‘Radical innovation is becoming normal’ was a recurring theme at this year’s Disruption Summit Europe 2019.

Vocalised by David Gram, Resident Intrapreneur at Lego, the problem is one in itself: we’re witnessing continuously shorter periods to market, quicker launches of new products and as a result, there is less and less time for anyone to capitalise on them. It’s only a matter of time until competitors catch up to what you’re doing and your product is either imitated or, even worse, made irrelevant.

David provided a great explanation of how the toy company innovates internally and more recently, how they’ve started collaborating with their own users to help them connect the bricks and generate entirely new product ideas.

Within the toy/child entertainment industry there is a lot of new technology being used and from that a lot of new possibilities. At Disruption, we were shown examples of toys that utilised robotics, AR, VR with the hopes that the boundaries all these toys are trying to push are on par with the endearingly infinite imaginations of their target consumers.

The danger with toys integrating more and more technology is that it removes the imagination out of playing. The act of playing: cutting out and duck taping crudely made cardboard space ships, building pillow forts, playing dress-up - all at risk of becoming a spectator’s sport.

Understandably, big corporations want to experiment but are often held hostage by what has worked in the past and the fear of making a mistake can limit experimentation. Lego has navigated this by going back to their core audiences.

Lego has shown great examples of how users can become brand ambassadors. They did this through listening, collaborating with lego users and turning their best ideas for new lego sets into reality.

Could we all be ‘diplomatic rebels’ within our organisations? Showing respect to what came before whilst exploring radical new directions the company could move towards. Could we all be better rewarded if we tapped back into the playful imaginations we had as children?

The key takeaway: future organisations need to be ambidextrous. Whist, on the one hand, they need to focus on maintaining and improving their core business and the exploration within these core areas. On the other, they should also allow for a radical exploration outside the confines of company history and processes.