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The blogosphere has been abuzz, recently, with news that an official Lego Minecraft project may be in the offing, with the cross-pollination of everyone’s favorite real and virtual building blocks possibly producing real-world Minecraft-themed Lego sets in the not-too-distant future.

Cool news? Certainly, if you’re into Minecraft, and perhaps, too, if you’re into Lego. But seasoned AFoL’s know that themes come and go, and emerging from the background of the trending Minecraft story is an undercurrent of excitement about LEGO CUUSOO, a free public submitterator-type crowdsourcing platform that allows anyone with web access and an e-mail address to create and vote on ideas for new Lego products. And it may just signal the beginnings of a sea change in the way Lego products are designed and brought to market.  From Lego’s recent press release:

LEGO CUUSOO is an idea collection system that asks the Danish toy manufacturers’ consumers to submit and vote for their favourite ideas for new LEGO products. The site is currently in “open beta” and has been well received by fans and niche interest groups eager to see their ideas become official LEGO products.

CUUSOO, which means ‘imagination’ or sometimes ‘wish’ in Japanese, has been developed with CUUSOO SYSTEM, a subsidiary of Japan-based Elephant Design that has worked with open innovation and crowd sourcing for more than 10 years.

The LEGO Group has worked with CUUSOO since 2008 on a Japanese site that has attracted hundreds of ideas and seen thousands of votes cast by a 35,000-strong community. Now the time has come to test the concept internationally.

On LEGO CUUSOO, ideas that are supported by enough votes will be examined by a LEGO jury that will check that the models meet LEGO standards of safety and playability and support the LEGO brand. Consumers who have their ideas chosen for production will earn 1% of the total net sales of the product.

Minecraft developer Mojang’s project reached CUUSOO’s “critical mass” of 10,000 supporters within 48 hours of submission. Mojang has announced that CUUSOO users suparMacho and koalaexpert, whose earlier Minecraft projects were superceded, have been invited to “collaborate with us to shape the idea,” and that Mojang’s 1% royalty in any eventual sales would be donated to charity.

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I write for MAKE, serve as Technical Editor for MAKE magazine, and develop original DIY content for Make: Projects.


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