Robertson is the author of two books on innovation. The first, Brick by Brick: How LEGO Rewrote the Rules of Innovation and Conquered the Global Toy Industry, is the story of LEGO’s near bankruptcy and spectacular recovery. It describes the different approaches to innovation that LEGO tried and failed with, and the formula for success that the company ultimately adopted. By innovating not inside the box or outside the box, but around the box, LEGO performed one of the most spectacular turnarounds in modern business history
Robertson’s most recent book, The Power of Little Ideas, describes this approach in detail and illustrates it with stories from companies as diverse as Novo Nordisk, CarMax, Victoria’s Secret, Gatorade, and USAA Insurance. The book provides a step-by-step guide for implementing this approach to innovation – an approach that is neither incremental improvement of current products nor radical reinvention of a product or service. This “Third Way” to innovate is the development of a family of complementary products and services around an existing product that helps customers get more value from that central product. It’s not an easy approach to execute, but when done well can turn around an existing product that’s become stale or commoditized, and lead to increased profits and growth.