Explore the world's #1 largest database of ideas and innovations, with over 500,000 inspiring examples.
Trend Reports
Discover why 900 brands rely on our AI-powered Trend Reports to get better, faster insights.
Join 305,370 subscribers who rely on our weekly newsletter to keep up with need-to-know trends and insights.
Consumer Insights
Uncover major shifts and emerging opportunities with our exclusive PRO research.
Trend Reports
Discover why 900 brands rely on our AI-powered Trend Reports to get better, faster insights.
Join over 250,000 subscribers who rely on our weekly newsletter to keep up with need-to-know trends and insights.
Get special access to premium content, topic tracking and customizable tools through our AI-powered Dashboard.
AI + Human Methodology
Learn how Trend Hunter harnesses the power of artificial intelligence.
Enhance your innovation potential with a deeper understanding of your unique innovation archetype and how your organization benchmarks.
eLearning (NEW)
Prepare for the year's ahead with 100+ lessons, tactics, tools and frameworks with our full learning database.
Advisory & Services
Accelerate innovation and ignite disruptive thinking with our award-winning programs and research.
Trend Reports
Get fast, customized trend reports, presentations and deep dives 20x faster than traditional research.
Get started today with a free consultation, our self-serve tools, or a dedicated program.
Jeremy Gutsche
Ignite your event or virtual event with our CEO, a NY Times Bestselling Author and one of the top innovation keynote speakers.
Our Team of Speakers & Virtual Presenters
Inspire your group with our most popular speakers on innovation, trends, change and futurism.
Custom Training & Events
Bring the Future Festival experience directly to your team or co-hosted custom event.
Get in touch to learn more, ask a question or submit a tip.
About Us
Learn more about Trend Hunter and how we accelerate innovation.
Get answers to common questions about Trend Hunter.
Stay on the cutting-edge with the help of the Trend Hunter community.
Meet the team trusted by hundreds of leading businesses worldwide.
Find opportunities to accelerate your career with the #1 Trend Firm.
Catch up on noteworthy Trend Hunter news and media mentions.
Build a portfolio and put your trend-spotting abilities to the test.
Supercharge your marketing by partnering with Trend Hunter.
Visit your public portfolio and browse your past articles.
Add a Trend
Write up an article and showcase your trend-spotting skills.
My Trends
Edit your articles and see how they stack up on the leaderboards.
Edit your profile, connect your social media accounts, and more.
Add a trend, customize your dashboard, or track topics.
Future Festival
Innovation Events
Join the world's top innovators at our FREE Virtual events.
Free Webinars
During COVID-19, learn to innovate through chaos, navigate the new normal and maintain work culture from home.
Custom Training & Events
Bring the Future Festival experience directly to your team or co-hosted custom event.
Search our database of 396,920 cutting edge ideas.

Creating Intelligent Toys

Donald Coolidge, CEO of Elemental Path
Amelia Roblin
October 28th, 2015

Related Trend Reports

Babies, Gadgets, Health, Lifestyle, Robots, Social Good, Tech, Toys, Youth
In 2014, Donald Coolidge (left) and his colleague JP Benini (right) won the IBM Watson Mobile Developer Challenge with a proposal to apply this powerful cognitive system to children’s toys. Their idea has evolved into the CogniToys Dino: an intelligent companion backed with the intelligence of the smartest computer, with the incredible capacity to learn, as well as to educate.

6 Questions with Donald:

1. Please tell me about yourself and your work with Elemental Path.

I was raised in a small town in upstate New York. I am an avid sports fan and played sports throughout high school and college. During college, I served in the Marine Corps and did a tour in Iraq.

This is my second official startup. I was excited to launch a Kickstarter campaign using our winning concept from the IBM Watson Mobile Developer Challenge, and happy with the campaign’s overwhelming success.

2. What makes an innovative culture? How do you create a culture of Innovation?

I think there are so many ways to foster an innovative culture. For Elemental Path, it’s been important to create an environment where big ideas are welcomed no matter how challenging they are. We make sure our people know that it’s ok to question the routine and how things are done, as well as to ask each other what can be improved.

3. What is the biggest challenge you face when innovating?

Getting out of your own comfort zone. I think real innovation comes from solving the hard problems, the ones where there is not a clear answer or direction.

4. Do you find inspiration or ideas from adjacent industries?

Absolutely; but more so from people in different industries. Someone who I look to for inspiration is Elon Musk. While he’s in a different industry, he solves hard problems and gets people excited about boundary-pushing ideas—two things that are really universal goals for any person who values innovation.

5. Looking to the future, how is your work with CogniToys going to make you a leader in innovation?

CogniToys is trying to shake up an industry that is very traditional: kids’ toys. We are taking a very tech-centered, exploratory and, above all, fast-paced approach to product building.

The first version of CogniToys went from concept to working product in only 12 months. We 3D printed the first dozen or so prototypes. We will continue to build the tech platform that operates behind the scenes to power a unique, evolving ability to bring kids’ toys to life.

6. What inspired you to bring the power of IBM Watson to a children's toy? And how have you approached its integration?

We wanted to use the world’s smartest computer to entertain 5-year-olds. We’d seen other smart toy products before and disliked their tech integration approach. We saw the Watson Mobile Developer Challenge as an opportunity to take matters into our own hands and develop a truly smart toy.

While tech-based toys are not new, companies that have utilized tech for toys avoided so much of its actual capabilities. The toys’ functionalities have been based on lights and movement, rather than actual cognitive interactions. CogniToys will change over time based on the way kids interact with them, allowing the toys to give each child a personalized experience, and to maintain engagement that’s not only fun, but educational too.
References:, cognitoys