Tag Archives: LEGO

Do we enjoy brunch more if we combine foods to create it?

In cafes in Copenhagen, Denmark, customers are often asked to create their own meals by combining foods. I succeeded in this creative task in one cafe but did not in the other. Two cafes have slightly different menus.



I enjoyed the meal in the Mad & Kaffes (Food & Coffee). Foods were divided into six categories on the menu (green, dairy, bakery, meat and fish, and treat). I decided how many categories to go (3, 5, or 7) and then selected one food in each category.



I did not enjoy the meal in the Moller Kaffe and Kokken (Moller Coffee and Kitchen). Although individual foods were excellent, they were listed under one category. I could not figure out which foods to choose.


Since I knew little about Danish cuisine, categories relieved my burden and helped me create a meal. A similar logic was discovered ten years ago by marketing researchers who showed why kids need to follow instructions to assemble Lego bricks. To reach a creative outcome, we may need decision supporters such as categories, instructions, or even constraints.


Dahl, D. W., & Moreau, C. P. (2007). Thinking Inside the Box: Why Consumers Enjoy Constrained Creative Experiences. Journal of Marketing Research, 44(3), 357–369.

From cooking kits to home improvement shows, consumers are increasingly seeking out products that are designed to help them be creative. In this research, the authors examine why consumers participate in creative activities and under what conditions these experiences are the most enjoyable. A qualitative study explores the diverse motivations for undertaking creative tasks and identifies the role of constraints in such endeavors. Then, the authors conduct two experimental studies to understand the importance of constraints (e.g., instructional guidance, target outcomes) in facilitating a balance between perceived competence and autonomy for consumers involved in a creative task. When consumers engage in creative activities with a sense of both autonomy and competence, they enjoy the experience more. The authors discuss implications for managers and provide opportunities for further research.



Is Iron Man banned in Denmark?

There is a Ninjago World at the Legoland in Denmark. In front of a flying dragon brick, I met an unfamiliar sign.



At first, I questioned why Lego hates Marvel so that pushing hand out like Iron Man was banned. Very soon, I realized it means “do not touch.” Later, I found the same sign at a construction site in downtown. It says “No entry for unauthorized people (Adgang forbudt for uvedkommende).”



Are these dynamic signs more effective than static ones? According to marketing research, people pay more attention to road signs when they are dynamic. We may need more “Iron Men” signs on the road.

Cian, L., Krishna, A., & Elder, R. S. (2015). A Sign of Things to Come: Behavioral Change through Dynamic Iconography. Journal of Consumer Research, 41(6), 1426–1446.

We propose that features of static visuals can lead to perceived movement (via dynamic imagery) and prepare the observer for action. We operationalize our research within the context of warning sign icons and show how subtle differences in iconography can affect human behavioral response. Across five studies incorporating multiple methodologies and technologies (click-data heat maps, driving simulations, surveys, reaction time, and eye tracking), we show that warning sign icons that evoke more (vs. less) perceived movement lead to a quicker propensity to act because they suggest greater risk to oneself or others and increase attentional vigilance. Icons used in our studies include children crossing signs near schools, wet floor signs in store settings, and shopping cart crossings near malls. Our findings highlight the importance of incorporating dynamic elements into icon design to promote imagery and thereby elicit desired and responsible consumer behavior.



LEGO-like solution for error management in hotel

Today’s travelers are not looking for a just tooth brush. They are looking for an experience, something they can relate to. Whether an environmentally conscious traveler or business traveler, guests are demanding more out of their hotel stays than ever before (see Trends Changing the Way Guests and Hoteliers View Amenities). One of the frequent requests travelers make is that they need a new personal item provided complimentary for use in the bathroom (e.g., razor) after they used one before. However, guests often re-locate many amenities, and therefore whether a specific personal item needs to be replaced with a new one or not is difficult to identify. Put differently, an accident (e.g., a new razor is not available!) can occur when a housekeeper makes an mistake or error (e.g., I thought the guests did not use a razor…). What can we do to prevent this from happening?



The Venice Hotel Shenzhen, China, solved this problem intuitively; personal items are separately packaged in the paper boxes and assembled into a kit like LEGO bricks. Doing this will help housekeepers instantly identify which personal items need to be replaced among a wide variety of items including tooth brush, comb, sanitary bag, vanity kit, sewing kit, shower cap, and razor.