Lessons from the Super Awesome Micro Project

Lessons from the Super Awesome Micro Project
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Australia’s flailing auto industry could learn a lot from the life-sized and air-powered Lego car that hit Melbourne’s streets last month.

Two creative thinkers – one a former ad agency staffer turned serial entrepreneur the other a Romanian teenager – forty non-millionaire investors, 20 months and more than 500,000 Lego pieces later and the Super Awesome Micro Project was brought to life.

When the YouTube video of the Lego car driving Melbourne’s streets went live it courted worldwide attention. The video has amassed millions of views and global press coverage, leading to multiple purchase offers and requests to be shown in museums as far off as New York.

Steve Sammartino, the Melbourne man behind the project, told B&T it’s how the crowd-funded project came together, and not the car itself, that has piqued the interest of smart companies.

“The web really democratises the technology process and that is what the smart companies really get,” Sammartino said.

Australia’s auto brands don’t fall into that group, according to Sammartino who believes the value and quality of locally made cars are not the reasons behind the industry’s struggles.

“Their problem is they don’t understand the emerging business structure. They don’t understand the power of collaborating with your audience, the power of accessing a supply chain rather than owning a supply chain and that is why they are not doing well.

“The power of the connected world is that you don’t have to own things anymore you just need to organise the production and tap into the emerging supply chain.”

Sammartino has secured a publishing deal and is now working on a book exploring how the changing production model is impacting businesses.

Called The Great Fragmentation, in it Sammartino discusses why the future for businesses is found in being small.

“It talks about how production is being democratised and changed the business infrastructure so big companies need to either act small or they are going to get eaten up by small companies that become big,” he explained.

“One-size-fits all is broken; it’s a one-size-fits-one landscape now.”

There is also a lesson for the marketing and advertising community to be found in the Super Awesome Micro Project.

The quality of the Lego car’s launch video is not high quality, according to Sammartino, but he said it simply does not matter.

“They [advertising and marketing professionals] are obsessed with the film quality and the way that you pull it together but if you have an amazing product that stuff doesn’t matter. If your product is boring or shitty than that stuff matters a lot,” he said.

“But the one thing advertising needs to do more is they need to be more in the product development with the brands that they work on. Creativity has gone form that promotional element into product development. I think advertising competes now more and more with consulting firms and any services based company. If you are just doing the promotional side of it it’s too thin, there is not enough in it.”

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