One of the company “visits” during this study trip was of course IKEA. How could we visit Sweden and not go to the furniture giant that is IKEA? Unfortunately, it was not possible to get a presentation of some sore arranged in time, but we though of a fun alternative: an assignment! The participants had to go onto the IKEA showfloor and find a product that they found typically CreaTe and/or I-Tech. Here are their results:
STARVIND – Veronique Kochtetov & Feline Waardeburg
The multifunctional starvind side table has an air filtration system integrated and cleans gasius pollutans. It is not only space efficient but also provides health benefits. The aesthetics are greatly appealing and is easily integratable in many different interiors. Furthermore, the user interface of the filtration system is intuitive and easy to understand.
This corresponds to the working practice of Creative Technology and Interaction Technology, where the goal is to create intuitive, user centered and sustainable products.
Therefore, the core ikea values this product encompasses are “Caring for people and planet”, “simplicity” and “Renew and improve”, because this table is upgraded with a new capability. The air filtration system makes sure there is a healthy breathable environment for the user, thus caring for people. In addition, the value of “Different with a meaning” also is part of this product as the current solutions were two separate products and now by thinking in an unconventional way they created a new combined product. By creating this innovative table, Ikea set an example for others and therefore the value “Lead by example” can be identified by this product as well. Ikea shows that is it possible to make filtration systems compact and integrated. The automatic functionality of the air filter and the control via the ikea home smart app can be related to new innovation in the area of IoT and therefore has a connection to sensors and the smart technology track of Creative Technology and ubiquitous computing in Interaction Technology.
UNDERHALLA – Rachel den Otter & Ben Ligthart
This item was chosen because of the endless choices you have when interacting with the product. All the different sizes and colours of building blocks give you the ability to shape something completely to your liking. We think this correlates to Create and I-Tech as a whole.
When you think about Creative Technology and Interactive technology, one of the first things which will come to mind is all the different skill sets of the students, which may vary from programming to 3D sketching to AI. Although this may be a difficult combination at some times, when looking at projects all these skillsets can be combined into stunning concepts and installations. Just like the UNDERHALLA building block set: when all the pieces come together, you are able to create something bigger and diverse. If you would have a building block set with the same colours and shapes, it will result in a boring end result.
As a child you may remember that these block towers were very rapidly built and, when finished, it would be taken apart quickly to build something new. This also correlates to the concept of rapid prototyping which is frequently used in Create and I-Tech.
When looking at the eight core values of IKEA, this product can be linked to “Give and take responsibility”. Almost all IKEA products come with a manual on how to build the product step by step. However, this product does not. As a parent you give your child the responsibility to create their own wonders, only limiting them by their own imagination.
SKÅDIS – Sebastiaan van Loon & Tristan van Marle
When you think of Creative Technology the first thing that springs to mind is the broadness of the study. What falls under CreaTe is often hard to describe but it ranges from design, to programming, to user experience. In between this there is obviously so much more that encompasses CreaTe. So how do we combine all of these aspects into one product?
The product we chose was the Skådis, a modular wall that can be used to hang up a wide variety of other products. The Skådis can be found in many different showrooms in IKEA with varying styles. Similarly CreaTe as a study can be interpreted in many different ways, and ultimately what people take out of CreaTe is up to themselves. Similarly to adding things on your own wall, we decide what kind of skill we want to add to ourselves.
The Skådis is a perfect example of the IKEA values ‘Renew and improve’ and ‘Simplicity’. Renew and improve for IKEA means to constantly look for improvements on the skills you currently have and to combine those skills together in order to face new challenges. The Skådis is a perfect tool for improvement in your own daily life with how easy it is to change its parts and improve on its design. Next to that the base concept of the Skådis is quite simple, the idea of hanging up modular parts on a wall is quite straightforward, yet elegant.
We want to leave you with one last fun fact. By the year 2030 IKEA plans to make this product completely recyclable. With current trends by the year 2050 almost 3 planets would be needed to sustain our current lifestyle. Therefor sustainable development goal 12 was made and IKEA is trying to do its own part with its more renewable products.
SPIKEN – Ilse de Haan & Floor Lieverse
For the assignment, we have chosen a product called Spiken. This product is a nightlight for children. It is shaped like an otter, but in a cute way. It spreads a cozy mood light and it has the option to switch between seven different colours. The child can, according to the website, easily use this lamp themselves. The the light has two options, either changing the 7 colours automatically or that the child can choose one colour. And by pressing the otter’s tail the child can change the colour of the lamp.
