It’s been a year of upheaval, disruption and change. But it has also been a time of innovation, creativity and reinvention. There have certainly been silver linings and unexpected opportunities for some industries and individuals. With Christmas around the corner, it may surprise you to hear that industry analysts predict an unanticipated boom for toy makers, despite all the turmoil, as parents have hunkered down with children at home. In fact, some retailers warn of a toy shortage. But it’s the classics such as LEGO, Barbie and Monopoly that are tipped as top of the Christmas toy list.
The LEGO story itself came about by accident, in the face of adversity. It started in a Danish woodworking shop, opened in 1916 and is perhaps one of business’s great comeback stories. Ole Kirk Christiansen produced furniture like ladders, stools and ironing boards. But in 1924, his sons accidentally set a pile of wood chips in the shop on fire, destroying the entire building and the family’s home. Others might have given up, but Christiansen saw the fire as an excuse to build a larger workshop. However, tragedy continued to strike, in 1929 the American stock market crash plunged the world into depression.
Since times were so hard Christiansen made the hard decision to create inexpensive goods that might actually sell. Among them were cheap toys. Wooden building blocks. He renamed the company, inspired by the Danish phrase ‘leg godt’ or ‘play well’ which became LEGO. In 1947, the company made a game changing purchase, a plastic injection-moulding machine. By 1949, LEGO was using this machine to mass produce the automatic binding bricks which were the predecessors of the LEGO toys of today.
Perhaps the longevity of LEGO can be credited to its simple and friendly design, its universal quality, the way it connects with the imagination. People also love to make things and have proved that you can pretty much make anything out of LEGO. It is a toy with endless possibilities. The product also continues to evolve. This year, the LEGO Group announced a $400 million investment and ambitious target, to make all products sustainable by 2030.
When the pandemic first hit, it rather felt that our LEGO house had been decimated. The pieces strewn far and wide. We’d spent years cultivating something special, a place we felt secure and at home. We didn’t really realise how fragile and breakable it was.
But as the dust settled and we picked each other up, we discovered that the same fundamental building blocks were still there. 2020 has been all about reinventing Broadsword and ourselves, putting the pieces back together to craft a new offering and a new home. We have embarked on a new journey, acquired new skills but stayed true to who we are. Friendly. Uncomplicated. Reliable. Versatile. Components of a collective with the clutch power to create something special. Just like LEGO.
In tribute to the reinvention of Team Broadsword, we’ll be sharing a selection of virtual stocking fillers this month across our social channels. You’ll get to have a chuckle at us all, reimagined as friendly mini figures. We hope our LEGO selves bring a smile.