Wired online has posted an excellent article discussing the development of Lego's Mindstorm NXT product (Link). There's been plenty of talk in marketing circles about tapping into online social networks (like Myspace) to connect with consumers and gather market data; even some increased discussion recently about software companies enlisting netizens to assist in their own product development - most geeks know that there isn't a much faster way to fame and (possible) fortune then adding "hooks" into the software API (application programming interface) to allow users to code their own piggy-back applications (just look at Google Map hacks). Everyone wants to be like Google. So reading how a humble little product like Lego is showing everyone - and I mean everyone - how it's really done is a treat. Maybe we'll start seeing manufacturers wanting to be more like Lego and read more stories of consumers becoming product developers.
After you read the Wired piece, I'd also point to my other post on Lego which is decidely low-brow, but perhaps of further interest (Link). It's a trip to see a product go from robotics to simple homemade products. And btw, you now have enough ammunition to go back to your mother explaining why throwing away your Lego's when you left home was a bad thing.