Thursday, February 6, 2014

LEGO: The Little Brick That Could

Hard to believe that a little over ten years ago The LEGO Group was purportedly on the edge of bankruptcy. During the 1980s and 1990s, the company churned out seemingly innovative products at lightning speed. But many of them lacked sustaining popularity, and worse, they also strayed from LEGO's "system of play" mission. Unbridled creativity and a lack of focus took a huge toll on the company.

Luckily for LEGO® (and all of us!), top management stopped the roller coaster ride, regrouped, and spent the last ten years climbing back and maintaining strong and consistent growth. Now with a large cast of characters known as minifigures, legions of wheels, and a plethora of worlds that continually emerging across many media forms, the iconic LEGO brick and "system of play" philosophy remains solidly at the base of the company's foundation and future.

I wonder what Ole Kirk Christiansen would make of all this today? The Danish toymaker and inventor of the LEGO plastic brick died in 1958, the year the modern plastic brick, as we  know it today, was finally perfected and patented by his son Godtfred. I picture Ole as a cute little minifigure residing in LEGOHeaven, still working at his toy bench and crafting "the best of the best," as he would put it. The classic wooden toymaker is likely beaming down on his grandson Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, the third generation of Master Builders now at the helm of The LEGO Group.

Who knew Ole's simple little LEGO brick could hold a universe and expand so exponentially beyond itself? LEGO has twice been named "Toy of the Century." The bricks continue to spark creativity and imagination in the hands of each generation that touches them. Contests go on all over the world. They range from a fun little neighborhood one such as Fundamentally Toys' "LEGO Minifigure Movie Scene Contest" which celebrates the release of "The LEGO Movie" to a complex LEGO robotics competition held annually at Penn State.

LEGO brick devotees log massive amounts of hours clicking them together and building incredible, ingenious, and intricate creations. I came across The LEGO® Certified Professionals website. There are about 100 such professionals worldwide who have turned their passion for LEGOS into part- or full-time work. They are not employees of LEGO, but the company selects them for inclusion in the community-based group and recognizes them as trusted business partners. They are artists, architects, teachers, and inventors who create amazing stuff with LEGOS. It really is quite inspirational!

Follow Fundamentally Toys' on Facebook as we post our "LEGO Minifigure Movie Scene Contest" entries. For details on how to enter go to your entries in soon! Contest ends February 15, 2014.

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