A human-centred approach
During the research phase our team went out in the “real world” to observe and interview different people. Whether it was people in their kitchens, people buying a kitchen, or people producing their own food; the main goal was to listen to their stories to learn what their needs and aspirations were. The things we saw and heard helped us to find a theme and define the first scope of the project. They also helped us define a target group and different user behaviours.
Inspired by peoples stories
While spending time in an allotment garden we observed a small community of different people engaging in food production and building projects as a way of spending time with their families and a way to produce healthy, cheap and tasty food. Hans and his family told us about their engagement in small building projects at the allotment as a way to escape the daily work life during the weekends. Hans proudly showed us how he “hacked” an old Nokia phone and reprogrammed it to work as an alarm system for the allotment. Hans behaviour smoothed the way to get inspired and start observing a trend that people are modifying products to personalize them and make them their own.
A visit at IKEA in Malmö gave us the opportunity to talk with customers about their motivation of buying at IKEA. We got to know about their desires, expectations and experiences. We came in contact with a small family, who is renovating their house and therefore thinking about getting a new kitchen. To their mind IKEA is offering kitchens with a high functionality at a low price. But there is missing a personal touch. IKEA is offering mass produced products which always involves the ikea look and cannot consider the unique personality.
Ikea offers well designed furniture and objects, affordable for the many people. But these products often can’t fullfill the needs of the individual user perfectly. Ikea furniture are converted, adapted, connected to each other and equipped with new functions. Also the feel of creating by yourself and having something unique is a driver for the motivation of hacking. On the internet you can find communities, which spread their creative ideas about hacking Ikea Porducts. They give advice and inspiration to fit their IKEA products to their needs. Ikeahackers.com, the most influential community, already stocked more than 400 ideas. The fittings, colors and material choices which Ikea offers are comprehensive and manageable but not fulling everybody’s desires...
The IKEA definition of democratic design 2025
The existing definition of democratic design is still evident in the future. But for the future it has also to implement the following:
»excellent form and function,
good everyday quality with built-in
sustainability at a low price,
affordable for the many people«
»empower people to get involved in the
design process to create new, unique
solutions and allowing them to modify
products to fit their individual needs«
We identified an opportunity to design a kitchen system with as much flexibility and freedom as possible for the user to design and continuosly modify the kitchen in an effortless, inspiring and joyful way.
Allotment garden Lund
“I also hacked my old cellphone to build an alarm system that is connected to the solar panel. It actually works.”
Family at IKEA Malmö
"IKEA is a good option to get a functional, low priced kitchen, but on the same time we like to give the kitchen our personal touch. We like to make it our own."
"Once you modify something, you personalize it. And I mean personalize in a rather true sense. It´s no longer the creation of some other, but of one´s self."
"Buying the entire kitchen from one supplier is not enough. People want to make it even more personal."