Ingredients for a successful idea

Adam Borton, Toy and Game School
An idea is like a recipe – just because you’ve written down the name and ingredients needed for the cake, it doesn’t mean people can eat it and enjoy it!

You need to buy the ingredients, mix them together in the right quantities and use the correct methods to actually create the cake – then you have to sell it too!

Now let’s apply that to toy and game ideas: just because you’ve written down some ideas about the name and what it should do, that doesn’t mean people will understand it, be able to play with it or want to make it themselves! You need to take that idea and present a real product so that other people will want to buy it.

Now, toy companies have lots of ideas themselves. I’ve seen this myself – very talented designers presenting amazing ideas that quickly get passed on. Why do their ideas get passed on? What ingredients were missing?

Here are a few of the reasons why some ideas get latched onto and driven forwards, while others get dropped or passed on:

One reason for an idea not going further is that your presentation or communication wasn’t good enough. It may be that you’ve had a great idea but you didn’t communicate it in a way that ensured people understood it straight away.

If you fail on this front, chances are they’ll be confused. This means that they won’t see the potential of it and will start to come up with lots of things in their heads that would need to be solved in order to make it workable or presentable (internally, to retailers and the consumer).

Solution: Make it an exciting, beautiful, clear and concise presentation

We all like to believe that great ideas float to the top, but unfortunately that’s not always the case. You need to show the right people; the ones that can either make the decision themselves or influence the decision maker based on their trust and respect for that person.

If you presented your concept to your next-door neighbour, then it won’t go anywhere – unless your neighbour is the CEO of Hasbro, Mattel or Spin Master! You need to show your absolute best work to the right person – to give yourself the best chance and so you don’t waste their time.

Solution: Visit an event where the decision makers usually go and get a meeting

Many companies specialise in certain areas, so you need to show the ones that match your toy or game. Even if the company matches, they may not be able to afford to devote the people, time and money towards making it. Maybe they don’t have the in-house capabilities either. What have they made recently, and does it look like they can make your toy or game?

Solution: Do in-depth research on suitable companies

Adam Borton, Toy and Game School

Timing is important in toys and games. The wrong idea yesterday could be the right idea today. You can tweak and refine your idea so that it’s more suitable for today’s market and has a better chance. It may also be that it’s too expensive – skill and action games made in 1990 would be at least two times more expensive nowadays, making them unsuitable.

Solution: Refine the idea until it’s the right price for the target market

Practice makes perfect and perseverance is easily the most important attribute. Every time you fail, you learn. This means next time it will be better and eventually, you’ll have learnt enough that you’ll nail it!

That’s why I’ve put over a decade of experience into the Toy and Game School – so it can fast-track you over many mistakes that designers and inventors go through when developing their ideas.

If you have any questions about this article or anything else, let me know!

Adam Borton, Toy and Game School
Adam Borton, Toy and Game School
Adam Borton, Toy and Game School
Adam Borton, Toy and Game School

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