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Is LEGO Ideas a good role model for crowdsourcing in the toy industry?
Is LEGO Ideas a
good role model
in the toy industry?
21108 LEGO Ideas Ghostbusters set photo by Brickset @ Flickr (CC) https://flic.kr/p/neLaRN
2 cents //Ville Kilkku
LEGO Ideas, the pioneer
• Launched as LEGO Cuusoo in Japan in 2008
(collaboration between LEGO and Cuusoo)
• International launch in 2011
• Wholly run by LEGO in 2014
• More than 10,000 proposals from the crowd
• 12 LEGO sets announced for international release
• Compare to competition: Hasbro and Mattel took their first steps in crowdsourcing
The basics of LEGO Ideas
• Age limit 13
• Each project is one new LEGO set, can use existing IP
• Submitted projects need to reach 10,000 supporters
• LEGO retains the right to refuse any project
• Review sessions three times per year, each project reviewed independently
• Final product is created by LEGO’s own designers
• The originator of the idea receives a 1% royalty on the product’s net sales
Flow or no flow
Review period cut-off
Set in stores
• The majority of supported projects do not get made into LEGO sets!
• 2013: 3 approved, 11 rejected
• 2014: 5 approved, 17 rejected
• Lego used to give reasons for rejections, but no longer does – perhaps
partially because of the Firefly (sci-fi series) set rejection, in which the fans
showed how the arguments LEGO used were not valid
• Fan alienation becoming a real issue!
Does LEGO have the production agility needed?
• Extremely long lead times (and according to LEGO, the lead times for Ideas
sets are shorter than for other sets!)
• Difficulties in setting the right production run sizes (Research Institute as an
example of a set where supply could not keep up with demand – new
production runs could not be scheduled)
• Conclusion: LEGO faces severe issues on production agility!
LEGO Ideas, the niche product
• LEGO has demonstrated neither belief in nor commitment to
• Ideas, as it stands, is a nice marketing gimmick serving a niche market
• From the co-creation megatrend point of view, it should be obvious that
Ideas should be much more
(and competition has awakened! For example, Mattel + Quirky)
Improvement potential exists
• Lower the age limit, serve both AFOLs and the core market
(COPPA child protection rules do not prevent this)
• Eliminate batch reviews, implement flow
• Do not treat all supported sets the same:
• Mass production
• Online only
• Kickstarter-style preorders
• Improve production agility to grasp opportunities
• LEGO Ideas has potential, but it is far from being
a role model as it is now