TIA president Steve Pasierb has hailed the Chicago Toy & Game Group as "one of the most important parts of the US toy industry".
Founded by Mary Couzin, ChiTAG is reponsible for championing the toy and game inventor scene, and organising Chicago Toy & Game Week, a line-up of events celebrating the global inventor community. The organisation is also responsible for the TAGIE Awards, a ceremony celebrating the top work of the global inventor community.
Speaking at the New York Toy Fair to ToyNews about the importance of nurturing US inventors, Pasierb said: "The inventor community is one of the most important parts of the US toy industry and ChiTAG is one of the most important parts of the US toy industry. What Mary Couzin and that group is doing year-in year-out is a vital part of keeping the US toy industry alive."
The US Toy Fair itself boasts a programme called the Creative Factor which is focused on the inventor and designer community. It features free education and demonstrations at the Creative Factor booth, alongside the Ask a Pro programme that sees experts talk to visitors about how to get their ideas off the ground.
The Creative Factor is a popular part of the Fair having been a regular slot for 11 years, but Pasierb believes there is more that the TIA could do to connect inventors at the show.
"I got a chance to go the Toy Inventors Dinner at the London Toy Fair and the energy in that room was phenomenal," added Pasierb.
"I don’t know if we’ve necessarily captured that here in the United States, connecting people in the best way that we could. That’s where the future is. Our companies are already paying more attention to nurturing the inventor community. Instead of just going out, getting people’s inventions and selling them, they are starting to understand that they really need to be nurturing that community."