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Manifest Mornings

Manifest Mornings: A Conversation with Ross Cidlowski

May 14, 2020

When was the last time you let loose and allowed yourself to play?  Today during Manifest Mornings, Ross Cidlowski, Director of Strategy for the LEGO agency, joined us to talk about LEGO's story and how beneficial play can be in our lives, especially now.

"LEGO is firmly rooted in creativity and endless possibility," Ross told us. In fact, the number of ways you can combine just six bricks of 2 x 4 studs is nearly a billion (915, 103, 765 to be exact). The family-built company has been in business for about 85 years, with its iconic brick first coming onto the scene in 1958. More than a favorite toy of little ones, LEGOs are a cultural icon beloved by kids and kids-at-heart alike.

LEGO has always been about pushing boundaries. Kids (and adults) don’t always follow instructions, so the company started to embrace it. When combined with LEGO's values of equality and diversity, pushing boundaries through the lens of creativity resulted in the Rebuild the World campaign. Rebuild the World is a way to play and think creatively, enabling people to experiment, building their ideas with or without a guide. 

So what's most important when it comes to playing — with LEGOs and otherwise? Ross shared these thoughts:

  • Routine is the enemy — We lose the details and joy if we try to shortcut things too much. Follow the example of children and keep finding the new.
  • Set benchmarks for yourself — With weeks and weekends blending, we need to think around corners. Only by challenging your comfort zone can you or your organization grow.
  • Just start — No one is a master (builder) right off the bat. Enjoy the learning curve in whatever you do – you just might lose yourself in pursuit of something bigger.
  • Have a little optimistic creativity — LEGO is constantly reimagining ways to have a positive impact on kids, the planet, and play. Together, we can build towards a better version of the world.

Before COVID-19, playtime wasn't always a priority, especially for adults. Now, Ross would argue that creativity is at an all-time high with people embracing new ways of cooking, doing puzzles, reading, crafting, and more. These offline activities are coping mechanisms that help us get through the mental anguish of being physically distant, constantly caring for our families, and balancing the stresses of at-home or high-pressure jobs and unemployment. 

#LetsBuildTogether is LEGO's effort to connect the world and be mindful of the challenges we’re currently facing. Priorities and schedules have changed, making room for new possibilities in play. People are building with LEGOs to fight boredom, pushing creative boundaries in the process. No matter who or how old you are, LEGOs offer an escape from the chaos, a healthy mental challenge, and a chance for collaboration.

"I think there’s an undercurrent of joy, and that’s one of the things that has remained true over the years," Ross said.

Learn more about creativity and play from Ross by watching the below recording from today's Manifest Mornings session.


Working from home these days? Here's a little inspiration to keep you going:  


Continue the conversation on our social channels: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram with #ManifestMornings.

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