Dear LEGO Ideas members,
A year has passed and what a whirlwind year it's been for everyone. A year that many would like to forget and move on from, but one that will remain deeply ingrained in our collective history. That being said, we hope you and your loved ones are healthy and safe.
2020 certainly set its footprint on LEGO Ideas in a way we could never have imagined. We started off our year as we do every year, but that quickly changed come mid-March, when the first global lockdowns meant that people all around the world were forced to stay indoors and to find new ways of entertaining themselves and being creative.
As it turns out LEGO Ideas (and LEGO products generally) has been an outlet for many existing members but also a vast number of new members. Although 2020 meant that we were busier than ever before, we're grateful and humbled that you all chose to spend your valuable time with us during this challenging period. We hope you've been inspired, entertained and challenged by what the LEGO Ideas community has to offer.
Despite the setbacks of 2020, we've still managed a great many things and continued the journey to strengthen the LEGO Ideas experience. We've launched 4 new and exciting LEGO Ideas sets, have a big number of approved creations in development, held a host of different Contests and had our first full year of Activities, not to mention the platform improvements that have been made.
New LEGO Ideas Sets
This year we've seen four impressive new LEGO Ideas sets released, including the largest and most complex set we've ever created that has certainly pushed the boundaries of building with LEGO bricks. In fact, the Grand Piano has even been nominated for Toy of the Year Award (TOTY Awards) 2021 in the category "Specialty Toys" - you can vote for it here. On top of that, 2020 saw the first-ever LEGO Ideas set with new elements/moulds created exclusively for a LEGO Ideas set.
Here are the four sets launched in 2020:
- 21321 International Space Station by Christoph Ruge
- 21322 Pirates of Barracuda Bay by Pablo Sánchez Jiménez
- 21323 Grand Piano by Donny Chen
- 21324 123 Sesame Street by Ivan Guerrero
Have you had a favourite among these four sets?
^ Before COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions came to be we were fortunate to be able to host at least 1 signing event in 2020, which was held back in February in conjunction with the release of Christoph Ruge's International Space Station creation. We hope to be able to offer signing events again to our fan designers in 2021 if we're able to.
Sets in development
Beyond these 4 sets let's take a look at what else has been approved and is currently in various stages of development (in no particular order of release, although which are you hoping releases next?):
- Home Alone. McCallister's House by Alex Storozhuk
- LEGO Typewriter by Steve Guinness
- Earth Globe by Guillaume Roussel
- Medieval Blacksmith by Clemens Fiedler
- Winnie the Pooh by Ben Alder
- Seinfeld 30th Anniversary by Brent Waller
- Legendary Stratocaster by Tomáš Letenay (selected via the Music to our Ears contest)
Gift with Purchase sets
We've even got 2 upcoming Gift with Purchase sets which were the winners from contests that we've held:
- Sailing Ship Adventure by yc_solo
- Aedelsten Deluxe by Arne Jahnke
LEGO Ideas x BrickLink Designer Programme
Last but not least, when talking about Product Ideas, we have to mention the recently announced collaboration with BrickLink. As part of this pilot collaboration project, we'll be inviting select 10K members whose non-IP projects have been turned down in the past to participate in the BrickLink Designer Programme where their creation can come to life through crowdfunding. For a long time, we've wanted to address the underlying problem of many 10K submissions not becoming available so we're excited to learn from this pilot project. More details will be shared in early 2021.
Through 2020 we've again hosted a large variety of different contests and have continued to be overwhelmed by the creativity of the LEGO community. In total, we've held 13 contests this year, including the "We Love Sports" contest which just kicked off yesterday (make sure to check it out!), and has included well over 8000 submissions to all these contests. This, of course, doesn't even account for the thousands of votes you've all cast during the fan vote phases of some of the contests we've run.
We're continuously trying out new types of contests and this year is no different. Probably the most exciting new contest formats we've tried out have been the Music to our Ears contest (like the new We Love Sports contest) through which our review board managed to find a fan model that they believed had product potential and which was therefore approved to become a future LEGO Ideas set.
However, we've also held another Gift with Purchase creation contest which was the most popular contest of 2020 with 1511 entries! That's incredible!
We're blown away by your enthusiasm and energy and can't wait to see what you create in 2021!
