Wharton School Professor and Co-author of Brick by Brick
In 2003, LEGO almost went bankrupt. The company had failed to adapt to the revolutionary changes in children’s lives and began sliding into irrelevance. Advice from innovation experts almost led the company to ruin, and the future looked bleak for one of America’s most iconic brands. Why didn't newly developed products and businesses—including theme parks, computer games, electronic toys, and clothing—save the company? The answer wasn't just innovation—it was innovation management. LEGO needed an entirely new system of processes, tools, roles, and policies that governed creative thinking. Once that was in place, the company re-emerged more powerful, resilient, and inventive than ever. Today, LEGO’s sales are growing at 24% and profits at 40% per year every year for the past five years, and the brand is experiencing something of a renaissance. The blockbuster film The LEGO Movie, which came out in early 2014, was a massive hit, grossing an estimated $140 million at the U.S. box office in less than two weeks.
How Any Company Can Learn From LEGOâ€™s Successful Innovation Management System
Managers are bombarded with dozens of theories about how to manage innovation. These theories all promise growth and profits, but the actual results are less positive. Using the case study of LEGO, David Robertson's keynote explores how to manage innovation across a company.
In 2003, LEGO almost went bankrupt. LEGO’s managers had followed the advice of experts—“head for blue ocean,” “practice disruptive innovation,” “open innovation,” “develop the full spectrum of innovation”—and that advice almost led them to ruin. Challenging their designers to think “out of the box” almost put them out of business! In one of the most successful turnarounds in modern business history, LEGO restructured its innovation management system and saved the company. Today, LEGO is the most profitable and fastest growing company in the toy industry, growing sales at 22% and profits at 38% per year every year for the past six years. In this talk, Robertson reveals the secrets behind LEGO’s success and the lessons to be learned about how to lead and structure innovation. Highly repeatable across a wide range of companies, Robertson shares the "bricks" needed to build innovation management systems—processes, tools, roles, and policies that you can apply in your company to boost your innovation success.
Innovating Around the Box: A Low Risk, High Reward Approach to Innovation
Too often, innovation is characterized as either inside the box (incremental improvement of existing products) or outside the box (disruptive products that revolutionize industries). But some of the most important innovations in history don’t fall into either category—many great companies innovate around the box—they surround their core products with a family of complementary innovations that make those core products irresistible. Disney, Valve, Makerbot, GoPro, Red Bull, Apple, CarMax, Amazon, LEGO, and others have used this third strategy with great success. But this strategy isn’t easy to execute—surrounding your core products with complementary innovations reduces your risk, but it requires big changes to your internal processes, structure, rewards, roles, and systems. In this engaging talk, David Robertson will show you how this strategy works and how the best companies use it to win in their markets.
Brick by Brick: How LEGO Rewrote the Rules of Innovation and Conquered the Global Toy Industry
Brick by Brick takes you inside the LEGO you've never seen. By following the teams that are inventing some of the world's best-loved toys, it spotlights the company's disciplined approach to harnessing creativity and recounts one of the most remarkable business transformations in recent memory.
Brick by Brick reveals how LEGO failed to keep pace with the revolutionary changes in kids' lives and began sliding into irrelevance. When the company's leaders implemented some of the business world's most widely espoused prescriptions for boosting innovation, they ironically pushed the iconic toymaker to the brink of bankruptcy. The company's near-collapse shows that what works in theory can fail spectacularly in the brutally competitive global economy.
It took a new LEGO management team—faced with the growing rage for electronic toys, few barriers to entry, and ultra-demanding consumers (ten-year old boys)—to reinvent the innovation rule book and transform LEGO into one of the world's most profitable, fastest-growing companies.
Along the way, Brick by Brick reveals how LEGO:
- Became truly customer-driven by co-creating with kids as well as its passionate adult fans
- Looked beyond products and learned to leverage a full-spectrum approach to innovation
- Opened its innovation process by using both the "wisdom of crowds" and the expertise of elite cliques
- Discovered uncontested, "blue ocean" markets, even as it thrived in brutally competitive red oceans
- Gave its world-class design teams enough space to create and direction to deliver
built a culture where profitable innovation flourishes
Sometimes radical yet always applicable, Brick by Brick abounds with real-world lessons for unleashing breakthrough innovation in your organization, just like LEGO. Whether you're a senior executive looking to make your company grow, an entrepreneur building a startup from scratch, or a fan who wants to instill some of that LEGO magic in your career, you'll learn how to build your own innovation advantage, brick by brick.
What's the future of the table? Hear the prediction of Marcus Engman, the head of Design at Ikea. https://t.co/W3TmWQq5Zdabout 1 week ago
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