Power to the People: Ikea Hacking


A while ago a read the interesting book What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis. I wrote a post about how I saw his theories become visible in the world around me. I then wrote about podiobooks, but there are many other initiatives to which Google’s rules apply. Ikea Hacking is yet another example.

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Ikea is one of the most well-known furniture companies in the world. On my blog I already mentioned two of their creative ideas, the assembly service charts and the Ikea Drömkok website. But this one’s completely different. To be precise, these ideas aren’t even Ikea’s.

Usually the term ‘hacking’ is immediately associated with computers and networks, in a negative way. But hacking is a quite generic term for changing stuff. Since Ikea is known for their do-it-yourself furniture, people really started doing it themselves and started hacking the original designs. They didn’t stick to the regular Ikea table anymore, but started making changes to it to make it their own unique piece of furniture. The table to the right is just one of the many examples. This table still is a table, but a lot of designs turn into something completely different then what they were meant to be in their original shape.ikeahacking

On the web blogs and communities started to appear around Ikea Hacking. The most influential are these two: a blog called Ikea Hacker and a subsite of DIY community Instructables called Ikea Hacks.

A lot of companies would now start complaining that their designs were being abused and changed, but that seems a quite an unnatural reaction to me. The Google philosophy starts to kick in right now. These sites offer an opportunity for Ikea enthusiasts to share their ideas. Ikea itself offers the ‘bricks’ for these redesigned pieces of furniture. They delivered designs unassembled, which makes it almost impossible to withstand the temptation of making alterations. The pieces of furniture are the actual platform, the communities are just there to share along ideas and suggestions and make contact with fellow Ikea enthusiasts.

Ikea could make great use of the many ideas their customers offer. Make improvements to original designs, make products useful for completely different purposes and reward the new ‘designers’ for their cooperation by taking these designs into production.

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