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WORK

THE LEGO FOUNDATION

Empowering children to learn through play with audio innovation

THE IMPACT

2

Weeks of intense sprints

3

Time-zones to collaborate across

8

Fun and engaging concepts created

3

Fully developed prototypes

THE CHALLENGE

Rufus Leonard worked with The LEGO Foundation and the International Refugee Committee (IRC) to promote learning through play for children affected by crisis, to address a pressing challenge of our time.

The brilliant brief was to challenge the current models of audio delivery, design alternative solutions, and outline experiments that explore the creative opportunities for audio technology. These solutions and experiments would need to deliver learning through play in new, exciting and impactful ways for young children in crisis settings. This innovation would go on to support The Lego Foundation and IRC to deliver distance learning education radio and audio content to families and children in Columbia, Tanzania, Uganda, and Lebanon – resulting in experiences in Spanish, French, English and Arabic. This was a focused project, with two weeks of intense sprints, and collaboration across three time zones (Denmark, London and San Francisco) with multiple stakeholders – including the world-renowned MIT Media Lab. 

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OUR SOLUTION

The refugee environment possesses a multitude of limitations and barriers-to-entry for many technological approaches in the field of audio learning. Therefore, our multi-disciplinary team had to take an innovative approach to bridge the gap between low-resource restrictions while providing a high-quality experience. To push our thinking quickly in each sprint, whilst ensuring both environment and user were always at the core, we mapped all ideas against a framework of extremes with four spectrums:  Individual vs. Collaborative, Low-resource vs. High-resource, Broadcast vs. Tailored, and Audio-only vs. Multi-modal or multi-channel. Alongside The Lego Foundation’s existing play spectrum, our visionary thinking pushed the boundaries of audio technology and maximised the educational opportunities through play. 

Through our service design process, we devised eight fun and engaging concepts that encouraged skills such as critical thinking, reasoning, creative interpretation, collaboration, problem solving, as well as trial and error – all through play and audio technology. Three were shortlisted by The LEGO Foundation and developed into prototypes by the Rufus Leonard team. 

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James Norwood

Experience Design Manager, The LEGO Foundation

"The Rufus team were great and clearly had a lot of fun on this project. They managed to produce a huge amount of innovative thinking in the short 2-week sprint."
"It’s also impressive how our teams were able to come together and innovate in the remote setup. We’re looking forward to progressing the prototypes we created."
HOW WE DO IT

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