David Robertson

Event Type: Author Visit
Age Group(s): Adult
Date: 7/23/2013
Start Time: 5:30 PM
End Time: 7:30 PM
 Even if you have never built a LEGO project, you won't want to miss this fascinating talk on leadership and innovation! Join us as Wharton Professor of Practice David Robertson stops by the Central Library during his weeklong bicycle trip through Iowa, to share his newly published book, Brick By Brick: How LEGO Rewrote the Rules of Innovation and Conquered the Toy Industry. Learn how LEGO grew from a small woodworking shop in a tiny Danish town to become one of the most beloved global brands of all time – and in the process created a blueprint for the most effective ways to innovate, lead, and win.

Just ten years ago, the iconic toymaker was on the brink of bankruptcy, destroying economic value at the rate of half a million dollars per day, and just months away from insolvency. Because of its ability to innovate, LEGO has become the world’s most valuable toy company. It has grown sales at 24% per year and profits at 40% per year, every year for the past five years, all while operating without patent protection in a viciously competitive global market. LEGO’s success in the face of these challenges is all the more dramatic, given the rocky road the company has traveled in the past decade.

As the LEGO Professor at IMD in Switzerland, Robertson was given unprecedented first-hand access to the famously insular company. He has toured the factories that produce billions of bricks each year, watched designers dream up new toys, and interviewed the company’s top executives – including the CEO, Jørgen Vig Knudstorp and the Chairman, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen (the grandson of the founder of LEGO). His unique relationship with LEGO gave him deep access into the company, while maintaining the objectivity necessary to provide an unbiased view on what LEGO does well and poorly.

David C. Robertson joined the faculty of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania in January of 2011, and was Professor of Innovation and Technology Management at IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland from 2002 through 2010. As the LEGO Professor at IMD, Robertson was given unique access to the company’s management team, has written two case studies about the company, and is the co-author of a Harvard Business Review piece on LEGO. At IMD, Robertson was the co-director of the school’s largest executive education program, the Program for Executive Development, and directed programs for Credit Suisse, EMC, HSBC, Skanska, BT, and other leading European companies. To learn more, visit and follow him at: #davidcrob.
Library: Central Library    Map to Central Library
Location: Meeting Room One, Two and Three
Contact: Jan Kaiser
Contact Number: 4103
Presenter: David Robertson