IKEA’s Indoor Farm Is Trying To Alter How We Grow Food

IKEA has introduced an indoor farm with the hopes of giving people the ability to grow their own food at home. The prototype, or ‘Lokal’ as it’s called, was designed by SPACE10, IKEA’s lab for innovation.

Lokal is the most recent prototype to come from ‘The Farm’, a SPACE10 lab seeking to change how we view traditional farming while implementing new food production methods into our cities.

“By experimenting with hydroponics (growing of food without soil), SPACE10 says that it’s able to grow food up to three times faster and with 90% less water than traditional methods. In addition to being soilless and faster than traditional methods, Lokal is also able to grow greens without any sunlight at all. Instead, the plants survive solely off of LED lighting and mineral nutrient rich water.

SPACE10 points out that the current global food system is problematic for a few reasons. For starters, our current method of food production is contributing to the changing climate and is also wasteful of resources that we are already running low on, like fresh water. Furthermore, current methods lend themselves to wasting food. The hope is that the benefits of hydroponic farming courtesy of Lokal will go a long way in remedying some of these problems. According to its post with Medium, the food also “tastes good, is more nutritious, pesticide-free and fresh all year round”.

The lab also has hopes of “Introducing sensors and machine learning to the vertical stacks and connecting the data with Google Home — to enable people to ‘talk’ to plants, in effect, and hear how they’re doing, as well as to teach children and adults alike about sustainable food”.

Why it’s hot:

IKEA continues to step up their game in innovation. Although they are a furniture/lifestyle brand, they are taking a stand for a greater good.

Source: PSFK

Ikea acquires TaskRabbit

Both Ikea and TaskRabbit have confirmed that the Swedish retailer has acquired the gig-economy startup in a deal on Thursday. According to recode:

TaskRabbit had already struck a pilot partnership with Ikea around furniture assembly in the United Kingdom and also had marketed its workers’ ability to put together Ikea items in the U.S. and elsewhere.

The heads of TaskRabbit and Ikea Group: Stacy Brown-Philpot (left) and Jesper Brodin

The heads of TaskRabbit and Ikea Group: Stacy Brown-Philpot (left) and Jesper Brodin

Why it’s hot

Ikea has already shown that it wants to get serious about digital innovation with the launch of it’s Ikea Place AR app. TaskRabbit’s firm ties to Silicon Valley – with its CEO Stacy Brown-Philpot, a former Google exec and a board member at HP Inc. – will mark a larger step into tech space for Ikea.

Learn more: https://www.recode.net/2017/9/28/16377528/ikea-acquisition-taskrabbit-shopping-home-contract-labor

buy your next couch online…

Campaign may be to furniture what Casper is to mattresses. Finally you can get the previously mythical combination of quality furniture that is shippable using normal delivery methods, and that requires minimal assembly. It’s also billed as being “built for life”, with prices on par with Crate and Barrel, or West Elm, and ships for “free”.

Why It’s Hot:
Great products are designed around removing pain points from the customer experience. The long transit times (and coordinating final delivery) that can come with freight shipping (+the cost), and the overly frustrating and laborious assembly required with other furniture purchased digitally are two major headaches when buying furniture online. Campaign solves for both. Meanwhile, IKEA is still trying to figure out how to make a flat-packable couch.

GOT fans, are you prepared for winter?

IKEA responded to GOT costume designer’s reveal of using IKEA rugs on the show with their do-it-yourself instructions in the company’s typical style showing people how to prepare for winter as summer is coming to an end.

IKEA named the mock product Vinter, the Swedish word for winter.

Why it’s hot: being playful and entertaining on social media can go a long way. IKEA wisely leveraged and amplified earned media.

ASMR: Sounds and Videos That Feel Good

ASMR was once a YouTube niche trend, but now it’s appearing in museums and ads, and funding creative empires. KFC was one of the first brands to capitalize on this phenomenon, but others will likely follow suit.

But what is ASMR?

ASMR or Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response, is a sensation triggered by soft sounds like whispering, hair brushing, or page turning. Not everyone feels ASMR, but those who do describe a tingling sensation in the base of their skull or the back of their neck. The trend emerged on YouTube in 2008 and shows now sign of slowing down. According to Co. Design,

As of [August 2017], there are over 9 million ASMR videos on YouTube. According to Google’s internal data, ASMR grew over 200% in 2015 and continues to grow consistently. […]

 

The term ASMR is pseudo-scientific; there hasn’t been any major academic research yet on this subject. Early adopters of ASMR would compile clips of “tingling triggers”—the rustle of trees in nature documentaries, for example, or the sound of typing in a commercial. Bob Ross, the famously ‘fro’ed host of 1990s instructional painting videos, turned out to be a popular source of ASMR found footage. As the community grew online, people began making their own videos. Since ASMR triggers can be different person to person, DIY videos offer up a spectrum of different scenes and scenarios. Some are made of tightly cropped shots of hands popping bubble wrap, crinkling paper, or scratching rough surfaces. Others feature ASMRtists—mainly women—speaking directly into the camera, usually at a whisper (for some, intimate attention triggers ASMR). Still others feature role play and fantastical settings, giving narrative context to the sounds that provoke ASMR feelings. […]

 

[B]y and large, most people in the ASMR community consider it to be more about relaxation and self-care. Many watch the videos to ease anxiety, insomnia, or depression. Even people who don’t feel the tingling sensation can find the videos therapeutic.