^ Contest entries by Buildinjake, yc_solo, Brik_Sean, nkolbeck, moctown & Stevenhoward27.
It's been a wildly busy year full of Activities. In fact, it's been our first full year with this new bite-sized weekly challenge format and we're happy that you all have received it so well. 57 Activities have been run and what a ride it's been with so much engagement and creativity shown across a variety of formats such as LEGO building, toy photography and more.
Activities also allow us some flexibility in doing other cool things, such as polls! One such poll, that will live on in the halls of fame for Activities, is the "Help choose one of the next Ultimate Collector Series Star Wars LEGO® sets!" that saw more than 52,000 members submit a vote in just 1 week. A mind-boggling number of fans and goes to show the huge passion of the Star Wars community. The winner turned out to be the Republic Gunship, which will be produced as a Star Wars UCS model.
Activity polls have also allowed us to get your feedback in order to set the direction of the crowdfunded book for AFOLs; an ambitious and new kind of project that we kickstarted in the summer together with our partners at AMEET and Unbound.
These small challenges have been great fun for us to host and they've also allowed us to react quickly to trends that we've stumbled across, such as tensegrity or the virtual backgrounds for Teams/Zoom calls (this one has been my absolute favourite and I use your virtual backgrounds in all my calls). What do you think will trend in 2021?!
If you haven't participated in one of our Activities in 2020, then make sure to check them out and challenge yourself in 2021!
^ Just a small fraction of the amazing Activity submissions in 2020. Submissions by byStfn, Pretzylboy, LEGO Monkey, FrostBricks, VeryMaryBricks & Gray_Ham.
LEGO Ideas Experience
Our team has continued to work hard to evolve the LEGO Ideas experience in a variety of ways. Some of the improvements are more visible and affect the community more directly than others, which are either legally required updates or updates that perhaps help our moderation team more effectively deal with the increasing number of submissions. In fact, this year a larger majority of the updates have come behind the scenes, although some of these changes are helping us prep for bigger updates to come in 2021.
One of the most significant milestones has been implementing a system called Verified Parental Consent (VPC) for our younger members aged 13-16. VPC is important for us to ensure that younger members have the necessary parental consents to participate in online platforms.
We've also made changes to filtering in the Discover page, added the ability to like Activity submissions and more.
Feel free to share your thoughts about these updates in the comments, but if you have very specific thoughts concerning the digital experience of LEGO Ideas then head on over to our support site, where you can post a new suggestion for what you think we can improve on or change. You can even vote for other suggestions if someone else has already suggested the same thing. Voting for other suggestions gives us a better idea of what many of you think is truly important.
COVID-19 Effects on LEGO Ideas
In many ways, the effects of COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdowns had unprecedented effects on LEGO Ideas. Effects that have kept the entire team very busy all through the year, so apologies for delayed or missed replies as we've tried to keep up while working on all the new things!
Going into the global lockdowns in mid-March, we saw the number of new members rocket upwards and maintain a high average even after lockdowns eased over the summer. But that's not all! All these new members didn't come around just to hang out. They were staying very busy building and submitting creations and in fact the number of product ideas that were approved after moderation shot up as well, which has led to over 3600 active product ideas currently, as opposed to an average of about 1700 pre-COVID-19.
Additionally, if members weren't building and submitting, they were supporting Product Ideas like never before! In fact, for this reason, this year we've seen a massive surge in Product Idea submissions reaching the 10K milestone and entering the review stage.
Although we've seen many positives, this has also presented its own set of challenges that we're working on, as we're aware that it means having to disappoint even more supporters and fan designers following our review results announcements.
Happy New Year
If you managed to read all the way through then admittedly this blog post turned out much longer than originally anticipated. However, it just goes to show just a small snapshot of the many amazing things we've accomplished together during what's been a tough year. That being said, we look forward to turning over a new leaf and entering 2021 full steam ahead and with renewed energy.
Thank you to each of you who've made LEGO Ideas what it is and to all those of you joining us to share your creativity, socialise, be inspired and, most importantly, have fun!
We wish you and your loved ones the very best in 2021 and look forward to seeing you back around on LEGO Ideas!
Happy New Year!
LEGO Ideas Team
* Featured blog cover image by BrickyBrick4
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