Propelling Your Digital Kids’ Business Forward Through Innovations & Insights

Tuesday, September 13th

7:00 — 8:30

8:30 – 9:00


9:03 – 9:20

Do you know your customer? Marketing to Moms and Her Digital Family

A deeper dive into the art of engaging digital kids – capturing kids with organic reach while keeping Mom in mind when it comes to impacting decisions, behaviors, and developing relationships with mom and her digital native kids. New research from BSM Media and Digital Kids™ Media explores key drivers that motivate mothers to say “yes” to buying certain brands. The research shows the types of apps, games and connected digital content and products that appeal most to children in 2016 (and beyond).

Maria Bailey, CEO, BSM Media

9:20 – 9:40

Are you clear on the Cultural Priorities of your customers around the globe? How China, US and Germany Differ

Intel shares ethnographic research and quantitative data that reveals how family orientation – across three wildly different cultures (China, US and Germany) shape children’s interests and engagement in technology later in life. Ever more critical for connected play developers, producers and advocates to not only know their customer, but how cultural priorities influence what skills and interests they want to engender through play and make these available in toys for both boys and girls around the world.

Therese Dugan, PhD, UX Lead, Intel

Anne McClard, PhD, Intel

9:40 – 10:00

The Evolution of Gaming – Innovating Game Design Beyond Traditional Platforms

Technology has caused a shift in the gaming industry, changing the way we engage with electronic “video games” and our overall perception of a category that now seems antiquated. This generation is continuing to evolve as it responds to the market demand for compatibility with emerging devices such as mobile phones and tablets. As industry professionals, how can we leverage our knowledge of traditional gaming to allow for innovation within the current landscape?

In this session, GoldieBlox’s Director of Game Design, Jenna Chalmers, will offer insight into how she’s seen the industry shift over the last decade from traditional video games to mobile apps. She’ll touch on how her experience designing trademark games such as SimCity and The Sims has helped her navigate game design within the mobile app space, recently designing “GoldieBlox’s Adventures in Coding: The Rocket Cupcake Co.”, a coding app that teaches the fundamentals of coding to children ages 4 and up.

Jenna Chalmers, Director of Game Design, GoldieBlox

10:00 – 10:15


10:15 – 10:45

Beyond Game Mechanics:  The Biological Design to Play for a Lifetime

What happens when we don’t play, or authentic play is hijacked and substituted? Do current toy and game design and game mechanics integrate… REAL play? Stuart Brown MD, the Founder of the National Institute for Play and his partner, Kristen Cozad, Director of Development of the National Institute for Play will co-present.

Dr. Brown and Kristen are co-founders of PlayNovation. They consult and partner with companies committed to reaching beyond the limitations of game mechanics and commodified stereotyped engagement to activate, tap into and design for the life-long drive to play.  Dr. Brown and Kristen’s Play Science™ IP is unique and their understanding of play unmatched. Play Science™ is where sleep science was 60 years ago. Novel cross-sector design applications promise a world of authentic engagement.

Today’s children will be adults living in the quantum age, where the determinism of classic physics has yielded to the power of unlimited possibilities. Play is the medium for adaptation in a rapidly changing world. Those who authentically play throughout life will have the creative advantage in the emergent creator economy.

How is your company preparing children for this future? And what do you really know about play? Stuart Brown MD, founder of Play Science™, is considered the world’s foremost play pioneer and champion of play with over 50 years of play research collation and synthesis.

Stuart Brown, MD, Founder and President of the National Institute for Play; Co-Founder, PlayNovation

Kristen Cozad, MA.Ed. Director of Development of the National Institute for Play; Co-Founder, PlayNovation

10:45 – 11:00


11:00 – 11:45

KEYNOTE: A Conversation with the Man behind Consumer-Facing Artificial Intelligence: Davin Sufer, Chief Tech Officer of WowWee and Tonda Bunge Sellers, Producer, Digital Kids Summit 

Tonda and Davin sit down as he shares insight on an industry that is crossing platforms and generations with engagement through real relationships and A.I. in consumer robotics. From his work with MiP, the 2015 Toy Industry Association’s Innovative Toy of the Year Award (TOTY) we’re convinced that 2016 will be no exception…when we all meet CHiP, WowWee’s new robotic dog that really is the Astonishing Imagination everyone will learn to love, play with and cherish. May it be a 6 year old, teenager, millennial dad, or grandparent with a focus on family fun and education, this dog will teach you a new trick or two! Davin is going to dig in and share with us where he sees the relationship going.

