The Crowdsourced creativity — Lego Ideas Case Study

Binod Panda
5 min readApr 5, 2020

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Another day, another case study! These case studies are growing on me as I seem to be enjoying this process of putting in a lot of effort into researching various subjects and then writing about it. I will be more than glad if this case study helps you write your own but it will be very upsetting if my writing is plagiarised.

A screenshot of the Ideas.lego.com website.
A screenshot of the Lego.ideas.com website.

How did this experience make you feel about LEGO in general?

The co-creation platform we are going to discuss here is “Lego Ideas”, first launched in 2008 as Lego Cuusoo and then eventually relaunched as Lego Ideas in 2014. Lego Ideas is a website by the leading Danish toymaker — LEGO with the help of Chaordix, aiming to provide a platform to the immense creative potential among the LEGO fanbase. In simple terms, it’s the place for the LEGO community to submit their ideas, support others’ ideas and much more.

I am so glad that I came to know about Lego Ideas with the help of this Digital Marketing course. My visit to the website was full of positive anticipations and I was not disappointed. The massive number of product ideas on the website could range from beautiful architecture and fancy vehicles to space and beyond. My experience was a mix of nostalgia and amazement. For instance: The BMW M3 lego set evoked a flow of childhood memories and emotions inside me, while some other submissions left me astounded thinking about how detailed and beautiful those were. The submitted ideas are really impressive and their makers seem to have put in a lot of effort in the modelling, demos, pictures and descriptions. The community is also very friendly and supportive. It was such a wholesome experience for me. I look forward to visiting the Lego Ideas website more often in the future and if possible, submit an idea of my own someday.

Now coming to the marketing or business perspective in general, I think Lego has done a great job when it comes to the co-creation platform. Lego seems to have been maintaining the positivity, encouragement, friendliness and certain rules and regulations over the whole website quite well. I am sure this website has been a success for Lego both in terms of sales and winning the customers’ hearts while fulfilling their demands.

A screenshot of the ideas submitted on the Lego Ideas website.

What type of co-creation (i.e., submitting, designing, tinkering, collaborating) is LEGO employing through this platform? Explain your choice.

From what I have learned in this course, Lego is using the ‘collaboration’ type of co-creation. One might think that the ‘co-designing’ type of co-creation is applied here, but I beg to differ and I will further try to justify my statement. The submission of Lego ideas is open to everyone who is above 13 years old and there have been more than 28,000 submissions at the time of writing this. When it comes to the submissions, the sky isn’t the limit as there are numerous Ideas based on space exploration and astronomy too. That implies the type of contribution is ‘open’, although there are certain rules and regulations regarding what ideas can be submitted. And when an idea gathers 10,000 ‘supports’ from the community, it is selected for being reviewed by Lego. Lego reviews the selected ideas 3 times a year and when an idea passes the review process, it is manufactured and sold by LEGO. The point is that even if Lego decides what ideas are worth producing, the community is who does the ‘selection’. Thus, the co-creation used here is ‘collaborating’(Open contribution, Customer-led selection).

What is LEGO trying to achieve through this platform?

Lego is a Danish company established in 1949 that makes toys as interlocking plastic bricks that can be assembled into many forms. It is not only ‘the’ leading toymaker all over the world but also one of the biggest companies. Lego has maintained its spot by not only making fun and engaging quality toys but also trying to adapt to the market. A big example of that would be when Lego introduced their new product lines aimed towards girls in order to make sure that all the genders loved playing with Legos. As Prof. Aric Rindfleisch is seen stating that he loves building Legos, it comes as no surprise that people of all age and gender love Legos. That means the customer base of Lego is as big as one can imagine and their combined ‘creativity and imagination’ is not something Lego could ignore. It was 2008 when Lego realised that the organisation’s employees may not be its only useful resource when it comes to developing new products and that the creative potential of its consumers is immense. In 2008, LEGO partnered with CUUSOO Systems and launched a co-creation platform as Lego Cuusoo. Later in 2014, LEGO replaced Lego Cuusoo with a better platform — Lego Ideas, with the help of Chaordix. Judging from the size of the consumer base of LEGO, it was no surprise that Lego Ideas received a very positive response from the community. Lego Ideas helped LEGO tap into a massive pool of creativity, and also reduce the product development duration by up to 4 times.

From a business point of view, Lego Ideas has been a great success. Lego not only drives a good number of sales but also creates value for the consumer. For example, when an idea is selected, reviewed and produced, the creator is given 10 copies of the product he designed and 1% royalty of the net sales as a form of monetary compensation. Not only that but the creator gets a sense of accomplishment and social recognition that holds a value of its own. Lego has produced about 23 sets in the last 5 years and 90% of them sold out in their first release. Hence, the strategy of LEGO is to engage its community while also creating value and demand. LEGO has been successful in gaining customer trust and engagement.

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Binod Panda

I write Case Studies and Business related articles here.