Geoff House - Inventor and Adventurer
What do you do in the industry?
I’m a professional designer and inventor, I began the invention consultancy Tricky in 2003 and am based in the UK.
What are you working on now?
As always, loads of stuff. I work in all categories and I’m open to any ideas that come my way. Basically, I work on whatever takes my interest, I highly recommend it.
Why and how did you get into the Toy and Game industry?
My University course required me to complete a placement year, so I spent 8 months bothering Hasbro into taking me on. In the end I think they gave me a job just to shut me up.
I must have done okay tho’ because they employed me as an Assistant Designer when I finished my degree. I stayed with them for 8 excellent years, working with some of the most recognisable faces in the toy industry before taking a more senior position at Radica.
What trends do you see in toys or games that excite or worry you?
I recently read that there will be 5000 new games launched this year, that’s a phenomenal amount of new games. There is obviously a huge opportunity for inventors with the right ideas but I sometimes worry that great product is getting lost in the mix.
What advice can you give to new inventors who are presenting toy or game ideas?
Present lots of good ideas, gratefully accept the feedback you receive, and if you can, make use of it, most people want you to succeed.
How do you get to present your ideas to potential partners?
Any way I can. Email, Skype and phone calls are great but the best way is to meet face to face.
Attending shows like ChiTAG are essential for me and result in the biggest hit rate for placing new ideas.
(Some of Geoff's licensed products.)
What does your typical day look like?
Get up late, rush everyone out the door, short drive to the office and a walk on the beach with my dog who then comes to work with me. I can then get into my day.
I spend 6-8 hours each day working on existing ideas or trying to come up with new ones. Its not always easy and the most creative times are not normally when I’m at my desk, so I try and make myself get out and see new things. Sometimes getting away from work is the best way to work (at least thats what I tell myself).
What is the coolest part of your job?
I am a toy and games inventor.
What and/or who inspires you?
I collaborate with a few other inventors and am always inspired by their amazing enthusiasm and creativity.
What was your favourite toy or game as a child?
Always a pencil and paper, and later on Dungeons and Dragons.
Where were you born?
Lambeth - London.
What was your life like growing up?
Same as most kids I’d imagine, like being in a comic book.
Where did you grow up and how did that influence who you are today?
I went to a weird 70’s experimental primary school that didn’t have lessons and relied on the kids desire to learn. This worked for me in an unexpected way, I had no desire at all to learn anything except how to draw so that’s what I did. I think this was the springboard for me to experiment with creative thinking, but it was a shock when I went to a more conventional senior school.
What is your favorite gadget, app or piece of software that helps you every day?
Pinterest - its an amazing source of creativity.
How do you jumpstart your creativity when you find yourself stalled on a project?
Leave it alone and do something else, if its an idea worth pursuing a solution will generally make itself known to you. Alternatively, phone a friend. I have a few amazing inventor friends that I love working with who are always happy to help out.
When is the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
Last night at a gig with my daughter (we went to see Bowling for Soup).
An amazing one, my wife Lynn, a daughter at 16, a son at 14 and twin boys at 12.
Do you have any pets?
A Golden Retriever called Hatstand - he’s bonkers.
Do you have any guilty pleasures?
I sometimes bunk off during the week with my kayak - I love whitewater kayaking and one of the joys of working for yourself has to be being able to choose your own hours, right?
What’s the first thing you usually notice about people?
Shoes - I’m a bit of a trainer junkie.
What’s your favourite TV show?
Currently its the 90’s series of Gladiators.
Favourite movie(s) of all time?
Princess Bride, The Fifth Element, Starship Troopers, Kick Ass, Bill and Teds Excellent Adventure. (you get the idea)
Do you have a favourite place?
Skye - I go there at least once a year and will retire there one day.
What are your hobbies?
Whitewater kayaking, I am lucky enough to live in an area where there are plenty of rivers that challenge me most weekends.
What do you drive?
A Land Rover Defender 110 - I can get the kayak anywhere with it.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Thank you, Geoff! Geoff's company can be found here http://trickyhq.com