Brick by Brick – How LEGO Rewrote the Rules of Innovation and Conquered the Global Toy Industry by David C. Robertson recently published by Crown Business is more than just a book about the toy. This is a look at the long history of a company forged on the imaginative shoulders of creative founder Ole Kirk Christiansen and how the privately owned business continues to succeed today.
For a non-business savvy consumer who is simply a fan of the LEGO product line, the storied history of the company is worth the price of the book alone. From a humble start in the 1932 farming community of Billund, located in the middle of Denmark’s Jutland Peninsula, master carpenter Ole Kirk Christiansen created LEGO. The name LEGO is a mash-up of the two Danish words, “leg” and “godt” or “play” and “well.” Though the business strategies have evolved over the years, the company’s devotion to the “creative life of a child as well as the child’s later adult life” has remained steadfast.
Located in Denmark has helped LEGO thrive where the company might have fallen under harsh taxations and restrictions found in other politically challenged locations around the globe. But there is a lot more to the company’s success than location. Brick by Brick shows how LEGO has avoided failure by reforming the company over the years to focus on the business nucleus of the product line while not getting caught up in technological disruptions. Though sales expansion is always a key to success, the LEGO attention to profit growth through innovation has enabled the family owned toy maker to shine outside the confines of Wall Street.
Author David C. Robertson was Professor of Innovation and Technology Management at Lausanne, Switzerland’s Institute for Management Development (IMD) from 2002 to 2010 where he was co-director of the Program for Executive Development. As the LEGO professor in 2008, he was allowed inside access to the LEGO organization and their customers. With personal experiences and an exclusive knowledge of the inner workings of LEGO, Robertson gives the reader a unique Brick by Brick perspective of how a company can remain innovative and succeed in a constantly changing business environment.
If you are a business owner looking for a unique perspective on how one company has bounced back from near failure, Brick by Brick is an eye opening experience and quite possibly, a manual for success. If you are a fan of the LEGO product and interested in the behind-the-scenes look at how innovative toys that inspire creativity make it to the shelves, Brick by Brick has it all.
From the heart of a child’s inventive imagination to that of a successful adult, Brick by Brick illustrates how important it is to “play-well.”