Tonda Bunge Sellers, Producer, Digital Kids Summit

Davin Sufer, CTO, WowWee

11:45 – 12:45


12:45 – 1:30

Standards and Practices – Where We’ve Been, Where We Need to Go

A Presentation and Conversation – In the summer of 2016, a firestorm erupted over the children’s animated program Fireman Sam when it was discovered that an image of the Koran is briefly depicted being stepped on by one of the fireman. The widespread criticism of the incident led to public apologies by Channel 5 (the British network), Mattel, and Hit Entertainment; and the pulling of the episode from future broadcasts. No one knows how the page was put into the show. The production firm has called it an “innocent error,” “an unfortunate incident where someone from the production company thought they were just putting in random text,” said a Mattel spokeswoman.

Could this episode of controversy have been avoided? This session says that it can if we reinstate a new vision of the function known as Standards and Practices (S&P) into the process of producing programs for children because one of the many issues that seasoned S&P reviewers are trained to look for includes this type of “unfortunate incident.”

The session will begin with a brief discussion of the S&P function, how it originated, and where it is today with both positive and negative examples from Donna Mitroff’s decades of experiences in the S&P trenches. Mitroff cites “red flags” indicating that the time has come for industry action in advance of possible regulation. Mitroff will outline a new vision (and a new name for S&P) that moves away from the role of censor to the role of the senser. Being regarded as “sensers” rather than “censors” means being in touch with, i.e.“sensing,” information regarding shifting cultural norms, parental expectations, child development, advocacy group issues, governmental requirements and international issues. It also means being on the look-out for truly innocent errors made by production staff before they get locked into the finished product.

Following Mitroff’s presentation, a panel including producers and writers will be invited to the stage for a lively discussion of the proposed “new vision” of S&P.

Brian Backus, Nextdoor

Jonathan Dern, President and Co-Founder, Sabella Dern Entertainment

Dr. Carolyn James, Senior Learning Designer, LeapFrog

Donna Mitroff, Founder, Mitroff & Associates, The Kidvocate Group

1:30 – 1:45


1:45 – 2:30

Re-Inventing Iconic/Legacy Brands and Toys for the Next Generation

How would you re-invent “the rubber ducky”? Or bring relevance to the train set of old. Lionel is taking the 116 year old brand and creating relevance in today‘s competitive toy marketplace. Iconic brands can provide a nostalgic means for parents to share the best of their childhood with their children. However, no matter how much nostalgia parents feel, reinvention is a necessity for any brand to remain relevant for the next generation. No one knows this better than Ryan Scofield; he studies kids’ attitudes and aspirations every day to understand the heart of Generation Z. Ryan discusses with industry leaders how they are re-inventing brands and toys for today and future generations of digital kids. Yes, even “the rubber ducky”!

Penny Milliken, CEO of HER Interactive and the new HI Kids™, is responsible for developing and publishing Nancy Drew PC/MAC (a mystery fiction series and character who first appeared in 1930) and Mobile Games. Tony Bordon, Head of Digital Media for Lionel Trains, is bringing relevance to the 116 year old brand in today’s competitive toy marketplace – no easy feat. Matt MacBeth of pi lab shares true tales of re-inventing the rubber ducky, all the while keeping the story alive as they implement story and emotion to an iconic toy known and loved by billions all over the world. Chris Bishop Senior, Creative Director of PBS KIDS Digital, reveals how children taught him about his own work at PBS KIDS, especially as he redesigned the classic brand for the modern media landscape.

Ryan Scofield, VP of Marketing and Chief Digital Trends Analyst, KidSay – Moderator

Chris Bishop, Senior Creative Director, PBS KIDS Digital

Tony Bordon, Head of Digital Media, Lionel Trains

Matt MacBeth, CEO, pi lab

Penny Milliken, CEO, HER Interactive

2:30 – 2:45


2:45 – 3:40

The Inside-Out of the Kids’ Apps Economy

Is there a “real economy” behind the kids’ apps industry? Well, of course there is – but in this extremely challenging crosspoint, many get lost in their attempt to both meet business objectives and keep their young audiences safe and happy. We look around us and see great brands, hard-working developers and unbelievably smart and curious kids trying to enjoy the best mobile experience possible. It only makes sense that all parties would want to build a solid and fair economy.

Different revenue models allow app developers to get compensated for their hard work. Eldad Ben Tora, CRO and Co-founder of KIDOZ, will share a presentation on best practices to increase engagement. Then he will be joined by a group of industry leaders to create a fuller, extensive overview on the kids’ apps economy.

Eldad Ben Tora, Co-Founder and CRO, Kidoz – Presenter and Moderator

Paul Chenier, Global Head of Brand Partnerships & Advertising, Rovio Ltd.

Bryan Davis, Senior VP, Big Blue Bubble

Alex Turetsky, Founder and CEO, Intellijoy

Kimberly Verbonitz, Chief Revenue Officer, Fingerprint

3:40 – 3:55


3:55 – 4:15

Samsung Kids

Taking another look, Kevin Morrow gives an update on Samsung Kids and where they are capturing and keeping parents and kids, and how you can too…when it comes to partners they are a good one to have.