This product is typically CreaTe because, because it is interactive and easy to use for the children. The lamp stimulates the children to interact with it and to choose their desired night light. Furthermore, the design is focused on the user group; children. The lamp looks cute and appealing for small kids, mainly because of the animal shape and the cozy light. CreaTe also tries to design a fitting product for a specific target group.
This product fits within the core value simplicity. The product is simple yet it gets across the way that it is intended. It also does not have any useless buttons and cables which are not necessary. This makes the product also a safe product for the children to use.
Another core value that the product embodies is give and take responsibility. With nightlight the parents can the responsibility and the children can take the responsibility and make their own decisions to customise the nightlight in the desired way.
And finally another core value that this product tackles is caring for the people and the planet. This nightlight is according to the website, very energy efficient. It has a life time of approximately 20 years, if the lamp is on for approximately 3 hours a day. By paying attention to the duration of the life of the lamp, IKEA also pays attention to the wellbeing of the planet, since less lamps will be sold and thrown away.
With this last core values it also tackles the sustainable development goal of responsible consumption and production. IKEA makes sure that the consumption of their product is sustainable and durable. It does so by including energy efficient lamps in the nightlight.
To conclude, when taking into consideration all the aspects above, it can be concluded that this is an interactive and sustainable nightlight, which is perfect for scarring away little night monsters!
KALLAX Series – Bram van Driel & Imke Verschuren
The Kallax  is one of IKEA’s most well-known products. It is ninth on the list of the most sold product of IKEA . The Kallax itself is a storage solution which can be used as skeleton for creating a personally fitting storage space. The biggest asset of the skeleton is its modularity. Users can decide the shape and size of the Kallax themselves, as well as the inserts that are inside the piece of furniture. Examples of inserts range from drawers and cupboards to wine racks and cat shelters. This allows you to use the Kallax for a long time since it can change with you as your life changes. When you renovate or move to a different home you can adjust the Kallax to your wants and needs again. This makes it a durable and sustainable product since you do not have to throw it away if you want to change something. The modularity of the Kallax also encourages the creativity of its users. You can use the basic inserts that IKEA offers but you can also give it your own twist .
By designing such a modular closet IKEA offers its user to let their creativity run wild. This is in line with the concepts of tinkering. To start tinkering a user needs to have the right seed. In this case the skeleton of the Kallax offers this seed. It encourages people to think about the contents of the Kallax. In this case IKEA themselves are the facilitator that offer the right seed and toolbox to start tinkering. Another great tool that IKEA offers to boost the creativity of the Kallax users is their online design tool. Here users can fill up the Kallax with the inserts they want. This online tool to create your own Kallax was clearly a tool designed for the users. It is a very user-friendly tool that allows you to start tinkering from your own couch.
The IKEA is also taking steps to make the Kallax more sustainable; something CreaTe/I-Tech students strive to do while doing a project. IKEA tries to do so by using less wood for the Kallax, instead of using regular wood they fill it up with chipboard and honeycomb paper. Since these materials are less heavy it is also easier to move the Kallax around and more sustainable to transport.
 T. Björklund, “IKEA Kallax.” https://www.ikea.com/nl/nl/p/kallax-open-kast-wit-80275887/
 L. Powell, “These are the Most Popular IKEA Products of All Time – realestate.” 2019, [Online]. Available: https://www.realestate.com.au/lifestyle/these-are-the-most-popular-ikea-products-of-all-time/
 C. Persson, “IKEA Kallax ideer.” https://www.pinterest.se/allimac37/kallax-ikea-ideer/
TRÃDFRI – Anaïsa van Dinter, Ilse Westra & Kim de Weger
Trãdfri is a smart system where the user can control the lights using a wireless remote button. In the following scenario, we will explain how a CreaTe or I-Tech student will use this product:
Once upon a time, there was an exam week. Long days, short nights, and relentless studying. After a long day of studying at the University of Twente, a student comes home exhausted. Dropping their bag on the floor and fell into bed. But the light is still on, oh no. The student will have to leave bed again unless they have Trãdfri. Your convenient product assists you in turning the lights off without leaving the comfort of your bed.
