Indirect Collaboration is a website exploring the role of crowd-sourced input in the creative process, in anticipation of the upcoming South by Southwest Interactive in Austin, TX. MAKE contributor Tim Lillis, who does the “Tricks of the Trade: comics in MAKE, is one of the contributors to the site. Here, he talks with Cecilia Weckstrom of The Lego Group about their use of incorporating customer input into their product design process.

Lillis: So, you’re in charge of the Consumer Insight & Experience Innovation function at the LEGO Group. What does that mean?

Weckstrom: I oversee all the work on gathering insights from our 1:1 connections with consumers all over the world and based on this insight and on co-creation with consumers we improve existing LEGO experiences and define new ones of what LEGO could be in the future. We want to be driven by those who love LEGO for what LEGO is and thus, knowing what is important to all these people is important and the only way we can remain sustainably successful as a company.

Lillis: What are some of the successful and unsuccessful ideas generated by this group?

Weckstrom: Mostly in my experience it is not a matter of unsuccessful or not – more about timing. We have a few examples where we were far ahead of the market (LEGO Studios for instance) where the idea was great, but ahead of its time so wasn’t as successful as it could have been had we launched it a little later. Timing is not just in terms of timing in the market-place, it is also about the rest of the company. The successful ideas are ones that become platforms for value creation, and ultimately not just within the company but including the community too.

Q&A with Cecilia Weckstrom of The Lego Group