The International Designer and Inventor of the Toys Award (also known as the I.D.I.O.T. Award) was bestowed on Mary Couzin, president and founder of ChiTAG, at the 36th Annual U.K. Toy Inventors’ Dinner during the London Toy Fair. The award is given to luminaries who have made outstanding contributions to the toy industry.
“Mary Couzin had a vision to turn her hometown of Chicago (the birthplace of American toy invention) into a celebration of all the creative people that make this industry successful and a wild and fun place to work,” said Rich Mazel, Hasbro’s head of product acquisitions, during his introduction of Couzin. “I am a regular attendee of the Chicago Toy & Game Fair and Inventor Conferences and Awards. Several years ago, I mistook a staircase door as the way to the bathroom and I found Mary grabbing five minutes of sleep between her numerous duties at ChiTAG. She had given her all that day to support, celebrate and encourage this community, and she continues to do so and impacts so many people’s lives, including mine.”
Couzin got her start in the toy industry designing toys and games as an independent inventor both self-producing and licensing, then turned her efforts to celebrating and helping toy and game inventors through the founding of the Toy & Game Inventor of the Year Awards (the TAGIEs), Toy & Game Innovator and Inventor Conferences, the Young Inventor Challenge, and the Chicago Toy & Game Fair. The Inventor Conferences and Awards are the largest in the world and the Fair is the largest public toy and game fair in North America. This November marks the 17th year.
The Toy Inventors’ Dinner is a forum for toy inventors to come together during the London Toy Fair with manufacturers. The dinner is held at unusual locations such as the London Zoo, Ironmongers’ Hall, Café Royal, London Dungeon, Lloyds Building, Queen Mary, Hurlingham Club, Clink Prison, Churchill War Rooms, and more. Each year, a different charity is supported by a casino event at the end of the seated dinner.