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Lego. Photo by Oskay on Flickr.com

by • 8 Aug, 2010 • TechnologyComments (11)3891

The Lego-factor: Checklist for new media and technology project proposals

While checking proposals last week for new media and technology projects, I devised a checklist to understand myself why I like certain proposals, and others not. I call it the “Lego-factor”. Lego is one of the greatest things ever invented, in my opinion. A project that scores well on the Lego-factor, therefore, might be great too.

(The checklist is under construction, as I try to put my finger on why certain proposals are great and others not. For me this often comes down to a gut feeling, rather than to be something tangible I can name and rate. Please add your thoughts, so we might build a useful checklist. Thanks!)

Checklist for new media and technology project proposals

  1. Does the proposal sparkle my imagination?
    Lego is all about imagination, about creativity. Design cars and houses, play stories, live in other times. A proposal based on the audience’s creativity and imagination is a good proposal.
  2. Do I immediately think about what else I could do with what the proposal offers?
    Before I opened a new box of Lego, I had already thought about a hundred ways in which I could use the new bricks other than to build the thing pictured on the box. A proposal that keeps enough options open to do other things with it is a good one.
  3. Is the proposed project as simple as it can be, but not any simpler?
    The basics of Lego are really simple: bricks that can be put together almost in any thinkable way. However, it’s not as simple as regular bricks. The studs on top of a brick give strength; the hollow design keeps your buildings light but sturdy.
  4. Can I use the proposed project both alone and together?
    You can play with Lego on your own and it’s great fun. You can play together with friends and it’s great fun. Neither is more fun, though. Every good new media project should provide value to the individual user and be just as fun to do with others.
  5. Does the proposal add value to other things I have?
    When you buy a new box of Lego, your old Lego increases in value, as you can do more things with the collected amount of Lego. A proposal that adds value to existing things (and gains value by using other things) is a good one.
  6. Is the proposed easy to use, but endless in its uses?
    Everybody can use Lego. However, the more you use it, the more interesting it gets. It’s never boring, neither for a beginner or a pro. New media and tech projects that achieve the same are good.
  7. Is it ageless?
    Recently I played with Duplo (Lego’s younger brother) with a one-year-old and it was fun, for both of us. I think that, even if you aim at a specific age group with your proposal, it should be fun for everyone to work with it.
  8. Does it answer a need or unobtrusively create a reasonable new need?
    This one is tricky. It might be better to ask, “Does the proposal not create irrelevant new needs such as virtual farm land?” I really believe that unless you have a really great and innovative idea a proposal should be aimed at answering existing needs rather than creating new ones.

The Lego-factor

If I can full heartedly answer “Yes” to all questions above, I feel I’ve read a great project proposal. If I can answer “Yes” to 6 or 7 of the questions above, it might be a good proposal. For me, that’s the Lego-factor, as Lego easily answers “Yes” to 7 or 8 of the above questions.

If the specific reasons not to be a “Yes” are given in the proposal and defended with really creative or innovative ideas, the proposal might be great to. If there’s three or more “No’s” there’s probably something better thinkable and the proposal does not have the Lego-factor.

Update 9 October 2010: I’ve done a check on the Lego-factor of the Stedelijk ARtours.

In the next weeks I’ll try this checklist on some well-established new media and technology projects to see if it works. If you have anything to add, please let me know. Also, when you’d like to have a project or project proposal put to the test, name it and I’ll check it! Thanks in advance.

Header photo by Oskay on Flickr.com

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  • Mia

    I’m not sure what kinds of proposals you’re talking about so it’s hard to answer this question for myself – how does this fit with the Unix-style philosophy of doing one thing and doing that well? Each individual Lego piece does one thing only and does that well, but I can’t tell whether you’re looking for new Lego pieces or new boxes of Lego when you look at a proposal.

  • Mia

    I’m not sure what kinds of proposals you’re talking about so it’s hard to answer this question for myself – how does this fit with the Unix-style philosophy of doing one thing and doing that well? Each individual Lego piece does one thing only and does that well, but I can’t tell whether you’re looking for new Lego pieces or new boxes of Lego when you look at a proposal.

  • Hi Mia, thanks for your reply. The proposals I’m talking about are the ones that aim to solve problems (existing or not) with new media and/or technology. Think about: online games, marketing and communication strategies, etc.

    Doing one thing and doing it well is a useful plus, especially for technology. Makes me think about 37 signals and how great their software is, as it does what it’s supposed to and little more.

    I think I’m talking more about Lego boxes, but a box is a set of individual pieces, and these pieces need to be great as well.

  • Hi Mia, thanks for your reply. The proposals I’m talking about are the ones that aim to solve problems (existing or not) with new media and/or technology. Think about: online games, marketing and communication strategies, etc.

    Doing one thing and doing it well is a useful plus, especially for technology. Makes me think about 37 signals and how great their software is, as it does what it’s supposed to and little more.

    I think I’m talking more about Lego boxes, but a box is a set of individual pieces, and these pieces need to be great as well.

  • Pingback: leetlady.com()

  • @Leetlady, I thought your comment was spam, until I followed the link and found your amazing entry! Definitely a full-score on the Lego-factor!

  • @Leetlady, I thought your comment was spam, until I followed the link and found your amazing entry! Definitely a full-score on the Lego-factor!

  • Rémi

    Is the Lego-factor a modern kinda SWOT analysis?

  • I haven’t thought about it like that, but I guess it’s kind of the modern SWOT analysis.

  • Rémi

    Better than the SWOT analysis IMO, because more “museum” oriented!
    Brilliant blog by the way!

    Cheers from France!

  • Thanks a lot!