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LEGO House (virtual) Fan Days 2020 - What we learned?

tomalphintomalphin Member Posts: 246
edited September 26 in Everything else LEGO
On Thursday, 400 people participated in a unique "virtual" edition of the annual LEGO House Fan Days, a special day of talks and sessions by LEGO Employees, for AFOLs.

This year, there were seven super interesting sessions:
  1. Hello and welcome by Managing Director of LEGO House Jesper Vilstrup.
  2. Interview with Julia Goldin, CMO and EVP of the LEGO Group.
  3. Q&A-session with Poul Schou, Senior Vice President for product development in the LEGO Group.
  4. Master builder Stuart Harris introduced some of the new cool fan-designed models on display at The LEGO House.
  5. Kim Yde Larsen, Nanna Mazanti Drejer Friborg and Thomas Folit talked about how LEGO Building Instructions are created
  6. Stephan Sander and Thomas Wesselski explain why Skaerbaek Fan Weekend 2020 was cancelled.
  7. Bjarke Schønwandt is quality director of Consumer-Perceived Quality. He explained LEGO Groups looks at quality.

Even though I know a lot about LEGO, I was pleased to learn a lot during the 3.5 hours of presentations!  I've highlighted the top things I learned below, with a longer write up at brickarchitect.com.
  1. LEGO produces about one set per year, per designer.  Poul Schou explained that there are about 400 designers at LEGO, and an annual portfolio of around 400 new sets.  Because they work collaboratively, each designer contributes to multiple sets each year.
  2. New themes target a minimum of two years worth of sets. When a new theme is created, they start off with enough sets for the first two years, and will design more if the theme is really successful.  The most successful themes continue for a long time (ex: 10+ years for Ninjago!)
  3. It takes more than a year to develop instructions for the largest LEGO Sets. That's a long time—for a team of around 30 who creates the instructions for every LEGO set!
  4. For some reason, Star Wars minifigs are “missing” more often than City minifigs! While Bjarke Schønwandt of the Perceived quality team doesn't think this is actually true, The LEGO Group remains committed to replacing parts, even if they actually got lost at school or stolen by a sibling.
  5. Colorant (Pigment) can get burned in the mould and change color.  We've heard of color matching issues, especially in sets like the 2020 Lamborghini Sián FKP 37, I had no idea that colorant could change color if it gets too warm.
  6. We shouldn’t expect a lot more co-branded products.  Julia Goldin, CMO and EVP of the LEGO Group explained that they are not intending to do loads of these partnerships, but rather to focus on big, unique, and deliberate partnerships. (How does this explain the LEGO×Adidas partnership?)



For a longer write-up and images from the virtual event, visit https://brickarchitect.com/2020/lego-house-virtual-fan-day/


Sincerely,
—Tom Alphin

P.S. Did you attend the Fan Event too?  What was the most interesting thing that you learned?  I'd love to find out what I missed!

FizyxCymbelineThe_RancorKungFuKennythedingman5madforLEGOdrdavewatford

Comments

  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,098
    For 4, it would not surprise me if Star Wars figures are reported missing or damaged more than police or firemen. Not because of LEGO's direct fault but because of thieves stealing figures in store or buying/switching/returning sets. Even though the likelihood is very low, that is probably enough to make SW figures more likely to be missing than a cheap police figure. Also a larger percentage of SW sets are likely to be bought by adults than City, especially the larger sets. If there is any print damage on a valuable fig then I would complain. Whereas a policeman for the kids, I won't bother.
    FizyxCymbelinemadforLEGO
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,726
    They are most likely not missing, or rather, not supposed to be there to start with. 

    People just claim to have bought the set and to have lost the figure.
    DeMontesoldtodd33
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,726
    Thanks for the writeup, 'Henry'. I missed much of it but did catch the instructions presentation. I think he said there were 60 people in the dept, not 30.
    Bumblepants
  • The_RancorThe_Rancor Dorset, UKMember Posts: 1,313
    edited September 26
    Good idea for a thread I was hoping to find out some key facts as I couldn’t attend the talks on Thursday.

    Some extra facts I captured from the final Virtual Lego House history tour that I hadn’t posted yet - from Cristian (perhaps not the right spelling) - one of the top Lego Ideas House historians:

    - When asked about TLG’s decisions around warfare and conflict in Lego sets - the answer contained this nugget: “Conflict is something you can really learn a lot from” - the rest of the answer implied that a fight between two sides is in itself learning through play. There appeared to be a deliberate non-acknowledgement of ‘realistic’ warfare in the answer.

