Monday, November 18, 2013

co-creating ideas (or please help me out here!)

assembling a diverse group - practical people, experimenters, musicians,
people with their finger on the pulse of trends, nerds, children, folks from diverse cultures,
the more diversity of ideas and backgrounds, the better.
i need some feedback for a co-creation project. first a quick explanation of what i mean by co-creation. in these days of social media, there are a lot of ways that companies are co-creating together with their customers. there's crowdsourcing (which is arguably what i'm doing here) - asking an open question online or via social media, there's direct invitation to be part of an exclusive engagement with the company (what pinterest did very well with their recent translations into the scandinavian languages), there are actual gatherings of users (ala LEGO brick conferences around the world), where the company can take the temperature of what interests users. and i'm sure there are countless other ways of co-creating in this developing field.

for a presentation that's very important to me, i have to sketch out a fictional (but plausible) scenario and describe a co-creation process. the type of process i'd like to describe is one which may start with crowdsourcing, but it will end in an invitation to be part of an exclusive group and ultimately end in a new or improved product/product line, so it will actually engage several aspects of the kinds of co-creation i described above.

i believe that when co-creating, the more diverse your group, the better. i'm a believer in putting together experts, users, artists and musicians, shaking them up and seeing the magic that happens.

i'm looking for LEGO-related ideas, which is where you come in. i have several, but i would like more. i would also like your feedback on the ideas i already have. they are as follows:

~ along the lines of their architecture series, LEGO should develop a wildlife series, possibly even with a tie-in to the BBC, which produces such breathtaking nature documentaries and or/the world wildlife fund (or other organizations devoted to the welfare of the world's animals).

~ LEGO education has some pretty amazing stuff available to schools today, but it's only available in large packs, which not every school can afford. it's difficult for an individual teacher to obtain a package to investigate and look into how she can use it in the classroom without the school having a big, expensive subscription. a co-creation process together with teachers from smaller schools around the world might result in ideas for LEGO education to make it easier for teachers to use their wonderful products.

~ the LEGO advent calendars could use some inspiration - a co-creation process whereby consumers come with suggested stories/themes for the calendar. i know we personally bought two of them in 2010 - the castle-themed one and the city one, but haven't bought one since because we don't feel that the story that's there is clear or will sustain us through 24 days.

~ despite the popularity of the friends series, there is a lack of focus on girls with LEGO. i know my own girl wouldn't want the friends LEGOs. there must be another angle to appeal to girls. who should be involved in determining that?

~ an environmental angle on LEGO. despite being a plastic toy, they are a plastic toy that lasts and that people save and hand down to the next generation. LEGO should take advantage of this and have an environmental themed series. but what should that contain? and who should be involved? (can you tell that this is the one that interests me the most).

so, please, please leave me your thoughts and ideas in the comments or email me directly jknachti (at) gmail (dot) com (sorry, had to write that way to protect from the spambots). please do let me know your thoughts, i really need and appreciate your help! the sooner, the better!

7 comments:

Lisa-Marie said...

I suppose I would be of most help on the education front. I actually think the solution is fairly simple - they could rent the products to schools rather than selling them. That way as technology moves on, the could adapt elements of the big packs without it costing schools much more. Most classes will do topic blocks, so they only need the packs for maybe 1 month per year. If they were able to rent them for a fee (maybe a yearly one offering 4 or five packs), they could arguably use more of the packs.

celkalee said...

Great project. (My Lego exposure was 35-40 years ago with my sons.) The sustainability of the product, its generational appeal and its universal appeal is its strength to me. With the digital and electronic glut of entertainment currently available to children, the Lego is tactile, thought provoking toy for generations.

Going forward it is that sustainability that most resonates with me. A campaign directed at a conservation theme seems timely. With an emphasis on responsible forestry, I am thinking of a carry case that looks like a little forest that opens and expands to reveal elements for seedlings, trees, a little sawmill, with characters to represent a forest ranger, some animals, lumberjacks, etc, While forests provide essential products, the process is sometimes controversial. Using the Lego to teach responsibility for the use of the forest and how keep it sustainable is a lesson that future generations need to maintain the viability of the planet.

I believe with all my heart that education is key to quality life no matter where you live. Over the years the Lego has stimulated many children to their adult careers. You tapped into one of my passions this morning. Hope you receive many great ideas and best of luck with your project!

Bill Stankus said...

• A group of Amish teenagers - of both sexes - leave rural Pennsylvania for NYC to experience their Rumspringa.

• A British soccer team, while on their way to a World Cup competition, have plane troubles and are forced to land in the Brazilian jungle. While there, they have new challenges with assorted jungle critters, Amazon natives and end up playing soccer with their new-found friends.

• On a school trip from Barcelona to Paris to visit various art museums, school girls on the train are unexpectedly needed for various tasks: Finding a lost suitcase containing a government worker’s secret papers, giving first-aide to a fainter, returning a lost child to its parents, giving a smack-down to a purse thief and most importantly - finding ways to keep their mobile phones charged.

