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  • Sixty years ago the LEGO brick was invented here in Billund, Denmark.

  • This piece of plastic has provided millions of people around the world

  • with the building blocks for creative play.

  • Today, LEGO is the world's strongest and most valuable toy brand, with several thousand employees.

  • The company's success is a lesson in self-improvement,

  • problem-solving and protecting ideas, however small.

  • The original two by four LEGO brick measures 31.8mm long and 15.8mm wide.

  • It has eight studs in two rows of four.

  • The outside design of the brick hasn't changed since the early 1950s,

  • but underneath the plastic rectangle there's been significant improvement.

  • The LEGO bricks until 1958 were hollow, and they didn't have a lot of clutch power.

  • Meaning when you built them together like this, it could stay but it wasn't a very stable building.

  • To give the brick its clutch power, LEGO designed three 6.51mm across hollow tubes under the brick.

  • This allowed the studs to lock together more securely

  • providing the platform for bigger and more creative builds.

  • The brick's success allowed LEGO to expand into other

  • children's entertainment like video games and films.

  • Awesome!

  • But the billion dollar empire's story started here in this house in a quiet town in Denmark.

  • The company's founder was Ole Kirk Kristiansen, a carpenter who made wooden toys in the early 1930s.

  • After the Second World War, he began experimenting with plastic toys

  • and they eventually began selling better than his original creations.

  • By the 1960s, Denmark, along with the rest of Europe, was witnessing

  • a mass relocation of the rural population into towns and cities.

  • They were attracted by more jobs and a better standard of living.

  • LEGO's toy sets started to reflect society's increasing urbanization.

  • This is the current owner Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, his sister and his cousin in the garden,

  • just outside here, playing with a town plan to learn about road safety.

  • This is one of the first examples of learn while you're playing.

  • It's something that the LEGO Foundation, the company's charitable arm, continues to strive for.

  • You learn about how to problem solve, how to quantify, how to put things in place.

  • For children it's quite powerful to have concrete materials

  • to which they can represent abstract ideas they have in their head.

  • While LEGO tries to help children learn and tackle problems,

  • the company itself has also faced issues which needed fixing.

  • Twenty years ago, we had a huge crisis where LEGO nearly had to close down.

  • The company attributes their near-brush with bankruptcy to a lack of focus,

  • getting distracted by things like video games.

  • So we actually turned back to focusing on this brick

  • because there's no one who can make bricks like we can.

  • This resulted in a sustained period of growth for LEGO.

  • But that came to an abrupt halt in 2017 as the company's

  • sales and profits fell for the first time in 13 years,

  • in part because it couldn't sell all the bricks that it had made.

  • Which is why the company says it needs another "reset."

  • LEGO's founder Ole Kirk Kristiansen instilled into the company the idea of having fun.

  • That principle is still alive today inside this brand new building called the LEGO House.

  • Hi Stuart. How's it going?

  • Hi Tom. Welcome to LEGO House, home of the brick.

  • The LEGO House has multiple zones based on the core competencies,

  • which they hope can be learned through play.

  • Stuart, a senior experience manager at the LEGO House, helped design it.

  • We're in the green zone and the green zone is all about social development.

  • There's a lot of humor going on in here, so there's a lot to discover.

  • And you've put yourself in?

  • I have put myself in, yes.

  • Do you want to show us?

  • Come and have a look.

  • Here I am, coming out of the English pub.

  • Ah, of course.

  • And you can see a little yellow Beetle because when I first moved to Denmark

  • I arrived in my little yellow Beetle.

  • This one is called the City Architect, and it's set in the blue zone.

  • The blue zone is about problem solving and cognitive skills.

  • The idea is that you take a different color plate and each color plate represents

  • a different component of the city and you add it to the city.

  • And the clever thing is that the city knows what you've added to it.

  • I've got a little park that I'm gonna add. I can see these guys here in green.

  • They're looking for a park, so let's give them a park and you can see the table reacts.

  • As a reward, these guys have got tickets for a football match

  • and you can see they're taking their tickets and they're going to join

  • the football match here. And when we've sold enough tickets, the football match

  • comes alive with a great big digital projection show.

  • You build a fish. You build a flat fish, and then you take it to a scanning station.

  • You scan your model and then you can add features to it, eyes, mouth,

  • to give it some expressions and then your fish will be launched

  • and become a digital version of the model you made in this giant fish tank.

  • And it will go through different experiences and experience different kinds of emotions

  • because we're in the yellow zone and the yellow zone is all about emotional development.

  • The red zone represents creativity. Shall we go and play?

  • I think so.

  • Okay, shoes off then and dive into the pool.

  • Now this might hurt a little bit.

  • Okay, so go gently.

  • So we have this giant play pit with an enormous supply of bricks.

  • It's not very quiet in here.

  • No, it's not.

  • But that's what it's all about.

  • It's about having fun and really engaging with the product.

  • Twenty seconds and you've got to show off your creation.

  • Oh, God!

  • Make sure you don't grab my foot.

  • Mine's my dream home with a roof garden.

  • Lovely, well mine is a... I'm not really sure what it was.

  • Sort of a work in progress.

  • Let's call it that.

  • Creating LEGO pieces and developing them into sets is the job of the company's designers.

  • Unsurprisingly, their work is focused on what children want to play with, not adults.

  • So we'll test a lot with kids to make sure that they enjoy what we're working on.

  • If something does not resonate with them, it'll be cut.

  • You see a kid picking up your box. It's just like the warmest feeling.

  • You're like, “Ah, I want to cry.”

  • All the bricks fit together. That is really key to us

  • and to the play experience and to the kids of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

  • That's also why we have such a wide fanbase, whether it be six-year-olds or 60-year-olds.

  • I always thought the LEGO that I had growing up was the best ever, and then

  • year-on-year for me to be shifting that, saying well this year's the best,

  • well this year's the best. I think that's wonderful to show that a

  • classic building experience can still succeed in today's digital world.

  • So where do these pieces come from? The answer was only five minutes down the road.

  • They're made inside 12 of these manufacturing modules.

  • Within are 65 molding machines, all creating millions of LEGO pieces.

  • Down here it's about 265 degrees, where the material is getting warmed up and melted.

  • Then it's injected into the molds. During that, they are cooled down

  • for about three or four seconds, and then you've got whole elements.

  • Oh, it's very warm.

  • Yeah, still warm.

  • Apart from the maintenance of the machines, the factories are run autonomously.

  • The pieces are made by complex molding machines and transported by robotic vehicles to the shipment area.

  • This efficient operation also doesn't waste any excess plastic in the manufacturing of Lego pieces.

  • By the pipe, over to the blender where there's also new material

  • and it comes up to the molding machine and gets re-heated.

  • LEGO also pledged to find a sustainable replacement for the plastic they use in their pieces by 2030.

  • It's that long-term planning which defines this privately-held company.

  • It's helped transform a small workshop into a global enterprise

  • that all began with an original design of a plastic brick.

  • Hi guys, thanks very much for watching.

  • If you'd like to see any more of our videos then you can check out these.

  • Otherwise feel free to comment below the video for any suggestions you may have for future videos,

  • and don't forget to like and subscribe. Tak very much!

Sixty years ago the LEGO brick was invented here in Billund, Denmark.

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B1 US lego brick company zone denmark molding

How LEGO kept a plastic brick relevant for 60 years | CNBC Reports

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    joey joey posted on 2021/06/08
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