In the last issue of Escapist, there is a good piece about LEGO and games. It basically describes the different evolution and extension to the LEGO bricks. That part is interesting if you don't know what's up there but more relevant is the conclusion:
"To an extent, LEGO has always mirrored society. In the 1950s, the blocks were identical and interchangeable; in the '70s, you could buy mechanized kits to repurpose those blocks for many functions. Starting in the '90s, you could buy customized sets; now, there are online LEGO networks. We can imagine more innovation ahead, such as smart, networked, globally aware LEGOs with radio-frequency identification (RFID) tracking tags. (...) Inevitably, responding to the current zeitgeist, plastic building blocks will go open-source. The field of 3-D printers - "fabs" - is barreling along. In 10 years, maybe less, you'll have one on your desk, using Ldraw-based software to spit out LEGO-like knockoffs of your own design - thousands of them, for no more than the cost of the plastic.
Yet somehow The LEGO Group, given its high-tech savvy, will probably still make a fortune in brick-design licensing fees. Because LEGO has always mirrored society. Maybe once all those Mindstorms-trained robotics engineers grow up and get loose, it'll be the other way around."
Why do I blog this? the mirroring of the society is not very surprising (I guess marketing department take care of this) but it's intriguing to see how social and cultural changes are implemented in products such as toys. Besides, the 3d printing future seems curious and very well in line with LEGO's strategy.