    - One Lego element is retired when a new one is introduced, more or less. It’s usually quite hard for us as fans to know when an element has specifically been retired but with lots of specific elements made for certain themes or minifigs it’s not too hard to believe

    - In the ‘Crisis Period’ (2004 implied) there were around 15,000 unique Lego elements in  production! Hence the following statement that TLG usually now think ‘How can we use existing elements in new ways... but sometimes you need a new element’.

    Most of the rest of the history itself was common knowledge but I thought those statements were interesting. Hope we have more of these virtual talks or tours!

    Fizyx
  • tomalphintomalphin Member Posts: 246
    Huw said:
    Thanks for the writeup, 'Henry'. I missed much of it but did catch the instructions presentation. I think he said there were 60 people in the dept, not 30.

    There are 60 people in the department, but they explained that only 30 of them work on print instructions.  (They also support digital products.)
    FizyxHuw
  • 560Heliport560Heliport Twin Cities, MN, USAMember Posts: 1,974
    CCC said:
    For 4, it would not surprise me if Star Wars figures are reported missing or damaged more than police or firemen. Not because of LEGO's direct fault but because of thieves stealing figures in store or buying/switching/returning sets. Even though the likelihood is very low, that is probably enough to make SW figures more likely to be missing than a cheap police figure. Also a larger percentage of SW sets are likely to be bought by adults than City, especially the larger sets. If there is any print damage on a valuable fig then I would complain. Whereas a policeman for the kids, I won't bother.
    My #75051-1 Jedi Scout Fighter, bought a couple of weeks after release, was missing the minifigs: the bag had been cut open. I checked the box, but I couldn't find any evidence of how it was opened. I returned it to Target; they exchanged it without hassle. When I told the woman at Guest Service that I wanted to open the new one and check it, she agreed that was a good idea.
  • FizyxFizyx ColoradoMember Posts: 955
    CCC said:
    For 4, it would not surprise me if Star Wars figures are reported missing or damaged more than police or firemen. Not because of LEGO's direct fault but because of thieves stealing figures in store or buying/switching/returning sets. Even though the likelihood is very low, that is probably enough to make SW figures more likely to be missing than a cheap police figure. Also a larger percentage of SW sets are likely to be bought by adults than City, especially the larger sets. If there is any print damage on a valuable fig then I would complain. Whereas a policeman for the kids, I won't bother.
    My #75051-1 Jedi Scout Fighter, bought a couple of weeks after release, was missing the minifigs: the bag had been cut open. I checked the box, but I couldn't find any evidence of how it was opened. I returned it to Target; they exchanged it without hassle. When I told the woman at Guest Service that I wanted to open the new one and check it, she agreed that was a good idea.

    There are ways to remove and then replace sticker seals (without making it obvious they were messed with), although for most thieves it's not actually worth the time and effort you may have to go through to do so.  Honestly, for the value of most LEGO figs, especially those still in production, I'm kind of surprised anyone would go to the effort to do so instead of just taking an easier route.  But it definitely happens, and there's been reports on and off for years that I have seen around that make it clear that some people do choose to take that route when stealing figs.
    560HeliportmadforLEGO
  • 560Heliport560Heliport Twin Cities, MN, USAMember Posts: 1,974
    Some people will steal anything. I know all four figures were unique to that set, but it seems like a lot of work- they had to go to the store to buy it, go home and open the set to get the figues out, then reseal the box, take it back to Target and get a refund. All for a set that was $60. 
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,098
    https://forum.brickset.com/discussion/29781/finch-dallow-bomber-minifigure/p1

    There was also that Finch Dallow issue. I imagine there were missing parts complaints after they changed the design. It was discussed on many fan sites.
  • madforLEGOmadforLEGO Chicagoland USMember Posts: 9,848
    Huw said:
    They are most likely not missing, or rather, not supposed to be there to start with. 

    People just claim to have bought the set and to have lost the figure.

    Im fairly certain LEGO keeps records of those who ask for licensed figures or for parts for free in general. First you have to prove you bought the set (if it is a licensed part), and then we have heard documented reports of people getting 'cut off' from getting these parts again due to 'abuse of the system' which implies LEGO does monitor this stuff. Now, if LEGO has CS people that are willfully ignoring this to cut people they know a deal they need to catch it and stop it IMO.

    Some people will steal anything. I know all four figures were unique to that set, but it seems like a lot of work- they had to go to the store to buy it, go home and open the set to get the figues out, then reseal the box, take it back to Target and get a refund. All for a set that was $60. 

    People will go to great lengths to be #$%^. From what I understand the seals also suck. They are not that hard to remove and reattach apparently. It is something that has been a pet peeve of mine as I'm fairly certain LEGO could do more to thwart such theft, they just probably looked as a cost analysis and figure (no pun intended) it is just cheaper to count the set as 'lost' or 'defect' and send the store a new one, but to me it underminds confidence in the product you buy at a store.
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