The Lego Movie is a Perfect Parable for Modern Business Collaboration

The Lego Movie, which I saw this weekend, is an extremely-fine film for adults as well as kids. Besides its humor and awesome animation, critics have hailed the story’s clever satire of the Hollywood summer blockbuster, giving it a 95% Freshness rating on Rotten Tomatoes (higher than Oscar locks such as American Hustle, Her and Captain Philips).

We all write what we know, of course. For me, The Lego Movie offered valuable lessons about collaboration in the 21st century.

(Warning: some mild spoilers ahead)

At first glance, the movie might appear to be simply anti-collaboration. The main character, Emmet, is a construction worker in a mindlessly-conformist Lego world. “Everything is awesome, everything is cool when you’re part of the team,” goes the peppy Eurodance tune that plays ubiquitously. Like everything else, it’s mandated by the bad guy, President Business, who controls Emmet’s world through a mixture of fear and brainwashing.

lord business photo

The bad guy, ‘Lord Business’ voiced by comedian Will Ferrell, isn’t so bad as he is misguided about collaboration. And he comes around in the end.


To (literally) cement his already-absolute grip, President (actually, Lord) Business plans to “UNLEASH THE KRAGLE!” (actually, KRAzy GlUE) to lock every Lego mini-fig like Emmet into place, never to be taken apart, moved or rebuilt again. If you know anything about serious Lego culture today, you know that there’s a raging debate between those who build massive sets such as the Lego Taj Mahal (5,922 pieces) together by painstakingly following the instructions and then glue their sets together to preserve their hard work, and those who prefer to create (and recreate) structures and ships using pieces from many different sets.

It’s the war between conservatives and liberals, between architects who demolish to build from scratch and preservationists who refer to rehabilate old buildings, between tyrannical perfection and messy creativity, etc.

The Lego Movie doesn’t come down dogmatically on either side. While the good guys are the Lego characters fighting for the right to mix and match pieces, we also see that their overly-rugged individualism is why they’ve lost battle after battle to Lord Business. This is epitomized by the Batman Lego character, who admits in a speech that his go-it-alone ways have hurt the anti-Business rebels and alienated his girlfriend, the heroine WyldStyle (not a DJ).

At the same time, the hero Emmet shows how teamwork, conforming (somewhat) and sacrificing oneself for the greater team/cause, can lead to eventual victory. And that victory comes from convincing the bad guy, Lord Business, to basically chill out, and accept a little chaos and creativity into his world.

These are great lessons for most businesses today. Sure, letting your employees bring in their own mobile devices (BYOD) is awesome, but if not managed properly, it can create security risks and  cost your company time and money. Sure, bureaucracy is a dirty word, but unless you’re a one-person startup, establishing processes, agreeing on tools, and ensuring different groups communicate and collaborate will actually be key to your success. Sure, we all idolize the creativity of the individual, but if it is in the wrong context, or unknown to the rest of the company, it’s useless or can even hurt an organization.

Anyway, I highly recommend the Lego Movie. It’ll entertain you and your kids and also reinforce some good business practices in a non-preachy way.


Avaya tries to encourage this blended, agile collaboration in our own products, such as the newly-announced Avaya IP Office Contact Center. This brings a powerful customer care solution to small and midsized businesses who prefer the ease-of-use and manageability of a suite approach (Avaya IP Office is a fast-growing communications software that boasts 12 million users). “We are positive on Avaya’s introduction of IP Office Contact Center to meet the needs of small and midsize businesses for a contact center requiring up to 100 agents,” wrote Ken Landoline, an analyst with Current Analysis.

“Avaya IP Office Contact Center enables us to offer new and existing IP Office customers a comprehensive feature set at an affordable price. With just a few part numbers it is simple to configure and installs quickly and easily. Now our customers are able to serve their customers – faster, efficiently and affordably,” Craig Allan, COO at Mountain West Telecom, an Avaya partner, told Call Center Info.

Our announcement garnered more than 52 press reports, including:


Network World

Channel Partners Online

Smart Customer Service


Related Articles:

Four Reasons to Focus on Mobility (and Three Ways to Get Started)

Mobility is a no-brainer in today’s smart, digital world … or is it? As recently as 2013, only 22% of leaders had made a strong business case for bring your own device (BYOD). We’ve made some inroads since (as of last year, 59% allowed employees to use personal devices for work), but still have a ways to go.

Mobility is an absolute must. But don’t just take our word for it. Here are four proven benefits:

  1. You’ll make a lot more money
    Research from the IES and The UK Institute for Work Studies found that increasing engagement investments by just 10% can increase profits by up to $2,400 per employee, per year. Consider a large enterprise with 500 employees—investments in mobility could lead to as much as $1.2 million in additional revenue for the company per year.
  2. You’ll drive employee wellness/satisfaction
    One survey shows that 97% of companies agree that employee well-being positively influences employee engagement. And wouldn’t you know, mobility helps ease areas of wellness with the greatest impact on engagement: work/personal stress, physical health, personal relationships and work productivity. Allow more flexibility with mobile team collaboration and you’ll see major improvements.
  3. You’ll get better results, period
    Mobility improves engagement, and engaged teams drive outstanding results. In fact, research shows that companies with better engaged teams outperform others by over 200%. Mobility also now seems to be at the heart of corporate culture (this Forbes article excellently argues why), and 95% of executives believe culture is important in driving business outcomes.
  4. You’ll narrow your talent gap
    You need the right people with the right skills to differentiate and compete. An average 34% of global organizations have difficulty filling jobs due to a lack of available talent, with this number significantly higher in regions like Asia-Pacific (45%), India (67%) and Brazil (42%). The right employees can be seamlessly on-boarded—regardless of location—with the ability to engage anytime, anywhere via advanced mobility.

