What are the chances of rolling a pair of dice 154 times continuously at a craps table without throwing a seven? The answer is roughly 1 in 1.56 trillion . . .
"HBS Cases: LEGO". How not to make a comeback and how to.
Knudstorp recognized that innovation was part of that core, but he'd also seen the result of unconstrained creativity, so new product design began to be informed by market research, user feedback, and how well the toys matched the vision of quality creative play laid out by its founding fathers. Putting parameters on how people innovate had the paradoxical effect of making them better at it.
Reining in the creative process was part of a larger push by Knudstorp to reduce overall complexity within the organization. On the supply chain side, he did away with many of the unique brick components added during Plougmann's tenure, and eventually decided to bring brick manufacturing back in-house to ensure quality control.
"What Happened with LEGO". In the last 20 years the real price per brick has fallen nearly in half.
The Star Wars blocks were wildly successful. So Lego kept going — it licensed Indiana Jones, Winnie the Pooh, Toy Story and Harry Potter.
Sales of these products have been huge for Lego. More important, the experience has taught the company that what kids wanted to do with the blocks was tell stories. Lego makes or licenses the stories they want to tell.
(I remember playing an early version of Flight Simulator in which the New York City skyline was represented by a single cartoon spike--supposedly the Empire State Building.)
When I returned to London, I met up with Brian Butterworth, professor of cognitive neuropsychology at University College London and the author ofThe Mathematical Brain, and showed him some video clips of Flash Anzan.
He was flabbergasted. "I don't see how you can represent whatever that number was on a mental abacus faster than you can say it," he said, adding: "A lot of money should be spent doing research on how the brain can manage to do this, because I think this is a really extraordinary thing!"