New Project Strives to Foster Creative Thinking

Jun 06, 2002

In an effort to invent original new toys, Mattel Inc. has launched an unusual process named Project Platypus aimed at unleashing employees’ creativity, reports the Wall Street Journal. Fifteen to 20 employees from different disciplines such as engineering, design, marketing and copywriting have moved out of Mattel headquarters to nearby open-plan offices for three months to collaborate more closely than they would normally.

“We are such a machine in terms of what we deliver on an annual basis that it doesn’t allow time to think,” says Adrienne Fontanella, president of Mattel’s girls’ division, who has encouraged the project.

For employees to invent truly innovative products, they must first leave the rigidity of the corporate world behind, according to Ivy Ross, head of Mattel’s girls’ design division and Project Platypus’ guru. Guests such as an improvisational artist, a Jungian psychoanalyst, an architect, and an expert in brainwave frequencies begin the sessions by speaking to the team and conducting curious exercises to stimulate their imaginations.

Moderator Comment: How can retailers foster “out of the box” thinking within their organizations? [George
Anderson – Moderator

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