1. When I am in Nuremberg, I always like…
John Baulch: ... to visit the O’Shea’s Irish bar because that is where many of the UK toy and licensing contingent congregate of an evening.
Daniele Caroli: ... to take an evening walk in the Altstadt, from the Hauptbahnhof uphill,because it is charming and relaxing, especially if it snows.
Maria Costa: ... to visit the Toy Museum because it always reminds me how the toy industry came into being and how amazingly it has developed. It gives me another perspective when I visit the fair and see all the new innovations. It really makes me value what we do. But sometimes its timetable doesn’t allow me to visit it, so when that happens, I always visit Galeria Kaufhof in the city centre. I love its delightful display windows, a great source of ideas for toy stores!!!
Axel Dammler: ... to visit the pedestrian zone, because it’s good to do something other than look at toys in the evening.
Richa Dikshit: ... to visit Bamberg because of its history.
Philippe Guinaudeau: ... OK, I could not answer that one as I’m always working during that period.
Marek Jankowski: Well, the fair is too involving to visit anything except my hotel room. There are so many people to meet that you start early in the morning and finish late at night. I always say to myself I should come and see more of the city beside the fairs, but it’s still on my to-do list.
Gabriela Kaiser: When I am in a different city and have some time, I always try to head into the city – the streets without lots of chain stores – and look in the shop windows, because I want to know whether there are the same trends in a different city or whether there are regional differences.
Reyne Rice: ... to visit with my colleagues from around the world because I am inspired by their latest innovations and want to see first-hand the trends and exciting ways that the industry is growing. We often meet in Nuremberg Old Town to share the foods, and the culture that is uniquely Nuremberg.
Jane Wong: ... to visit the central shopping district. Please do not get me wrong. Shopping is not the only purpose. I go there to look for toys on shelves. As we know it, Nuremberg turns into a toy town during the Spielwarenmesse® show days. The Nuremberg exhibition centre is not the only stage for the toy show, the stores shelves too! It is fun visiting toy stores, enjoying window display of toys, which make an important part of the charm of this toy city.
2. While searching for trends I look for…
John Baulch: ... products that are inspiring children across the globe and offering them new ways to play and have fun.
Daniele Caroli: ... concepts that not only contribute to the child’s growth but also help improve his/her relationship with parents and relatives.
Maria Costa: ... product features and communication strategies that are increasingly relevant to companies, but that also are in line with the desires and attitudes we observe in children and families nowadays.
Axel Dammler: ... products that address a need of the target group – only then are they useful and therefore relevant.
Richa Dikshit: ... trends that are connected to reality / have real life applications.
Philippe Guinaudeau: ... potentially long term and macro-phenomenons.
Marek Jankowski: ... patterns, similarities that connect different products presented on the market. It’s very interesting to see new ideas, especially if they come from startups, but not every interesting novelty starts a new trend.
Gabriela Kaiser: ... being open to everything new, even if something seems strange and unusual at first. The best way to find trends is not to go looking for anything in particular, as this will restrict you too much. Once I have identified a trend, I then research it to find out more information and learn about the products.
Reyne Rice: ... both the latest twists on traditional play, and the new ways that manufacturers are raising the bar, and encouraging children to seek their passions, with a variety of physical and digital toys, games and technology products. I am delighted by playful and colorful options and also look to the bigger trends in society and how children's products manufacturers are keeping pace with eco-trends, new technologies and family entertainment options. Different industries attract families and inter-generational play with a variety of experiences, both inside and outside the home and schools. Attending over 24 international trade conferences and events each year keeps me updated on a variety of these emerging trends. Engaging with my Trend Committee colleagues across the world keeps us seeking new angles, comparing notes and reporting on the cross-roads of play.
Jane Wong: ... I look for innovations in science and technology, and changes in lifestyle or ideas. Toy world is a mirror of the real world. Tech is always a strong driving force for innovations in toys. The rise of app toy trend originated in the fast development of smart phones. Changes in lifestyle or ideas will definitely find their reflections in toys. Increasing demand for equal attention to girls in men-oriented field gave rise to “girl power” trend.
3. At the Spielwarenmesse, I can´t live without…
John Baulch: ... copy of my packed daily schedule on paper (so it can be changed at a moment’s notice) and a regular espresso boost.
Daniele Caroli: ... tasting a Rostbratwurst outdoor in the cold at least once.
Maria Costa: ... attending the Toy Business Forum. I get a lot of ideas and information visiting as many booths I can, but I always find it really useful to listen to the speakers that present the latest information each year about the industry in the talks organised during the business forum. It is a wonderful event, and a great opportunity to be able to listen to these professionals at the fair!
Axel Dammler: ... very comfortable shoes!!!!
Richa Dikshit: ... the locker in the press room to keep my things.
Philippe Guinaudeau: ... visiting the Trend Gallery. The selected toys perfectly illustrate the trends; and this always reminds me how privileged we are to work in this Industry.
Marek Jankowski: ... my iPhone – there is my daily schedule and the Spielwarenmesse app with the exhibitor list. I used to carry the paper version of the catalogue and I’m very pleased I don’t need it anymore.
Gabriela Kaiser: ... visiting every hall at least once. I’m always afraid I’ll miss out on something or overlook an interesting new product.