• The BBC has decided on a new TV series: “Lego People VIsit the World’s Best Parks”. While in each Park, LP hire guides and do an assortment of thrilling adventures - river raft floating, zip lines from tall trees and/or mountains, ice skate on frozen lakes, ride pack mules into deep canyons, attend animal park feeding times, play ‘tag-you’re-it’ amongst giant termite mounds and, if in an urban park, attend a Billy Joel Under The Stars Concert.

• Lego People, while on their way to work at a costume factory discover a school with lots of kids but no teachers (they’re stuck in Legoland traffic). So the costumed LP step in and teach the kids. Viking Person teaches boating skills, Witchdoctor person teaches first-aid, Police person teaches pedestrian safety, etc.

• Lego People have decided to Save The Planet, the trouble is, they don’t know how to start. A few get government work and discover there’s no salvation there ... other LP decide to work for corporations and discover their low paying jobs aren’t good enough too change their corporate master’s greedy ambitions. Other LP become activists and chain themselves to trees and get bulldozed for their efforts. The rest decide to go home and eat snacks while watching TV documentaries about disappearing wildlife.

Molly said...

Urgh, lost my original (well written, thought-provoking, brilliantly inspiring) comment ... so here goes the short version.
Re LEGO and girls (of course).
My two play with the friends sets at other's houses but far, far prefer the female mini-figures I've (rapidly) amassed of late.
Forest maidens, mermaids, geishas (thank you!) all join forces to do everything from fighting dragons to keeping house.
I know that the friends do some cool things like magic and karate etc, but the very fact of their being physically different to all other LEGO figures creates a divide.
If LEGO has so successfully created cool female mini-figures why couldn't they expand on that?
Themed sets - Brave, with one-legged Scots dad and bear etc, princess knights, amazons, even Little Red Riding hood - but also just with family sets.
The (whispers) Playmobil children and baby figures are v popular at ours - and games around family dynamics are great in so many ways.
Personally I'd love LEGO Little Women and Little House on the Prairie sets but that might (sadly) not be as relevant to today's little girls.
I think LEGO should speak to girls who have brothers - in houses where LEGO has come in primarily as gifts/toys for their brothers. I'd be absolutely interested in what they had to say about how they've played with their brother's LEGO and how they found it limiting and what they'd like to see.

DahnStarr said...

Thought: Re-gifting = Helping Environment but there is still a need to maintain economic development (jobs). So, I'm thinking, LEGO creates a re-gifting package/kit which could be a themed (save the forest, keep plastic out of landfills, etc.) empty storage box/bag and redeemable certificate for a new add on or starter kit. The used LEGO items are added to the kit. The gift giver is giving something that is new (the kit), recycling/re-gifting their used blocks and the child has the extra fun of using the certificate for another gift. Plus LEGO has a new product to sell that can promote environmental awareness.

Lost Star said...

I keep thinking about the LEGO for girls thing. I loved LEGO growing up, but I don't recall ever having 'girl' lego bits. I just played with the pirates and the regular blocks and used my imagination to come up with the stories that fit what I wanted. Flexibility is always what I think of with LEGO. It can be a spaceship, it can be a table. It is what you make of it. (Although I do like the purple colours of the friends pieces).

LEGO should make more of basic boxes of LEGO and push kids into inventing their own models rather than the kits that can be constrained as to what you make (e.g. LEGO Star Wars) I know they sell basic block sets, but maybe kits with a mix of blocks (and colours) and some LEGO model ideas to start kids off with.

I don't like the LEGO friends people that much. They should just have come up with minifigure models with cool girl hair and heads and bodies etc. Why not have girl pirates, or girl helicopter pilots? Why have 'cool' girls that don't really inspire little girls as to what they can be? (Although, I did go look at the kits and these two stood out as being anti-traditional girl things which is cool: http://friends.lego.com/en-gb/products/41002-emmas-karate-class and http://friends.lego.com/en-gb/products/41011-stephanies-soccer-practice)

Turning this round a little, what's to say that boys don't want cute little animal LEGO pieces to play with? By making it all pink and purple LEGO have bought into this pink is for girls, blue is for boys mentality. Perhaps the answer is that they shouldn't sell for boys and girls separately, but that they should let the kids pick what they want. Of course, that is a whole other argument based on the gender setting we have in society that LEGO probably can't overcome by itself but not theming colours with pink (friends) and blue (city) might help.

Just realised that this was not the question you asked. How do you determine what girls want? How about asking them? Any school that does that LEGO education thing - ask them. Send out questionnaires to people via the LEGO shop. There is no better thing than asking the users of your products what they want/need. Run workshops with girls of all ages and types. Go into shops and schools and work with them on the project. Kids are surprisingly clued up as to what they want. Their parents, maybe not so much in this case.

LEGO advent calendar - I would totally buy a mini figure only calendar. No need for a story with that one, and a lot of people would enjoy it. (Perhaps have different body parts and accessories in each window) Can be Christmas themed, or not)

Or perhaps vehicles that you build up over the course of December - it would have to be something quite big though to make it last through the month.

Michelle said...

gosh - I LOVE DahnStarr's idea = how amazing!!!

I love Julochka's idea around ANIMALS. It is a pretty standard interest for the 6,7,8 year old girls, and would appeal to boys too. I don't have many ideals on appealing to girls separately, as I think there is already too much separation of interests by gender - how do we become more inclusive rather than less???