Get Started

Ready to improve mobile team collaboration? Consider these ways to take charge:

  • Get with the softphone revolution. Softphones are now widely deployed in the enterprise and advanced versions go well beyond the phone to provide calendar integration, instant messaging, contacts and call logs, as well as one touch access to meetings and collaboration capabilities.
  • Embed real-time communications (i.e., voice, video, chat) directly into the applications employees use each day to work. Eliminate the need for them to hop in and out of multiple disparate apps.
  • Flexibly integrate applications using an open communications platform. These apps can be ready-made from a trusted provider or existing within the Avaya Snapp Store. Even better, challenge employees to build custom apps that can further improve team collaboration.
  • Invest in a desk phone solution that fuses mobile simplicity with advanced enterprise software tools. Personalize user experience and eliminate the need for employees to use multiple mobile devices to engage.

Avaya can help you successfully take these next steps, as well as create an effective mobile strategy for your business. Read the IDC Technology Spotlight and get started today.

Avaya Named a Leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Contact Center Infrastructure

Avaya is honored to be recognized as a leader in Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Contact Center Infrastructure worldwide. Avaya has been the only vendor having the distinction of being named a Leader for 16 consecutive years. Each year the research organization creates a market view of key players for business users, reflecting business goals, needs, and priorities.

Contact centers have gone beyond phone calls with customers now expecting to communicate on their terms via text, IM, email, chat or video. For the past 16 years Avaya has created seamless and highly personalized experiences, building brand loyalty for companies all around the world.

According to Deloitte, 85% of organizations view customer experience provided through contact centers as a competitive differentiator. Todays companies must remain relevant by creating a single interface to connect customers with the correct resource each time, supporting their preferences. Supervisors and managers need real-time performance information to adapt immediately to situations to ensure optimized customer experience.

Avaya has focused its efforts on creating next-generation contact center solutions, creating communication strategies enabling a continuous transition between channels during customer interactions.

Please visit Gartner’s page to read the full report and see how Avaya’s Contact Center infrastructure continues to deliver best-of-breed Contact Center applications. We look forward to continuing innovation and leading business communications for the digital age.


Seeing into the Office of the Future

Dubai is heavily focused on delivering on its Smart City goals, with the goal of being among the smartest—and happiest—cities in the world. The drive toward smart cities is part of a wider shift, with countries around the globe seeing a migration from rural areas to urban. With more than half the world’s population now living in cities, organizations in the Middle East are facing increasingly difficult decisions about how they allocate resources and manage their workforce.

For a city like Dubai, that can be challenging. Finding the right real-estate location for office space, managing energy usage and providing physical workspaces for employees working different shifts in a modern, 24X7 city creates its fair share of headaches. Enterprises also have to cope with an increasing Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) culture, with smartphone and device penetration especially high in the United Arab Emirates and other Gulf countries.

We have reached an inflection point where the number of devices connected and generating data is accelerating at an exponential level. Our work environments are beginning to blur, as workspaces are no longer physical but virtual. Organizations need to deliver a consistent work experience whether in an office or on the road, or at home. The key driver is to intuitively connect not only communications devices, but interact with the ambient technologies that surround us, like lighting, BMS and signage.

At Avaya, we believe that the Smart Enterprise is one of the key building blocks for smart cities—and one of the foundations of true Smart Enterprise development will be what we term the Office of the Future. This is about more than just technology; the Office of the Future involves automating work processes within the enterprise to deliver a more intuitive employee experience. As with any “smart” solution, the Office of the Future is only smart if it resolves the challenges it aims to address.

So what do we mean by Office of the Future? Imagine walking into a new office you’ve never visited before and your work station is ready before you sit down, configured to your preferences, right down to the air conditioning settings and digital signage displayed with your identity. When a client arrives to meet you at the office, they can be sent to a meeting room automatically, and you can talk to them on their mobile as you walk to greet them.

With Avaya solutions, the act of an employee booking a workspace would kick start a workflow that immediately sets up that space with all communication devices enabled and connected securely, while interacting with the building management system to ensure the environment was set to the employee’s requirements, everything from lighting to temperature to digital signage. The employee could be identified by their phone or a card ID. When they leave, the workspace can be reset for the next employee that reserves it.

Such Smart workspaces will help enterprises manage their resources more effectively, better leverage their real estate investments, and improve employee well-being and productivity. Here in Dubai, the Office of the Future starts now.