This week, an inspirational talk from the US inventor of Tickle Me Elmo has Robert Hutchins contemplating the role of the inventor in molding a child's future.
“Only toys have the potential to inspire the people who will change the world.”
Sadly these words are not my own, but those belonging to the US toy inventor, industry acclaimed personality and the brain behind Tickle Me Elmo, Bruce Lund.
It was halfway through my second blueberry muffin at this year’s British Toy and Hobby Association Industry Day that the esteemed inventor took to the stage to deliver his insight on today’s toy market and answer the question, just how much do toys matter?
You will be glad to know that his answer, in short – and one I managed to jot down despite the muffin indigestion ravaging my chest – was, a lot.
But it was while educating the room on the necessity of ‘bringing magic back to toy selling’, that his passion for the role of the toy inventor emerged.
After all, and to paraphrase Lund here, it is you, the toy inventor who inspires the next generation to shape the world with your own innovations.
Well, that’s a lot of weight to carry, but one Lund believes any inventor worth their salt should be happy to shoulder.
His yarn began – as so many do – with primitive man, and one anecdote about how while the toys cave-children played with thousands of years ago have evolved, toys of today still serve the same fundamental purpose.
“Children are inspired to do what they do in adult life by the toys they play with as children,” said Lund.
“And people need to start telling the story of just how important they are, wherever and whenever they can.”
Just as the Wright Brothers were inspired to invent powered flight by the toys they were bought as children, so too was Lund inspired by his own.
But anecdotes aside, at the heart of Lund’s speech was the importance of bringing the magic back to a market that at its worst can become muddied by uninspired marketing.
“We must be the purveyors of play and the wizards of wonderment, toys after all have the potential to inspire those who will go on to change the world,” he enthused in his closing statement.
And that has got to be something worth keeping in mind the next time you sit down at the drawing board.
Elsewhere, the ToyNews team is undergoing a change around and after more than 10 years with the title, Samantha Loveday has decided to step away from her position as editor of both ToyNews and Licensing.biz to pursue new adventures.
But we wouldn’t want to leave you in the dark and in this week’s Inventor Bulletin we introduce the new look team, and welcome new staff-writer Rhys Troake to the industry.
Rhys joins us from our sister music title MI Pro and (while currently enjoying a week of slumming it in a field and listening to Kanye West – not jealous) has assured us he is looking forward to taking on the new role and getting to know you and the industry.