Entrepreneurs

The surprising story of how Johnny Carson saved Twister

There's no "I" in "team."

Those are words to live by, says Reyn Guyer, the co-inventor of Twister and the Nerf ball.

"Everybody gives me the credit, but I am a part of it. I've led the teams," Guyer told CNBC's "Squawk Box" on Wednesday. "If you have a team of two, three, four, or five people, good things happen."

Good things certainly happened with Twister, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2016. But the game Guyer and his team made and licensed to Milton Bradley almost ended up on the Island of Misfit Toys.

When Milton Bradley launched Twister, the now-iconic game was not well received and the company was planning to pull it from the market.

But before the decision was put into action, Johnny Carson played Twister on the "Tonight Show" in 1966 and the rest was history.

"Eva Gabor enticed [Carson] onto the board." -Reyn Guyer, Twister co-inventor

"Eva Gabor enticed [Carson] onto the board. And the next thing you know, the next morning, [people] were lined up at Abercrombie & Fitch 50 deep. And they changed their minds," said Guyer, who's also author of the new book, "Right Brain Red: 7 Ideas for Creative Success."

Guyer was not a one hit wonder. In 1969, he developed and licensed the Nerf ball, and many of its offshoots, to Parker Brothers.

Again, he stressed the team effort on the Nerf ball and how he motivated his people to get the creative juices flowing.

"The first thing with a team is you tell everybody to use the three magic words, 'What happens if. What happens if.' If you begin every sentence with that, amazing things happen," Guyer told CNBC, stressing not "what if" as the mantra but "what happens if.'"

He also said he tries to foster a culture in which people can freely express their ideas. "If everything is open and you're willing to share your concepts and ideas, magic happens."

But all the thinking about a good idea is not enough, Guyer said, encouraging action over endless rumination. "When you get a good idea, do something. Don't [just] talk about it."

Guyer, who struggled with dyslexia, also co-founded WinsorLearning in 1991, an education company devoted to help children who also struggle with reading.