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HATCHLab Hasbro Creates Powerful Relationships and Changes Perspectives in a Fortune 500 Company

“We’re on a speeding train. We need a fun-car” 

Post its. Neon. Music. Creativity. Honesty. Play. Balloons. Tears. Superheros.

These are some things that come to mind when I reflect on the collaboration between HATCH and Hasbro that took place last month.  On October 1st, something amazing happened.  I had the privilege of witnessing two mission driven organizations work together to hatch a better world.

Before I traveled to Providence, I read articles, reviewed the attendee list, brushed up on my toy industry knowledge.  Still I had no idea what to expect.  Honestly, it feels impossible to remember what I thought would happen.  That said, I knew it would be good.

I wore a few different hats at the HATCH Lab.  I acted as a facilitator, notetaker, sounding board, advisor, fly on the wall, and my personal favorite: interviewer.  As an interviewer for Hasbro’s HATCH Lab, I had the unique opportunity to ask employees and facilitators about Hasbro, a true staple of my childhood.  My easy bake oven granted me confidence and autonomy, Furby made me laugh alongside my sister, koosh helped distract and redirect my baby brother, tinkertoys gave me a way to communicate with my cousin and don’t even get me started with Play-Doh! (I promise no one paid me to write any of that.)  It’s no surprise that someone who took all that away wanted to know what Hasbro’s mission meant to its employees.  Naturally, the first question I asked each employee probed at their view of the company’s mission.

“What does Hasbro’s mission mean to you?”  

Rather than regurgitate the organization’s formal mission statement, the last clause forced people to consider areas that spoke to them.  Some employees focused on the playfulness while others spoke about the power of play.  People spoke about storytelling, family engagement, and fostering unique experiences.  

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I found that when I asked Hasbro employees what surprised them, they continued to surprised me.  Over and over I was surprised by how quickly seemingly siloed individuals jumped to action as a team.  As a whole they indulged us in something magical: dreaming.  For a little while, we closed the door on reality to imagine what we could do if an asteroid hit and we were to start from scratch.  We spun our wheels together as a team whether innovating the worst toy ever or redesigning the organization’s architectural or personal structure.

During the first ice breaker it seemed odd to me that a designer from My Little Pony had never crossed paths with a designer on Transformers.  Whatever the obstacle, team members took these challenges and ran with them.  A one minute brainstorm resulted in a standing virtual invitation to weekly team meetings for a producer who works in Europe to stay up to date with other branches and learn from other teams.

Many employees thought they were entering a two-day mandatory professional development experience.  Now, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing since it means they came prepared to work.  But once it became apparent that we wanted them to play too, titles were quickly shed.  By day two, employees entered the room as creatives.  Titles were stripped, and silos were broken.  The room literally and physically pulsed with creativity.  This was of course visible by colorful balloon popping, live music, and post it’s.  

The culture of the event was carefully orchestrated, with experts from different creative fields supporting brainstorms through perspective shifting presentations and open skill sharing.  The HATCH-Hasbro collaboration is the perfect example of mixing business with pleasure.  The final question I asked Hasbro employees inquired about the ripple effects of HATCH-Hasbro.  The consensus was obvious: there will be ripple effects.  I for one, look forward to seeing the enormous follow through.

Big thanks to the Hasbro team for making our jobs easy and FUN.

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Following HATCH Hasbro, Director of Global Product Acquisition and Inventor Relations (and HATCH Alum) Phil Sage shared these thoughts on the transformative nature of the event and the synergistic connections that were made:
“Last weeks HATCH program, brought a philosophy and process, which allows you to really understand your inner superhero… to learn from others internally, importantly be open to those with completely different lenses, with different ideas and perspectives.

We experienced tremendous feedback, a trusted circle, opening up to pain points, but importantly exploring progressive solutions … challenging everything we do within our roles, plus how to optimize Hasbro in 2020
Some of the comments from the attendees …
“I never know you or others existed or this was ever done at Hasbro”
“I’ve cancelled all my plans through till the end on Friday, this is amazing”
“I didn’t know what to expect, it’s uncomfortable at times, but I like it”
“I’ve found my people”
“I’m not lost anymore”
 … the energy we witnessed over the two days was phenomenal, the relationship building, mind-set shift, will massively benefit Hasbro for the foreseeable future.”
On December 1st, Phil sent this tremendous update from Hasbro HQ:
“Today we had a MASSIVE day, after the success of yesterday’s presentation, John Frascotti requested the high def video minutes after we finished!  I’m so proud to say that he played the video in his global quarterly corporate town hall meeting which he curates.
The [HATCH] presentation/footage was beamed to all our major UK, LA, Hong Kong, all our global territories! He spoke of bravery and the importance of relationships, creative leadership across all levels and tying back to Hasbro’s mission to make the world a better place for children and families. He talked about the importance of a new relationship with HATCH, and their mission to hatch a better world through design led thinking and empowering creativity in all of us!
It was poetry! So as a result the Chief Content Officer from Hasbro Studios, entertainment and licensing, among many other emailed me right after to ask how can we be involved.”
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