How IKEA is exploring the future of furniture, home design, and meatballs

IKEA, the world’s largest furniture retailer, considers itself a low-tech company. But the company’s innovation strategy, still taking shape, involves working with design firms, academic partners, and consumers for help discovering opportunities and needs for the home of the future — and the furnishings that will fill it.

IKEA-futurehomelab“What we do is we create, we test, and we explore, over and over and over,” said Eva-Carin Banka Johnson, a project manager at IKEA’s Future Home innovation incubator, speaking at the World Innovation Convention last month in Berlin.

To test ideas and prototype designs, IKEA built a model apartment in southern Sweden, near where the company was founded, Banka Johnson says. It invites local families to actually live in the apartment and document their experiences with the experimental furnishings.

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