Joseph Howard, a senior here at Timpview, is a designer of toys and games. He has been nominated for the Young Innovator of the Year award, a part of the Toy and Game Innovators Awards, with his product “Fling”.
Timpview alum Tanner Yarro, who currently works in the toy and game industry, had this to say: “Winning the award would put him at the right spot for his age. Just being nominated could help too. There is a flip side though… [the award] doesn’t guarantee anything, he would have to proactively pursue it. He’s leagues ahead of where I, and most people in the industry were at his age, so it’ll open up a lot of doors no matter what.”
This award could help to certify Howard as a toy inventor. Our interview gave us some insight into the world of toy design, along with what it’s like to be nominated for such an important award. Here are some of the topics we covered in our interview:
This interview has been edited for clarity.
Max Ricks: What can you tell us about Fling?
Joseph Howard: This project started about 2 years ago it started [with] the need for a therapy device [for] my grandma… [she needed to] have surgery on her thumbs which could take up to two years to rehabilitate. Using the same materials that I use in [Fling] I was able to reverse those symptoms that she had so she didn’t need to have surgery. It’s [made with] a surgical grade rubber and has certain components that are manipulable, so you can move the device in any way you want.
The fling started off as us needing something that we can be active with but also something that we could use indoors.
We threw different iterations or prototypes for about a year. Those prototypes developed into something that you can change yourself. There are 7 parts that can make over 100 different flying devices. it’s like Legos, you build it yourself and you test fly it. You can see what bounces better, what throws better, what rolls better. We went to the Timpview football field to see how far we could throw it. Just me, a scrawny guy, could throw 80 yards. I’m no football player.
I hope that people start building stuff that goes way beyond myself. I also want to get into STEM and STEAM with cores that measure distance, flight, and [arc] as part of those seven parts. This way they can see… what works and what doesn’t.
How did you find out about the toy and game awards and how were you nominated?
The head of the Toy and Game Awards put a post out on LinkedIn saying “If you know any young inventors who are ambitious and have products that should be nominated, put them up here.” A few weeks later I found out that I was one of the five nominees. It felt like a really big break. Even if I don’t win, I’m not too upset. I think I’ll still have the ear of Hasbro, the ear of Lego, as well as other top toy and game companies.
How did you get into designing toys?
I’ve been designing ever since I can remember. Me and my dad [would go] from California to Utah and back. We would be in the car for 7 to 12 hours and we would design products for fishing, products for snowboarding, products for skateboarding.
Do you remember the first thing you designed?
It was probably the “My Skateboard”, a foam skateboard that you’re able to play with in the house. With it you could get rad anytime you want.
Have you had any failed projects?
My motto is “always improving”. Learn from your mistakes, learn from your failures. Keep progressing. It’s less like a failure and more like the next step to success.
A lot of people at Timpview only see one path in life: go to school, go to college, get degrees. What’s your perspective on that?
I don’t think you should rely on school for your education. I think education is the most important part of anybody’s life, but I don’t think education necessarily has to do with what school is teaching you. I think education has to do with what you’re passionate about, what you want to learn.
If you are interested in learning more about Joseph Howard, please visit his website here:
Voting closes TODAY (10/30), feel free to vote here: