Mojo Nation Champions the Global Toy Inventor and Designer Community

April 18, 2017

For toy inventors and designers looking to bring their product to market, Mojo Nation is a new resource striving to bring attention to, create opportunities for, and accelerate the careers of the creative toy community. Toy News Tuesday editors sat down with Billy Langsworthy, the organization’s co-founder and the former editor of ToyNews in the UK, to discuss the importance of celebrating and supporting the global inventor and designer community.

Why is it important to celebrate the inventor/designer community?
The toy and game design community is a thriving hub of creativity. Whether it’s in-house talent at toy companies, freelance designers, or teams of innovators at inventor agencies, these creators are the backbone of the industry. Put simply, a healthy inventor community makes for a healthy toy industry so we need to nurture it, celebrate it, and ensure new blood has the opportunity to join in the fun.

Why are you personally interested in toy/game inventors and designers?
As editor of ToyNews, I loved the industry as a whole, but once I started interviewing designers and the people involved in R&D, I found their passion infectious and soon wanted to focus more on that side of the sector.

Can you share a toy/game inventor success story that stuck with you?
An event I ran previously helped a remarkably talented designer from Belfast named Ciaran Larkin get to work with Hasbro at its Rhode Island headquarters. He said it changed his life and propelled him into his dream career. It inspired us to do the same sort of thing for more designers with Mojo Nation.

What is the goal of Mojo Nation?
We launched Mojo Nation in January at the London Toy Fair. Mojo Nation is about: celebrating the achievements of the toy and game design community; bolstering opportunities for toy and game inventors; and helping new blood break into the toy and games space, be it design graduates or creators from other industries that can apply their skills to this sector. In a nutshell, Mojo Nation is here to champion the toy industry’s creative backbone and ensure the greatest toy ideas don’t just stay ideas.

Who can become a member of Mojo Nation and what are some of the benefits for members?
Our global members span:

  • Research & Development teams within toys and games firms of all sizes;
  • The latest crop of exciting graduate product design talent, fresh out of university;
  • Experienced freelance toy and game designers, responsible for some of the industry’s biggest hits;
  • Innovators working on the fringes of “traditional” toy and game design—blending the latest technology with tried-and-tested play patterns to push the world of toy design in exciting new directions.
  • Anyone with an idea for a toy or a game!
An inventor’s membership allows access to plenty of exclusive members-only pitching opportunities, networking nights, and design challenges. A toy or game firm’s membership includes a pitching spot at an event we’re running later this year and involvement in our University Mentorship Scheme where they get to work with the next wave of exciting toy inventors.

All of our university members benefit from student rates to all of our events, and we even pair them up with our toy company members for year-long initiatives spanning graduate schemes, work placements, industry days, and design challenges.

How can Mojo Nation help new inventors make a successful product?
By getting their concepts in-front of the relevant people and letting designers know what else is out there for them. While we’re doing what we can in the form of events, university initiatives, and features on our website, we’re also about highlighting the help that is already out there for this community, whether it's driving first time designers to Playtest UK meet-ups back home, making it easier for more UK and European creators to fly out to international toy fairs and ChiTAG, or sharing advice from other creative industries outside of toys and games.

What can the trade associations around the world, including the Toy Industry Association (TIA), do to enhance their support of the inventor and designer community?
There are waves of brilliant toy design talent going into other industries because the connections between education and industry just aren’t there in our sector. It would be great for the trade bodies to encourage closer ties.

Tell us about the inaugural Play Creators Festival—who can attend and what will they find there?
The Play Creators Festival, taking place in London in September, will bring together some of the brightest design talent to share ideas, give advice, and help toy and games firms of all sizes and specialties uncover their next hit product with a range of exciting panels and keynotes from the talent behind some of the industry’s most iconic creations.

Visit Mojo Nation for more information on membership and upcoming events for toy inventors and designers.

TIA’s Toy Inventor and Designer Guide is a free resource to help the global toy and inventor community bring their innovative ideas to market. The extensive how-to pamphlet outlines the steps involved in developing, protecting, selling, and manufacturing a new invention or design in the highly competitive toy industry. To learn more about how TIA membership supports inventors and designers, contact Bernadette Boyle.

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