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  • Sara Skahill
    When you work at the LEGO Group, there’s opportunities to play in your daily work. However, as a company we reserve one day a year just for play – Playday.
    Across the globe, employees stepped away from their day jobs to get in touch with their inner playful self. At the US Enfield Hub, this meant a trip to “Sonny’s Place” an amusement park not far from the LEGO Office. At Sonny’s Place we found play activities such as arcade games (including one virtual reality game I was terrible at), go-kart racing, bowling, laser tag, pottery painting, and bowling.
     


    Although it was an overcast and chilly day, that didn’t stop us from enjoying afternoon ice cream and using the zipline.



    There was also a brick based “escape room” (or escape box?) in which we were challenged to crack the code using clues before 20 minutes - we finished with 2 minutes remaining, no big deal (it was a big deal).



    Billund                                       

     
    In Billund, the weather also didn’t encourage playing outside. However, inside tents, colleagues sported wrist bands and enjoyed building activities, cupcake decorating (jealous of that) and even a silent disco.
     

     
    Naturally in Billund they had a few more high profile attendants.
     

    Inside one tent, there was even a section to highlight how AFOLs “play”!

    Shanghai

     
    In Jiaxing and Shanghai, China, the sun shone on Play Day. Of course, all play activities were inside anyway….

    As it was a smaller office, employees all got matching shirts rather than wrist bands. Activities included life sized Mahjong, and whatever is going on the second picture below.
     

     
    We hope you take some time to play every once in a while too.
     

     

    Alyssa Harrington
    Hi friends! 👋It's been a while since my last big brick convention so I was excited to be invited to attend Brick Fair Virginia. 
    I'd fail Bionicle trivia.
    I really enjoyed seeing so much love for Bionicle at Brick Fair! I'm not a constraction builder at all so it was really eye-opening to me to see so many different original characters, modifications and details in person. If anybody knows of a great "Bionicle 101" primer, let me know! I need to work on my SigFig.
    More than a few of you were disappointed that I don't have a SigFig! So far, I have the legs ✔️, the torso ✔️, the face ✔️ but I'm still trying to find the perfect long red hair! Hopefully next year I can add my SigFig to my convention badge collection. It's slowly growing!
      Bring cash to the yard sale (and bring an empty suitcase).
    This was a total rookie mistake. I wanted to buy so many minifigs and sets but I had zero cash 💰 on me and I only packed one bag that was already full of snacks, clothes and shoes (why did I pack like 3 pairs of shoes??). It was so cool to see so many sets on display and it was great to chat with so many collectors. I was especially psyched to see some Pirates and Castle fans! I see you! 👀
      MOCs are more creative than ever before!
    Full disclosure -- this is my favorite part of attending fan events. I saw some truly jaw-dropping MOCs. Builds that lit up, builds that moved, builds that transformed and builds that were actual playable games too. I loved chatting with everyone to learn more about how they build, if they build with their families, what their favorite things to build are, etc. Everyone has a unique story, a specialty and a true passion. I left feeling so inspired and honestly a bit jealous that I'm such a terrible builder! Maybe I'll have a MOC on display some day? @Jacky Chen will need to help me out with that I think. 🤯 Lots of talent for LEGO Masters casting!
    I was at BrickFair mostly to help out with the US version of LEGO Masters! I found so many amazing builders for the casting team to review. I sent over 50 names to the casting team! One of my goals here on the Market Integration team is to get more LEGO peeps out to visit incredible events like Brick Fair. It's really a one of a kind, unique experience that shows off what the amazing community is capable of. I know it's one thing to see pics or videos, but to see it in person is 100x more impressive. 👏
     

    Bogdan Gherasim
    We’re happy to let you know that we’ll join the Skærbæk Fan Weekend starting Friday, September 27. We hope many of you will be part of the activities we have planned out for the days in Skærbæk.
     
    Here’s a quick glimpse of what we’re planning for Skærbæk:
    Lead User Lab Idea Pitching Session: if you’re interested to pitch your ideas, we’d love to hear them out. We have a unique opportunity to meet face to face with some of you and discuss if your idea is a fit candidate for the Lead User Lab innovation funnel. If yes, then together we can explore how to get to the next stage, which is idea incubation/stretching. More info below.
    Workgroups: getting your feedback, insights and inspiration is invaluable for the way we think holistically about LEGO experiences and the LEGO® brand. We’d love to hear you out and understand your point of view on a few key topics, which are very relevant for the Lead User Lab. Check them out below.
    Lead User Lab presentation: it’s still a very new thing, so we’re keen to provide a presentation about the Lead User Lab and answer the questions you might have. Keep an eye on the event agenda!
     
