Dougal Grimes, Hasbro's director of global gaming acquisition and inventor relations returns to chair this year's How We Made It session.

LEGO designer joins Jenga, Crazy Cart and Skinny Sketcher creators on Inventors Workshop panel

LEGO designer Samuel Thomas Johnson will be joined by Jenga creator Leslie Scott, Crazy Cart inventor Ali Kermani and Skinny Sketcher’s Gillian Logan on How We Made It panel session at this year’s Inventors Workshop.

Chaired by Dougal Grimes, Hasbro’s director of global gaming acquisition and inventor relation, the session will deliver a rare insight into life as a toy designer and the secrets behind the success of some of the industry’s best loved products.

“I am honored to be able to chair the How We Made It panel once again," said Grimes.

"My absolute favorite part of working with inventors is the inspirational stories of how some of the world’s most innovative, game changing toys and games are made. There is always so much to be learned from the experience of others in the toy and game business and this panel provides a unique insight into some of the most experienced Inventors and designers in the world, and their stories.”

Samuel Johnson joined the LEGO Group as a Junior Designer, hired in October 2010, after graduating from the University of Derby in the same year. Since then he has worked as a designer, creating products for LEGO City, Ninjago and Legends of Chima where has also worked as a design consultant for the successful animated series.

“I am really excited about the opportunity to join the Inventors Workshop," Johnson told ToyNews.

"It will be great to talk about how I got my job with the LEGO Group and what I do in my daily work. I love to share my experience and insights with the design community and hopefully inspire some future LEGO Master Builders along the way.”

Leslie Scott has devised and published over forty board games, but is probably best known as the inventor of Jenga, the now inconic game she launched at the London Toy Fair 1983.

“While there are no set rules when it comes to creating a winning game or toy, the Inventors Workshop provides a great opportunity for designers to learn some effective tactics from the mistakes, and the successes, of others," said Scott.

Gillian Logan, who recently launched her range of Skinny Sketcher drawing kits following a deal signed at last year’s inaugural Workshop, will be lifting the lid on her eventful first year in the toy industry.

“I benefited hugely from the advice that was on offer at last year’s Inventors Workshop and I’m looking forward to returning this year to take part in the panel sessions," said Logan.

"Developing Skinny Sketcher has been a steep learning curve; a journey that’s been challenging at times and I’m happy to share my do’s and my many don’ts."

Ali Kermani, VP new initiatives at Razor USA, is the creator of the Crazy Cart, the hit drifting ride-on. Three years ago, the words Crazy Cart would have raised little more than an eyebrow from toy buyers the world over as the fledgling product once labeled as ‘too new for the market’ battled for industry recognition.

By mid-2013 however, the innovative drifter was raising pulses across the globe, having sold out of more than 30,000 units at Toys R Us in the US and even secured the 2014 accolade, Toy of the Year. Today, Kermani is touting the latest developments in the Crazy Cart dynasty, the Crazy Cart XL (for adults) and the Lil’ Crazy (for pre-schoolers), two variations of the original, launched in response to popular demand.

"This is an extraordinary chance to pay forward the countless lessons, insights, and opportunities that my mentors afforded me along my 11 year path from idea to implementation," Kermani told ToyNews. 

"Recognising the group effort that was required to advance the Crazy Cart from concept to Outdoor Toy of the Year, I aspire to be a part of a group that helps another inventor realise their dream."

This year, we are offering delegates the choice of two tracks at this year’s conference; an an Inventors Track suited for those starting their journey in the toy industry and an Industry track suited to more experienced inventors. The panel will be repeated across both strands, with content and questions tailored to the two different audiences.

This year’s Inventors Workshop is taking place on September 22nd at Whittlebury Hall in Northamptonshire.

The day will provide new and experienced toy and board game designers with a chance to take part in life-changing face to face meetings with leading toy companies as well as benefit from a morning conference covering critical issues including funding, toy safety, legislation, intellectual property protection, technology and pitching.

Tickets to the Inventors Workshop are on sale now for just £99. This early bird rate is applicable until August 7th and can be accessed here:

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