How Any Company Can Learn From LEGO’s Successful Innovation Management System
David Robertson, Wharton School Professor and Co-author of Brick by Brick
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
David Robertson has been a student, teacher, and practitioner of the art of innovation for his entire career. As a Professor of Practice at Wharton School, he teaches Innovation and Product Development in the undergraduate, MBA, and executive education programs. From 2002 through 2010, Robertson was the LEGO Professor of Innovation and Technology Management at Switzerland’s Institute for Management Development (IMD), which received the #1 worldwide ranking by the Financial Times for its executive education programs. At IMD he was Program Director for IMD’s largest program, the Program for Executive Development, and co-Director of the Making Business Sense of IT program, a joint program between IMD and MIT Sloan. Robertson also serves as a consultant to companies on innovation and technology management issues.