David Gram, Senior Innovation Director at the LEGO Group, recently spoke to business leaders about the role he believes innovation has in the company’s success.
Stuff.co.nz reported his appearance at the Better by Design conference held in Auckland, New Zealand. Gram has been at the LEGO Group since 2010, and credits innovation with the impressive the turnaround the company has achieved since the mid-noughties.
Gram helped implement a strategy to turn the company around that focused on consumer needs, its core capabilities and the product development process.
“The company decided to innovate itself out of the crisis,” Gram said.
Gram introduced the Lego Future Lab to foster these new ideas that could pull them out of its slump.
With new projects such as LEGO Ideas and LEGO Life getting small roll-outs and growing over time, the Future Lab is achieving its goals.
“Think big but start really, really small,” Gram said. Small internal teams in charge of different Lego innovation projects were created to act like start-up businesses.
After trends are identified from their in-house tests, the teams develop a concept and defective prototype, named a pre-totype, within a month. Their pre-totype is validated by the market immediately through small pilot tests.
Gram said the learning process was a race. “It’s about getting there fast to test and validate their assumption … Launch the bloody thing,” he said. “It’s about disrupting yourself before somebody else does.”
With new innovations such as LEGO Boost on the way later this year, it seems that this way of working will continue to be a part of the LEGO Group’s plans.