APEX in Profile: Caroline Ingeborn


Image: Anders Lindqvist

Caroline Ingeborn
President and COO
Toca Boca

Caroline Ingeborn is president and COO of Stockholm-based Toca Boca. She joined the company in 2013, when it opened its San Francisco office, helping to further Toca Boca’s mission of using traditional play patterns to create digital toys for kids. She has been instrumental in developing the company into a global play studio.

Fast facts:
Location: SFO
Now reading: The New York Times
Brand of suitcase: Rimowa and Away
Passport stamp you wish you had: Myanmar
The future of flight will be: Fast

Give us a glimpse into a day in the life of your job.
Often, I’ll start my day from home, having meetings with our Stockholm studio at the beginning of our day in San Francisco, which is the end of theirs. When those wrap up at around 9 a.m., I get ready and head into the office. Every workday is different, but it’s rare to find one where I’m not in a lot of meetings. I try to leave at 5 p.m. to spend time with my daughter, Teddie, before she goes to bed. After she falls asleep, I log back on and make some headway on work I need to get done outside of meetings.

What’s the most overlooked aspect of the passenger experience?
I would love to see more airlines consider passengers who are children. While my family has encountered many wonderful, patient and friendly flight attendants and crewmembers, I’m glad that airlines are starting to think about kids on a more systemic level – paying more attention to the in-flight entertainment offerings for children, that sort of thing. I look forward to seeing more child-focused developments in the air travel experience, from airports to aircraft and beyond.

What’s behind the push for gender-neutral games at Toca Boca?
Gender neutrality has been an aspect of Toca Boca’s identity since its inception, so it was a part of the company before I joined. As a leader of the company, it is something I strongly believe in, both from a values and a commercial perspective.

Why do you believe in gender-neutral games?
I grew up thinking that there was nothing you couldn’t do just because you’re a boy or a girl. Play is not based on gender, but driven by your own personal interests. The toy industry used to be more gender neutral, but over just the past 25 years, we’ve continued to see it be divided between what’s blue and what’s pink – this didn’t happen because boys and girls want to be marketed to separately. Children get a lot of heteronormative reinforcement out in the world; I do not think toys should dictate how kids should be playing and what they should be playing with.

How does Toca Boca tailor products to specific age categories?
We observe play patterns for kids ages 6-9, for example, and then rigorously test within this age group at various stages throughout our production cycle to ensure we are making great products for our users. We do everything from the kid’s perspective, and they are a huge part of our process from start to finish.

Has your daughter influenced how you view play?
I love to watch her bring out the playful side of everyone she interacts with, no matter if it’s a kid, a parent or someone who doesn’t spend much time with three-year-olds; she reminds me that play is a crucial element of daily life for people of all ages.

If you could sit next to anyone on a flight, who would it be?
Iris Apfel – that would be a blast.

“APEX in Profile: Caroline Ingeborn” was originally published in the 9.1 February/March issue of APEX Experience magazine.