I had a conversation with foreign ambassador who asked why do we share everything, and aren;t we afraid that someone will take our procedures or solutions, incorporate it and then take "part of market"
First, it is a hard word, "part of market", we are not corporation :) And second, "the market" of the street, parto fo cityt, whole city, country, region, continent and world is so much it could sustain 1000 more clubs with no problem, we astimate
There was a talk, when we started going outside the boundaries of our country, certain clubs (plural) showed concern that we would take part of their "market". Second concern was, with our quality of presentation, assets (creations, extra equipment etc) and our logistical assets we would make so no one would want previous concepts and quality of exhibits.
From our experience, where we show, we do rasie the bar regarding quality - which forces clubs to invoate and evolve, moving them from stagnation. And we see evolution as a good thing. Of course, evolving and upgrading what you can offer is not a must, and you should do as we do - only as much as you feel like it, but those who aspire to work with proffesional institutions, evolution is a must, and there is no way around it, unless you somehow covinved the decidion makers that you are pineacle of evolution. If this is the case, we apologise for breaking that concept, but it is a false concept, so... maybe change concept and be honest? :)
and regarding first concerne, that we will take "slots" from other clubs - there are so many malls, museums, schools, faculties, local community buildings etc that we could do one event per day, and we would need years to finish just our country :) So, oportunities are out there - you just need to put some extra effort to find them, or create them. And second, with quality presentation and superb event, we influence both venue and visitors (who could be decidion makers from other venues), to desire to make something like this for themselves. The "buzz" is spreading, and requests for events grow, when they are presented with quality event, qith quality content, quality activities and quality execution
How to parle with decidion makers on high level of company hierarchy, you can find article I wrote in Share&Care
So, you can be, as community, what you desire to be. If your desire is to be quiet, small club that does same space in their local games club every few months, or you decide to be a huge event managing machine that does few events in the same time, every Friday of the week - you can be. And BOTH of those choices are good and valued enough - the value of this choice is not in quanity or impact - it is in amount of joy you and your members get from activities you do
Meaning, don;t be loud or silent because TLG or others clubs think this is best for you - YOU decide what is best for you, and do it. Success is not measure by numbers of events, quality of events or number of assets - it is measured by the amount of joy your activities bring to your members - trust me, this is the only measure for a community.
I have also noticed one thing, when I started training, my sports club was young, and there was one few years older, with more experience. We pushed so much to win mathces with them, but we were constantly loosing first year - during second, we were equal, and during third we wer eunbeatable. What we achieved in three eyars they neded ten. But then, when we were the best, we started stagnating - as we didn;t had anyone to hoen our skills against, and new club, that we trained, beat us within one year :) They had someone to compete with - so they evolved, as we stagnated :)
Same goes for AFOL clubs. If there is someone in the neigberhood that push inovations, new procedures, new concepts (new stuff on events). People usually know that something is possibility, but only when they see first hand that someone has been able to do it, they gather couradge to try it themselves.
So, in start, we were taking ideas where we saw them, and we implemented thm, and we were average. Then we started updating those concepts, and also ccoming up with our own - and we become exelant, and now other were coping ours. So, we make some concept and exhibit, on next exhibit, other clubs have it to - so, for us to stay fresh and special, for next exhibit we need a new innovation.
This is concept that kept us on top, when clients were considering who to choose for Fan Zone.
But some of our concepts and procedures were complicated, and if you were to skip one step, it would have runed the end result. The exsample is promoters - few years ago we experimented with visually stmulating promoters, and we had an aestetically pleasing promoters on our event.
So the club from region did the same on their event, but it was total dizaster, as they skiped a step: we have choosen promoters among our members, and this was not publicized anywhere. They rented promoters from promoters agency
So what happened? Our promoters where AFOLs, who were enanging with visitors, made tons of crazy happy pictures were love for the brand and happines of being there was reckgnizable. We also took their own clothes and printed on their personal clothes our club logo and name. It fitted them perfect, and they looked and behaved perfect
The other club rented promoters who knew nothing about LEGO, same amount of aestetics as ours, but lakc of interest. They romaed cluelessly trough creations, and VERY fast lost all interest to being there, usually roaming outside the venue, trough the rest of the mall. Those who were present, it was evident they are waiting for clock to ring four o clock, so they can go home. Add the fact they printed general shirts that were to large or too small for some promoters, and it all looked forced and artificial. And the impact was huge. Visitors noted that beauty is secondary and unexpected part of our apeal, which was a nice surprise, and noted that the other club rents people based on their looks, which they conemed, especially as it was kids show.
