8 Weeks | Team Project | Digital UX | Spatial UX | UX Research | UX Strategy | Emerging Tech
Tech Research Lead
Store Interview Lead
Experience Strategy Framework
The Quick Read
LEGO wants Gen Z teens to rebuild their relationship with the brand on their own terms. Not only are these teens interested in mobile and digital forms of entertainment, but they have large environmental-sustainability concerns. With most LEGO products being made of ABS plastic, this leaves the brand in a tough spot in the minds of Gen Z teens.
Gen Z teens have grown tired of brands who claim sustainability, but fail to follow through. These teens want to support authentic brands who not only share their same environmental values, but actively provide solutions they can be involved in as well.
The LEGO Lab: A sustainability initiative that collects and melts LEGO bricks (and other ABS plastic items) to be recycled and reused as filament to produce 3D printed items.
LEGO products are an innate repellent to environmentally-conscious teens.
LEGO faces an unusual problem, as its products are the root of its sustainability issue, followed by its packaging. The 100 million “elements” LEGO produces daily ladders up to the 1 million tons of carbon dioxide the brand emits each year. Over 75 percent of raw materials, majority ABS plastic, contribute to the brand’s large carbon footprint. Gen Z teens have voiced their growing concerns about the impact of plastic waste on the environment, leaving LEGO in a tough spot in the minds of our target.
*Elements: the internal term LEGO uses for bricks, trees, and doll parts it sells which is harmful to our planet.
HOW MIGHT WE
Get a plastic toy company to be relevant in the minds of environmentally conscious, digital native teens?
LEGO can use its plastic materials to its advantage to get on Gen Z teens’ good side.
Gen Z teens have grown tired of brands who greenwash. These teens value brands who provide tangible ways to show support for the social movements they value so much. LEGO has the opportunity to challenge Gen Z teens to help make the planet a better place by making something good out of something bad- something bad being its plastic LEGO bricks.
*Greenwashing: when brands falsely pose as friends of the environment in an effort to capitalize on the growing demand for environmentally sound products
*Rebuild the World: LEGO’s current campaign at the time of The Ask
Rebuilding the world by repurposing LEGO bricks
The LEGO Lab is a sustainability initiative that collects and melts LEGO bricks (and other ABS plastic items) to be recycled and reused as filament to produce 3D printed items.
How This Works
The LEGO Lab Experience
Donation Station Drop Off
Users drop off and weigh their old old LEGO bricks (and any other ABS plastic items) at the Donation Station to receive VIP points. The more plastic items users donate, the more VIP points will be added to their accounts.
Mockup of Donation Station inside LEGO store
LEGO takes on the responsibility of creating new filaments to be reused in 3D printing.
A LEGO employee will sort through to ensure only ABS plastic items are being converted
ABS plastic pieces will be grinded into smaller (2-3 mm) shavings.
Plastic shavings will be heated and extruded into filament wires.
Once filament has cooled, it is wound on a spool and ready for printing.
Design and Submit
Users create their 3D designs on tablets located in stores at the LEGO Design Station, or via their personal devices at home, using the LEGO Lab software.
Users will submit their designs to the queue to be printed at their selected LEGO store and be able to select from an in-store pickup or delivery option.
Mockup of LEGO Lab Packaging
Pick Up / Delivery
Customers can pick up their 3D printed models from the nearest LEGO store, or have it delivered to their home.
Social Media Sharing
Users can take photos of their creations and upload them to social media to share with friends and get others inspired to join the movement.
Mockup of Niko's collapsible colander on Instagram
Designing the LEGO Lab Experience
Establishing Design Considerations
During our first meeting we unpacked the brief and documented must-haves written in the ask.
Thought Starter Hypotheses
As we leaned into the needs of the ask, we began to share thought starters. We leaned into two themes:
1) The world is better when people work together
2) The power of collaboration fuels creativity
Dove Into User Needs
If the environment dies, ALL of us are screwed. I feel like we need to fix that to make sure it doesn’t kill us before we can take care of the other issues.
Quote from Anonymous Gen Z Survey Participant
In order to gain clarity on causes Gen Z cared about most and would want to collaborate on, we sent out a survey and conducted interviews. Understanding the main stressors in their lives helped us pinpoint what they valued and what they’d be willing to build a community around in order to make change.
The results from our survey revealed the Environment (47.6 percent) and Safety (14.3 percent) were the top two concerns of Gen Z teens.
Photo of Mission High School- a Green
Ribbon School in San Francisco, CA
Green Ribbon Schools
Developed Location Strategy
We knew we wanted to target teens who were already invested in sustainability and have the drive to carry our creative solutions. We asked ourselves where would we find these teens? The answer: Eco Schools (located internationally) and Green Ribbon Schools (located in the United States). As a result, we selected six locations within a close radius of Eco and Green Ribbon schools to launch the LEGO Lab initiative.
Denmark: LEGO HQ, #1 in
France: 4th in sustainability worldwide
Austria: 5th in sustainability worldwide
Switzerland: 17th in sustainability worldwide
Ideation and Iteration
We ideated around how we wanted to combine imagination and creativity with a social cause Gen Z is passionate about. Our team landed on a core concept: a maker space that used old LEGO bricks in the creation of new 3D printed items. The physical and tangible form of the maker space experience was refined over time to better align with brand and user needs.
Designing the LEGO Lab App
LEGO + Apple Collaboration
The LEGO Lab App will be a collaborative effort on behalf of LEGO and Apple. Each brand has a forward thinking point of view:
LEGO: Rebuild the World
Apple: Think Different
The two brands will work together to create a 3D design software for LEGO’s new sustainability initiative. The software will be available on the tablets provided at the LEGO Lab design station, or Apple tablets and Macs. We believe this will be a great partnership as LEGO has partnered with Apple recently to develop a new technology feature.
The app will have design prompts centered around areas of interest Gen Z enjoys most. They will have the option to “freestyle” if they would like to design without prompt constraints.
Watch From Home
Users can watch their items print progress from home and be notified when printing has finished.
Pop Up Dictionary
If users tap on the highlighted word within the prompt, a pop up window will appear with a visual and definition of the object they are to design.
Users will also be able to view their individual sustainability impact over time through the dashboard feature.
Why This Works
The LEGO Lab experience invokes nostalgia, yet modernizes LEGO to cater to Gen Z’s interests and values by:
Giving Gen Z a tangible opportunity to support a cause they value and make creative statements through each 3D object they print.
Tapping into new and creative spaces Gen Z likes (music, film, fashion, and sports) through 3D design challenges found in the LEGO Lab app.
Merging physical and digital worlds by designing digitally with software and printing the physical product to keep.
Providing Gen Z with design software to create what comes to their imaginations and 3D printers to bring those ideas to life.
Reaching Gen Z across multiple touchpoints such as social platforms and print.
Leaning into brand familiarity and brand preference through the LEGO and Apple collaboration.
Working on the LEGO lab was fun- I really loved my team. The original maker space idea started off super grand and complex, but simplified over time. I am proud of myself for allowing the idea to grow and transform as need be without feeling so attached to what we originally came up with. I also enjoyed our store visits and talking to a former LEGO employee- that really helped guide my design decisions. Lastly, I knew the melting of the LEGO bricks was a risk- but I am excited we decided to be bold in our choices as a team!
Shayla Johnson (Creative Brand Manager)
Severin Didriksen (Strategist)
Danielle Johnson (Experience Designer)
Me (Experience Designer)
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