In December 2017, Jorgen Vig Knudstorp, Lego’s chief executive, stepped down after 12 years. When Knudstorp became CEO in 2004, he was the first CEO outside the family – and the company was hemorrhaging $1M a day.
Knudstorp completely turned the company around. Starting with a creative research process, he refocused the company on its core:
“Soon after taking over, Knudstorp went on a “discovery journey” to understand what made Lego unique, visiting retailers to ask about what was missing, stopping at MIT for a reminder about how children learn, and spending three days at a Lego conference for adult fans in Washington, D.C. “They really inspired me to go back to the creative expression of the core product,” he says. So did spending lots of time with groups of children as they played with Lego bricks, he says: “We had a huge number of people writing to us saying how much the brand meant to them. That convinced me we could survive, and the brand would survive. We were just poor managers of the brand. How do we double down on what’s so special to us? That was the creative building experience.”
Today, the company has become the world’s most profitable toy company.