LEGO executives celebrated the 10th anniversary of their successful MINDSTORMS robotics kit at the FIRST Championship in Atlanta. Soren Lund, Lego’s Sr. Marketing Director for product and marketing development, joined our Visionaries’ meeting to discuss some of his learnings from 10 years of customer engagement. In talking about the cultural challenges of opening up both your product development and your online presence to customer participation, Soren expressed it this way:
"Like every large company, Lego has a "must" culture - you must do this; the open source developer community has a 'can' culture - I do this because I want to, because I can. The value of the outside-in model is that it brings a different culture inside your company."
Soren Lund at the LEGO booth at FIRST.“As we launched Mindstorms,” Soren explained, “we thought, wouldn’t it be great if people actually talked about this. So we built a Web community and encouraged customers to engage. It wasn’t a mass marketing thing—we’ll tell you what to think. We wanted people to be able to write about what they thought of Mindstorms, etc. We should listen to our consumers. Corporate didn’t want to do that—they were worried about negative content. We did it anyway and were flooded. We were really excited about the response.”