Reyne Rice: ... the collaboration of the team that creates Hall 3A, where the Trends and Innovations are highlighted. It is where I spend much of my time on the Opening Day and second day. I meet with other journalists, the Spielwarenmesse organizing team members, and the newest start-ups in the New Exhibitor areas. When I hear the latest knowledge from the experts in the Toy Business Forum, and see the new products in the Innovation displays and admire the Toy Award winners, I am armed with key information, that drives me to the rest of the Fair halls. It is the first place I start, each year. I am also learning from the wisdom and knowledge of the world stage at Spielwarenmesse!
Jane Wong: ... The Spielwarenmesse app! Before the show, I will install the app, which allows me to bookmark my target exhibitors, plan my event schedule, check the latest news at the fairground and get access to many useful functions. It is an extremely helpful tool for me at the show.
4. These 3 things I always have with me as I travel around the world:
John Baulch: An i-phone, herbal sleeping tablets (jet lag can be tough) and an insatiable curiosity to find out more about the place I am travelling to and the people who live there.
Daniele Caroli: A crossword puzzle magazine, a pencil and eraser and a Swiss knife.
Maria Costa: A tablet to write my notes on, prepare my trips and organise my ideas. I love apps like SimpleMind or Grafio, that allows me to easily clarify new findings. A smartphone to be in contact with colleagues and family and also to take pictures everywhere I go. And two bank cards, just in case! :-)
Axel Dammler: A good book, some DVDs to watch if the WiFi is bad and, of course, my mobile phone.
Richa Dikshit: My passport, my moisturiser and my kindle.
Philippe Guinaudeau: In a very small folio, the photos of each of my family members: my wife and my 4 kids (yes, I have my own mini-panel). Funny I don’t have the one of my dog. My drum sticks and my computer of course.
Marek Jankowski: Battery charger (you never know when your phone will need it), at least two credit cards (you never know if the first one will work) and one extra underwear (in case the flight is cancelled and I have to extend the journey).
Gabriela Kaiser: My big camera to capture all of the inspiration, comfortable shoes, because I walk loads everywhere in order to see as much as possible, and my mobile phone for communication and to find my way around.
Reyne Rice: My open mind, my SmartPhone and contacts lists, and my thirst for seeing and sharing the inspirations I see.
Jane Wong: My passport, cellphone and credit card. Here I would like to talk more about my cellphone, because I keep necessary files and all my trip information on my cellphone, for instance, my hotel reservation form, travel plan and e-tickets. In addition, I take photos, keep in touch with my family and friends, check maps/emails, play games, reading e-books, watch videos on my phone. In China, I can even buy things with WeChat Pay or Alipay via my phone instead of cash or credit card. So convenient!
5. Which innovations do you wish for the future?
John Baulch: Who knows what the future holds? I just hope the toy market continues to develop products which not only create excitement and wonder, but also stimulate a child’s imagination.
Daniele Caroli: Anything that can help reduce air pollution and control global warming (for instance, wide and easily accessible availability of electric vehicles). But, if you mean in the toy business, I would like to see technology used to encourage kids to exercise, walk, run and jump… because it’s so important.
Maria Costa: I hope the future of the toy industry develops in a way that children of all interests and characteristics can find their perfect toy to play with and learn by having fun for hours. I hope we will be able to see beyond gender differences to embrace the opportunities that designing products and strategies for the various children's profiles can have for all of us.
Axel Dammler: A cheap, small and powerful battery so that we can switch everything over to electricity.
Richa Dikshit: Good quality companies making edutech more common place and end of factory approach to schooling.
Philippe Guinaudeau: Teleportation, like in Star Trek. Although I absolutely love planes (I initially wanted to be a pilot), the long hours planes as well as the very long hours in airports (not to mention the time spent in security lines) make me wish for faster trips.
Marek Jankowski: I’m always looking for toys that surprise me, that have the “wow” factor. I realise that the more toys I see, the more difficult it is to achieve, but I don’t loose my faith. There’s one more thing, with regard to board games that I enjoy playing with friends. When you learn a new game, it often takes some time to understand the instructions, learn how to play and truly enjoy the game. I’d like the publishers to come up with new ideas of explaining the rules to new players – maybe VR would be helpful? Just saying…
Gabriela Kaiser: A simple and environmentally-friendly way to power my camera and mobile phone while on the move, without needing cables, battery packs or charging stations.
Reyne Rice: I continue to be encouraged by the smart ways that kids and families, educators and retailers are raising the bar, and bringing diversity to play. By playing and having fun together, the mind opens and the heart opens, and we see that we are all connected to each other. Whether it is experiencing play in new environments, or in new virtual worlds, or bringing cherished brands into our lifestyles, WE are the catalysts of play, and of understanding. When we can truly engage a thirst for play and a lifelong love of connecting with our minds and our passions, we are opening the world of possibilities.
Jane Wong: I am from China, a country titled “the World’s Factory”, thus I expect innovations in manufacturing techniques, but more in research and development, strategies of marketing and brand building. Many Chinese companies/brands are good at manufacturing quality products and providing excellent services, but most of them are weak in marketing and brand building on the global stage. Although progress is made, there is still a long way to go.
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