March 19, 2020

The following is based on and inspired by the books The Great Beanie Baby Bubble: Mass Delusion and the Dark Side of Cute by Zac Bissonnette and The Rise of Viagra: How the Little Blue Pill Changed Sex in America by Meika Loe

Sigmund Freud, the famous psychologist, wrote in 1908, “People hoard random stuff because they’re so damn horny all the time”. The Beanie Baby Bubble burst in 1998. Viagra was introduced in 1998. Coinciden...

Being a pro designer/ inventor is not for the squeamish. Don’t get me wrong, I love my work, and I love the industry, but it’s a lot like having a problem gambling addiction. Each new concept is like a scratch-off lottery ticket. Not getting rejected in the pitch meeting is like scratching off the first number. Hey- there’s a number under there! Okay, let’s try the next one – (scratch scratch scratch) my widget made it to the...

Are you looking to save the world, one game design at a time? Then have we got the animal-themed design mantra for you! We call it The Whole Buffalo.


Because back in the days of hunting and gathering, when a majestic buffalo was brought down, not a single piece of that animal was wasted. The skin became clothing and shoes and bedding, the hair became rope, the hooves became rattles, the bones became knives, and the teeth we...

There is a dirty, little secret about the game, Apples To Apples.  You play your red apple cards trying to get the coveted green apple card.  All the red apple cards are nouns and the green ones are adjectives.  Next time you play the game, notice that the green cards each player collects are accurate descriptions of that player!  Don’t laugh out loud when your opponent gets “Undesirable” and “Dull.”

The thi...

(Photo Credit Bryan Liscinsky)

The phrase, “we’re all in the same boat” has new meaning for me after taking part in the inaugural Ocean Plastic Leadership Summit. As a first-of-its-kind expedition, SoulBuffalo compiled more than 150 leaders from the largest chemical companies, plastic producers, and environmental groups from around the globe. The group met out at sea for four days on a 400 foot ship in one of the highest concen...

As the newly formed Pinwheel Design team, we are focussed on developing and designing great games for kids. For several years, we developed board games at Peaceable Kingdom and had the opportunity to review many ideas from new inventors. There were some consistent pieces of advice we found ourselves offering to hopeful inventors as a way to help them improve their games and their chances of being published. We are sharing our...

When developing toys and games you need to know what the user experience is first and then, if a new mechanism is needed, try to make that user experience happen by designing and making one. Usually, the harder you have to work on the mechanism, the easier it makes it for the user in terms of simplicity.

When creating mechanisms, there's a huge amount of unknowns - you probably know what the toy/game needs to do, but there are...

September 16, 2019

I recently came across Ken Gruhl’s White Paper on concept documentation and something resonated with me – “the firehose of never-ending concepts that come across my desk.” We all talk invention, pitches, trends and all the fun stuff often. We don’t, however, talk that much about the necessary process-related stuff like concept management.

I appreciated Ken’s practical approach to managing his creative flow into TRASH, TEST and...

September 12, 2019

Inventors do not usually pay much attention to the section of license agreements that deals with warranties. They should.

Warranties are simply guarantees or promises that the parties of the agreement make to each other. The ones that the Licensee or manufacturer make are usually pretty benign, and not too important, if they are included at all. They are things like, “we are a bona fide company in the toy and game industry”, “w...

September 2, 2019

Why hire a Licensing Agent for Toys & Games?

Many people don’t understand the role of a Toy/Game Licensing Agent, especially since worldwide there are relatively few legitimate professional Agents in this business. My goal in writing this whitepaper is to help explain some of the advantages in working with an experienced Agent. 

Some key benefits:

  • An extensive network of long-time & trusted industry relationships with Invento...

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