    Details
    1.   Lead User Lab Idea Pitching Session at Skærbæk:
    What ideas is the Lead User Lab looking for? How do you know if it’s the right fit?
    Answers to this and more are available here: 10 Questions You Might Have About Lead User Lab
     
    How to prepare a pitch?
    We made a quick one-pager guide for you. Find it here: Lead User Lab_Idea pitching inspiration_Skærbæk Fan Weekend.pdf
     
    Click here: Subscribe for idea pitching at Skærbæk
    We will evaluate all submissions on an ongoing basis and will get back to you regrading pitching selections and other next steps, as soon as possible before the event, so you have time to prepare.
     
    2.   Workgroups x 4
    We’ll focus on four topics that we’d love to get your perspectives and inspiration on. Each will last for up to 1h and you can sign up using the Skærbæk member center who will also inform you about max number of participants.
     
    Workgroup 1: Technology enabled free-building discussion
    Focus:
    -        LEGO physical technology, LEGO Powered-Up, GBC, and more
    -        Bring in input and inspiration from your own experience for new free-build experiences
    -        Share ideas, examples and needs
    -        For the tech talk, our colleagues from LEGO Product Technology, Oliver Wallington and Louis Elwood-Leach will also join the talks
     
    Workgroup 2: Customization and Personalization
    Focus:
    -        Discuss your approaches to customization and personalization: self-expression, DIY approaches, techniques
    -        Tips & Tricks: Bring in input and inspiration from your own experience and work with customization or personalization
    -        Share ideas, needs, examples and best practices on potential existing solutions
     
    Workgroup 3: Arts & Crafts
    Focus:
    -        Discuss your views on Arts & Crafts category: interests, passion points, needs
    -        Tips & Tricks: Bring in input and inspiration from your own experience
    -        Share ideas, needs, examples and best practices on potential existing solutions
     
    Workgroup 4: Storage & Transportation
    Focus:
    -        Discuss storage needs, ideas, tips & tricks
    -        Current solutions: what works, what pain points you have
    -        Share ideas, needs, examples and best practices on potential existing solutions
     


    Eric Kou
    During the weekend of Aug 24~25, 2019, the third AFOL Festival was hosted at Shanghai, China.
    Participating RLUGs: China LUG, LELEZHEN LUG, Heros Club LUG, SHLUG, Canton LUG, Hong Kong Brick Rail and Brickinside
    Participating RLFM: MOCOZONE, Wooden Duck
    This year we have 130+ AFOLs across the country and 4 friends from Korea participated this BIG DAY event, and have thousands of public visitors in two days. Compare with year one and two, our AFOL family in China is growing bigger and faster than we thought. 
    The exhibition was hosted at Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center, located on People's Square, Shanghai, adjacent to the municipal government building.

    Paul Huang, General Manager of LEGO China, made an opening speech at AFOL Festival. 

    This year we see many more high quality MOCs were brought to the event. 






















    Mr Stuart Harris from LEGO Group made speech about LEGO house, and answered many questions from fans who are curious about the place.

    We also have Donny joined this party, who is the first LEGO Ideas 10K club member from mainland China.

    And he also made a presentation about his experience of his LEGO IDEAS project.

    Besides exhibition, we also have many interesting games at the party. One of my favorite game is MOC competition based on parts from one existing LEGO Set.
    This lovely rooster is created by parts from LEGO Creator 3in1 Set 31088 by @Jiayuan Xu

    Mr Harris visited my booth and took photo with me. 

    1st CN ambassadors gathering.

    Finally, thanks to all volunteers, all people who helped with this big party! Without help from all of you there will never be so great memory for us!

    Bogdan Gherasim
    We’re happy to let you know that the Lead User Lab kicked-off in August. It's early days, so you probably have a bunch of questions that need more clarity - what it is, what ideas we're looking to incubate, what's in it for you, ways of working, and more. Below you’ll find a quick FAQ. If we missed anything you're curios about, let us know!
    What are we up to next?
    In the coming weeks, we’ll focus on fundamentals of the idea intake process and how to evaluate and prioritize them. At this stage, we’re also assessing the ideas we’ve received via email over the summer, since we first revealed the Lead User Lab on the LAN blog. We’ll let everyone know as soon as possible about the outcomes and whether we can continue with any of them in the stretching/incubation phase. High level, the Lead User Lab funnel looks like this: (1) Idea intake – (2) Stretching/Incubation – (3) Piloting – (4) Idea realization.
     
