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.

Featured job: Chief Commercialization Officer, Gizmag — January 19, 2013

Featured job: Chief Commercialization Officer, Gizmag

We have an exciting new role here on The Fetch blog. It’s for a Chief Commercialization Office for Gizmag. The role is a remote one, helping the popular blog build their already-profitable business. More information is included below –>

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Gizmag has been online for over a decade, with a global audience of over 3.5 million people per month making them one of the most widely read independent technology publications on the web.

They cover science, technology and innovation of all forms, not the politics or the money behind it, aiming to inspire their readers, not ridicule the latest product or company failure.

They’re currently profitable and not looking for an exit, instead focusing on building a lasting global brand.

The rapid growth means they cannot continue to rely on third parties to sell advertising on their behalf. You’ll be the first employee to focus solely on generating revenue.

In addition to selling, you’ll be helping with commercial strategy, growing the sales team, working with their developers to create new custom ad solutions, and anything else that can add value to our journalism. You’ll need to be the kind of person who is as good at getting things done as they are at recognising what needs to be done.

This is a telecommuting role (it is 2013, right?) so only those of you comfortable reacquainting yourself with tracksuits and bathrobes should apply.

To apply, send a cover letter and CV to jobs@gizmag.com.

gizmagGizmag’s homepage

Event Review: 2013 Marketing Trends — December 4, 2012

Event Review: 2013 Marketing Trends

What: Networx Marketers Meeting
Topic: 2013 Marketing Trends
Where: Fringe Bar, Sydney
When: 27 November 2012

With the year almost over, now is a good time to review what’s happened in 2012 and make plans for the next year. What trends will be leading the charge in 2013? What platforms should we be using? What can we really expect? Solange Francois went along to Networx to find out.

The panel at Networx: 2013 Marketing Trends

The panel at the final Networx event for the year was a energetic one: Carl Moggridge, Communications Director at Naked Communications; John Batistich, Director of Marketing at Westfield Group; Shani Langi, MD at Play Communications and Alex Hayes, Editor of B&T.

They discussed insights around marketing, experiential, digital and advertising in front of an audience who were scrambling to take notes during the session, and ask questions at the end.

How can we source information on new marketing trends?

  • Look to what’s happening in Tokyo, Europe, Silicon Valley and other parts of the US for insights and trends that can be developed in Australia.
  • Keep an eye on what’s going on but also remember to not just chase trends. Ensure that you really look at who your customer and how they can be reached.
  • Look at industries and markets outside of your own to gain new perspectives and the ability to innovate.

Where is digital and social media heading?

  • Mobile is crucial. Ensure that every customer experience is optimised for mobile.
  • Social will become more embedded in businesses rather than just in campaigns. It’s growing up!
  • The biggest populations of the world are: 1) China 2) India 3) Facebook 4) USA. Social isn’t going anywhere – it’s enormous.
  • MySpace has been doing a lot behind the scenes. It has the potential to become a big player in 2013.
  • Nike is a good example of a company that has created a digitally enabled community. It has essentially become a technology company that sells products.
  • Retail is going social, vibrant and engaging. A good example is www.thefancy.com

How is traditional marketing changing?

  • Influencers are now advertisers, too. Bloggers, mums, dads and regular people have influence on how your product and service is seen. Consumers trust their peers.
  • Marketing is not just about inspiring or conveying a message, but also about providing tools and ways to do things to make lives easier.
  • Consumer-generated content like Instagram is becoming more relevant.
  • We can look to successful campaigns of 2012, such as Virgin Mobile’s ‘Fair Go Bro’, Coke’s ‘Share a Coke’ and Metro Trains ‘Dumb Ways to Die’ to see that brands that entertain are memorable.
  • We need to personalise messages and add value – too many emails are sent to customers and they’re opening them less.

How do we build a long-term strategy and adapt?

  • Look beyond your target market and see who is actually making purchasing decisions. For example, women influence two-thirds of shopping for men’s’ apparel.
  • Understand that digital natives use technology differently, for example, while older users search with keyword terms, natives often search in whole sentences.
  • We need to create profiles about our customers and use big data to gain insights.
  • Know how to measure effectively. Views and likes don’t mean that the message reached the consumer.
  • Spend time with your customers outside of a focus group. Experience living like them in order to truly understand them.

Alex Hayes summed it up for me with one of his comments: “We can talk about knowing what will happen in 2013, but who really knows?” It’s true. With the environment changing as fast as it is, we can be sure of one trend: it’ll continue to evolve. We must be adaptable in order to achieve our marketing goals and stay ahead.

About our Ambassador // This article was contributed by Community Ambassador Solange Francois. She is a marketer and lover of travel with a passion for psychology and lifelong learning. You can connect with Solange through her blog or on Twitter @solangefrancois

Event Review: The Future of Work: Coworking and Collaboration — October 29, 2012

Event Review: The Future of Work: Coworking and Collaboration

Last Monday in Sydney I attend a really interesting panel about The Future of Work: Coworking and Collaboration». It was hosted by Hub Sydney at Oxford St Design Store.

