Tilli among 3 global finalists at The Future Play Design Challenge by Playful Minds & Lego Ventures!

4 min readJul 25, 2021


Tilli was one of the three global finalists at the Future Play Design Challenge; a global design challenge organized by CoC Playful Minds and LEGO Ventures, for entrepreneurs within the playful learning space.

The theme of 2021 was ethically co-creating the next generation of social digital play with children. Given Tilli’s focus on making social-emotional learning fun and meaningful, this was the perfect next step for our team to take time to learn and reflect.

We spent three refreshing, learning-packed days with thought-leaders, designers, and researchers within the social digital play space. We thought of synthesizing our own learnings and reflections for you!

Here are our FIVE biggest learnings:

Ethical Co-Creation with and for children is not a mere tick on a checklist, it’s a tried and tested approach that helps us make tools and experiences that place children’s happiness, well-being, and safety at its core. Ethical co-creation means that children become co-creators and not mere user-testers or respondents to a survey. Dr.Maria Kümpel Nørgaard (Senior Innovation Manager at CoC Playful Minds) shared with us the work of Creative World Citizens as a successful case study of how kids became co-designers and collaborators in designing a game around civics.

Some of our user-testing with kids and teachers in Sri Lanka

Parents and kids want to talk more to each other. According to the IKEA Play Report, two in five parents and young people would like to spend more time talking face to face as a family. This was at the core of building Tilli -creating opportunities for meaningful, intentional conversations between adults and kids.

Designing intentionally around consent. Consent is not just a compliance requirement, consent needs to be intentionally designed for, so that kids give consent that is informed. Informed consent means that we intentionally build-in tools and processes that help kids understand the purpose of the tool or project they’re involved in, why they are there, how their ideas will be used and more importantly how to say No!

Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) should start as early as possible. Dr. Barbie Clark walked us through the research landscape around learning and kids. This was our reminder that 90% of growth happens in the first 11 years of a child’s life. This is why it’s critical that we develop and invest in learning tools that allow teachers and parents to get started as early as possible Link to this research for anyone interested.

Invalidate early and fast. Next, we moved to the venture side of things. Usually, we get too obsessed with validating our product and features. Our session with Anders Søndergaard from Lego Ventures pushed us to actively find ways to invalidate what was not working, which was far more valuable than validating what was going well. We were introduced to some quick, fast, and scrappy tools to test the critical hypotheses that underline our venture like -- Will users find value? Will users pay? If so how much?

Check out the validation playbook and Strategyzer’s 44 experiments for more inspiration. Here’s a snapshot of what our team did: we wanted to see if our users who were willing to use our product, would actually pay and if so how much? so, we created a dummy landing page and used Useberry to observe and analyze user interactions and clicks to see what payment options different users preferred.

And that’s a wrap!

We would like to send a massive THANK YOU! to CoC Playful Minds (Esp. Maria!) and Lego Ventures for putting this program together. We absolutely cannot forget our fellow finalists Luqo (who emerged winners!) and Bloombot, we couldn’t have asked for a better group of educators and designers to share this experience with!

Want to know more about Tilli?
Check us out: https://www.tillikids.org

If you’re a school leader, teacher or educator, we are in the process of selecting partners for our private Beta, if this sounds intriguing join our waitlist and we will get in touch.




Hi! I am Tilli. I write about social-emotional learning, empathy, and metacognition (with a little touch of design and games)