TWO-HEADED INVENTION

 

By Marie Chaplet & Steffanie Yeakle,  

Inventors, Les Fées Hilares 

 

Invention carries the image of a lone pursuit. Our business model is co-creation from the start to the end. We would like to share our twoheaded creative process in the hope that there will be helpful insights in it for everyone's brainstorms.

 

FRIENDSHIP

We became friends shortly after one of us hired the other some 15+ years ago at Mattel France. This friendship impacts our creative process because: we trust each other 100% (that helps in tough contract negotiations), and we know each other's strengths, weaknesses and quirks well enough to understand what the other one really means or to forgive an awkward way of putting things.

 

COMPLEMENTARY

Our skills complement each other: one of us has one of her fingers on the pulse of retail and the other on kids & play-testing: no child leaves her house without testing our latest game! The other has set up Santa's workshop in her living-room, always rapid-prototyping, even if it is bits of paper, cardboard and clay; never happier than talking shop with engineers. But we bring equal input to the game mechanics.

 

Our personalities and sources of inspiration are very different: one has a wide range of interests from health to art and a voracious appetite for reading. The other, possibly because of her psychology degree, finds many ideas through observing interactions and behaviours. All this material is then stirred, transformed, mixed up in the two-headed brain.

 

RESPECT

Our brainstorms break the rules because we are allowed to say no. We have great respect for each other and each other's ideas, so the 'no' doesn't kill our creativity. It can even spur it by making us work harder to convince the other. We both feel secure in the other's respect for our ideas. Which is why, when one of us says something really outlandish, something the other instinctively wants to reject, she might just pounce on it and take it higher and further instead. We know the other's ideas are good, so we're willing to go that extra mile to try and find the golden nugget.

 

We have no ego. We want the project to succeed above all. Whose idea wins out is a non-issue, although we each want to pull our weight and earn our 50% of the royalties (yeah, splitting the money could be the downside of dual invention!).

 

FUN & FREEDOM

We have fun. We'll chat for a bit about the kids, about our partners, whatever and have a great laugh. Those are the fuel of our inventions, sometimes quite literally. We have no legal or hierarchical obligation to work together. We collaborate because we have fun, and because it works: we earn a living creating games that people have fun playing. What could be better!

(November 2012)

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