The LEGO Group (TLG) have today released details of proposed changes to their Ambassador Programme.
The current programme, which has been running for almost 10 years now, provides a mechanism for LEGO User Groups to communicate with TLG and vice versa. Although the Programme provides a useful channel for communication and information sharing, it has by common consensus fallen short in some areas, and this plus the growth of the AFOL community has prompted LEGO to make changes.
For me, there are a few headline changes :
1. Currently LUG representatives ("Ambassadors", like myself) interact with LEGO representatives and each other on a single forum. Under the new proposals, TLG will establish multiple sub-forums, or "Workgroups
". These Workgroups will focus on topics such as LEGO User Group management, event management, how best to utilise LEGO community support programmes etc. and will be primarily facilitated/managed by Workgroup Leaders
. These Workgroup Leaders will be experienced fellow AFOLs drawn from the Ambassador pool rather than LEGO employees, although LEGO employees will apparently monitor the workgroups and get involved with discussions as they see fit.
2. The LEGO Ambassador will become the primary point of contact between TLG and the LUG they represent, i.e. the go-to person for everything. Currently, many LUGs have different individuals managing various different community support programmes in order to share the workload.
3. LUGs will have to nominate an Ambassador in order to gain access to any of LEGO's community support programmes.
As stated by TLG in their FAQ document, the change of name from Ambassador Programme to LEGO Ambassador Network is so as to "highlight a fundamental shift in how TLG works within the LEGO user ecosystem. TLG wants the title to reflect that this is a communication tool to network not only between “TLG and the LUG Ambassador” but also “LUG Ambassador to LUG Ambassador
I was one of the Ambassadors consulted by LEGO on the new proposals, and I have to admit to having some concerns which I've fed back to the company. These are principally what I perceive to be a greater separation between Ambassadors and LEGO staff and a greater emphasis on peer-support as a result of the Workgroup/Workgroup Leader structure, and the increased burden placed on individual Ambassadors by expecting them to be the primary point of contact with LUGs. Nobody disagrees that the existing programme needed an overhaul, however, so we just have to hope that the changes have the desired effect.
You can find the official announcement plus various supporting documents on the LEGO CEE blog (click here