“I’m responsible for the product development and bringing the product to market in terms of LEGO® CUUSOO. So I am the Business Lady. The official term is Business Manager – but Business Lady will do.”
For those of you who do not know, LEGO CUUSOO is a community where you share your ideas for a LEGO set concepts, get others to vote for it, and if you get 10.000 votes it might become a real LEGO product!
That’s awesome, right? But what happens when a CUUSOO project reaches 10.000 votes? We’ve interviewed LEGO CUUSOO Senior Business Manager Daiva S. Naldal to find out more about the process.
“Right now we have 4 review periods a year. We take all the projects that reached 10.000 votes and a review board determines whether it will become a product,“ Daiva explains.
But who exactly is this on this review board?
“It consists of different people who represent different departments within The LEGO Group, to make sure that we have a decent and proper evaluation of each idea. We have LEGO Designers and people from our main markets,- like Sales and Marketing people, who will then be responsible to validate the sales potential. We also have representatives from our Brand Management Team, securing that the projects fit our Brand guidelines. And we have a close relationship to License and Legal, as well as Product Development Teams. So we get insights from all teams in order to make the final decision.”
“We need to go across the organization to collect input from those various teams and people. And then we have final meeting and discussions about that. It does take some time,” the Business Lady concedes.
So when a project hits 10.000 votes but is not selected to become a product it’s not simply because the Designers didn’t like it. There are many components to the decision process:
“Sometimes we cannot not secure the partnership, sometimes it clashes with our own development projects that are in the pipeline and sometimes it is similar to a project that we already had. And sometimes the topic simply does not fit with the brand values,” Daiva explains.
The seven projects that passed 10.000 votes by the September 2013 are currently in review. So CUUSOO will be able to announce the decisions by the beginning of next year. And if a project makes it through the review period, it hits the development stage.
“That means we look at the original idea and work with our design team to structure the project. And to secure that final product lives up to our play and building experience standards. So our design team prunes the model and adjust it, so it can pass our internal model review. Our experienced designers and design coaches will build and adjust the model. And that sometimes means we have to tweak the details of the model to make it final,” Daiva says.
“Hopefully the final model ends up to be very close to the original model idea . And we would collaborate with the people who have presented the original idea on LEGO CUUSOO. To make sure that we are on the same page.”
A lot of people don’t know this, but LEGO CUUSOO projects actually reach the market much faster than the regular LEGO products.
“Once it passes review, it takes six months to a year to reach the market. That includes the whole devolvement process, adjusting design, developing the packaging, communication, producing different parts, packing it and shipping to different places in the world and then bringing it to the shops. A ‘normal’ LEGO product would take more time from the idea to the market,” Daiva tells us. She have worked for The LEGO Group for more than 10 years on various projects – like LEGO Castle products; LEGO Sports products, LEGO Minifigures series and more. So she knows!
But why all the fuss? It seems like a lot of work, right? Well, to Daiva it is absolutely worth it:
“I think it is a fantastic opportunity both for the Company and for the LEGO fans. It’s a win-win situation. We can honor and pay tribute to the true fans. And through their ideas we find new and different topics and projects that we wouldn’t think of. So it also allows us to be inspired as a company and to inspire the community.”
Check out this gallery of Daiva’s favorite creations on ReBrick:
Stay tuned for future LEGO Superstar Features!