantastic feedback from consumers, parents and children, but how to convince partners that Fun For Everyone is great idea and worth their attention?

Name or Organization

Trefl S.A ul. Plac Dwóch Miast 1 81-731 Sopot, Poland

Geography

All around the world we can find families with children with functional limitation. Every parent wants to see his child successful – it`s an edict as old as time. But very often parents don`t know what to do, how to play and how support development of their child. It`s so hard especially if you have a child with special need. We want to show parents right way. We are developing toys with equitable use for both: children with and without disabilities. That should fit families in USA also!

What is your stage of development?

  • Advanced Innovator with 3 to 10+ years of experience in ECD

Type

  • For - Profit

What is the stage of your proposal?

  • Full-scale roll-out: I have completed a pilot and analyzed the impact of that pilot on the users I am trying to reach with my idea. I am ready to expand the pilot significantly.

Describe your submission in one clear sentence

Fun For Everyone – one toy for different children with equitable use; Children with and without disability in one family – it`s possible to create interactions, have fun, learn, and play together!

Describe how your solution could be a game-changer for your selected Opportunity Area (600 characters)

Being a parent is always challenging. If you are visually/hearing impaired parent or you have visually/hearing impaired children – it`s even more difficult. It`s extremely difficult to support your children development when one of your child is visually impaired and another one run “regular” primary school with success. There are toys dedicated for children with disability, usually with high price and not cool for other children. With FFE toys we would like to show toy industry how to integrate not segregate and how create one toy with equitable use for every child.

Select an Innovation Target

  • Product: A new or enhanced physical product that creates value for end beneficiaries.

Tell us more about your innovation (1500 characters)

One day we realised that for children with different disabilities, the spontaneity of play is lost, and the activity becomes problematic not always because of their functional limitation, but because of the limits we set. Solving one problem, we set another one. Creating a toy which is convenient for a blind child we exclude other children , because it has solutions that solve visual impairment, and it`s not convenient or attractive to others. So we would like to create toys for every child with or without any functional limitation - really for EVERYONE.

What problem are you aiming to solve? (3 sentences)

We want to provide parents with toys and tools that support early development of their children. We want to show parents that even if you have in your family children with and without disability –it`s possible to create interactions, have fun, learn, and play together. Using FFE example we would like to encourage parents, caregivers, toy producers – to make effort for real integration, and show toy industry that seeing children diversity as a resource for better design – is a key to the success

Explain your idea (5000 characters)

One day small organisation of parents with visually impaired children ask our company to create some low cost puzzles and board games for their children. Talking with them during workshops we`ve organised, we realised that for children with different disabilities, the spontaneity of play is lost, and the activity becomes problematic not always because of their functional limitation, but because of the limits we set. Solving one problem, we set another one. Creating a toy which is convenient for a blind child we exclude other children , because it has solutions that solve visual impairment, and it`s not convenient or attractive to others. So we would like to create toys for every child with or without any functional limitation - really for EVERYONE. We just try to respond to children diversity. As a first step we wanted to create 18 products: 6 sensory puzzles, 6 play sets and 6 educational games for children up 2 years. In the centre of each products we put three attributes: integration, sensory development and education. We`re trying to cover every topic which is developed on early school level. Every single product should have many different „layers” that make it accessible to different children. As we know that sensory development is so important when we discover the world; we decided to engage all senses. We`ve learnt that even blind child can complete jigsaw puzzle (of course if the number and size of pieces is appropriate). But he can`t see the picture he made, so there is no gratification for that. So to regular jigsaw puzzles we added transparent varnish. The most important elements of picture are covered with this varnish, thanks to that blind children can touch, feel and learn what is exactly on the picture. Placing all pieces is easier and at the end, the child can touch puzzles and listen to audio description. So blind children can finally “see” what they have done! And for a child who has not any problem with seeing this is another way for having fun! We checked it. They love listening to this audio description, it is a little bit like a fairy tale for them. Every child (and those without visual impairment to) can close his eyes and play, touch and feel, try to put all pieces in the right place using only touching and imagination. And this is one of the ways we develop small fine motor skills, spatial imagination and every child needs to practice it, - not only that with vision impairment. There are 2difficult things about board games: children lose the components of the game very often and “nothing to do” effect. Small components like a dice, pawns, tokens – they have this “magical” power to be everywhere, but not on the right place on the board. Sometimes it`s really difficult to continue the game because: one move of small hand and each pawn falls down on the board, and you can`t find right place for it. It`s confusing for all players and if you play with children with vision impairement then it`s impossible to continue the game. So we made a small yet disruptive change. We created pawns with different shapes – so everybody can easily remember their pawn and we add to that some stump that you can adhere to the board, so every pawn will stay in the right place. “Nothing to do effect”. When the game is over there is nothing to do, ok you can play it once again but you can`t discover anything absolutely new with it. To every product we add a special booklet, there you can find not only the rules of the game but also a set of additional ways of playing with this game or with some elements from it. We show parents different ways of playing with their children even before they start playing the core game. They can take object known from everyday life, use it for playing with a child. Thanks to that children can compare easily the real world with that one represented in the game. So you can play the game, but you can also turn each everyday activity into a game – and this is exactly what we want to teach parents. We don`t want to reinforce feelings of difference, we want to design for equitable use. So „magical varnish”, sign language, audio description, even Braille would be integral parts of our products, but we use them not only for children with disabilities. Those without any impairment can play the same and they find it so interesting! We put on some puzzles Braille letters so it is totally convenient for blind children, but at the same time we explained to every child what exactly Braille is, and we propose them some funny ways of playing using Braille as a secret code – and they love that! Our core principle will be to design for integration and equitable use. But we know that there are parents with specific access to money, time and social network. So we would like to make FFE products cheaper in production – to end with reasonable price on the shelf. But to do that we need extra funds for new machines (that one for “magical varnish” and for Braille letters).

