Homage to a design icon and a digression

I’m not talking about a  Barcelona chair


barcelona, baby

(from flickr of suttonhoo)

nor a 1972 911 Carerra RS

'72 911 Carrera RS

(from Ulfbot’s Flickr)

no, not even the latest Campagolo Record.

My number one design icon is the billy bookcase from IKEA.

Seeing the Bauhaus thing last week made me realise why. Form follows function.  Everything about it, from packaging, the assembly, and the integration is absolutely without waste. (note to self re-read the the laws of simplicity blog)

Billy even manages to provide amusement.

I bought another 4 yesterday, and I noticed that they had halved the width of the packaging by making the backboard crease vertically rather than horizontally. Clever,as they are much easier to carry for the store staff and easier to load into the car.  It meant I bought one more than I’d planned to. We have about 11 15 billy bookcases  at home. Unfortunately IKEA don’t sell extra walls, at least at my shop. pity. 

A digression.

IKEA run SAP for HR via the ADP Globalview offering, and a couple of weeks ago I spoke to Albert Martens, HR Director at IKEA. In passing, after discussing HR systems, I mentioned  that I’d like to see a shallower version of the Billy, optimised for paperbacks. He opened up the customer request system while I was on the phone and entered it there and then. 

Building direct customer feedback to the designer is not only good for product development. It is a remarkably effective way of building customer engagement. I firmly believe that SAP’s strongest competitive advantage is our customers and partners, but only if we listen to them. At the risk of repeating myself, start ups have to guess what to build. We just have to ask. This is what we mean by co-innovation, but this is only the beginning.


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2 thoughts on “Homage to a design icon and a digression

  1. I’ve been lugging an ever-growing collection of Billy bookcases through a series of living places in the US and France. I’m about at the same place you are, finally reaching the decision that there is no more wall space and it is finally time to get rid of a few books!


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