We've moved into 2015 and yet it seems I am still stuck in 2014 for various reasons.
I had the pleasure of visiting LEGOWORLD in Utrecht (The Netherlands) in October and then BRICK 2014 a month later.
Both events were great and deserve a mention, it is just that I haven't had the time to do it until now - though I could still claim to be short on time as several other things are currently also requiring attention. LUGBULK, RLUG support and online RLUG support - just to mention a few of them.
Anyways, I have taken time to write a blog post on LEGOWORLD in Utrecht, so I can share the pictures, videos and most important the joy of being with "our people" the AFOL community and all the great AFOLs in it.
I left my home on the morning of Wednesday October 15th and drove to Flensburg in Germany to pick up the rental car. After which I drove for roughly 7 hours before arriving at the hotel in Utrecht. Being a Dane and having lived in Copenhagen, the massive amount of bicycles all over was no problem, but the construction work that interferred with my route was. The GPS had zero knowledge of one way streets and also saw a few bicycle paths as roads. The last kilometer took me around 20 minutes to complete and ended up being way more than 1 kilometer of driving.
So after settling in to the hotel, which was easy as it was the same one I used the last time around, I walked to the exhibtion centre which took me 10 minutes. It was a nice walk after more then 8 hours in a car. The AFOLs were already busy setting up the Fan Zone and everyone seemed happy or as happy as one can be when setting up! There is always a few things that annoys, but in general everything was #awesome!
LEGOWORLD was open to the public on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I spend the most of the days, walking around the Fan Zone, talking to AFOLs and observing the smiles on the faces of visiting families. I even got to spend half a day with the GBC people (Maiko and Ben), trying to help out with the modules and getting an idea of what GBC really is! I've got two words for it - HARD WORK! But I guess the amount of positive feedback from all the visitors made it worth it.
I made a video of the entire GBC layout and it took me around 15 minutes to walk the full length. I am uncertain how many modules they brought, hopefully someone can enligthen us in the comments to the post.
After hours there were an AFOL dinner where I showed the new LEGO Minecraft sets in the brick along with the new The Hobbit sets and the UCS Slave 1. There was also a build in lap speedbuild contest and more. AFOL dinners are always great as it allows for relaxed conversation and fun with the AFOLs without them being preoccupied with questions and comments from visitors. There was also a LEGO element sale along with a discounted shopping for the AFOLs which everyone seemed to enjoy and the comment "You can never have enough!" was said more than once.
LEGOWORLD has been around for many years and every year it improves. A couple of years back the event moved from Zwolle to Utrecht and the event setup has changed as we've streamlined the event with the sister event in Denmark. This means changes in a lot of places, but the AFOLs have been superb in adjusting and accepting these changes - for that I am grateful as the Fan Zone is a fantastic place and the AFOLs are a big part of LEGOWORLD. There is always room for improvement and I am certain we will continue to make LEGOWORLD better and better every year.
The Fan Zone is organized by the local RLUGs in The Netherlands as currently has representatives from both LowLUG and DeBouwsteen in it, they work close with the local sales office and we in Community Engagement & Events function as consultants giving advice to both the AFOLs and the local sales office. So far I believe it to be working well, but if you have any comments that you have not shared with the steering group, feel free to send them directly to me - if it concerns the AFOLs and the Fan Zone - the rest of the event is to be commented through the regular channels (consumer service).
My Flickr folder with pictures from the event
I hope everyone had a great end of the year! My wife and I decided to stay home this year rather than flying all the way back to Minnesota, USA to be with family. This really worked out well for us as it allowed us to relax and catch up on things, especially with our newborn son.
Micah is 3 years old, Kai is 3 months Old. Our Dog (an Alaskan Malamute) Luna is 4 years old.
I did get to have some fun though, I have a friend who works at a company in Denmark which produces water survival gear. So one day we went down to the freezing Kolding fjord and test out a typical survival water suite which is used, this suite would often be found on fishing or freight vessels. You would be surprised how comfortable and warm these suites keep you (see the picture)! Of course if you are in the middle of the sea and your ship just sank it probably might not be very comfortable, but you will survive! This was a great personal experience!
So 2015 is finally here! 2014 was a very fast year which really set our direction and focus for many years to come. We established the new LAN and updated all of the support programs. The entire year was dedicated to how to create a stronger, more relevant, and sustainable relationship with the AFOL community. Arguably it has been one of the biggest adjustments to how we work with the community for many years, and we feel excited about this new direction.
Additionally I have 3 exciting internal changes that I want to share.
Kevin Hinkle promoted to Community Manager . Over the past years Kevin has taken the lead at developing a large Adult Fan of LEGO community across the region and successfully been connecting them with both the market and global opportunities. Kevin’s communication and organization skills are just some of the areas, which have supported the department’s strategic goals. His stakeholder management has been also been essential to working with over 100 LEGO User Groups as well a wide range of internal partners.
Kim Ellekjær Thomsen promoted to Associate Community Manager. I am happy to announce that Kim Ellekjær Thomsen is being promoted to Associate Community Manager for the European region and the online AFOL community. He has also delivered great results in our support programs (LUGBULK, LUGSUPPORT, ect.) in managing and supporting the delivery of over 10 million elements out to the AFOL community. Finally, his expertise in the online fan community has become a strong asset in the departments’ interests to expand and explore the AFOL community in new and unique ways.
