Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Holiday LEGO Shortage: Why 60 Billion Plastic Bricks Isn't Enough

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Holiday LEGO Shortage: Why 60 Billion Plastic Bricks Isn't Enough

Article excerpt

An impending LEGO shortage this holiday season may be indicative not just of a booming toy business, but of a societal shift toward DIY innovation.

Some parents may have to punt this Christmas by hauling out tubs of old plastic bricks and finding new life in them since, apparently, production of 60 billion bricks a year by the Danish toy maker is not nearly enough to keep up with the global demand.

"We will not be able to deliver all of the new orders coming from customers in the remainder of the year in some markets in Europe," Lego spokesman Roar Trangbaek told CNN.

In 2004, LEGO was on the verge of bankruptcy, but shifting its model to embrace innovation has built the company into the world's largest toy manufacturer. Sales grew 18 percent in the first half of 2015, following 15 percent growth in 2014.

LEGO's sales rebound may reflect a growing embrace of the Internet of Things, the Maker Movement, and robotics competitions.

"LEGO activities provide opportunities for children to build, create, and express themselves. With LEGO activities, children experience the joy of building and pride of creation. In this way, the popularity of LEGO activities is very related to the popularity of the Maker Movement," says Mitchel Resnick, director of the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the Media Laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in an e-mail interview,

The Maker Movement is the latest expression of do-it-yourself (DIY) products that are technology-based, such as 3D printed products and other hands-on projects.

In a world where video games often rule the roost - or at least playtime, LEGO provides an appealing tactile-digital interface. "The LEGO Company is also bringing 'joy of building and pride of creation' to the digital world, with products like LEGO Mindstorms and LEGO WeDo, which enable children to create computer programs to control their LEGO constructions," Professor Resnick adds.

Dr. …

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