Lego Factory

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"Just over two years ago LEGO announced LEGO Factory, a service that lets users build their own virtual LEGO models with the free LEGO Digital Designer software. These models can then be ordered from LEGO and are shipped in custom packaging (for a custom price). In addition, users can upload their models to a gallery to share with the community of users, if the LEGO Factory Team deems the model appropriate. From the gallery users can purchase other users’ creations as a real set or download the model to view or modify. In his post on LEGO Factory, Frank Piller describes the combination of mass customization and a user community to share customized products as real open innovation at LEGO. While LEGO has facilitated the process of realizing your own designs, haven’t users been realizing their own designs all along? When playing with sets designed by LEGO in the pre-customization days, one would generally build the model according to LEGO’s instructions, play with it a while, and take it apart to start building whatever one wanted. The fun was in building whatever one wanted with whichever bricks were around. LEGO users always built custom models (at least I did). Decades later LEGO finally caught on and cashed in. Using users’ designs to make money may be a form of open innovation, but using LEGO bricks to create custom models is really nothing new." (


"LEGO’s LEGO Factory has been around for a while, but it remains an inspiring example of how to truly unleash THE GLOBAL BRAIN. Children and other building enthusiasts visiting the site are invited to design models (using easy to use, free downloadable software) and take part in competitions for LEGO prizes. A popular contest last year entitled winners to have their model mass produced and sold in [email protected], receiving a 5% royalty on each set sold. While customers can still upload their creations and have them become part of Lego’s official catalogue, the royalty scheme sadly has been nixed. Bring it back!" (


Graphic exemplifying Lego's Crowdsourcing practices


More Information

  1. Lego Mindstorms ; LugNet, independent Lego user community
  2. Jrgen Vig Knudstorp on the Open Sourcing of Lego