Who benefits? (1500 characters)

As parents of children with disability complain often, that their children would love to play the same toys as they peers but the can`t– we want to solve this problem. There are also visually impaired or deaf parents who can`t play with their children. All of them: parents and children can benefit from idea of Fun For Everyone toys. One day we made a test/workshop with children visually impaired. We were trying to play one of board games. There was a boy almost blind, he played with us and said “Finally I have a board game I can play with my sister! Cool!!” After that we discovered he had twin sister – but without any difficulties with seeing. We want to create toys that unify children and embrace individuality. We had 143 interviews with different parents and children, workshops in 3 different schools and 4 different kindergartens. These toys are rooted in interaction with people, with children and their parents and object in the world around us. We believe that seeing disability differently and understanding exclusion help us extend a solution for one child into a solution for millions of children. And we would like to encourage toy industry to do the same.

What kind of impact will your idea have? (1500 characters)

Introducing globally Fun For Everyone idea – could lead to wider and systematic positive change. Families will receive set of products, tools and activities that support their children development, that are tangible proof of that interaction between different children is possible. That having functional limitation shouldn`t mean: being excluded. Moreover – families where there is no children with functional limitations – using the same toys can support development of their children (but different stages)and step by step learn that learning from children diversity is incredible experience. That it not only opens us (also products, services) to more children, with a wider range of abilities, it also reflects how children really are. By 2019 we would like to introduce this line into entire European market.

How does or how could your idea impact low-income children? (1500 characters)

There are toys dedicated for children with disability on the market. Usually with high price as a “dedicated”, “special” products. Even if useful, these toys reinforce feelings of difference. We want to create toys without this “special” factor. Our survey in Poland (concerned with parents of children with disability) shows that we can achieve level of price that is comparable with other toys on the shelf (the same type of toys), and parents declare they can afford it (including families with low income).

Innovation: What makes your concept innovative? (1500 characters)

There is no toy on the market, that is accessible to and usable for children with and without disability at the same time. Designing Fun For Everyone toys we`ve made some changes- small yet disruptive: - Special pawns (thanks to our solution pawns don`t fall down during the game and every pawn stays in the right place; also pawns have special shapes that every child can easily remember his/her pawn) - Special varnish ( using that on the board/ puzzles pieces blind children can easily “read” the board/ picture) - Braille letters/ audio description – as a way of playing and having fun for both: children with and without visual/ hearing impairment - Set of special tools, activities (dedicated website with short movies, printed guide included to every product) that show how to turn everyday activity into moment of learning - We show that real integration (not segregation) is possible with toys.

Scale: Describe how your idea could reach a significant number of end-users. (1500 characters)

As we know that every parent wants to see his child successful and wants to support his development; our toys are convenient for parents and children (2 years and up) regardless of his nationality, functional limitation, access to money, and social network – all of them are end – users. And as a toy producer we can guarantee a sustainable development of this project in the future.

