Brick by Brick by David Robertson & Bill Breen
How LEGO Rewrote the Rules of Innovation and Conquered the Global Toy Industry

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A lively account of a company whose products will be familiar to most readers.


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.

About David Robertson & Bill Breen

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DAVID ROBERTSON is on the faculty of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, where he will teach the LEGO story to thousands of executives and students. He has also been a McKinsey consultant and an executive at four software companies. He received his MBA and PhD from MIT and lives in Philadelphia. BILL BREEN was founding senior editor on the team that launched Fast Company and conceived and collaborated with strategist Gary Hamel on The Future of Management, named by as the best business book of 2007. He lives in Gloucester, MA.
Author Residence: Philadelphia, PA; Gloucester, MA
Published June 25, 2013 by Crown Business. 320 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, History, Travel. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Brick by Brick
All: 3 | Positive: 3 | Negative: 0


on May 19 2013

A lively account of a company whose products will be familiar to most readers.

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WSJ online

Above average
Reviewed by DAVID A. PRICE on Jul 22 2013

Mr. Robertson's account of Lego's travails and rebirth is a nuanced and readable case study. That is not to say it's flawless: At times, he strains to derive "rules" from episodes that don't seem reducible to rules.

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LA Times

Reviewed by Richard Milne on Jun 21 2013

...Robertson's take on Lego's success holds plenty of lessons for companies pondering how to remain innovative in a fast-changing world.

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