BrickFest: what an event!

I’m back from a great weekend at BrickFest in D.C. and am only a little caught up on my rest. I think I probably slept about 5 hours a night for the last 5 days. The venue was fantastic, the displays were incredible, the people were fun, and the visiting with my former LEGO colleagues was great.

The highlight of the event had to be the keynote address by my former boss, Tormod Askildsen. The amount of projects that have come to maturity since last year’s BrickFest is stunning. I’ve never felt so proud to be a part of a team that did (and is doing) such great work. Here’s just a few of the highlights from the event:

  • The announcement that the new Mindstorms NXT robotics system will allow third party sensors to be used. Not only that, certain third party sensors will be sold through official LEGO channels.
  • The announcement of a train set that is based solely on fan designs. The box will contain parts and instructions enough to create 30 different models. Each of these (plus the other 50 that weren’t chosen to be in the box) will be posted for individual purchase on LEGO Factory.
  • Out of more than 400 attendees, 30 were LEGO employees.
  • At last year’s BrickFest, a LEGO Creative Director met a LEGO fan and shortly after offered him an internship as a LEGO designer in Denmark.  He’s still there, and the best part is he’s blogging the experience.
  • Open, non-NDA meetings between various LEGO people (including upper management) and the LEGO fans. These meetings allowed employees and fans to air open issues (positive and negative both, but all constructive).

I’m hoping the full keynote will be up on YouTube shortly, and will link it here if I find it. It’s worth watching to see tangible results of what a company can accomplish on the business front when they collaborate with their lead consumers.