41_Lego

How much can you improve a 51-year-old plastic toy brick? Lots. Lego has undergone a dramatic turnaround, swinging from a $300 million loss in 2004 to a $280 million profit in 2007 and continued double-digit growth last year.

CEO Jrgen Vig Knudstorp, 39, refocused the Danish company, reclaiming outsourced manufacturing of its 19 billion bricks annually and launching a line of digital design programs and interactive gaming—from a Star Wars game for the Wii to an online Mars Mission game. Lego Universe, a massive multiplayer game that will debut in 2010, encourages collaboration and allows users to order building kits based on their virtual designs. "We're about many more things than just a set of bricks and a box," Knudstorp says. "It's about everyday people getting incremental new ideas."

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