Have you seen The Lego Movie?
Chances are -- almost wherever you live in the world -- if you have kids, you saw it -- or will.
The Lego Movie - a 90-minute, unabashedly unself-conscious "serious" movie that all ages seem to enjoy -- Rotten Tomatoes rating of 96 percent! -- "Boasting beautiful animation, a charming voice cast, laugh-a-minute gags, and a surprisingly thoughtful story, The Lego Movie is colorful fun for all ages."
Do I smell an Oscar?
Do you own a LEGO set? Or have you played with one?
Chances are that given the 85 years that LEGO has been around, you have been exposed to this amazing brand (owned by a family -- no public markets for them) one way or another, and if you have children or grandchildren -- my stage of life -- you probably own at least one set or, like us, have special rolling carts to hold the full and ever-growing collection.
And...lest you think this is a Western phenomenon and that there are no more growth markets open to them -- hear this -- China is a growing and important market for them.
So -- a private, family-owned company -- without the advantages of public market funds and scrutiny, quarterly earnings reports and digibabble analysts -- becomes the second-largest toymaker in the world, hugely profitable and trending ahead of the rest of the toy market....
We all need to study them -- we all need to learn from them -- we all need to be inspired by them -- we all need to understand them....
Start with their philosophy -- been the same since the company was founded all those years ago and the family has adhered to it -- unwaveringly:
"The LEGO Group is engaged in the development of children's creativity through playing and learning. Based on the world-famous LEGO brick, the company today provides toys, experiences and teaching materials for children in more than 130 countries. The LEGO Group has approximately 10,000 employees, and it is the world's third largest manufacturer of play materials."
No gratuitous mentions of digital; no suggestion that experiences are anything other than those of the children (and their parents and grandparents... trust me); no use of the word "interactive" -- although what could possibly be more interactive than this amazing product?
By the way -- they use digital technology -- check out their Xbox Star Wars games -- I play with Teddy -- when he lets me....
See the digital building blocks you can use on your tablet or whatever device you give your kids....
TV, movies -- but at the end it's about the blocks, and 85 years later -- every block ever made connects to another, and every extension they have ever introduced connects to all.
So in a world where we have allowed ourselves to be bullied into believing that everything changes every day, where we have allowed digibabble to shape our perceptions and thinking, where quarterly earnings drive more of your life than you think -- LEGO is a breath of true and pure fresh air... no excuses, no rationalization -- just great product and smart marketing.
Take your pick -- and if you don't have kids or grandkids -- try it yourself -- you will smile all day....
The children have spoken... are speaking... and while it's easy to discount LEGO... to continue to talk about screens and natives and such... this is digital exponential at its very best... and we need to pay attention... listen:
"Cynicism is what passes for insight when courage is lacking." -- Anita Roddick
We need the courage to see beyond...to challenge the current status quo as much as the past...and while you are, try this from The Huffington Post:
"You can combine six of the eight-studded LEGO bricks in 915,103,765 ways."
And... here's a challenge for your brain: Try to figure out the 24 different ways two LEGO bricks with eight studs can be combined.
What do you think?