There is much talk these days about crowdsourcing and how companies can tap into the power and diversity of the crowd. I will share my views and perspectives on some good examples as well as bad ones in a series of blog posts.
We start out with one of my favorite companies in the world, LEGO and their LEGO CUUSOO initiative.
The Key Message: You need to master social media to be successful with crowdsourcing.
The Case: LEGO CUUSOO is a site where you can share LEGO set concepts that you would like the whole world to enjoy and aim for their eventual release as real products. It is so simple that it can be explained in three steps:
1. Have an idea? Create a project, share your product concept, and see what other people think.
2. Get 10,000 supporters. Projects with 10,000 supporters are reviewed three times a year by LEGO for a chance to become an official LEGO product.
3. Receive royalty. If your project passes review and is chosen for production, you will receive 1% of the total net sales of the product. See the guidelines for more details.
At this point, LEGO CUUSOO has a launched 6 projects since the start in 2011. You can check this overview of accepted / rejected projects.
• Hundreds of thousands of views of the projects on the LEGO CUUSOO website; several projects getting more than 10,000 votes each
• More than 38,000 likes on their Facebook page
• More than 180,000 views on a single YouTube video announcement (Summer Review Results) and thousands of views of other videos
The Lessons: I am a big fan of this project for a couple of reasons. First, I like how LEGO went beyond their comfort zone and actually did this project with an external partner, Cuusoo of Japan. It might feel easier to just do things yourself, but you need to open up today in order to reap the full potential of innovation.
Too often, we see that crowdsourcing has been hijacked by a corporate marketing department. This is not the case here. Yes, LEGO does receive lots of exposure and press coverage, but they also deliver real products based on the crowdsourcing. I believe crowdsourcing projects that not only bring better conversations with users and customers, but also help delivers real products and services are far more sustainable. LEGO CUUSOO is a good example.
If you want to be successful with crowdsourcing – and perhaps even with business-to-business open innovation – you need to master social media. The LEGO CUUSOO numbers and facts speak for themselves.
End of story.
This is the first post in a series of blog posts by our friend Stefan Lindegaard. Please visit 15inno.com for more of Stefan's thought leadership.