The event focused on the future of work and how the definition of work is rooted in the work place and the organisation behind. The panel, composed of architects, designers and community managers, also discussed how the de-materialisation of work place leads to new ways of working together.

Today, there are different ways we can now work free from our traditional office buildings.

So what will be the future of work, you may wonder?

Firstly, it means stop doing all the work by yourself. In the future, it will be considered as stupid to start your project from scratch as most of the information you need will be available. The idea is to do a by yourself with the help of others, based on the mantra of take and give, i.e. collaboration. Yammer is a perfect example of an enterprise social network service dedicated to facilitate knowledge exchange, file sharing and company collaboration.

Secondly, it means work is based on functional needs. Rather than having a fixed number of employees, there will be more and more of virtual employees, self-employees and consultants.

Josh Capelin created a coworking space in Surry Hills, Home/Work, open to these business nomads or virtual employees. This is not a lonely initiative. The rise of coworking spaces in Sydney highlights the evolution of working: the development of services and entrepreneurship mixed with the notion of sharing: sharing space,  sharing ideas and… coffees!

Besides how many of us grumble everyday about the too many hours spent/lost in the commute? With the development of virtual employees, it’s the flexibility of working hours that expands.

What about the corporate world?

The corporate world is changing with a slow disappearance of fixed desks. Architect and design firms have always been ahead of their time: in the 70s architects started thinking of places where computers will be in houses, long before the first Mac.

Today, architecture and design firms think in terms of how facilitate what people really need to make their business work. Tenants who look for hiring offices need flexibility: it’s more about changing and moving spaces than moving or changing furniture.

Traditional work places are behind the way most of us are working now but large corporate places have started to evolve.

Second Road, for example, provides strategies and implements design solution for companies that suffer from obsolete organisational model. Second Road brings tools to make people apt to work together again, exploring new ways of collaboration.

“Environment does shape how people act. So shaping work environment does shape how people work” explained Alexis Baum, experience architect at Second Road.

I’m really looking forward to the future of work: such inspiring ideas and experiments are already taking place so the future promises to be exciting!

About our ambassador // Delphine Vuagnoux is a community ambassador for Sydney. She is passionate about innovation and social change and a communications manager at All Together Now. You can find her on Twitter here: @delphinevuagnou.

Interview: Brisbane local, Jessie Roberts — April 29, 2012

Interview: Brisbane local, Jessie Roberts

Brisbane curator, Lani Pauli, interviews Jessie Roberts. Jessie leads the program development of the QUT Innovation Space.

Name:  Jessie Roberts

Program Designer at QUT Innovation Space 

Twitter: QUTInnovation 

Tell us more about QIS? 
The QUT innovation Space (QIS) is about animating ideas. We aim to foster a community and culture of big-thinkers, innovators and entrepreneurs. We provide a support network and learning platform for people with big thoughts and a passion for action and change.  The QUT Innovation Space is located at the QUT Gardens Point campus and we deliver events, mentorship and community. Our events run through out semester and are either designed to be educational, inspirational or network orientated. We have a community of professional partners that provide support to our members, including a marketing strategist, IP Attorney, Start-up and project management coach. partners that provide advice Our doors are open to anyone with a curious mind, from any faculty, industry or age group.

Who do you think is doing cool stuff in our industries?

River City Labs (Co-working space), The EdgeMIT – Opencourseware (education… awesome & Free!), SEED MAGAZINE (Science + Design + Culture).

What was your first job?

Street Busker (8yrs old, Violin) 🙂

What’s the hardest challenge you’ve had to face work-wise?
Define what I “do”, what my job title is or the professional ‘box’ that I fit into.  I still ‘um’ and ‘ar’ at parties when someone asks “So, what do you do?”.

What’s the biggest opportunity and challenge for Brisbane to become a truly “Creative City”?
1. Connection – There are a lot of creative and amazing things/people/projects happening in Brisbane. There is definitely room for more connection between these people and projects. I think Brisbane has so many sparks just waiting to connect with the right person in order to turn into flame.

2. Play – Creativity comes from play and generosity. We are a fun group of people…..

On a more tactile level:

Spaces and Hubs. The emergence of co-working spaces (and places like The Edge) in Brisbane really help to foster a community (or communities) of like-minded creative thinkers.  These spaces provide a platform for people to meet and cross paths, to fertalise ideas,  conversations to occur.

What are some local upcoming events you recommend?

David Wyatt: How to be a Future Maker

What’s next?
Continuing to build and develop our mentor program and consultants that support our members.  Now that our events program is running smoothly, we are focusing our energy on further developing our mentor program.

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