How can Ikea leverage the input of their stakeholders?

This reading pack initially reminded me of several articles we have read for our previous blog posts. In reading pack 1, Millspaugh and Kent (2017) described the concept of co-creation as the process of having a dialogue in which all participants come to a discovery through interaction. They discuss that co-creation enhances the creative process and can aid in developing brand value. However, that study only focused on the relation of certain stakeholders, the buyer and editors, while Ramaswamy and Gouillart (2010) include all stakeholders in their report. I agree that sharing all parties’ opinions and experiences is an important element which not only aids in the creative process, but is also essential to achieve efficient collaboration. As Beverland, Micheli and Farrelly (2016) argued, the resourceful sensemaking practice ‘exposure’ can be used as a strategy to reveal the interpretive framework of different parties to each other. As a result, both ends of the interaction would improve their experience of the process through their developed deeper understanding of each other. Additional to this, it would make sense for any type of interaction to result in better outcomes when it consists of a strong relationship between the involved actors (Leenders and Dolfsma, 2016).

However, some obstacles might make it more difficult to reach this point. Getting the managers actively involved in this process for example, could be challenging when their attitudes are not aligned with this type of method. Indeed, Dean (2015) argues that this could stand in the way of a firm’s ability to increase value creation and make internal improvements when it is not handled with in the right way. Although such attitudes often contradict with those of young talents in terms of urgency, patience and overall perspective, this disparity doesn’t have to end in conflict and adversity. In fact, it can lead to a ‘healthy’ level of tension which can help organizations improve their organizational capabilities and their creative process (Dean, 2015). I interpret this concept of friction as a representation of the differences in perspectives and opinions. Inevitably, friction would cease to exist if all parties were to agree with each other. I therefore agree with Dean on the necessity of friction, but would express this differently. I would say that the extent of friction isn’t the determinant of successful co-creation, but rather how that friction is handled. This is where resourceful sensemaking strategies would be helpful for both parties to gain a deeper understanding of each other’s perspective (Beverland, Michely, and Farrelly, 2016).

As Ikea employs an integrated discipline of design, incorporating a co-creative approach would be beneficial to reach their objectives. It is advised to start this process of with providing a platform where only some stakeholders can share their perspectives (Dean, 2015). Over time, this platform can grow to give more stakeholders the opportunity of exposure. Ikea has a platform, Ikea Share Space, where consumers can post images of how they designed their rooms with Ikea to provide inspiration for other consumers. This seems like the beginning stages of the platform Dean (2015) described, as it only involves consumers’ point of view. With the resources Ikea has, I would’ve expected an expansion of this already from them, integrating more stakeholders into this platform to gain and offer design ideas.

However, Ikea actually does interact with other stakeholders as well, both internal players and outside connections such as start-ups and universities. By organizing bootcamps and workshops, Ikea hopes to connect with creative and passionate people to encourage innovation (Ikea, 2018). They offer ‘healthy’ environments for this, such as their innovation labs, so that all involved parties get an opportunity to find a purpose for their creative energy and stimulate their personal growth (Dean, 2015; Ikea, 2018). Considering all their efforts to include more people in their creative process, it seems like a missed opportunity to me that all of this doesn’t come together in one place or platform. Perhaps they should consider ways to combine their Share Space platform with their co-creation events to overcome this barrier.



Beverland, M.B., Micheli, P. and Farrelly, F.J. (2016) ‘Resourceful Sensemaking: Overcoming Barriers between Marketing and Design in NPD’, Journal of Product Innovation Management, 33 (5), pp.628-648.

Co-create Ikea (2018). Available at: Accessed: 17 May 2018

Dean, C. (2015) Developing the Next Generation of Creative Leaders. Design Management Review, Vol 26:3 pp.44-49

Leenders R. T. J. A. and Dolfsma W. A. (2016) ‘Social Networks for Innovation and New Product Development’, Journal of Product Innovation Management, 33 (2), pp. 123-131.

Millspaugh, J. and Kent, A. (2016) Co-creation and the development of SME designer fashion enterprises. Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, 20 (3), pp. 322-338.

Ramaswamy, V. and Gouillart, F. (2010) Building the Co-Creative Enterprise. Harvard Business Review, Oct, pp. 100-109

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One Comment

  1. Posted 31st May 2018 at 3:13 am | Permalink

    Really like your example of IKEA Share Space. From my point of view, it is a good practice of social networking. And your expression that ‘Friction isn’t the determinant of successful co-creation, but rather how that friction is handled.’ makes sense to me too. Friction is important, and only with it, collaboration can be meaningful. As Kaats and Opheij (2014) mentioned, the starting point of collaboration is the benefits. People can jointly succeed something that not possible individually. Thus, in my opinion, the key point is to navigate their differences to the benefits.

    Reference: Kaats, E. (2014) Creating conditions for promising collaboration: alliances, networks, chains, strategic partnerships. Heidelberg: Springer.

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