    Lead User Lab - FAQ
     
    1.      What is the Lead User Lab?
    It's a 2 year pilot that will be a test-bed and incubator for innovative ideas that expand the LEGO brand. In it, we'll co-create future innovations, putting the idea owner (the lead user) and the AFOL community front and center.
     
    2.      Why have we set up the Lead User Lab?
    We want to establish a systematic process to tap into the lead users' ideas and creativity and maximize that value. We believe there's a unique opportunity to co-create and pick up very early ideas and market trends and start developing pilots that will successfully build on the LEGO brand and on what the AFOL community wants.
    We're a creative play company, we do it because we want to constantly innovate the LEGO idea and we want to inspire all our fans with innovation and experiences that we haven’t yet imagined. Also, we do it because just like the brick’s endless creative potential and reinvention, we believe our fans and lead users are also an endless and evergreen territory of creativity and innovation - and that's something to be nurtured.
     
    3.      How does the Lead User Lab work?
    We're putting the AFOL community’s interest and the lead user front and center, to test an innovation value chain untested in a systematic way before in the LEGO Group – exploring structured ways to bring in outside ideas at an early stage and finding ways to scale them. Think of it as partly incubator, partly accelerator, but with a LEGO twist.
    We will run an on-going, highly focused and selective idea intake process to ensure the most relevant and high potential ideas are selected for pilots. Then in a collaborative process with the idea owner (the lead user) we'll stretch and incubate it, exploring ways to maximize the value. Then we'll run pilots, to explore if, how and where the idea can be scaled, then act on it. It does mean we'll have to make focused choices at all stages of the process - we see it as an innovation wheel constantly spinning out potential, shaping and re-shaping ideas, while finding ways to add value to the brand and to the lead user and community.
     
    4.      Who is it for?
    It's for all creative and entrepreneurial LEGO minds out there - the lead users - who spot early trends and market needs way before anybody else. The ideal lead user candidate already has a well crystallized idea, ideally a prototype or maybe even a set business, and is eager to collaborate and co-create with us, to explore incubation, piloting and potential scaling.
     
    5.      What ideas are we looking for?
    We'll be focusing on new-to-the-company ideas and will go beyond the LEGO brick. The type of ideas we're looking to incubate and pilot can be new experiences, services, channels, audiences/targets groups, all which in some way expand the LEGO brand and add value to the AFOL community.
     
    6.      What can i expect from the Lead User Lab process?
    We will evaluate ideas on an on-going basis, so you can expect a collaborative and iterative process. As you can probably anticipate, the process will look like an on-going funnel with continuous evaluation and prioritization. We’ll run a highly focused and selective process to ensure only the most relevant ideas are selected for pilots. This also means sometimes we'll have to make difficult decisions and say no, either in the beginning of the intake, or during the incubation or piloting stage.
     
    7.      Will you take in ideas of standard LEGO products? / Does this compete with LEGO Ideas?
    We will not focus on standard sets in the Lead User Lab. LEGO Ideas is a fantastic platform that does that already, leveraging fan ideas and turning them into LEGO products, whether new stories/universes, or IP universes. The main characteristic of LEGO Ideas is also that it builds on the core of the LEGO building system – creating and re-creating fun and engaging stories, using the brick's creative potential and versatility. The Lead User Lab on the other hand is tapping into what lies beyond that – looking to leverage radically new ideas of experiences, services, channels, or target audiences. Also, worth mentioning, Lead User Lab is not a competitor of LEGO Ideas as the focus is fundamentally different.
     
    8.      How can you submit an idea to the Lead User Lab?
    We are open to intake ideas in two ways: an intake portal where lead users can submit ideas - coming soon! At the same time, the Lead User Lab team will be scouting to find cool ideas and Lead Users who have already developed a prototype/have an established business and are eager to co-create on taking their idea to the next level. We've already received emails with ideas from lead users, and will soon start to evaluate them too. We'll also be present at some of the fan events, so stay tuned for more!
     
