Perspectives: Mojo Nation’s Billy Langsworthy on the Importance of Supporting Inventors & Designers
January 31, 2019 | Toy News Tuesday sat down with Billy Langsworthy, co-founder of Mojo Nation in the U.K. and one of the new advisory board members of Toy Fair’s expanded Creative Factor educational programming, who shared his perspective on why it is important to support and nurture the toy inventor, designer, and artist community. Here’s what he had to say:
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background in the toy industry and specifically with inventors/designers?
BL: I started off covering the industry as a reporter for ToyNews, a toy trade publication in the UK. As I met more and more designers, inventors, and those working in R&D, I found them to be the most passionate part of the industry, but also the most underground – they really are secret weapons! So while at ToyNews I launched a small event called the Inventors Workshop, which gave the public a chance to pitch ideas to toy and game companies. We started getting more and more professional toy and game designers wanting to attend the event, largely because, aside from London Toy Fair and the Inventors Dinner, there wasn’t much going on in the UK for them. To better cater to this community, I left ToyNews in 2017 to work with the toy design community full time with my own company Mojo Nation, a resource for toy and game designers with a mission to celebrate the toy and game community, expand opportunities for new design talent in the industry, and help ensure the best ideas don’t just stay ideas.
Why did you think it was important to join the Creative Factor Advisory Board?
BL: Any cause designed to help budding toy and game creators get their ideas off the ground is one I’ll support – and so I was delighted to be asked to join the Creative Factor Advisory Board and sit alongside other experts in the industry who are all committed to fostering inventors and designers. The Toy Association has an incredible platform at Toy Fair to help new designers get started in the industry, and it’s brilliant to see a toy trade body take steps to cater to and celebrate the creative backbone of the sector.
What is your hope for the expanded Toy Fair Creative Factor programming?
BL: It's the creativity and innovation of designers and the toy and game inventor community that makes this sector what it is. Yet they still don’t quite get the credit they deserve in this space, so hopefully we can shine a spotlight on some of the industry’s best and brightest, through the various sessions and panels, and inspire new blood to get involved in the toy space.
Which sessions are you most excited about?
BL: Oooo – tricky. I’m chairing the Play Innovation and Playing with Brands panels, and both of those (taking me out of the equation) are chock full of truly brilliant design talent. The “IP Game Show” also promises to be a lot of fun too – IP talks can be a little on the dry side, but the guys at Wynne-Jones IP are fantastic at shedding the jargon and getting vital information across in a fun and engaging way.
For inventors/designers who have never been to Toy Fair New York before, what is your advice to them?
BL: Don’t be afraid to ask exhibitors for the contact information of their inventor relations person. Toy Fair is an incredible place to bolster your contacts book with the names of those in the best position to take a look at your creations – even if it’s just to offer feedback.
Visit ToyFairNY.com or download the Toy Fair app to learn more about Creative Factor educational sessions including roundtables, presentations, workshops, and panels focused on the interests and goals of inventors, designers, and others in the creative community. Sessions will be held throughout the four days in the Creative Factor Theater (Hall 1D Lobby).