About David Robertson
David Robertson is a Professor of Practice at the Wharton School where he teaches Innovation and Product Development in Wharton’s undergraduate, MBA, and executive education programs. Robertson has been a student, teacher, and practitioner of the art of innovation for his entire career. In his latest quest to understand innovation, David Robertson hosts Innovation Navigation, a Wharton Business School Business radio program offering live, unscripted access to world-renowned thought leaders, executives, and faculty. As a Professor of Practice at the Wharton School, Robertson brings brilliant minds worldwide to share their innovation knowledge and experience to the listening public. Broadcasting weekly from The Wharton School’s Ivy League campus via Sirius XM’s trailblazing Wharton Business Radio Network channel, the program delivers invaluable advice for executives or managers who want to boost their organization’s ability to innovate.
From 2002 through 2010, Robertson was the LEGO Professor of Innovation and Technology Management at Switzerland’s Institute for Management Development (IMD), which received the #1 worldwide ranking by the Financial Times for its executive education programs. At IMD he was Program Director for IMD’s largest program, the Program for Executive Development, and co-Director of the Making Business Sense of IT program, a joint program between IMD and MIT Sloan. Prior to IMD, Robertson was a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, a consultant at McKinsey & Company for 5 years, and an executive at four enterprise software companies.
Robertson is the author of Brick by Brick: How LEGO Reinvented its Innovation System and Conquered the Toy Industry, and co-author of Enterprise Architecture as Strategy. He has published in Harvard Business Review, Sloan Management Review, and many other journals. Robertson has consulted and led educational programs for a wide range of companies, including EMC, Credit Suisse, HSBC, Georg Fischer, Braskem, Banco Santander, Skanska, Swisscom, Russell Investments, Novozymes, GMAC, Grundfos, BT, Microsoft, Heineken, Philip Morris, Globe Telecom, Tieto Enator, and AXA. David received his MBA and PhD from MIT and BS from the University of Illinois.
David, his wife, and two children live in Chestnut Hill, a suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
BRICK by BRICK | How LEGO Rewrote the Rules of Innovation
and Conquered the Global Toy Industry Author David Robertson, with Bill Breen
“Robertson’s take on LEGO’s success holds plenty of lessons for companies pondering how to remain innovative in a fast-changing world.”
— Richard Milne, The Financial Times, June 23, 2013
“Mr. Robertson’s account of LEGO’s travails and rebirth is a nuanced and readable case study.”
— The Wall Street Journal, July 23, 2013
“In Brick by Brick, Robertson uncovers and shares a rare inside exploration of innovation-led transformation at its worst – and best. Any manager can learn from these lessons.”
— Scott Davis, Forbes, September 24, 2013
Based in Denmark’s hinterlands, the family-owned, closely-held LEGO Group has been ignored by Wall Street. For much of its nearly eight decades, LEGO was an aloof, insular company whose idealistic, imaginative approach to play helped it conjure toys that rarely retreated to the back of kids’ closets. All of that changed in 2003, when LEGO failed to adapt to the revolutionary changes in children’s lives and very nearly collapsed. Since that near death crisis, LEGO has re-emerged as a powerful, serial innovator that has proven itself to be as resilient as its indestructible bricks and as resourceful as the ten-year olds who bring them to life.
Brick by Brick will bring readers inside the LEGO they’ve never seen. The book will chronicle the iconic toymaker’s perilous fall and spectacular rise—one of the untold dramas in recent business history. It will recount the creation of many of LEGO’s most iconic toys and introduce readers to the designers and developers who are imagining the next generation of LEGO play experiences.
Through Robertson’s unfettered access to every part of the LEGO Group, Brick by Brick will reveal the ideas and techniques that have powered the company to record results in recent years. It will detail LEGO’s unique innovation guidance system that allows managers to channel the company’s creative endeavors. It will advance a set of LEGO-tested business principles for building innovation into all of a company’s activities—strategy, creativity, productivity, and leadership. And it will present the LEGO-like “bricks” that readers can use to assemble their own version of LEGO’s system for continuous innovation. Brick by Brick will put forth a LEGO-inspired agenda for real world innovation and an action plan for achieving it.
Available now at