    9.      How do i know if my idea is good enough?
    We're looking for new-to-the-company ideas that add value to the brand and the community. And most likely, you already have a prototype or launched your business. Does your idea add value to the fan community, does it tap into a strong and growing trend? Is it highly innovative and new? These are some of the parameters we'll also be exploring in the intake process. If you're not there yet, fear not. We'll be looking for intake on an on-going basis. And we'll be sharing updates and tips to help inspire you along the way.
     
    10.  Is there any financial incentive for lead users to be part of the Lead User Lab setup?
    We're working with co-creation in mind – this means keeping the lead user close and involved into the process end to end, while ensuring they benefit from their innovative ideas. It’s very early to get into financial specific as this can vary from idea to idea, but we do plan to set in place various legal, endorsement and/or financial mechanisms on a case by case basis for the specific pilots that are selected for idea realization.
     
    Bonus question:
    11.  Are there standard Terms & Conditions I will have to agree to in order to submit an idea?
    Yes, you can check them out at the link below. It's legal language, but we tried to keep it short and not boring.
     Lead User Lab Standard terms and conditions.pdf
     
    Something we haven't covered? Drop us a message in the comments! Stay tuned for on-going updates soon.
     
    Curios who the Lead User Lab team is? 

     Kari Vinther Nielsen - heading the Lead User Lab
     Anne Vibeke Westerberg - project management of the Lead User Lab and the future pilots
      Nicolai Mendgaard-Johannsen - idea selection, intake and concept management
      Sisse Hagensby - trends and insights management
      Bogdan Gherasim - communication and marketing innovation
     

    Jan Beyer
    Dear all, a short heads up if you like to have a look behind the scenes at the LEGO Group in Billund there are still a few open spots for the LEGO Fan Tours 2020 run by the LEGO House on the following dates:

     
    ·         March 6

    ·         March 20 

    ·         September 4

    ·         October 23

    ·         November 6


     
    You can get more info and book the tickets following this link:
    https://www.legohouse.com/en-gb/whats-on/lego-fan-tour
    If you are interested please be fast as they sell out quickly.
    Jan

    Jacky Chen
    Last Saturday, I learnt that it's not just AFOL community has its own fancy acronyms when we meet the H.O.G (Harley Owners Group) in a LCS activity. Two LCS events were made to celebrate the release of 10269 Harley-Davidson Fat Boy set, one in Shanghai while another in Wuhan, a city located in central China. The setup was unique as it's not ordinary marketing launch event as you could imagine, but a super cool party joint by both the Harley community and the AFOL community. I was fortunate to join one of these events, thus this blog is mostly based on the event that I have attended.

    The event started by 10+ Harley bikers roaming their vehicles towards the LEGO store. A group of AFOLs have just completed setting up their motorcycle MOCs in the store, and waiting for the H.O.G to show up. We were a little nervous about whether there will be good chemistry between AFOL and the motorcycle community, but it turns out the concern was total unnecessary. Without much facilitation, they were having great fun together already. Bikers immediately recognized the original model the AFOLs has built which made them super happy, while AFOLs were also deeply intrigued when the bikers talking about their very own unique Harley babe and ride trips.
    If there’s anything in common between the two communities, it is definitely the hands-on customization. A H.O.G representative said to the AFOLs, you can never find two identical Harley Davison motorcycle on the road. We believe that applies to MOCs too. One of the major activities of the day is to split AFOLs and bikers into two groups and customize two 10269 Fatboy sets. No surprisingly, Tony and Stone (two very capable AFOLs from Heroes Club) have got plenty of ideas about what to do and even have some modules built already, while H.O.G fellows also threw many good ideas and inputs as well.

    Here’s what we eventually got -- a badass tricycle by Tony and a gorgeous bike with side-car and ape hangers by Stone.

    The event concluded at when representatives of each community exchanges the gift to one another. H.O.G rep received a smaller sized Harley Division MOC and AFOLs received good loads of Harley’s merchandise and the honorable membership badges of their H.O.G organization. Overall it was an awesome activity that brought a lot resonance and of course laughs to both community.



    Did your group have any experience interacting with other hobby communities? Tell us in the comment area.
     