Why it’s hot

ASMR’s is not simply growing in the fringes of the internet. The power that this experience gives artists and others to connect with audiences in a physical and visceral way is bringing it fully into the mainstream. IKEA is one of the brands quick to capitalize on the trend, releasing an ASMR audio version of their traditional catalog.

Read more at Fast Co.

Greatest Ikea hack of all time?



Here’s how Ikea responded to the news that costume designers of Game of Thrones have been cutting corners, using Ikea rugs as pelts and capes for some of its extras.
In the show, the northern-dwelling Nightwatch, led by commander and king of the north Jon Snow, wear animal skins as to not freeze when winter comes. Instead of decking out the soldiers in real pelts, costume designers elected to take a trip to Ikea to buy Peta-approved Faux animal skin rugs.

Why it’s hot?
Real time reaction with an idea that is low cost and pulled together in a couple of hours

Source: The Drum

Fake News: IKEA Builds Trump a Prefab Börder Wåll

German parody site Der Postillon has come up with an immigration solution almost as ridiculous as the original. They came up with an Ikea version of a border wall made of pressboard that is assembled with a hex key, similar to the furniture that is actually sold by the Swedish furniture giant. The wall comes with a 12,000 page manual and is undoubtedly missing one screw.

President Trump browsing the Wall section of Ikea’s catalog

 

Why It’s Hot

Companies such as Kellogg’s and Uber are finding out that taking a political stance comes with many costs, including bad press, boycotts and potential loss of business. Brands must navigate these treacherous political waters carefully. Though this parody did not come from Ikea itself, it shows how a brand can handle the messiness of politics with a bit of humor without alienating customers.

IKEA Makes Itself Part of a Longer-Lasting Solution for Syrian Refugees

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IKEA, long known for its defining slogan “Swedish for common sense,” might be better defined as “Swedish for change.” The brand is often the first place Westerners turn to in times of change: moving out for the first time, the start of a new relationship, the ending of a relationship, moving to a new city, downsizing, etc. These life events usually come with a trip to IKEA. It makes complete sense then that a brand so intertwined with change would be part of the solution for Syrian refugees and others in finding shelter for hundreds of thousands of displaced persons around the world.

The Swedish-designed refugee shelter project is the brainchild of Johan Karlsson, and industrial designer based in Hallefors, Sweden. After doing some volunteer work with Sweden’s Refugee Services abroad in 2010, Karlsson noticed how poorly designed many refugee shelters were. In addition to being cramped, lightless, damp living environments, the shelters easily blew over, flooded and fell apart. Karlsson recognized the need for an economical, lightweight and simple design solution. He took an idea for a new concept of shelters to IKEA where he was granted funding from the IKEA Foundation, the humanitarian arm of the corporation. With the money, Karlsson founded Better Shelter and partnered with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) to provide quality temporary shelter for refugees.

Today, Better Shelters are in camps in Iraq, Lebanon, Chad, Ethiopia, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia and Hungary.

 

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According to the UNHCR, the average stay in an UNHCR refugee camp is 17 years. Most tents that are available for refugees to live in last only a few months. The shelters that Karlsson designed last a minimum of three years. Karlsson’s shelters are self-standing, modular, white structures with peaked roofs high enough for an average adult male to stand up in and large enough to accommodate a family of five. Built with lightweight plastic and metal the shelters can be shipped easily around the world. Similar to IKEA’s principles of design Karlsson and his team paid close attention to the transport volume, weight, price, safety, health and comfort of the shelters.

The shelters can be assembled in just a few hours and require no special equipment to do so. The houses can be disassembled just as quickly and reused as needed. In addition, the structures feature windows, mosquito nets, ventilation, a solar-powered energy system affixed to the roof for lighting and a mobile phone charging outlet, and lockable doors to keep women and children safe from sexual violence, a common problem in many refugee camps.

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Source: PSFK

Why It’s Hot

This is a great example of a brand taking it’s strong suit and taking on relevant humanitarian efforts.

IKEA Will Help You Convert Your Furniture to Enable Wireless Charging

Furniture giant IKEA has made a commitment to enabling future wireless technologies in some of its new product lines. But rather than reinvent the wheel on its massive product line entirely, IKEA turned the problem on its head.

For $5, IKEA will sell you a specially formed drill to turn most IKEA furniture into wireless charging stations. The drill creates a perfectly formed hole to mount its Jyssen wireless charger ($30) that will go on sale later this spring. IKEA will also begin selling wireless charging cases to support the stations.

