I’ve been reading Brick by Brick: How LEGO Rewrote the Rules of Innovation and Conquered the Global Toy Industry by Bill Breen and David Robertson (2013). It’s been a really interesting story starting from the company’s birth in 1932 in a small town in Denmark, to a rocky road encountering competition, creativity and an almost bankrupt business only ten years ago.
What’s fascinating about the story of lego is the hugely disruptive power digital played in their journey and how they embraced it in order to innovate and lead. They needed to continue to consistently make toys that were educational and playful in a changing world moving faster than them almost leading to their insolvency.
As a brand, LEGO awaken a feeling of play and experimentation, so it only seems fitting that their leadership team should help rewrite the rules for innovation management. Brick by Brick describes LEGO’s seven truths to nurturing creativity and designing innovative products and services. They include:
- Hire diverse and creative people.
- Head for blue-ocean markets.
- Be customer driven.
- Practice disruptive innovation.
- Foster open innovation – heed the wisdom of the crowd.
- Explore the full spectrum of innovation.
- Build an innovation culture.
The most difficult challenges in business is not to invent an innovative product, but to build an organisation that can continually create innovative products. LEGO realised that they didn’t just need another toy, but a whole system of play.
LEGO understanding for the need to innovate and embrace digital in order to survive. With business sales growing 24% with 40% profits per year, for the last five years, it is further evidence that an innovation strategy is vital for in the current landscape of digital transformation.
A great read, I recommend picking it up!