Why is lego the most popular toy in the world?

I really love mine.... but gee, I don't like the look of yours much. 

I really love mine.... but gee, I don't like the look of yours much. 

So, a while back, clever Professor Dan Ariely and his compadres designed a brilliant experiment – paying people to put together lego models. The experiment was designed to test whether meaningful work would be more rewarding. So they paid participants to build things, and then dismantled those lego efforts in front of the builders. Outcome - it turns out lowering the meaning of work also cuts productivity.

What’s that got to do with you|? Well, having meaning in your work will make you more productive (duh!) but equally, if you can help clients find meaning in their own work, you’re on to a winner.

Still, there’s an extra element here. Dan Ariely also discovered that people will pay half the price for an ikea thingy they did not put together, compared to one that they had. In essence, I would want to sell a piece of, frankly crappy IKEA furniture which I put together for £10 and only buy the same piece of cardboard knuckle-ruining construction for £5 (think Ebay and the difference in buying and selling).

So what does this have to do with lego? If you think about it, lego does nothing in itself – it is reliant on whoever constructs it to give it form. To give it meaning. And so giving your own toy meaning over and over again would seem to multiply your affection for it. What do you think - what was your favourite toy and why – how did you give it meaning?

Hannah LewisComment