After a year or two of "Game of Thrones" we realized that using resources to leave impact on TLG or toher clubs is waist of resources, and we focused EVERTYING we had on structure and logistics.
This "shift" made us being always few steps ahead of others, as they needed time to implement new solutions and new ideas we already had, and during that time we upgraded or inovated.
So why share?
At one point there is fatigue of material, and inovation progress starts to slow down. Also, we are one and the same group of people, who think in a same way, great for starts, but to evolve more, we needed to add more diversity
And best way to do this is to bring other clubs around us to the same level, and they would evolve in their particular ways, ones that we can study and emulate
Extra is that evolved and acomplished communities (and persons) are more undestandeble about issues and struggles we are experiencing, and discussion is much diferent. Comapre it with a person that has a kid and one that doesn;t, the second can;t reallyunderstand strugles of the first one, but also joys.
Sharing also has one extra benefit - people love it, and it makes friends. Friends add to social benefits, one of the most important ones - now, we are not Beokocka, community of AFOLs, we are Family, community of AFOL communities. And the joy of social interactions multiplies exponentially.
This is why we share our resources, and give all our assets for use, for free. And also go into details how to do something - it is in our interest that you evolve and become better, as it indirectly makes us better.
This philosophy goes to other countries we make exhibits, we beleive people should cherish the oportunity to learn something new, and meet someone new - I know we do, as we travel a lot.
Funds are important for evolving - you can have a great idea, but if you do not have funds, you can;t realize it, or you would nee a longer time period to achieve it. How to ofset that? Strong structure and logistics produces events that are better and better, and within few years, you will become expert in event managing, with strong base, great assets and enviable logistics - and people will hire you to manage their events, even if there are no LEGO bricks involved. You can always influence them to put in a workshop or play area, why not. Keep the Fair Play guidance on mind, though. When funds arise, do as Norway does - invest smartly, and limit the use of funds on only fun and evolvement. Balance the two, as the evolvement betters the fun, and happy and content people are better at evolving and inovating. It is our estimation that Beokocka will have one million euros of available neto funds for investing in structure, logistics and bricks within next ten years. Imagine that, a bunch of hobbists, all with other regular jobs, doing things only when they desire and what they desire, and neto, when all expences are paid. Imagine the good you can do with that amount of funds, healthy atmosphere and inovative bunch.
So, how to achieve this? We suggest kicking out hierarchy and protocol in club. You are all equal in the sense you are all hobists who have choosen to be there. Decidions are made by discussion. That means they are ALWAYS unanimous, as only facts and experience guides you, not desire to be somewhere in hierarchy. Support eachother, even outside the club sphere, in real life. Make socializing events. Travel together to events. Make exhibits just for fun, with idea to strenghten your social bonds within a club - this will make you a unified force that will hold together trough any issue that can (and will ocour).
Then, star investing in structure and logistics. Go with basics - table cloth, club T-shirts (do not print, embroide on cloth, choose wuality clothing) etc. Then go to lighted displays and banners (be sure to have IP guidelines on mind, o no minifigs, LEGO logo and similar - I would suggest printing your creations with your logo club - if this is expensive in your country, send me a HiRez picture and we will print it, you will pay just basic material (cloth and colors). There are so many options that you can utilize, like drawing tables, activity gadgets browse LAN for inspiration. There are topics of mine focused directly on visitors interaction and sharing knowladge, and there are Accademy topics with helpfull info also. In time, you will change aspects, change concepts, but that is ok.
There are many aspects of evolving to a certain level, and Beokocka is not, by far, the most evolved commynity, so listen, learn, ask and have fun while doing all that :)
For us, being content and acomplished while being socially active, and all that with ton of fun, laguhing, dancing and just chit chating is the goal. Traveling is also a benefit, meeting new cultures, new aproaches, new people.
You can achieve anything you put your mind into - just be sure to know what you desire :)