Feasibility: Where are you with understanding the feasibility of your idea? Describe what you’ve done so far and your plans. (3000 characters)

We`ve developed 18 products that suit our regular range of products. In our factory we have (almost) all machines that are needed to produce FFE range. We are looking for partners that help us introduce this range of toys and this idea into foreigners markets. We cooperate with COST Ludi (European Cooperation in Science and Technology – action Ludi – play for children with disabilities integrating more than 100 researchers and practitioners from 32 countries) We have a dedicated team in our R&D department that is responsible for FFE project. We need extra funds to buy 2 machines ( to use and produce in a better way “magical varnish” and Braille ) also for some activites that can make our idea viral.

Business Viability: How viable is your business model? (1500 characters)

Currently we are looking for some partners in Europe and our aim for this year is to make FFE accessible to every child in Poland. We have some promising partners in few European countries, but we don`t want to stop with that. We believe that with your support we can make “kids centred design” idea contagious.

HCD: How have you used human centered design to build or refine your concept? (1500 characters)

Our first steps were quite chaotic but when I discovered “The Field Guide to Human Centred Design” everything has changed. We create a Project Plan and build a team (2 “Project Manager” and 3 graphic designers). The most useful was Interview (parents and children) and Expert Interwiev (therapist, teachers). We knew that we want to respond to children diversity and create a toy that is usable for and accessible to as many children as possible so talking with Extremes and Mainstreams was crucial. We decided that we should try Immersion and we spend some afternoons with families that have children with and without functional limitation (in the same family). By the end of the Inspiration and Ideation phases our team had created brief that show us crucial points of our products. That was the base for our Product Development team. When ideas of products were ready we started the phase of prototyping and testing. Different models and mock – ups for every single board game and puzzles. For almost 1 year prototyping getting Feedback integrate Feedback and Iterate - that was our reality. And now is time for Create a Pitch – the most difficult part. We have fantastic feedback from consumers, parents and children, but how to convince partners that Fun For Everyone is great idea and worth their attention?

Tell us more about you (3000 characters)

Our inspiration was group of parents with visually impaired children that ask our company to create some low cost puzzles and board games for their children. They ask us because since it was founded in 1985, Trefl Group has been one of the leading companies in Pomerania (Pomorze). It has both manufacturing and trading subsidiaries. The main business of the group is the manufacture and distribution of jigsaw puzzles, board games and playing cards. One of our the most successful line is “Mały odkrywca” (Little Explorer). The Little Explorer is a series of educational games for children from 2 to 6 years old. All games have been developed by a team of specialists from different fields: pedagogy, philology, speech therapy, sociology and psychology. Each of the games has been prepared to help children's cognitive and intellectual development: the games develop logical mathematical thinking, stimulate the development of vocabulary and communication skills, exercise hand-eye coordination, train memory and concentration, and stimulate imagination and creativity. Our products combine fun with educational elements, and they also give an opportunity to spend quality time with children. Having this background we decided to respond to parents and children with functional limitation needs - and create something new FFE line.

Do you have the people and partners you need to do what you’ve described? (500 characters)

In context of production and product development we have: a dedicated team in R&D department and our entire factory. The main difficulties now is to communicate our idea and products properly. Nevertheless we need some help and mentoring. People who can help us and show how we can tweak our communication strategy, what more we can do with our distribution plan and how convince different people to our idea.

As you consider your next steps, what kinds of help could you use? Is there a type of expertise that would be most helpful? (1800 characters)

The main difficulties now is to communicate our idea and products properly. Nevertheless we need some help and mentoring. People who can help us and show how we can tweak our communication strategy, what more we can do with our distribution plan and how convince different people to our idea.

Are you willing to share your email contact information submitted on OpenIDEO with Gary Community Investments?

  • Yes, share my contact information

[Optional] Biography: Upload your biography. Please include links to relevant information (portfolio, LinkedIn profile, organization website, etc).

http://fun.trefl.com/en/mission.html http://www.trefl.com/

2 comments

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Photo of Iliriana Kacaniku
Team

Dear Aneta and Beth and Jake lacourse 

As I was reading each other's ideas, I was impressed to read the same passion you share for inclusive educational toys for children. A puzzle with a unique and inclusive design and a robot with another unique design seem to complement each other well in support of children's development. Hence, I would like to introduce the two of you in hope that you will have valuable exchanges of insights and exploration of collaborations.

Best regards,
Iliriana

Photo of Aneta
Team

Dear IIiriana,
thank you for your comment. I`m so glad that you`ve connected us! I really love the idea of Beth and Jake Lacourse. I feel more brave when I see that there are other people who want to support development of children with different disabilities. For me it`s a signal (as Seth Godin said) "It means that you are offering sth that`s not crazy, and  it makes easier to get your point accross". Thank you once again! I`m really proud that I`ve joined IDEO community!!

best regrads
Aneta