Jan Beyer’s role is expanded to support the new LEGO HOUSE. Jan has been paving the way in creating new communities around the world for many years. With the new LEGO house in Billund coming up the management team approached us asking for help to better connect the AFOL community into this awesome house. Of course we felt there was no one better to take on this challenge other than Jan. So Jan will be taking the lead in helping LEGO house on this journey and you will hear more about LEGO house and how Jan will connect the AFOL’s at a later stage. He will continue in his current role in supporting Asia, eastern Europe, and Pacific.
I am very proud of the entire team on their promotions and new opportunities! I have a couple additional initiatives which I am hoping to share with you later this month as well.
Posted by Kevin Hinkle on December 18th 2014
My colleagues Jan Beyer, Kim Thomsen and I would like to extend a very Happy Holidays to all members of the global adult fan of LEGO (AFOL) community! Your continued support of the LEGO brand and hobby are truly inspiring and we are grateful that you've allowed us to speak with you, visit your events, and collaborate on a number of awesome projects in 2014! May you have a wonderful holiday season with friends and family and receive lots of rattling boxes.
With Warmest Regards,
Jan Beyer, Kim Thomsen, Kevin Hinkle and the entire LEGO Community Team
Posted by Keith Severson on Dec 4th 2014
It has been a very busy couple of weeks for the community team. With the launch of the new LAN as well as the release of the 2015 support programs there has been a lot of buzz in the community, and of course a lot of great questions and feedback! Obviously the hot issue for many RLUG’s is the LUGBULK 2015 program. Kim Thomsen has a lot of his time dedicated to ensuring everyone can get into the program.
Last week I was in London with Kim to visit the BRICK 2014 event. It was a great event, but I know Kim will elaborate more on this in an upcoming post. My attention also last week got turned to the opening of our new hub in London. The corporate management reached out to me and really wants to see if there could be some AFOL’s joining this very important event for the LEGO Group. I reached out the RLUG ambassadors in the UK region and 7 were able to join. The day was great, and the Ambassadors made a fantastic impression. Infact the ambassadors got more one on one time with Kjeld Kirk kristiansen and a few other corporate management leaders than the media/press did! J The ambassadors did a great job at representing their LUG’s and the global community!
This event and the great representation of the ambassadors got me thinking about a common question we were asked by RLUG’s when they selected their ambassador, which was, “how should we select an ambassador, what are the qualifications?” The community team takes firm stance that we do not set requirements or try to dictate how a LUG should internally operate. However, what people might find interesting is that being a LUG ambassador many times does not have to do with how good of a builder they are or maybe how long they are in the LUG. With the new LAN, we are now opening a lot of very interesting opportunities for LUG’s. There may be more events such as the London hub opening or other key LEGO activities where we need strong AFOL representation. An ambassador may end up talking with leadership or participating in discussion on any type of topic. A RLUG may want to consider that the type of ambassador they choose as it activities they may get invited to could have a big effect for the RLUG.
Finally, I just wanted to mention, that from December 19-January 5th is when most of the LEGO Group is on holiday, including the Community team. Please be patient with us during this time.
Posted by Keith Severson on November 19th 2014
Dear AFOL community,
To learn more about the adult LEGO fan community, we distribute a survey 2 times a year. The surveys help us understand what you and your fellow AFOLs are engaged in, what you think of your LEGO hobby, and how you perceive the LEGO brand. Survey results guide our team at the LEGO Group as we work to better support the fan community. As such, the surveys help us decide where to spend our time and money.
Please post the following survey invitation on your website or distribution list.
After the survey we will provide the LUG Ambassadors with a brief description of the general findings. The findings will then be shared broadly with the adult LEGO fan community. Please note that the survey will only be accessible until December 17th. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns regarding this survey please reach out to Yun Mi Antorini: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you very much for your help!
Keith David Severson – Senior Manager – Community Support Team
Yun Mi Antorini – Community Strategist
Jan Beyer – Community Operations Manager EU/ASIA
Kevin Hinkle – Community Coordinator AMS
Kim Ellekjær Thomsen – Community Coordinator EU
LUGBULK 2015 is in its signup phase.
The document is available here
If you haven't already send in your sign up note, make sure to do so before December 1st.
Only LUG Ambassadors can send in the sign up as this program is only available to Recognized LUGs.
Questions and discussion for the LUG Ambassadors is in this topic
It is happening at the Copenhagen International Documentary Film Festival on Sunday (Nov. 9th) at 16:00.
This is a really exciting film which showcases the amazing AFOL community!
We are also very excited and privileged to have an AFOL team from the Danish RLUG, Byggepladen, to be at the theater displaying some of their MOC’s for the public to see. So not only can people walk into a theater and enjoy the film, they can then can get the complete hands on experience of what it means to be an AFOL!
Posted by Keith Severson on Oct 31st 2014
The first day of onboarding into the new platform has went really well! Well over half of all the LUG Ambassadors activated their accounts yesterday and we expect the rest to come in the next few days.
We were also able to update the F.A.Q. page of the site to now have all of the 2015 support programs.
HAVE YOU SEEN THE MAP! It is so awesome to see an up-to-date and living map of the entire community!
Posted by Keith Severson on Oct 30th, 2014
Today we are excited to invite over 200 LUG’s into the new LEGO Ambassador Network!
This new site is a place not only for LUG Ambassadors but the entire community as well. You will notice that we have a map, events list, Blog and an FAQ which should contain valuable information for the community.
The site is very new, so there is not a lot of information on these tabs just yet, however in the days ahead you will see these tabs be populated. One important piece of information to look forward to is that by Monday November 3rd, the 2015 support programs which are offered by the Community Engagement and events team will be posted and available for all LUG’s to take advantage of!
Welcome to the new site, we hope your experience will be great