This is a very interesting book about LEGO and their innovation revolution and it has a whole chapter about BIONICLE.
I have given a couple of interviews for the book and there are a couple of untold secrets in there, enjoy:) http://youtu.be/3-iefMePgYk
Below you see a outtake from the Amazon Q&A with the David Robertson. I think all BIONICLE fans can take that as a great tribute to their role in bringing LEGO back to being the best toy in the world:
Q. You call Bionicle the toy that saved LEGO, both in terms of financial impact and the lessons the company learned from it about innovation. Can you explain?
A. Bionicle was the toy that saved LEGO, even though it’s always been a controversial toy within the company. There are those in LEGO who still believe it’s not an appropriate toy to carry the LEGO brand. But without the revenues from Bionicle to carry them through the crisis years of 2003 and 2004, the company would not have survived.
But Bionicle also taught LEGO some lessons about how to work with external partners, how to interact with passionate customers, and how to manage an intellectual property. LEGO had seen from its partnership with Star Wars how a rich story can captivate kids and drive sales of toys. But making toys around someone else’s story is a different challenge than creating your own story and characters, and building toys around it. Bionicle boys loved the toy, and loved the T-shirts, books, comics, backpacks, sneakers, and everything else that had a Bionicle image on it. LEGO had to learn how to not only develop a toy with a rich story, but also work with a group of outside partners and bring them along as the story progressed. And by interacting with the fans online, Greg Farshtey, the guy in LEGO responsible for story and character development, could understand where the story was confusing or unclear and fix the issue in the next release.