Diversity & Innovation Take Center Stage in The Toy Foundation™'s Pilot Collegiate Case Study

toy-foundation-dei-program-university-of-marylandJune 6, 2023 | A culturally and religiously diverse line of dolls, storytelling projector, gamified learning platform, multicultural playing card box set, and communicative anxiety bracelets are the five inventive ideas students from the University of Maryland (UMD) researched and developed for The Toy Foundation™’s (TTF) pilot collegiate case study program. Part of its Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Pipeline Program, TTF partnered with UMD for the 2022-2023 school year to successfully engage young, diverse students to grow their awareness around the career opportunities within the toy industry and create recruitment opportunities for participating companies.

Fifty university students, who spanned a variety of majors, participated in the spring semester case study program. Over the course of four months, the students worked in groups and had the opportunity to meet with toy industry professionals from Mattel, Thames & Kosmos, The Walt Disney Company, and Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment as they refined their inventions.

The goal of the program was for the students to learn about all sectors of the toy industry and consider it as a potential career path. For participating toy companies, it was an opportunity to mentor the next generation of talent and potentially place the students in internship and entry-level positions.

At the end of the semester, the final case solutions were presented to a panel of industry experts and staff members from TTF and The Toy Association™ who evaluated each idea on achievability, relevance to the industry’s DEI challenges, understanding of the target audience, level of social impact, and presentation quality. In a narrow lead, the winning presentation was “Party Around the World,” an idea for a playing card box set that features traditional card games from around the world to offer opportunities to learn about different cultures through play.

Click the image below to watch the “Party Around the World” presentation.

TTF’s DEI Pipeline Program works to support the toy industry in building a pipeline of diverse talent that will serve as the next generation of industry leaders, and, in turn, create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive industry in all that is does and everyone it serves. If you or your organization is interested in TTF’s DEI Pipeline Program, please contact TTF’s John Fistolera.

To learn more about The Toy Foundation, visit ToyFoundation.org.