Long Live Lego

The Economist has a good story on the continued popularity of Lego, the children's toy with the now iconic interlocking plastic bricks first introduced in 1949.

While many of its competitors struggle to compete or are stymied by tainted supply chains from toxic scares in manufacturing centers in China, Lego is catapulting forward, capturing 5.9% of the global toy market and surpassing $1B in sales for the first time.

It's quite an inspiring story considering the company almost went belly-up 4 years ago.

How did they do it? With constant innovation (something every company should keep in mind):

It helps that parents like Lego’s toys (except when they tread on stray bricks with bare feet). Playing with bricks is said to enhance motor skills, creativity and other things that grown-ups fuss about. Last year in America Lego launched family board games with boards that need to be built and even a buildable dice. They instantly captured 12.6% of the market. A Lego website, Design byME, offers free software that allows brats to design their own Lego castle, spaceship or ginormous monster with huge fangs. They can send off their design, receive the bricks in the post and start building it.

** Photo credit: Flickr / Flying Cloud

Brian Mossop is currently the Community Editor at Wired, where he works across the brand, both magazine and website, to build and maintain strong social communities. Brian received a BS in Electrical Engineering from Lafayette College, and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University in 2006. His postdoctoral work was in neuroscience at UCSF and Genentech.

Brian has written about science for Wired, Scientific American, Slate, Scientific American MIND, and elsewhere. He primarily cover topics on neuroscience, development, behavior change, and health.

Contact Brian at, on Twitter (@bmossop), or visit his personal website.