by KRISTIN MORENCY GOLDMAN, senior communications specialist, The Toy Association

Have a cool play idea brewing? Maybe you’re looking for creative inspiration for your next toy design, or perhaps you’re a company in search of an innovative new toy that will turn heads. If you answered yes to any of these questions, mark your calendar for The Toy Association’s Creative Factor (CF@TF), an educational and career-building program for the global inventor and designer community at this year’s Toy Fair New York.

“What started as a niche educational program at Toy Fair nearly 17 years ago is now a global phenomenon designed to get the toy inventor community’s creative juices flowing and connect companies with up-and-coming design students, new talent, and established inventors,” says Steve Pasierb, president and CEO of The Toy Association. “Creative Factor’s continually expanding partnerships, mentorship opportunities, events, programming, and resources reflect The Toy Association’s commitment to fostering growth within the all-important worldwide toy inventor and designer community.”

An expanded Creative Factor program at Toy Fair New York will offer workshops, roundtables, and tech demos covering the impact of the toy life cycle from concept to consumer, design innovation, IP protection, VR character modeling, robotics, the connected play landscape, and much more. The returning CF@TF Inventor Day will be held prior to Toy Fair’s open on Friday, Feb. 21, providing inventors and designers the exclusive opportunity to directly pitch product concepts to toy manufacturers.

“A select number of inventors will be invited to present their fresh ideas to established toy and youth entertainment professionals, including potential manufacturing partners,” says Marian Bossard, executive vice president of global market events at The Toy Association.

To apply, inventors and designers completed the online submission form and submitted a 90-second video to support their written application. Selected applicants were notified by Wednesday, Dec.18.

“Especially for new designers and inventors just entering the industry, it can be overwhelming to navigate the show or even meet with many inventor relations professionals,” says Brett Klisch, director of Creative Factor and president of Peru Meridian Studios. “We’re excited to offer our designer and inventor community another opportunity to not only get in the door, but also get face time with the professionals that can help realize their visions.”

The initial review and submission selection was done by the Creative Factor Advisory Board, led by Klisch; Robin Raskin of Living in Digital Times; Billy Langsworthy of Mojo Nation; and Matt Nuccio of Design Edge.

 CF@TF will be the culmination of this year’s activities in support of the global inventor and designer community. Last year, Creative Factor sponsored Mojo Nation’s Play Creators Festival in London. The festival brought together some of the world’s brightest design talent to share ideas, offer advice, and help companies of all sizes uncover their next hit toy or game. In addition to a conference, the festival hosted the Play Creators Awards and Mojo Pitch 2019, and a student-focused conference the following month to support the latest wave of design talent. These activities were either sponsored, or supported by, The Toy Association’s Creative Factor.

“The Play Creators Festival aligns so closely with the overall mission and spirit of our Creative Factor brand. We hope to embark on a multiyear collaboration with Mojo Nation,” Bossard says.

Creative Factor is just one aspect of The Toy Association’s work to champion everyone in the toy community who delivers fun and safe playthings to kids. More information about The Toy Association’s dedication to fostering growth and success among toymakers, retailers, inventors, and more is available at

This article originally appeared in the December/January 2020 issue of the Toy Book.