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New toy invention program launched at Ryerson University

Students will be trained in the creative and business sides of the toy and game industry.

By NATALIE SAMSON | AUG 26 2019

Breaking into the toy business is no child’s play, but a new program on toy invention at Ryerson University aims to help.

Reportedly the first of program of its kind in Canada, the one-year course series will cover the principles of toy invention and gamification, an introduction to intellectual property, how to conduct market research and pitch a concept as well as a product prototyping at a hands-on toy lab.

The program is based out of Ryerson’s faculty of communication and design and offered through the university’s Chang School for Continuing Education, with curriculum input from OCAD University and Spin Master, the toy company that owns brands such as Etch-a-Sketch and Meccano.

The program is modelled off a similar collaboration between Spin Master and Israel’s Shenkar College of Engineering, Design and Art. (Spin Master designer Paul Reynolds is a faculty member in both programs.) Lorena Escandón, program coordinator at Ryerson, says Spin Master initiated the partnership believing it could similarly nurture a community of toy inventors in Toronto, where the company is based. “Toy invention is at the intersection of creativity, entrepreneurship and design, and we believe that Toronto is a creative and entrepreneurial city,” Dr. Escandón said.

Although she anticipates the program will primarily attract people from related fields – chiefly education, psychology, industrial engineering and graphic design – she notes that its case-by-case admissions processes means it can facilitate a pathway into the industry for anyone who dreams of creating the next Rubik’s Cube or Mr. Potato Head.

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