Like the IKEA brand, the solution is simple, cheap and elegant:

Why It’s Hot

New consumer technologies can be difficult to make ubiquitous. By enabling customers to easily make wireless DIY, IKEA can make smarter product line decisions while delivering more for customers who want the latest technologies. And by breaking those barriers (a $35 investment, not a $350 one for all new furniture), IKEA is helping this technology grow organically by consumer demand.

Source: Gizmodo

New IKEA Furniture Will Charge Your Phone Wirelessly

The trend furniture retailer is at it again! Ikea is launching a new line of high-tech furniture that will be able to charge phones and tablets. As if that’s not enticing enough, the furniture will charge devices wirelessly.

The new line will feature bedside tables and lamps, but it doesn’t seem likely that Ikea will stop there. The retailer that has become so popular with their stylish solutions to organization and decluttering hopes to continue to help people cut down on their clutter – in this case, cable clutter.

ikea wireless charging

And don’t worry. For those of you who don’t want to replace your Ikea furniture, but do want your furniture to charge your devices, Ikea is also selling “charging pads” that blend into some of their most popular furniture pieces.

Read more about Ikea’s latest furniture innovation on CNN Money.

Why It’s Hot | Whenever we discuss “smart home technology,” it’s typically about computers handling utility tasks for us (i.e. turn on the lights, lock the door, turn off the over, moderate the temperature). It’s interesting that furniture chargers didn’t come about earlier with all the innovations in home, but now that they’re here, there’s no doubt they’ll catch on quickly.

IKEA’s Coolest Gadget Ever: No Cables, No Problem

It’s an innovative piece of technology: no power cords, everlasting battery life and all of the pages load fully and instantly. No, it’s not a new gadget from Apple. It’s the BookBook, also known as the 2015 IKEA catalog.

Read more on Adweek.

Why It’s Hot: IKEA is surely not the first brand to go back to basics with print over digital media, but with its new BookBook campaign, the company does so with an almost-parody of a new product announcement or ad from Apple – which we all know create much buzz in the tech world. The digital, tech-savvy language used in the IKEA campaign makes a printed catalog seem innovative and modern.

Through its BookBook, IKEA invites consumers to “Experience the power of a book” with its hi-definition pages, touch technology and a fully-charged battery that lasts forever. While we’re always on the hunt for the latest and greatest innovative toy, IKEA shows the value of the printed book over our commonly-used digital media. I imagine publishers would agree, and perhaps we’ll see more companies continue to embrace the “old” technology of print in the future.

IKEA About-face to Fervent Hacker Community

After receiving considerable backlash from IKEAHackers.net, IKEA is reconsidering its recent against taken against Jules Yap and the fervent grassroots “furniture hacking” community.

Ikea hacking is the practice of buying things from Ikea and re-engineering—or “hacking”—them to become customized, more functional, and often just better-designed stuff.

Site founder Jules Yap got his start in hacking back in 2006. On IKEA Hackers, would-be hackers can gather tips from others, and once they’re ready, post pictures and how-to guides of their own hacks.  The site quickly took off, and because Ikea products are available in so many countries and use metric measurements, a worldwide “hackerati” has been able to thrive.

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But in March, Yap got a cease-and-desist letter from Ikea. Ikea claimed that using their trademarked name was a violation—even just using the blue-and-yellow color scheme was not allowed. Since Yap makes money off the site through advertising, Ikea argued that she was profiting from the Ikea name.

The cease-and-desist sent ripples through the Internet community, with some prominent influencers calling the move bulls**t among much worse.  It was not pretty for IKEA. Supporters of Yap felt like IKEA Hacking was actually good for the Ikea brand and that IKEA was foolish to make an enemy out of her.

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It appears the backlash has finally set in.  The site’s founder was invited to meet with IKEA’s team in Sweden to for the two parties to work through an alternative arrangement that preserves the site’s community and interest, while respecting IKEA’s understandable desire to manage its brand online. Details of the meeting have not been disclosed.

Why It’s Hot

When IKEA targeted IKEA Hackers back in March, the company clearly underestimated the influence this community had in the digital sphere.  What may have started as a standard “cease-and-desist” became a major brand problem.  IKEA Hackers has demonstrated that brands need to work closely with their fans and better understand where influence lies before taking action online.  Partnership is the new digital model.

Source: Slate

IKEA Hacks Instagram

To help promote and introduce the PS 2014 Collection the Russian division of IKEA decided to up the ante by creating a website within the Instagram app itself.  The ikea ps 2014 account resembles a beautiful and functional online IKEA catalog.  The experience is divided into hero images of Tables, Chairs, Textiles, Light, Ideas, Storage, and Benches, that act as navigation categories. Clicking through the image categories will result in beautiful imagery featuring product information, pricing, and additional photos, much like a typical landing page.

Why It’s Hot:

It is a great way to use a tool that the target market is familiar with in way that experiments with how the actual platform is meant to be used.  Turning what is normally a one-off photo sharing application into a organized and useful site.