Inventing is hard. It is not for the faint of heart.
Coming up with an original idea that has the potential to set the world on fire is a monster challenge. But, if successful, your creation could be the next Rainbow Loom, Silly Bands, or Slap Bracelets. And, who knows, you could end up being like the professional inventors below and have a successful career of bringing fun, joy and excitement to millions of kids of all ages.
So, what does it take to be a real inventor?
What skill-set do you need to make your ideas a reality?
Where should you look for inspiration?
We reached out to the professionals to get their advice on what it takes to become a successful game and toy inventor.
#1 – Dan Klitsner
Keep showing ideas you believe in to as many companies as you can- all it takes is one to see the vision. One important caveat- be ready to pivot when you hear great advice. The two qualities of believing in your idea AND incorporating the right feedback are essential co- ingredients.
#2 – What question should inventors ask themselves during the creation process?
How Does this product cause the kid/players to interact and move?
#3 – What superpower or skillset does an inventor need to be successful?
Super listening and super judgement. Listen listen listen! Know a good improvement to your idea when someone suggests it. Know a bad suggestion when someone says it.
Howard Fleischer, Inventor of Riddle Cube & Licensing Agent
#4 – Howard Fleischer – What question should inventors ask themselves during the creation process?
…where is the “Breakthrough” solution to my idea. Don’t just accept the first solution, challenge yourself to come up with a number of options. Remember to circle back and to challenge your original premise to see what else your creation could be…many great inventions derived from a completely different direction than the inventor intended.
#5 – What superpower or skillset does an inventor need to be successful?
Tenacity, clarity of vision, ability to listen and (really hear) constructive criticism, to refine a concept as close to the final product as possible, and then to be able to clearly communicate the vision in one or two sentences
#6 – Where can young inventors look for inspiration as they create?
NATURE…when paying close attention to the way natural things function in the world with provide deep inspiration for future creation (things like Velcro were born from this process)
Peggy Brown, Game & Toy Inventor
Something we usually neglect to tell our kids is to give them permission to fail. And to tell them they WILL fail. And that failure always reveals something new.
We are all so programmed to shoot for success, but not to see failures as important steps in the process of any creation. We should teach them that failure isn’t bad, it isn’t anything to be ashamed of, it certainly isn’t final, and it has nothing to do with our value as people or as creatives. Failure and rejection are our best teachers and should be our biggest motivators. We should tell them to fail fast, fail often and fail gloriously as they move toward success.
Adam Hocherman – Inventor of Marbleocity & Toy Industry Executive
#8 – What question should inventors ask themselves during the creation process?
“Am I solving a problem that people have?” If you’re not careful you may spend a lot of time inventing a solution to a problem that doesn’t really exist. This doesn’t apply exactly for toys/games but the idea that you should always be thinking about how you are addressing the need of your end user still does.
#9 – What superpower or skillset does an inventor need to be successful?
You need to be able to visualize things in three dimensions (something that can be learned) and pre-anticipate how people are going to interact with the product that you are designing. This will lead to more elegant solutions with better user interfaces (or, in the case of games, better gameplay).
#10 – Where can young inventors look for inspiration as they create?
I find inspiration in the success of relatively simple concepts that blossom into big ideas. OXO began with a single “better” can opener (that had comfy, rubber handles) but ultimately defined the market for well-designed kitchen gadgets.
About Our Inventors:
Dan Klitsner, Founder of KID Group.
Since 1990 the San Francisco invention studio has created over 300 games and toys, specializing in combining physical and digital play that gets kids up and active. Dan is most well known as the inventor of Hasbro’s “Bop It” line, as co-inventor of the Perplexus line of interactive labyrinths, and recently for re-imagining the iconic game Simon as Simon Swipe, Simon Air and Simon Optix. Dan graduated with a BS in Industrial Design from Art Center College of Design in 1982 and has taught invention and design at California College of Arts and Crafts, San Francisco State and the San Francisco Academy of Art.
Peggy Brown has created hundreds of products that have been mass-produced and marketed all over the world, written books, taught classes, and instigated countless kids of every age to chuck their inhibitions and unleash their creative spirits in a big variety of situations. It’s important to her not just to be creative, but to inspire creativity in others, and she’s built her career on making products for the masses that teach, challenge, and draw families closer.
Backed by a Fine Arts degree in Industrial Design and an impressive resume, Peggy has worked with the world’s biggest and best toy, game, and kids’ entertainment companies in a number of capacities: as an inventor, a designer, writer, creative director, consultant, and executive. They have grown to depend on her to offer them innovative new products to add to their lines, time and time again.
Over the last 30 years Howard has participated in negotiating licensing deals with such notable companies as; Disney, Crayola, Fisher-Price, Hasbro, Kellogg’s, Mattel, Microsoft, Ravensburger, SEGA, Spinmaster, US Postal Service, among others. A reporter several years ago cited him as “the Jerry Maguire of the toy industry”!
Mr. Hocherman has built and sold two consumer products companies and is now the Vice President of New Business at PlayMonster where he spends his days licensing great ideas and sniffing around for acquisition opportunities. He holds a BS and an MBA from Cornell University. For fun, he has proudly restored a 30 year-old vintage Williams Cyclone pinball machine.
Think you got what it takes to invent the next big toy or game? Then enter the 12th Annual ChiTag Young Inventor’s Challenge.
Saturday, November 17, 2018 – Deadline to Register October 31st!
The Young Inventor Challenge provides an opportunity for children ages 6 to 18 to showcase their own original toy & game inventions to toy & game industry professionals, members of media and the general public and ignite their imagination, creativity and presentation skills!
The judging is split into two categories, Junior (6-10) and Senior (11-18). There is a $15 requested donation to help cover administrative costs when you participate in the Young Inventor Challenge. Participants and their immediate families are invited to be our guests to the Fair with complimentary admission to ChiTAG for the whole weekend!
Need help? Turn to the ChiTag YIC Inventor Guide as a reference to help imagine, design, test, and create your own toy or game invention. It is a great tool to engage kids in brainstorming and innovation.
The Young Inventor Challenge can provide a means of taking the inventions to even greater heights, with professional critiques from our industry experts and the opportunity to show their work off to the public, toy industry, and members of the press.
To learn more about ChiTag’s Young Inventors Challenge, click here.