IKEA stands for simplicity, renewal, improvement, and caring for people and the planet. Trãdfri is simple to use with only four buttons and less likely to be lost by using magnets to attach it to the wall. This system is a new and improved version of the traditional light switch that can be found in any home. By using this technology, the life of the user will improve, and light will no longer be on all night, which will reduce energy waste. Reducing energy waste is good for the environment, reducing the pressure on fossil fuels, and light pollution.
Trãdfri reminds us of the goals of Creative Technology and Interaction Technology. IKEA has identified a problem and found a user-friendly, innovative solution that not only helps the user but also fits into the Sustainable Development Goals.
This product has much potential regarding the Internet of Things and for improving smart homes. The Trãdfri connection hub can connect with the smart home app, where users can create their own light groups.
MÅLA – Alma Schaafstal & Kasia Zalewska
The IKEA’s vision is to create a better everyday life for the many people. That’s very much something we recognize from CreaTe. One of the core values of IKEA is Different with a meaning. They say “We like to question existing solutions, think in in unconventional ways, experiment and dare to make mistakes – always for a good reason.” How much more CreaTe can it be? Another core value of IKEA is Togetherness. “IKEA is not the work of one person alone, it is the result of many minds and many souls working together through many years of joy and hard work”. Just like at CreaTe we don’t work in isolation but “together we create”.
Their MÅLA product line allows children to be creative. However, we think the products have much wider use for different user groups like ourselves. The products give the user a choice of materials: paint, crayons, markers, paper, clay or chalk. Therefore, not restricting the design process. You can use the products to express yourself, to communicate with stakeholders your ideas, your designs. You can use them to tell a story.
At CreaTe we cross boundaries, we question existing solutions and we are not afraid of proposing other ways of doing things. We have fun and play with different materials. You can be different and be yourself.
The MÅLA products bring people together. Imagine a family spending their winter evening not in front of a TV but creating their imaginary sustainable world for all. Therefore, it would be nice if the MÅLA front cover as shown in the picture would come in bigger sizes.
Source of quotations: https://about.ikea.com
SVANÖ – Puck Kemper & Philippe Tuinman
The Svanö is a slim, rectangular balcony bench with a trellis being a part of its structure. The main goal of this product is to be a solution for balconies and other small outdoor spaces. The process of creating this product really came from the process of identifying a problem and creating a fitting solution. Exactly what we do in CreaTe and I-Tech as well: analysing a context, identifying the need of the users and creating a fitting solution.
IKEA approached the Svanö in a similar fashion. For this, they used “co-creation” which is where the designer/builder works closely together with the end-user. This way the needs of the user and the requirements of the product are explored together, prototypes are evaluated with the end-user and iterations are made to come up with the best fitting solution possible. For IKEA this was the first time that they did co-creation on a large scale. They put out a request of sorts towards the IKEA community to first tell them what problems they saw with their outdoor space, then what the requirements were, and the community could send in concepts for products. From all of this information, IKEA went and brainstormed leading to a few concepts. The community could vote on their favourite concepts and the first prototype of the Svanö was born. This prototype was further evaluated with a group of testers in the IKEA museum in Älmhult during a co-creation workshop. This workshop was to help see the prototype being used in a variety of contexts solving different user needs that the prototype could fill, making it multi-purpose and hackable, so every user can really make it their own. This iterative design cycle is similar to how CreaTe and I-Tech tackle their academic projects.
STARKVIND – Hannah Ottenschot & Renske Mulder
The Starkvind air purifier table has a built-in purifying system to clean up the air in your indoor space and create a healthier living environment. Next to this, it can be used as a regular side table. This multipurpose design fits very well with the CreaTe and I-Tech workflow. This is because two simple concepts have been combined into one user-friendly product. The technology is hidden, and thus not intrusive, which fits well with the daily lifestyle of people. This is an example of a good design for the general user, which is similar to the mindset of many CreaTe and I-Tech students.
The air purifier can be controlled in three ways: manually, automatically, or it can be integrated with the IKEA Smart Hub. Because of all these options, it is easy to use for a broad spectrum of consumers, which makes it very accessible. The IKEA Smart Hub option is a good example of designing for the future since smart home options are very much up and coming at the moment. This Internet of Things design is a great example of how technology is integrated into an existing design. The core of CreaTe and I-Tech is very much related to this since we take existing technologies and designs and try to come up with innovative applications for them.