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What Does It Take To Be A Real-World Toy and Game Inventor?

Meet Famed Game & Toy Inventor and Creative Artist, Ruth Green-Synowic

Toy and Game Inventor, Ruth Green-Synowic

Ruth Green-Synowic is no stranger to the challenge of introducing innovation to global brands. As an independent toy & game inventor and designer, and President of Ruth Green Inc., a product invention and design consultancy, Ruth has successfully worked with dozens of licenses, consulted for numerous toy companies, and was VP of a Creative group that created hundreds of McDonald’s Happy Meal toy programs.

With over 25 years of experience designing and developing consumer products, Ruth’s playful contributions can be seen in more than 1,500 toys and products worldwide, including: toys, games, premiums, educational products, apparel, medical devices and geriatric therapy aids.

Her arts & crafts line, Paint-Sation by Irwin Toy, won 2017 Toy of the Year in France, in the Crafts category. She was nominated for Toy inventor of the Year at the 2017 TAGIEs and for Women in Toys Designer/Inventor of the Year award in 2008. In 2009 and 2011, Ruth was awarded for Creative Excellence by her peers.

Invention by Ruth Green-Synowic. Arts & Crafts Station by Goliath Toys.
Paint Station by Goliath Toys

Raising Nerd: How did you get started in the world of toy & game inventing?

Ruth Green-Synowic: I started sending premium ideas to companies when I was 8 years old. When I was 11, I wrote a script for a popular TV show. It took me almost 2 years to finish..but I did. No one told me I couldn’t do these things, I just did!

Raising Nerd: What advice do you wish you had as a young toy or game inventor that would have helped you?

Ruth Green-Synowic: Do not give up! It’s easy to get discouraged when you’re young and have no experience or benchmark for rejection. This doesn’t mean you should stake everything on only one idea. Have several ideas going at the same time. Ideas merge, morph and cross-pollinate. If you believe in something pursue it, get feedback, make needed changes but don’t give up!

Raising Nerd: What question should toy and game inventors ask themselves during the creation process?

Ruth Green-Synowic: Can I envision myself buying this product or service…why?

  • What does my product’s TV commercial (or social media ad) look like (in 10 seconds, 15 seconds, 30 seconds)?
  • Have I asked anyone else what they think? what they like/don’t like?..have I focus tested my product/service with my end user?
Green-Synowic leverages her talents and love for art to help drive her inventive nature.

Raising Nerd: What superpower or skill set does an toy or game inventor need to be successful?

Ruth Green-Synowic:

  • Basic art and industrial design skills are very handy.
  • If you’re mechanically inclined, that’s even better. If you’re not, be smart and pay attention to others who are engineers/industrial designers/ marketeers/etc., you can pick up a lot of valuable information/insights to incorporate in your designs.
  • Dogged determination – even when others don’t believe in your idea or see your vision.
  • Curiosity – about the end user and what makes them tick. This is sooo important. Curiosity about how things work/function.
  • Persistence – don’t let the word ‘no’ bother you. It may just mean you need to look at your idea from another perspective. Look at the word ‘no’ as a challenge to take it up higher, to create something even better.

Raising Nerd: What is one product, service, or item that you wish you could have invented?

Ruth Green-Synowic: Great question. It’s usually the obvious inventions or solutions that give me pause.

Raising Nerd: Where can young inventors look for inspiration as they create?

Ruth Green-Synowic: Online, hardware stores, antique stores (especially the toy area), movies, life experiences – interacting with others, listening to their ‘wish lists’, playing together can be great for brainstorming ideas.

Pay attention to what people are buying when you’re in a store. Listen to their comments and reactions to certain products, ask them questions.

“Don’t let the word ‘no’ bother you. It may just mean you need to look at your idea from another perspective. Look at the word ‘no’ as a challenge to take it up higher, to create something even better.”

Raising Nerd: Is there an area, genre, or category within the industry that is underutilized or has big opportunity?

Ruth Green-Synowic: I think it’s a matter of timing/insights/trends, no matter what the category. Develop ideas as you’re inspired and set them aside if the demand isn’t there yet. Eventually, there will be a right time for that idea. Just keep generating ideas.

Raising Nerd: When do you know that your invention is ready?

Ruth Green-Synowic: You don’t always know and you’ll need to be flexible with your vision. Sometimes a company will become enamored with just one aspect of what you’ve show them. Your concept can morph into other things. Decide ahead of time if you’re okay with that.

Nerd On!


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