Crowdsourcing in the toy industry: LEGO Ideas

Crowdsourcing in the toy industry - LEGO IdeasCrowdsourcing has long held quite a bit of promise: who would not want to have customers participate in funding, marketing, or developing products for themselves and thus relieving the company from some of these tasks.

In the toy industry, crowdsourcing has recently made an appearance, so it is interesting to take a look at what has happened there and to consider what could happen in the future. The main focus of this post is LEGO Ideas, as it is by far the most visible example of crowdsourcing in the toy industry.

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LEGO as a platform and as service

LEGO as a platform and as servicePlatforms are all the hype nowadays. Whether it’s iOS, Android, Uber, or Airbnb, it seems that platforms are set to inherit the Earth.

I have examined the platform hype and the deeper meanings derived from reinterpreting platforms through a lens of service-dominant logic before, and in this post I want to turn the focus to LEGO.

What? LEGO is not a software company that provides a platform for other companies to sell their wares, what has it got to do with platforms? While it is different, I claim that LEGO is, indeed, a platform, and I’ll show you why and why it matters – and how to go beyond that to LEGO as service.

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The building blocks of a dynamic organization

The building blocks of a dynamic organizationI have written about many themes that touch the corporations of today in this blog over the years. Themes such as Lean, social business, dynamic capabilities, Lean Startup, intrinsic motivation, and service-dominant logic each have had their time in the spotlight.

With all these themes and theories, what is the big picture? I believe there is, in fact, quite a coherent picture that can be painted from all these themes, and that picture provides some much-needed answers on what a dynamic organization looks like and how to build one.

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What are we really trying to teach children via computing?

What are we really trying to teach children via computing?Teaching children computing is all the hype nowadays. The forerunners, such as the UK and Estonia, have already started, with other countries, such as Finland and South Korea, not far behind.

The public discussion in Finland has mainly focused on how children will be taught coding. However, this is a fundamental misunderstanding on what this future subject is about according to its most vehement proponents.

In this post, I will examine what exactly we want to teach children via computing, and whether teaching computing is a good way to accomplish this goal.

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How to change corporate culture to be more open to change

Technology adoption strategiesChange management is hard. As a general rule, change adoption rarely, if ever, happens overnight by simply adding a new process or technology and holding a few training sessions.

In a recent blog post (in Finnish only, sorry), Marko Suomi argued that people in organizations in general act according to the technology adoption lifecycle: some are very enthusiastic about new changes whereas others are much slower to adopt them. It is important to note that the enthusiasm of individuals varies between changes too: even a person who is generally an innovator usually does not adopt all changes first.

In this post, I wish to delve a bit deeper into how changes are adopted in organizations and what the management can do about it.

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Moore’s category maturity life cycle and innovation types

I have been looking for ways to make sense of product life cycles in environments where there are no real products as such, but in which offerings are instead tailored to customer needs. Yet, even in such environments, it is not profitable to always start from scratch, so a form of product management needs to exist, even if that management is more concerned with modules, technologies, and general applications than mass produced products.

So far, the only model I have found that seems adequate for the purpose is Geoffrey Moore’s category maturity life cycle, which he presents in his book Dealing with Darwin: How Great Companies Innovate at Every Phase of Their Evolution.

In this post, I will examine this model.

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Sustaining innovation and disruptive innovation – case Lego

How important are various forms of innovation to a company? Gary Pisano, a professor at the Harvard Business School, recently wrote an article called In Defense of Routine Innovation on Harvard Business Review, in which he argues that the vast majority of profits come from sustaining innovation, not disruptive innovation. His examples include Intel and Microsoft, giants who have been making the majority of their profits from sustaining innovations for the past two decades.

While Pisano does point out that disruptive innovation is also needed, none of his examples really serve to bring this point home. To get a better perspective on this, it is useful to take a look at a company with a slightly longer history. The case I have in mind is Lego.

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