The Inventivity™ Premise

Inventivity™ is our brand of creativity.

The Inventivity™ philosophy is simple.

  • Everyone is born creative.
  • If your creativity is "resting," it can be awakened and reclaimed at any time.
  • You may not be able to change the world, but you can change you. Rekindling your creativity will make a difference in your life, and, as a result, maybe well beyond.
We built our company around Inventivity™ and all of us at Creativity Central passionately and unabashedly embrace it. In other words, we preach what we practice.

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Below you will find photos, our logo, the cover of our book, video, and two brochures for your reference. All of the images, video, and text are property of Creativity Central and may not be used without permission. Please contact Charlie Girsch for authorization.

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Creativity Central History
Charlie Girsch
Maria Girsch

Creativity Central History

Creativity Central St. Paul
Thriving as award-winning independent toy designers for more than 25 years, Charlie and Maria Girsch were often asked how they came up with their ideas and how they stayed creative. After all, marketably novel ideas were their lifeblood and "toy biz" is notorious as a trendy and volatile arena where innovation on demand is key.

Neither Charlie nor Maria ever had any of the credentials you would expect of professional toy inventors. Neither had ever given much thought to the foundation and scope of their creativity. Yet they were intrigued by the admiration and questions—intrigued enough, in fact, to take a year off in the mid-90s. During that time, they not only studied creativity as an academic discipline, but they spent many hours analyzing their own proven innovation skills. In 1998 they wrote their definitive book called Fanning the Creative Spirit: Two Toy Inventors Simplify Creativity. They also developed a curriculum that would become the basis for their seminars, keynotes, training and brainstorming.

Creativity Central was born, and to the present day its message is highly embraced, its reach is bountiful, and its growth extensive.

It is the mission of Creativity Central Chicago to reawaken and energize the creative spirit that is innate in everyone and every organization. We serve Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Iowa and Michigan on a regular basis and we are ready to travel anywhere.

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Charlie Girsch - St. Paul

Charlie received his undergraduate degree in Philosophy and his graduate degree in Theology from St.Mary of the Lake Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois. From 1965 through 1968 he worked at Sacred Heart Catholic parish on Chicago's South Side.

In 1968 he moved to the Twin Cities where he developed a job training program for Brown & Bigelow, set up Saint Paul's Model Cities Program, and was deputy director of the Saint Paul Urban Coalition before accepting the challenge of joining Winsor Concepts as a toy and game designer.

Over the next 25 years, Charlie, along with his wife and partner Maria, licensed over 200 products worldwide. Together they hold several US and International patents, and have even won Germany's "Children's Game of the Year Award."

In the mid-90's Charlie was recruited by the University of St.Thomas to run their Institute of Creative Studies. He also taught Creativity in their Graduate School of Business Communications as well as in their Mini MBA Programs for many years.

By 1996 he and Maria had co-founded Creativity Central, and the rest is history. Creativity Central's story and services can be found by exploring this website.

Charlie is the co-author of Fanning the Creative Spirit, and of Creativity A La Card.
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Maria Girsch - St. Paul

Maria received her BA in French from Dominican University in River Forest, Illinois. She is a certified French teacher and is best known for her popular French By The Fireside evening series, a curriculum she developed for adults.

Toy inventing was her primary job for over 20 years. She, along with her husband and partner, Charlie Girsch, have licensed over 200 products worldwide, and many of their inventions have won industry awards.

In the mid-90s, Maria and Charlie founded Creativity Central in answer to constantly being asked how they came up with their marketably novel toy ideas, and what they did to be and stay creative.

In 2000, Maria received her Master's Degree in Human Development specializing in Creativity and Lifelong Learning from St.Mary's University in Minneapolis.

In her spare time, she is a volunteer textbook recorder for the blind, and a freelance proofreader for a variety of clients, including Beaver's Pond Press.

Maria is the co-author of Fanning the Creative Spirit, and of Creativity A La Card.
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Ed Holahan - Chicago

Ed was educated at New York's Fordham University in its prestigious Communications Department.

In the early 70's he launched his long and successful career as a toy and game designer, initially working with Charlie Girsch and the crew that brought Nerf™ and Twister™ to the marketplace. He went on to create many hit toy products such as the Ride-Through Car Wash, the Honeymooners Game, the Teach-and-Go Train, and the family of Silly Sports™ including Silly Sixpins, Silly Golf, and Silly Soccer. These titles and others have delighted the playful of all ages and have sold millions of copies worldwide.

After thirty years on the "inside" of premier toy design groups, including Meyer Glass of Chicago, Ed decided to share the myriad insights and experiences he gained by living creatively on an everyday basis. He recently joined forces again with Charlie and Maria Girsch and Creativity Central. Ed is a born communicator, and his mission is to further the reach of Creativity Central's enormously successful Inventivity™ training methods, and to add his own rich experience to the practice. It's a perfect fit.

Ed lives in the Pacific Northwest.

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Jake More - Chicago

Jake is a graduate of Loyola University in Chicago where he specialized in Communications Design.

He is responsible for the creation and development of hundreds of toy and game concepts. He is accomplished in all forms of graphic and product design, and lived by his wits for many years in industries that are demanding and unforgiving. In a multi-faceted career, he has earned the reputation as a top-notch problem solver, communicator and team builder.

In addition, Jake is an accomplished percussionist/drummer and recording artist. He has played with July, Liquid Soul, Maluka Samba and Miako. His work can be heard on several CD's including Poi Dog Pondedring's "Pomegranate." His insider's knowledge and lifelong experience in all aspects of the music business---from composition to performance---are invaluable to his creative insights.

Jake resides in Santa Rosa, California with his wife and daughter.

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Other Partners in the Alliance

Jason Donaghy

Biography to come

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Catherine Fry

Biography to come

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Mike Wagner

Biography to come

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Francis McCarron & Linda Pinkster

Biographies to come

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Our Toy History

The toy and game industry is as competitive and volatile as a business can be. The constant need for new product in an environment that re-invents itself every year is a heady challenge for the independent, professional inventor.

Charlie and Maria Girsch, Jake More, and Ed Holahan have been in the business of inventing marketably novel toys and games since the early 1970s. That's a long time and a lot of product. It has lead to our considerable collective wisdom about the theory and practice of creativity.

Our toy biz careers spanned over 100 cumulative years and ping-ponged between two major cities. In the early 1970s, both Charlie and Ed joined Team Winsor, a St.Paul product development firm that brought the world Twister and Nerf. Ed relocated to Chicago where he joined Marvin Glass & Associates. In the late 70s, Charlie and Maria, still in St.Paul, took over Team Winsor's unsold futures, changing the name to Girsch Design. Back in Chicago, Jake joined Ed in 1997, by then at Meyer/Glass Design, another premier toy inventing group.

From our combined efforts the world got classics and award-winners like Tub Town, Wrist Racer, My Real Baby, Hose-'Em Hockey, The Honeymooners Game, Teach-and-Go Train, and the Silly Sports Games. We have licensed our concepts to numerous companies both here and abroad, including Mattel, Hasbro, Playskool, Tonka, Fisher Price, Sega, Tyco, Parker Brothers, Milton Bradley and Pressman.

Take a look at the photos below. You'll find some of the hundreds of toys and games that this inventive foursome helped to create. We are proud of our contributions, and forever honored that you and your children have spent hours-over the years-with "our children!"

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