Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Wish Upon a Star

The popular kiddie tale tells of Geppetto seeking the magical powers of a star with his wish. He knew he wanted a boy and with the infusion of some fairy dust and design alterations to iron out kinks and imperfections, he got his beloved Pinocchio. Toy and game companies use a form of wishing to make their dreams come true. They do not look to the heavens and wish for successful new products. They enlist the creative powers of professional toy and game inventors.

My partner, Leslie, and I attended a new conference segment of the terrific Chitag weekend where over twenty marketers presented their 2013 "wish lists" to inventors. During my own years in toy and game acquisition, the Company had changing views about circulating wish lists of annual new product desires .

At first, there was a rather open ended, less directed view to let external creative genius be free to invent without constraints. Hopefully, a new concept would come "out of left field", " be uniquely innovative, excite through whole new designs, and result in mega sales.

This "wish-less" approach morphed into more marketing based wish lists to guide inventor thinking. Wishes were defined for each product category with general specs so new concepts fit price points, themes, media licenses, demographics, and what was hot in pop culture. New concepts would then fit more tidily into Sales and Marketing plans for the retail climate. (BTW, even in this approach, the door was always left open to a big WOW! not hinted on any wish list!)

Today, I'm a firm wish list believer. Companies know best what they can develop, market, and sell in the current tech driven, highly competitive, retail constrained marketplace. When companies give inventors helpful guidelines for current wishes, they will get product concepts suited to their market strengths. That will be a whole lot more productive than using Geppetto's path of pinning wishes on a distant star. (And that's no fib!)

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