An insight into the world’s most famous toy brand.
Brick by Brick tells the story of Lego, the Danish toy giant founded by Ole Kirk Christiansen, a toymaker from Billund that started the business in 1932. The book is written by David Robertson, a business professor who teaches at IMD in Switzerland where he is named the ‘Legp professor’ as a result of his knowledge of the company.
The book focuses on the way in which Lego has innovated, helping to maintain its position in the highly competitive toy industry by experimenting with a variety of new technologies and ideas.
For example he discusses the group’s efforts to try and recruit world-class designers from the United States to come and live in Billund, and how it exploited opportunities from new technology to launch the ‘Lego Digital Designer’.
A key part of Lego’s success is in harnessing existing trends rather than dictating to its customers, and he shows that for example the rise of AWOL – adult fans of Lego – was embraced by the group that ended up launching products such as ‘Lego Architecture’ that is targeted at adults looking to recreate complex buildings such as the Empire State Building.
However the book also looks at Lego’s failures. ‘Galidor’, a science-fiction series with an accompanying Lego set is described as one of the group’s ‘worst-ever failures’.
The book is extremely detailed, covering every single major Lego product launch and resultant customer response. One part of the book that is perhaps lacking is a detailed look at the Lego management in terms of an interview, and it is certainly not light-hearted, lacking many jokes or amusing anecdotes.
The book is squarely aimed at business students and should be read in that manner. For those looking for a more light-hearted look at why the brand has become so popular or some amusing stories relating to it Brick by Brick is probably not the right book.