Title: Brick by Brick: How Lego Rewrote the Rules of Innovation and Conquered the Global Toy Industry Author: David Robertson and Bill Breen Stars: ***
Robertson and Breen walk the reader through a history of the Lego company focusing on their application of innovation. It is interesting to learn how the company evolved from its origins as a wooden toy maker to its current position as the 3rd largest toy company in the world.
Innovation has always been at the heart of Lego's success, but the author's point out that the drive to innovate almost killed the company back in the early 2000s. Company leaders witnessed the impact of the digital revolution on childrens' play habits and feared they were quickly becoming irrelevant. They had to ratchet up their innovation efforts in order to survive. Despite following proven innovation techniques (e.g. looking for “blue oceans”), they went about doing so too quickly and without the necessary structure and foundation necessary for success.
On the brink of bankruptcy, they brought in a new management team that quickly righted the ship and introduced an innovation system which enabled them to emerge from near catastrophe to achieve market dominance in a 7 to 10 year span.
The authors do a good job of pointing out the do's and don'ts along the Lego innovation journey. Although the approach to innovation can seem a bit more like an art than a science, there are certainly valuable lessons that can be garnered from Lego's experience to increase the chances of success.