Kevin Morrow, Vice President and General Manager, Samsung

4:15 – 5:00

Business Succession – Planning, Capturing, and Funding

Leverage business success factors and determine what you want out of your business at the start, then execute rules as they come. Entrepreneurs give an inside look at the ups and downs learned along their journey to scale. Grant Hosford of codeSpark reveals how he was able to raise over $4M in funding over the past two years, and how their kids coding platform The Foos reached 4 million kids in 172 countries (and counting) without spending a dollar on customer acquisition – with more kids coding daily on The Foos than on Scratch! That’s a hard act to follow.

Barry O’Neill from StoryToys will discuss their journey from a small Irish fairy-tale app developer into one of the industries most successful developers and publishers of original and licensed content (My Very Hungry Caterpillar, Batman Unlimited, Elmo Loves You) and how Venture Capital helped the company realise its ambitions along the way.

Maura Sparks will share Siliconic Home’s funding goals. Their voice-user interface device, SMARTY, is raising money to build their screen-less hardware device and cloud platform. An intelligent assistant–but designed for kids. There are over 30 million US kids between the age of 5-13 with Wi-Fi in the home. Based on using a ‘Disruptive Technology’ forecast model, the annual adoption rate is estimated to be 6% or 2 million units.

Our moderator, Esteban Sosnik of Reach Capital, brings the invaluable perspective of what early stage venture funders are looking for. And all speakers will share how to secure funding and clear exit strategies.

Esteban Sosnik, Partner, Reach Capital– Moderator

Grant Hosford, CEO and Co-Founder, codeSpark

Barry O’Neill, Chairman & CEO, StoryToys

Maura Sparks, VP & Co-Founder, Siliconic Home

5:00 – 5:10


5:10 – 5:30

Keep It Moving Forward with Mergers and Acquisition

Alice Brooks, famous for pitching her Roominate product on Shark Tank and securing a deal with Mark Cuban, will discuss how being acquired by Patch Products broadens her reach, her resources, and her opportunity to grow as an entrepreneur. Diego Baron will share his perspective on acquisition from the other side: he has worked with Amazon Studios to launch live-action American Girl programming on Prime Video, and acquired Sproutling, a venture-backed company focused on nursery technology and data-science.

Alice Brooks, Founder, Roominate

Diego Baron, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Corporate Development, and M&A, Mattel, Inc.


Social Hour at Jillian’s

Wednesday, September 14th

9:03 – 9:30

Challenges and Opportunities in the Emerging Hybridization of Gaming Platforms

With the explosion of platforms – PC, Console, Mobile, VR, AR, Toys to Life, Robotics, and others – what do you focus on? New technologies and limitations will generate a hybridization over the next 10 years. What challenges and opportunities await? How can we decide what’s best for our teams and how to reach consumers? Unprecedented options make this the most exciting time to be in digital entertainment. Are you ready for what’s next? A veteran’s approach to maximizing potential in a changing market.

Joby Otero, Former CCO, Anki

9:30 – 10:00

Behavior and Device Usage of Kids and Families around the World

We’re going to share amazing insights ranging from the ownership of devices to the mastery of digital play patterns, and most importantly, what “connected play” means to consumers. You’ll get to see many of the new toys and devices that are shaping the connected and digital toybox from around the world with Reyne Rice for Kidz Digital Research.

Reyne Rice, CEO, Toy Trends, Inc.

10:00 – 10:15


10:15 – 11:05

Achieving Active Kids and Allowing Digital to Build on Their Imaginations

This generation of start-ups and kids are building a much more seamless world with Technology – from apps that feed live animals, to creating from what you have (junk), or hopping around in your backyard and playing laser tag with your phone. Take a spin with Jeff Roach, seasoned expert on digital kids, as he and a panel of creators, explore the intersection of physical/digital in today and tomorrow’s families.

Jeff Roach, Executive Creative Director and Chief Strategy Officer, Fuel – Moderator

Svetlana Dragayeva, Creator of VIRRY; CEO, Fountain Digital Labs

Madhumita Halder, Co-Founder & COO, SuperSuit

Kilian Saekel, CEO & Co-Founder, A-Champs

Jerome Scholler, CTO & Co-Founder, Osmo

11:05 – 11:20


11:20 – 11:50

The Kids’ Perspective:  Understanding Kids, Play, and Interactive Design

A great play experience is at the center of all good games. Understanding more about kids, and how to engage them with interactivity, is key to touching their hearts and minds.

Drawing from his 30 years of creating award-winning interactive products for children, Mark Schlichting will share tips, insights, and key components of how to turn a simple tap or click into a magical experience. Join us to hear highlights from Mark’s book, Understanding Kids, Play and Interactive Design: How to Create Games Children Love – from the importance of play patterns (and how to utilize them), to how disequalibration and surprise drive continued curiosity.

