Frank Alexander Müller – PLAYMOBIL - THROUGH THE EYES OF THE KIDS
Since 1974, PLAYMOBIL has served as a classic in children's bedrooms with its characteristic 7,5cm high plastic figures and unmistakable friendly smile. About 3 billion PLAYMOBIL figures have been produced since then, distributed in approximately 100 countries worldwide, delighting both children, parents and teachers with a huge variety of different play worlds – from pirate ships and fire-breathing dragons to fairy tale woodland scenes.
The PLAYMOBIL toy system has always been recognized as representing high-value, quality play, stimulating imagination and creativity, and thus promoting child development. Children can adopt a myriad of different roles, from knights and princesses in historical scenes, as construction workers or police men in modern city scapes, or as secret agents or ghost hunters in virtual worlds…the list is endless!
Here at PLAYMOBIL, we know the real experts are kids – and our approach to product development relies on customer feedback right from the set go. Testing new ideas and play concepts with children, and making changes based on their feedback, is essential to ensure they are perfect for our biggest fans.
The tools of Design Thinking are central to PLAYMOBIL as a systematic, human-centered approach to get to know kids better.
We use this 5-step process which ensures continuous feedback between us and the target users:
Understand: The team tries to gain an emphatic understanding of the problem that is to be solved.
Observation: In the observation phase, participants gain an outward view and form empathy for the users and stakeholders.
Define the point of view: Knowledge gained must be collated and summarized, and the challenge reframed.
Ideation: In the phase of ideation, the team subsequently generates a variety of possible solutions, then selects a focus.
Prototyping & Test: The prototyping phase serves in the development of concrete solutions. These solutions can then be tested on the appropriate target group.
With the help of this approach, PLAYMOBIL is able to step into the end users’ shoes – we interview and carefully observe children´s reactions and responses to innovative play concepts. Solutions and ideas are realized and communicated in the form of prototypes as early as possible, so that potential users/ kids can test them and provide feedback – long before completion or the final launch.
As a Business Development- and Innovation Manager, a Marketer and an Entrepreneur, I am involved in a number of tasks and processes generally aiming at developing and implementing growth opportunities for PLAYMOBIL. My professional experiences include working in international Marketing & Innovation Management functions at Ravensburger Games, Mattel Inc. or Nintendo of Europe as well as co-founding online start-ups. I hold an international Master of Business Administration, as well as bachelors in Business and Marketing.