I’m currently involved in a big transformation project, and it strikes me that the standard IT approach to developing solutions tends to miss the journey getting there.

In a slightly geeky way, I’ve always been impressed with the way in which Ikea design their products, and I think that there is something that we in the IT world can learn from the Swedes here. Ikea furniture is designed with at least two applications in mind. There’s the armchair/wardrobe/strange plastic doo-dah end form that the consumer constructs from flat-pack at home, and then there is the in transit form – packed down to as small a volume as practical. It has always amazed me the degree to which the products are designed to fit into the packaging.

Lessons for IT here? Well, how often do we find solutions that are designed for the end goal, with little or no thought as to the transit between current state and end state? The perfect IT solution that fails, not because either technically or from a business perspective the solution wasn’t great, but because the transition was just impossible. I don’t think that I can recall a project I’ve worked on where end design was consciously changed to positively help getting to it.

2 thoughts on “the Ikea design ethic

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