Do you have an entrepreneurial spirit? Are you forever a child at heart? Passionate about toys, design and playing? Get ready to bring your imagination to the brand new Course Series in Toy Invention offered at The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education. This series of four courses was designed in collaboration with Ryerson University’s Faculty of Arts and Design (FCAD), Spin Master, Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art and OCAD University. The first of its kind in Canada, this new one-year program will provide entrepreneurial toy inventors with the skills and experience necessary to bring their best ideas and innovations to market.
We had the chance to speak with Lorena Escandon, Assistant Professor at the School of Creative Industries and Coordinator of the Course Series in Toy Invention as well as Paul Reynolds, Designer and Inventor at Spin Master Ltd., to get their inside scoop about the program set to launch this September 2019. Learn more about the program and why you should enrol!
The First of Its Kind in Canada
If you’re passionate about playing, The Chang School can help bring your best toy ideas to life, while also creating a community where students can learn from each other and industry professionals. This course series is truly “unlocking a particular field that is unknown, little-known or previously inaccessible to people,” explains Paul.
“The Chang School houses very practical hands-on programs, and this is no exception. Where this program does stand out is in the lab portions, the industry connections, and the mentor network. We are connecting experienced and talented individuals from Ryerson, OCAD U, Spin Master and Shenkar to offer students access to the secrets of the industry. We aim to create a community of toy inventors in the city, and that in itself is very different,” says Lorena.
Unique Opportunity To Learn With A Community
Within this cohort-based program, creating a student community was top of mind. “We want participants in this program to become a community; it’s important that they know each other and work together to develop their projects. Collaboration is a big part of creativity, and a small group provides the right environment to foster trust and collaboration,” Lorena comments. Based on the industry, classes will be workshop-based, both in and outside of the classroom.
The ability to move through the program as a group is an important aspect of the course series. The program is intentionally limited in size to promote quality of learning, hands-on development experience and mentorship. Progressing with your fellow students throughout the different stages of the toy development process will be a truly unique opportunity.
Access To The Best Of The Industry
With all of the partners collaborating on the Course Series in Toy Invention, students will have access to a variety of thought leaders and facilities, including being taught by both FCAD and OCAD faculty. Program participants will also have access to the new “Fab Lab” at Ryerson University. This state-of-the-art Fabrication Lab supports student exploration of three-dimensional design, scale model work and prototype construction. This cutting-edge technology will provide students with the assistance they need to succeed in their projects.
Students will also have the opportunity to increase their network with plenty of guest lectures from industry professionals. “We’ll have special guests that can speak to the business of toys and toy invention as well as guests that may serve as technical advisers during a particular phase of a project,” says Paul.
Who Should Enrol?
The program is open to students from all levels and areas of educational experience, as The Chang School supports access to education and open enrollment. Participants will need to apply to, and be accepted into, the program, and may come from backgrounds including education, psychology, storytelling, design, engineering and other technology fields. “We hope that there will be a diversity of backgrounds to enrich the class with unique perspectives,” notes Paul. More importantly, “people who have a passion for toys and want to work in this industry part-time or full-time,” says Lorena, should enrol in this course series. “People who are playful, open-minded and inquisitive should enrol. Having a strong desire to create marketable, magical moments and a love for toys helps, too!” Paul adds.
What’s In It For Me?
At the end of the year-long program, students will be able to demonstrate the knowledge and skills they have learned, including how to use creative tools and methods to find new toy ideas, conduct market research, and prototype toy concepts, as well as how to successfully communicate a new concept through various forms of media.
Lorena adds that “[students] will develop their creative capacity. They will also learn toy concept development, prototyping, and communication – with their target audience and with potential buyers.” As well as “gain an understanding of the toy industry and learn the tools needed to distill their ideas into presentable, fun concepts which can be pitched to Spin Master and other toy companies,” Paul says.
Tips for Students To Be Successful
Lorena and Paul concluded with some tips for being successful in this program:
“I would recommend coming to the program as your authentic self. We want to see original and creative ideas, so it’s important that you are yourself. Also, do lots of research! (a.k.a. spend time playing!)” – Lorena
“Students should be open-minded and ready to question their own opinions and tendencies. But most of all, students should be playful and collaborative as they will be working in groups.” – Paul