As a child, LEGO was one of the greatest creations imagined. Stacking the blocks provided hours of fun resulting in boundless creativity. It helped teach the phrase “think outside the box and helped designers and engineers with the foundations for their successes.
LEGO, one of the leading toy-making companies in the world, was founded in 1932 by Ole Kirk Kristiansen. Since its inception, it has maintained a clear vision of “inventing the future of play. But between 1993 and 2004, it went through a catastrophic period of depressed sales and massive layoffs which nearly destroyed the company.
Reviving the company came down to simply by thinking inside the box again. Instead of locking its creativity into its products and marketing, LEGO integrated creativity into all of its processes. The strategic plan was two-fold. First, it developed a design process model known as “Design for Business (D4B) to ensure the continual linkage between innovation and its business plan. Secondly, it created a new “Shared Vision to rebuild the company’s brand identity as a creative toy-manufacturing enterprise. This vision ensures that both the creative side and business side share the same objectives and fully understand LEGO’s business strategy.
Their belief was when innovation gets out of control, it disconnects from the company’s strategy, leaving a gap between business and creativity, resulting in sales losses. There have been many instances over the past century that provide examples that innovation and creativity can play an essential role for an organization in the midst of a crisis. Leading enterprises such as BT, Microsoft, Starbucks, Xerox, Yahoo, and others to provide the proof that an innovative design process can lead to a competitive position in the market.
The story of LEGO is an important and rare lesson for all strategists on the true importance of design and creativity in an organization.
Read the entire story at smashingmagazine.com.