For the last decade, LEGO has proved that building and working with a large community is possible and brings benefits to both users and the company. How did they come up with the idea? And more precisely, how did a children’s toy company end up with a strong community of passionate adults?
Historically, LEGO is a company that drove product innovation through closed-doors R&D and vigorous defence of their intellectual property. One of the first changes came in the late 90s when the LEGO group started offering new product lines that integrated software and hardware to create customizable robots. These products, branded under the LEGO Star Wars or LEGO Mindstorms collections targeted older users.
“We think innovation will come from a dialogue with the community.”
JØRGEN VIG KNUDSTROP
The number of LEGO communities started to explode. In early 2012, there were 150 known user groups made up of over 100,000 LEGO fans worldwide. This was the moment when the management team realized that developing products internally wasn't the only path to success - that working with the community was a new way of developing products. After realizing that these communities held value, the new CEO, Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, started to search for a new path for LEGO - and decided to make the community an integral part of the LEGO way.
We’ll continue to write more about the LEGO saga in next week’s post!