    Jan Beyer
    Dear all, I like to share a little bit of information about my current activities before I leave for 3 weeks of summer vacation.
    AFOL Networking Events (ANE) is one part of my activities which means I run and develop the program that supports the large events worldwide where many international AFOLs come together to mingle, enjoy, exchange ideas and plans, educate each other and have a great time.
    Right now there are 12 events in this program which are BricksLA, Bricks Cascade, BrickCan, Brick Slopes, Paredes de Coura Fan Weekend, Japan Brick Fest, Brick World Chicago, Brick Fiesta, Bricks by the Bay, BrickFair Virginia, Skærbæk Fan Weekend and BrickCon.
    These events get a larger physical support (LEGO Sets and LEGO elements) as well as extra consulting and attention from the LEGO Group in form of dialogue, activities and staff visits.
    In the coming months I’ll work on a strategy with the aim to strengthen and extend the program so it becomes even more attractive for the AFOL Community as well as the LEGO Group and also see how we can extend it to not yet covered regions.
     
    Another part of my activities is to support and educate LEGO Branded Stores globally in how to best work with the AFOL Community. The focus of the role is two-fold 1) continue to help nurture the personal relationship between the AFOL Community and Store personal and 2) create new and interesting activities and collaboration opportunities between the store and community which can be implemented globally and allow us to leverage the store as a platform to engage more with the AFOL community and give back.
    What is LEGO Branded stores (LBS)? Moving forward TLG will not differentiate between LEGO owned stores (formerly known as LEGO Branded stores) and LEGO certified stores. The company wants to differentiate based on size, where flagships stores will have a different offering of activities as well as a larger product portfolio vs medium (regular LBR store) and smaller stores (LCE stores). Good news is that once we start launching the toolbox into new markets we expect that more and more recognized community members will be able to join AFOL shopping days and / or participate in the showcase program (please note there will be regional and maybe even local differences – so we will not be able to launch ‘one size fits all’ due to difference is business practice, local relevance, size and maturity of the recognized community etc).
    I’m currently working on a LBS toolbox containing educational material as well as ideas and plans for activities the stores can do together with the AFOL Community. While some elements of the toolbox are already launched in Americas and Europe (like the showcase program) we aim to launch the toolbox in China already this year and we have received great interest in LCS markets in Europe and Eastern Europe. Once the toolbox is final I’ll share more information about its content with you.
    I’m also working on a digital AFOL sticker on the digital VIP card for all members of the recognized AFOL community to join the LEGO Brand Retail AFOL Shopping Days. The digital sticker till replace the physical sticker we have today. Some fans have had the pleasure of testing the digital sticker and I look forward to share more information about this new initiative later this week.
     
    The third part of my activities is to support and work with the LEGO House in Billund to integrate and represent the AFOL Community best possible into their activities and displays as the Community is seen as an important part of the LEGO Brand and LEGO experience in LEGO House.
    So concrete examples of the activities I work with in connection to the LEGO House are among others MOC exhibitions in different areas of the LEGO House (Master Piece Gallery, World Explorer, Show Cases), LEGO House themed Fan evenings, LEGO House AFOL Christmas Party and LEGO House AFOL Day. I also focus on increasing the representation of toy photography (end of June we had a Stuck in Plastic foto safari held in LEGO House) and the Brickfilm community.
    I hope this gives you a good overview and feel free to ask if you need more details.
    Have a great summer and I hope to see you around somewhere at an AFOL Networking Event, in a LEGO Store or at the LEGO House.

    Sara Skahill
    There’s a new Workgroup running available to all AFOLs about LEGO® themed books. These can be official LEGO books or ones published by fellow AFOLs, ones you use for inspiration and ones you just use for reference. Even if you don’t  own any LEGO books, we still want to hear from you and your community! The only limitation here is that participants are at least 18 years old.
    The Workgroup we’re running includes a questionnaire as well as some discussion topics. The questionnaire is open until July 31, 2019. Your answers will be treated with confidentiality and you will remain anonymous.
    Take the questionnaire: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LRZ32KP
    What more? Join the Workgroup! To join, just log in with your LEGO ID and click “join Workgroup”. Workgroup sign-ups will be open until July 24th and discussion will conclude on August 7th.
    Join the Workgroup: https://lan.lego.com/workgroups/workgroup/16-books-for-afols-workgoup/
    Please share this workgroup with your community, as it is open to all community members 18 years old or older!

    Jan Beyer
    Dear all, it is summer vacation time for many but we all need to plan ahead so I like to announce the traditional (happening for the 3rd time so I guess that is already a tradition) Christmas Lunch for Fans in LEGO House. 
    It will happen on Saturday December 7 and I hope to see many AFOLs around so we can celebrate and enjoy some cozy hours in great company. 
    You can buy your ticket here: https://www.legohouse.com/en-gb/whats-on/afol-xmas-lunch
    See you around.

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