Mark Schlichting, CEO, NoodleWorks Interactive

11:50 – 12:10

Global Expansion

Saurabh Gupta is the Chief Technology Office and co-founder of Wonder Workshop. He is one the inventors of the “Dash” and “Dot” robots. He will focus on how to create a product that is not only gender neutral, but culturally neutral. He will be talking about some of the challenges in doing this, and how Wonder Workshop tackled those. Learn from those who have penetrated a global market.

Saurabh Gupta, Co-Founder & CTO, Wonder Workshop

12:10 – 12:30

Brands and Agencies VR 101

With all the buzz and attention surrounding VR (Virtual Reality), where does it fit in the Digital Marketing space? Dan Ferguson has worked with world-class brands like AT&T, American Airlines, LEGO, McDonald’s, Microsoft, and Universal Studios on their digital strategies. In this session, Dan will dive into case studies and insights to help brands that are looking for innovative and progressive ways to connect with their audiences.

Dan Ferguson, EVP of Digital Interactive Strategy, Groove Jones

12:30 – 1:30


1:30 – 2:00

KEYNOTE: Imagine… “Imagination Day” 

This fall, Google is working with the Children’s Creativity Museum, the San Francisco YMCA, and the Oakland Public Library to pilot a series of educational workshops that utilize creative tools for teaching 21st century skills like Storytelling, Design, and Coding.

In this keynote, Andy Russell from Google, Carol Tang from the Children’s Creativity Museum, and Lana Adlawan from the Oakland Public Library will share a case study on “Imagination Day”. They’ll outline the program’s goals, early learnings, and why they believe that outreach programs like Imagination Day are an authentic and effective way to introduce and engage kids, parents, and teachers.

Andy Russell, Creative Play, Google

Lana Adlawan, Supervising Librarian for Teen Services, Oakland Public Library

Carol Tang, Executive Director, Children’s Creativity Museum

2:00 – 2:15


2:15 – 3:00

Cultivating Creative Communities: How to Build Brands That Encourage Imagination, Fuel Invention, and Build Connection

Building brands that encourage imagination, fuel invention, and build connections in the digital space. Share breakthroughs and what’s worked, how do they balance the complexity of what they’re doing for kids with the need for simplicity in communicating to kids, and how do they plan for enduring engagement.

Todays kids and parents have come of age at a time of unprecedented creative community – never before have they had the know-how, the tools and the networks to bring their ideas to life. From creating their own stories and (UGC) User Generated Content, to seeing their own robot come to life, creative play has tremendous possibility. But getting it right can be a complex task. Listen in to this session as leaders from some of the most breakthrough brands in this space share what they think are the most important considerations when putting powerful creativity tools in kids and families’ hands.

Amy Henry, SVP of Strategic Insights, Strottman International – Moderator

Cammie Dunaway, Former CMO and US President, KidZania

Ehteshamuddin PA, CEO and Co-founder, Junkbot Inc.

Jackie Retzer, Assistant Marketing Manager, Toy Industry Association

Carly Shuler, CEO & Co-Founder, Kindoma

3:00 – 3:15


3:15 – 4:25

Reaching Kids Everywhere: Thinking Inside the School Box, On the Go, @Home: Up Ranks to Approval for the Sake of Transforming Traditional Learning

With so many educational apps, connected toys, and tactile digital and physical learning experiences on the market, we’ll hear from those who have navigated the system and found ways into public schools around the nation. Take a deeper look into why it is important to not only procure contracts with schools and educators, but also to understand Digital Citizenship for the students you’re targeting.

Darri Stephens, Senior Director Education Content, Common Sense Media – Moderator

Cyrena Chih, Head of Product Development, Duck Duck Moose

Karen Gruenberg, CCO, GoNoodle

Sara Heaps, Head of Content, Nearpod

Azadeh Jamalian, PhD, Chief Learning Officer, Tiggly

4:25 – 4:30


4:30 – 5:00

Post-Pokemon: Where AR We Going Next?

No new technology emerges fully formed, but Pokemon Go was pretty close. It was the “perfect storm”: a brand with a 20-year foundation and a storyworld and game mechanic that aligned perfectly with mobile’s strengths. With unprecedented installs and daily users, plus ubiquitous press coverage of the phenomenon, the game vaulted Augmented Reality into the limelight.

Obviously, Pokemon Go was neither perfect nor AR’s “be all and end all.” What comes next? Combining research, insights and imagination, David Kleeman and Scott Traylor will gaze into a crystal Pokeball. Scott will project the game and brand’s future potential, and David will imagine the broader evolution of augmented reality for kids. There will be plenty of time for attendees to weigh in with their vision of the medium’s future, too.

David Kleeman, Senior VP of Global Trends, Dubit

Scott Traylor, CEO & Founder, 360KID


2015 Schedule