What makes a home?

This is the question IKEA and its designers feel they must continually seek an answer to, if they are to succeed in their ambition “to create a better everyday life for the many”. And this question only grows in relevance, because the concept of home is in flux. Urbanisation, smaller living spaces, one-person households, roommates, single-parent homes, more frequent moves at home and across borders, multigenerational households: all these are having an impact. How do they affect how we see our homes and what we want them to be?

In June, STBY facilitated a workshop in which IKEA’s designers and product developers explored the question of what makes a home. Taking the extensive studies from the Life at home report 2016 as a basis, the designers explored the challenges people face and the opportunities they present. They then brainstormed to create ideas for new products and services for IKEA to offer.

This workshop was a first step towards achieving IKEA’s longer-term goal to strengthen their consumer-driven innovation process. The key to success in the workshop was to balance openness and empathy with a rigorous process. Using the framework and tools designed by STBY, the designers and others were able to collaborate successfully, learn from each other, and avoid getting stuck. At the end of the day all 200 (!) participants had tangible results to show and many more ideas. Hopefully, this is only the beginning of a new kind of successful collaboration between IKEA’s designers and product developers.

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