The reason why IKEA fails is because their products do not inspire.

These products are some of the cheapest made solutions ever conceived. It starts with near 100% particle board on every “wood” product – and the rest of the components are of no high quality either.

Worse yet, building the product is one of the least inspiring activities on planet earth – it’s just as pleasurable as removing a splinter from underneath your fingernail. The process and experience does not inspire the builder to enjoy the experience of building or even want to appreciate or increase their appreciation for the art and craft of building something, let alone the art of carpentry and assorted other disciplines.

There is a tragic reason why they have these instructions in the very beginning of every single manual – they know that it’s a complete pain in the ass to build their own products and are quite open and willing for you to pay their own employees (who probably hate it just as much) to build the product for you.

ikea-instructions

I think that’s terribly sad. Sure, the products are functional and last a good while (if you don’t use them consistently) but they are not inspiring and the company fails to inspire as well, even if they are fiscally responsible and a $35B company ($27B euro).

The fact that they are highly profitable and have an incredible amount of liquid equity increases the depth of sadness – they can afford to pay for a little inspiration.

  • Tom

    Well… I love Ikea.

  • Kyle Harrison (@krharrison)

    Completely and respectfully disagree. Living in a small ranch home, on a slab, with no attic space and no basement, we’ve found Ikea to be a savior in our home. Space saving solutions at prices that are affordable and aren’t an abomination to look at. I understand, it’s not for everyone, but their products have lasted much longer than other comparable solutions from big box stores.

    • http://john.do/ John

      you’ve missed the point. i use their products too.

  • http://chrislangille.com Chris Langille

    their products look cool on the shelf, but in general, they are junk, and their overly complicated to put together.

    Just my opinion of course

  • http://www.michaelbuckingham.com Michael

    But don’t you think with things like http://www.ikeahackers.net that they do inspire? I’ve seen some pretty cool things come from what a couple Ikea products become from other’s creativity.

  • http://bladeronner.wordpress.com/ Ron Dawson

    I love sitting in their mock apartments and pretending to be a college kid again. That’s gotta be worth something. :)

  • http://twitter.com/mondayisgood Tom Dixon (@mondayisgood)

    I think you put your finger on why I just don’t get Ikea, or enjoy shopping there.

  • http://www.chrisrouse.us Chris Rouse

    I have several lamps (oldest is 4 years old and been through several moves), an ottoman (2 years), TV stand (2 years), and now a desk (3.5 months). That lamps are the ones with paper shades, but they’ve survived a lot of use and packing and unpacking. My TV stand has a chip on the bottom of one of the legs from where it got damaged in my last move, but that could have happened to any stand. My desk is incredibly solid and I expect to have it for several years.

    I would never buy any of their actual furniture (chairs, couches, beds) though. That stuff feels fragile.

  • http://odai.me Odai

    Did you change something about your website? I can’t see anything different, but it looks better for some reason.

  • http://andrewnorcross.com Norcross

    Respectfully, I think *you* are missing the point. IKEA serves a market. It may not be the top-end, nor is it anything other than what it is. That is the beauty of it – they don’t pretend to be anything other than what they are. Inexpensive, multi-use furniture.

    I think we get caught up in this business circle-jerk of everything having to be ‘inspiring’ or . I don’t need the extra dresser I bough last week for my closet to inspire me. It needs to hold my socks.

    • http://john.do/ John

      noted, but it’s a shame that something so involved isn’t more inspiring – it creates the opposite affect. there’s no “circle-jerk” here so if you have to go there then go troll some other site city of atlanta. :P

  • ourwillinghands

    I’ll share a different perspective. As a former engineer, I am inspired and amazed every time I go to IKEA. Their engineering and logistics are top notch. And personally, I may be missing something here, but I think their designs are much more visually inspiring than many of the traditional furniture companies. I see how they use common fasteners and hardware between products, how they engineer everything to flat-pack, and how the showroom allows you to see and try out their product, and I see a company that understands their consumer and their market. However, there is one thing I don’t like, my wife spends way too much money there :-)

    I do agree though that their manuals are terrible. I’m sure graphic designers cringe at the thought of drawing alien looking people all day.

    • http://Www.unfetteredbloke.com Nathan

      ^ What he said. I like & enjoy Ikea. May not be “inspirational” for you, but they are inspirational enough for me (and for their giant customer base). I don’t really see any difference between what they’ve done in the home furnishing space than what Apple’s done in the tech space. Could they do better in some areas, sure. But there are no corporations that have “arrived”.

  • http://twitter.com/kfdpcom kfd&p (@kfdpcom)

    I didn’t care for them. But I feel like I’m the only one. I know they serve a purpose. Their store is incredibly hard to navigate. Everything looks the same to me. But, for those who can make their stuff work, more power to them. It is better than going to Home Depot and trying to buy shelving to put together. However, I got the same feeling when I was in there as I did when I would go to HD and get shelving…. all of which is bowing under the weight of books they are supposed to hold. Hopefully Ikea’s product stands up better when it’s in use.

  • http://transcendchurch.wordpress.com transcendchurch (@transcendchurch)

    Dude – agreed!

    {qualifier} I love Ikea and use TONS of it {qualifier}

    They leave something to be desired in MUCH of the process after seeing rooms and being inspired, then the nasty, dirty, work filled with depressing directions – begins.

    Arduous at best.

    Grace and peace,

    Pastor John Weathersby