The Fetch Blog

Curated reads and events for professionals

Book review: Brick by Brick: How LEGO Rewrote the Rules of Innovation and Conquered the Global Toy Industry — July 5, 2014

Book review: Brick by Brick: How LEGO Rewrote the Rules of Innovation and Conquered the Global Toy Industry

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What is it about the LEGO brand that sees this company’s products excite and delight the toy market 80 years on?

When you read page by page of ‘Brick by Brick’ you soon learn the many lessons of how to stay an innovative market leader throughout the decades and into the digital age. It’s a fascinating read as you experience the dizzy heights of phenomenal success resulting from the Star Wars and Harry Potter themed sets of toy to the calamity of 2003 when the cracks in the LEGO empire began to show.

The beauty of this read is the warts and all insight into the people behind the company, the vast array of products and the interesting reasons behind the creation of the product ranges. You are taken on a journey where every step is incredibly detailed and where it is clear that the path to success was not an easy one. Time and time again the words determination, perseverance, tenacity and failure appear. The many mistakes are analyzed and explained providing valuable learnings for the reader. One also reads of experimentation, belief and passion.

The book discusses the six principle approach to innovation that worked: An aspirational mission, relentless experimentation, systems thinking, discipline and focus, the appeal of the real and of inspiring the customer/prioritizing the retailer.

The book challenges your approach to innovation as you learn what worked and what certainly did not work for LEGO. Profitable innovation instead of run-away innovation is key and accompanying that continuous innovation becoming the norm. ‘Brick by Brick’ shares the innumerable signposts that were missed at crucial times seeing the fortunes of LEGO plummet and providing sage advice for the reader. Having offered all the insights, signposts and guidance however a crucial take-away stressed by authors, Professor of Innovation and Technology Management David Robertson and founding member of Fast Company Bill Breen, is that it is up to you to ownership and ‘make the bricks click’.

About our contributor // Jacs Ford’s inquisitive nature sees her say yes to pretty much anything – a Tough Mudder, an African Safari, sailing down the Nile in a felucca and even a HTML workshop. Follow her on Twitter via @jacsford.

Book Review: The $100 Startup: The rise of the roaming entrepreneur — November 25, 2012

Book Review: The $100 Startup: The rise of the roaming entrepreneur

This week, we’re pleased to kick-off our first book review for The Fetch Blog. Thanks Elise Bialylew for this gem…

If you’ve been dreaming of launching that new business and living the location independent lifestyle, The $100 Startup by New York Times bestselling author Chris Guillebeau is your perfect companion. Chris is an impressive entrepreneur who has spent the past five years writing about his quest to visit every country in the world before he turns 35. His popular blog, The Art of Non Conformity, has become a successful six-figure online business and a vortex for freedom-seeking, conscious, community lovers from across the globe.

The $100 Startup is like a Lonely Planet guidebook for entrepreneurialism. With a collection of inspiring stories and specific roadmaps, it guides the reader in navigating a path from idea to business execution on a shoestring budget. Chris discusses the key to “the quest for personal freedom [as being] through the pursuit of value for others,” emphasising the need for convergence between matching your passion with something that someone else would pay for.

He flirtatiously warns his readers that “There is no rehab program for being addicted to freedom. Once you’ve seen what it’s like on the other side, good luck trying to follow someone else’s rules ever again.”

Throughout the book there are diverse stories of micro-entrepreneurs who have found their way to success through different routes. Whether choosing to leave a soul suffocating corporate job or being made redundant, each story is inspiring in its trajectory. A particularly inspiring interview describes Brett Kelly, a man who was struggling to financially support his family and noticed an opportunity in the market place. He realised that there was no existing manual for the Apple Mac Evernote program and within a few months developed one himself. He published it as an ebook and made $120,000 on its sales which led to a phone call from the CEO of Evernote offering him a lucrative position in the company. The book emphasises the importance of paying attention to opportunities that exist in our rapidly changing environment and bringing ideas into action to allow serendipity to amplify one’s possibilities.

The book is in many ways the manifestation of a movement, evidenced by the annual World Domination Summit (WDS) hosted by Chris Guillebeau’s in his hometown, Portland. It is a conference founded by Chris and aimed at those who are interested in living “remarkable lives in a conventional world”. This year the keynote speakers ranged from Jonathan Fields, writer-entrepreneur, to Scott Harrison founder of Charity Water. In its second year, WDS sold out within hours of its online ticket sales with waiting lists already in place for next years event in July 2013.

Committed to contributing to the world and sharing the business lessons he has learned, Chris motivates people from all over the globe to action their ideas and embrace mistakes as a necessary part of the learning.

This year at WDS, after receiving an anonymous donation of $100,000, Chris decided to generously “invest” in each attendee by giving us one hundred dollars and inviting us to spend it how we wished. Leaving the conference with a free copy of the $100 Startup and a one hundred dollar bill in my hand, I reflected on his gesture as both an ingenius marketing strategy and a brilliant way of conveying his underlying message:

There are no excuses for not starting. Take action now.

About our Ambassador // Elise Bialylew is a multi-passionate, curiosity driven, doctor, writer, documentary filmmaker, dancer, humanitarian, philanthropist, connector and the founder of Mindful in May. Follow her on Twitter @meditatecreate.

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