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Domino by Nick Tasler

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10Start with Why 13½ Percent

WORLD'S MOST BELOVED TOY BREAKS

BILLUND, Denmark, January 7, 2005 – LEGO group, the 72-year-old maker of one of the world's most popular toys, has declared bankruptcy, according to records submitted late yesterday afternoon. The filing comes after a financially troublesome year, and almost a decade of strategic missteps and dwindling brand loyalty.

“We just didn't see it coming,” said an unnamed employee as she and her colleagues filed out of LEGO's corporate office shortly after news of the bankruptcy and the corresponding layoffs.

Or at least that's what the headline would have read had 2004 gone differently for the LEGO Group.

That year, the LEGO Group found itself embroiled in a desperate fight for survival. In a surprising move, the iconic maker of one the world's most popular toys, turned to a young strategist named Jorgen Knudstorp. At just 34 years old and nowhere to be found in the family tree of LEGO founder Ole Kirk Christiansen, Knudstorp was an odd choice to be the fourth president in the company's 70-year history.

The first question Knudstrop had to answer was where do I start?

With everyone eyeing the future, some argued that LEGO's top priority should be reinvigorating its stale product line. After all, the kids of today just weren't as interested in the old plastic blocks as they were before. And the kids of tomorrow, toting their smartphones and iPads, would almost certainly be even less interested in stodgy old building blocks. ...

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