I was fortunate to be invited to give the keynote speech at this year's Toy and Game Inventor Awards, which took place last Friday night at the Field Museum in Chicago. It was a magical evening, thanks to the tireless efforts of Mary Couzin and her team. The following is a transcript of my speech, for those who may not have been there. Enjoy.
photo courtesy of The Game Aisle
"Friends, esteemed colleagues, arch rivals, competitors, respected associates, toy people.
I welcome you to this, the opening of the tenth annual Chicago Toy and Game Fair and the fifth anual TAGIE Awards. Thank you to Mary and her dedicated army of toy supporters, for reminding me how proud I am to be numbered amongst your ranks. The creative depth and impact of our industry on the world knows no limits.
Does that sound a bit sensational?
We are not mere creators of trinkets – insignificant baubles and playthings. We are the toymakers, the shamans, the magicians, the wizards, the blacksmiths, the court jesters, the town fools.
what we do – the toys we create – contributes to the ever-evolving, ever-advancing, forward motion of the civilized world.
Toys provide a child the ability to have something as their own. To want something. To work hard for something. To save up for something. To achieve it. To name it. To care for it. To keep it safe.
Toys matter. Toys make a difference in the lives of children the world over. You've heard me say it a million times, but now more than ever, I am not only humbled by the wealth of creative innovation this industry has brought forth in the last 200 years, but moreso I am awe-struck when I consider all of the ideas, and amazing, mind-blowing, innovative playthings that have yet to even be thought of.
Thousands of "next big things" are alive in this room, right now, crackling with the electrical energy of the possibility just beneath the surface. We shall strive for this greatness together, work together, join together, understanding that we are collectively invaluable to society, to civilization.
Yeah, it's sensational. It's also true.
So this is a call to action today, a call to excellence, here and now, for us as a family of innovators and cultural drivers to join hands together and vow, just as all Doctors take the Hippocratic oath, to truly appreciate the weight and value of what it is that we do. To plunge into this mission and rededicate ourselves to creating the most powerful, meaningful, beautiful, FUN toys we can. Children build their own world around them using their toys, and through that process they come to understand who they are, where they are, and why they are.
It takes a village to raise a child and in every one of those villages there is the toymaker, the shaman, the magician, the wizard, the blacksmith, the court jester, the town fool – urging on the next generation of engineers, astronauts, artists, scholars, and visionaries.
In this moment it behooves us all to take stock of who we are and why we're here. Our task is not to grind through day by day, 9-5, open to close, get in and get out and go home, but to understand that this life is a calling.
This industry is like none other and there's a reason why you're sitting here today.
Appreciate this moment, celebrate yourselves, revel in it. We've come together here tonight to do just that.
Let it be a boon that lifts you up, the memory of this moment, this feeling right now. Let it carry you forth in the years to come and remind that you are doing a service to the world and that your contribution matters.
Let us all explore more profoundly the depths of our creative minds and creative potentials, and thus enable generations to come to explore their own.