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Whether you were building spaceships with Legos, having tea parties with Barbie or neglecting your Tamagotchi – most of us can agree that it was these nostalgic toys and others that shaped our childhoods. But have you ever wondered what kids are equipped with now and how toys have evolved over time? [Feel old yet?]
Originating in 1959, the Barbie Doll has been a staple in many young girls’ lives. Offering a range of customizable looks from skin color to hairstyle to clothes and personas – one thing Barbie seems to have always lacked is offering different body types—until now! After complaints from parents, Mattel decided to take action by creating 3 new Barbie sizes including tall, petite, and curvy.
The progression from red and blue glasses to virtual reality is an obvious jump. But what might not be so obvious is that 3D “technology” originated as another one of da Vinci brilliant discoveries in the 16 th century. His studies in depth perception proved that he revealed the key to 3D technology long ago. Today, Oculus Rift leads the way in VR (virtual reality), applying these principles in the digital realm and changing the way we game and live.
Still an all time favorite, Lego has allowed us to build on our own imagination. We make ships, towers, villages, and robots while Lego creates future architects, artists, gamers in anyone who has a desire to make things. Their iconic bricks have evolved, offering endless fun for busy hands worldwide. Today, Lego’s newest products include NEXO KNIGHTS where they are “merging physical play with digital gaming” for next level creativity.
The Digital Age
Drones, Apps and Smart Tablets may not have been in our vocabulary as kids, but it’s become today’s norm. Games are abundant, advanced and accessible, making learning easy and creativity endless. Barbie can now recognize speech commands, AR (augmented reality) technology like Osmo is bridging the gap between physical play and digitization, and what better way to spy on your neighbor than with advanced remote control drones? The future has arrived my friends!
Post Written by Shannon Hood, Current MPI Student
“I would rather someone give me a present ‘just because’ instead of because a card told them to.”
I’m sure we’ve all heard variations of this sentiment before. Whether it’s about Valentine’s Day or another holiday with similarly commercial overtones. But if you’ve ever googled the phrase “unique gift ideas”, chances are you have stumbled upon the website Uncommon Goods . If you have not visited the site, I highly suggest you go visit it after you finish reading this article of course as it tickles the maker in all of us.
But perhaps what makes Uncommon Goods unique is not simply their relentless pursuit of novel ideas, but their pursuit of creating a company that sees its “makers” as partners not an assembly line. In fact Uncommon Goods is a B Corp business. If you have never heard of the term B Corp, they are a type of for-profit company who have social, environmental, performance, and accountability goals written into their charters. This ensures that positive impact and transparency can occur at every level of the business. It’s an interesting concept, taking the values of nonprofits and infusing them into for profit business practices to create meaningful and measured impact in the lives of all employees and ecosystems a business
B Corps have been growing in popularity in the United States since 2010 when Maryland became the first state to pass what is known as Benefit Corporation Legislation. Since then about 30 states have followed suit. Virginia became one of those states in 2011, and currently is home to 19 B Corps with about half of them residing in Richmond.
Being a B Corp can mean a lot of different things, but perhaps what is the most inspiring is the culture of “changemaking” that B Corp employees exude and the ownership they take over making change happen for others. Becoming a B Corp is flexible in itself as the certification is a framework to create and build a business within rather than a prescription by which to make one. So this means a company in almost any industry has the capacity to become one. You can see the diverse spread by some of the companies they have on their roster: Method, Ben & Jerry’s, Patagonia, Warby Parker, and more.
B Labs, the nonprofit behind the B Corps Certification, have recently developed a more comprehensive method for companies to compare B Corporations. This method is called B Analytics, http://banalytics.net/ and was originally created to measure B Core values and how that impacts an investing portfolio, business network and even supply chain. Although the goal of B Analytics is primarily to help companies better target where they are shifting their impact and measure their success, it’s important to note that B Labs and B Corps don’t prescribe one way of tackling these problems. Rather, they provide a framework that enables businesses to innovate and continue to change as they grow. But no matter what type of company you are, new or old, a startup or a multinational there is a path for you to become a B Corporation too.
If you’re on the hunt for some innovation, motivation and inspiration check out some of the talks that founders of B Corps have given here:
Post Written by Milgo Yonis, Current MPI Student
What is CreateAthon?
If you haven’t heard about CreateAthon@VCU, you should definitely learn about this exciting event now! CreateAthon@VCU is a pro bono where students volunteer to creatively help non profit organizations in the RVA community. The exciting part about it is that it is done in a 24 hour period. Sounds intense, but all the fun activities and amazing people, make it a ton of fun!
How do I get involved?
No matter who you are there is a way to get involved with CreateAthon. If you are a student you have the opportunity to become a Team Leader, Production Team Member, or Team Volunteer. If you are a member of the community at large or perhaps a graduate student and working professional you have the opportunity to become a Mentor. Each role is detailed below:
Team Leaders: Enrolled in a Non Profit Management Course (MASC 467) during the spring semester. Each team leader is then paired with a nonprofit organization and work with them on finding out their communication problems that need to be solved. During the event, after the teams are organized, the team leaders gather their knowledge on what they have learned and guide the team towards creating amazing work for the nonprofit organization.
Production Team: Enrolled in CreateAthon@VCU Production (MASC 491) during the spring semester. Their role is to make the entire program flow successfully. The students commit to specific roles such as, Product Manager, Public Relations, Event Coordinator, Sponsorship, Art Direction, Copywriting, Social Media, Photographer, and Videographer. Team Volunteers: Share their skills on an online application and sign up to be a part of this 24 hour marathon for the spring. The volunteers are made up of art directors, designers, photographers, videographers, audio video producers and editors, web strategists, UX designers, and app developers.
Mentors: Professionals working in RVA that attend the event to meet and guide all the participants in the program.
How did CreateAthon start?
CreateAthon was originally founded by Teresa Coles and Cathy Monetti of Riggs Partners in Colombia, South Carolina in 1998. The first 24 hour national marathon event was held in 2002 and since then, CreateAthon has recruited more than 100 different partner organizations to host the probono marketing marathons in their community generating more than $20.5 million in pro bono marketing services! That’s a lot!
Former University of South Carolina Professor, Peyton Rowe, now the Executive and Creative Director of CreateAthon@VCU held the first CreateAthon@VCU event in 2007. Today CreateAthon is a competitive opportunity for nonprofit organizations in the Richmond area to gain access to high quality probono services.
The next CreateAthon@VCU event will be held over Spring Break on March 10th to 11th in the T. Edward Temple Building. If you are interested in being a mentor, contact the program through the website and complete the application. During the event you’ll have the opportunity to meet some interesting students, sponsors, and nonprofit organizations.
For more information on their past projects and sponsers check out their website. And if you want to constantly be inspired by what they do, follow them on their Social Media!
Post Written by Swetha Gav, Current MPI Student