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Entertainment - Written by on Thursday, January 28, 2010 11:38 - 0 Comments

Laura M.  Carrillo
CL!CK – LEGO’s fun social product development platform

Earlier this month LEGO announced the CL!CK community, a place where designers, innovators and creative-types can gather to submit ideas modeled using Legos. Remember Legos? Those interlocking plastic brick toys? They’ve come a long way since their original introduction in the 1930’s and the company is no longer just marketing these toys to children. This latest venture pairs the simple concept of using Lego blocks to build something new with community and social media. In their own words, the CL!CK community is:

A little place on the Internet celebrating creativity and the everyday moments of inspiration that LEGO® enthusiasts call “CL!CK.” Come to inspire and be inspired.

The community is tightly tied to Facebook, Twitter and Flickr, providing tags (#legoclick and legoclick) so that users can take ownership of their new ideas and post those ideas out to the world. The Cl!ck community highlights individual’s random posts on its site, so as I went back and forth to the site I actually saw updated Tweets and posts about what people were thinking about and doing with Cl!ck. Marketers at Lego also did a fantastic job putting together a video to introduce the concept. I’m sure you’ll agree it’s well done and very engaging.

We should not be surprised at Lego’s recent step into more collaboration with customers, especially since they’ve been working on it since the early days of their Mindstorms project. Lego Mindstorms, originally released in 1998, developed programmable bricks, electric sensors, and motors so that Lego enthusiasts and other inventors could create robots or whatever they wanted. At the time Lego was still targeting only kids with Mindstorms, but this initiative revealed how much of an adult following they had. In 2005,  Don Tapscott commented in an Optimize Magazine article(now Information Week):

Within three weeks of their release, user groups had sprung up, and tinkerers had reverse-engineered and reprogrammed the sensors, motors, and controller devices at the heart of the Mindstorms robotic system—and sent their suggestions to Lego. The company, at first uncertain about how to respond, threatened to launch lawsuits. When users rebelled, however, Lego finally came around and eventually created a Web site where customers can co-create products. Now each time a customer develops and posts an application for Mindstorms, the toys become more valuable.

Even years ago Lego recognized how important collaborative customer relationships were to the growth of the brand and the company. Lego’s CL!CK community is clearly an extension of its ongoing collaboration with its customers.

In conjunction with the CL!CK  announcement, Lego also release a free iPhone app that allows users to take any image and convert it to a mosaic Lego image. It’s easy to use and downloadable at legoclick.com or  iTunes.

Lego_iphone_appWhile the iPhone app seems fun and is an interesting way to keep your brand in front of consumers, the CL!CK community could actually produce new innovations, benefiting both Lego and those inventors who generate new ideas. The launch and campaign around the site has been impressive so far. I look forward to seeing CL!CK success stories and possibly new social product development processes emerge from this as well.

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