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.

Continue reading

Marketing to girls: My Little Pony and LEGO Friends and Elves

Marketing to girls - My Little Pony and LEGO Friends and ElvesDespite the advances achieved in the past 100 years, we are still on the journey towards gender equality as a society and the road ahead remains long and winding. However, I think there have been a number of beacons of hope within the past five years when it comes to the “girls” toy market, and this movement is not going to stop.

In this post, I will examine a number of toys directed at girls and the way they have been marketed, and sketch out what the future could hold for toy manufacturers adventurous enough to fully venture into the still relatively unexplored realm of educational and empowering stories and toys.

Continue reading

Can LEGO live up to its mission in the digital space?

Can LEGO live up to its mission in the digital spaceLEGO is famous for its mission, “To inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow.” However, when it comes to the digital space, especially video games, LEGO has had a hard time finding ways to actually turn this mission to reality.

In this post, I examine what LEGO has been doing in the digital space, where LEGO could shine, how competitors have already arrived there, and what LEGO could do to live up to its mission in the digital.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Toys-to-life games and toys: from Skylanders to LEGO Fusion

Toys-to-life games and toys from Skylanders to LEGO FusionToys-to-life refers to a relatively new category of games and related toys that was born as recently as 2011 with the release of Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure. It has been a spectacularly successful category, with the Skylanders franchise alone surpassing $3 billion in sales.

As of late, there have been many new entrants to the competition, so it is a good time to take a look at what toys-to-life games are all about, what kinds of offerings there are on the market, and where the market may be headed.

Continue reading

Why LEGO Universe failed and can Minifigures Online succeed?

LEGO has been interested in online gaming for a long time. It first ventured into online gaming in 2005, when it commissioned work on LEGO Universe (released in 2010, shut down in 2012), and it has two newer ventures into that space going on with LEGO Legends of Chima Online and LEGO Minifigures Online.

In this post, I will examine the story of LEGO Universe, look into what success in online gaming looks like, take a look at LEGO Minifigures Online, and consider potential niches for the LEGO brand in online gaming.

Continue reading

Use of LEGO bricks in teaching collaborative problem solving

Collaborative problem solving (CPS) is an important 21st century skill. CPS is important, because both manual and non-manual work are increasingly non-standard, and because of this, the requirements for both problem-solving and collaboration at work are increasing.

In this post, I will take a look at how the use of LEGO and LEGO DUPLO bricks can help children learn collaborative problem-solving skills. One might argue that simply playing with such toys is already excellent practice, but I will demonstrate how formal teaching tasks can also be designed around the use of these tools, which enable systematic practice, and, if desired, assessment.

Continue reading

Lego Movie, Friends, and the struggle to nurture creativity

Lego has been subject to significant criticism for perpetuating gender stereotypes since its introduction of the Lego Friends series in 2011. Furthermore, while the recent Lego Movie has received almost universal praise, most articles that examine it from a gender point of view remain critical.

In this post, I will examine how Lego Friends and Lego Movie both act as crucial parts of fulfilling Lego’s mission, to “inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow,” and how the criticism aimed against them lacks a big-picture view of how they carry out Lego’s mission.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading