Things don’t always go as planned—and we like it that way!
In the world of product design, things don’t always go as planned. In the case of one particular bedspread, it didn’t arrive as planned. A surprising sample from a supplier proved a frustration at the beginning, but soon revealed itself to be just what the design and development team was looking for after all: a product customers could fall in love with.
Charlotta Elgh helps develop IKEA products. She and her team were on a mission to update the colour of a mono-toned bedspread, so they asked a supplier to send them some colour samples to choose from. However, instead of getting a selection of small, individual swatches like usual, they received a full-sized bedspread with different colour blocks dyed into it. It wasn’t a mistake, per se, but it wasn’t the regular way of doing things, and it was making Charlotta’s life a little more difficult.
Finding inspiration in our misadventures
Charlotta ended up wrestling with the full-sized bedspread sample, struggling to fold it every which way so she and her team could see just one colour at a time. They wanted to see each shade against different products and patterns—that’s how they usually find just the right tone. The task proved too difficult and soon Charlotta gave up, deciding it was better to just spread the whole thing out on the floor. That’s when they saw it—a beautiful mix of different shades that work together to make something special.
This colour patch sample turned into what the team was looking for all along: a fresh new bedspread that customers could love. “At IKEA we have more than 60 years of experience,” says Charlotta. That experience has led to routines and practices that work really well for creating new products, but there’s always room for a little adventure. “It’s really fun when something different happens like this. When a good mistake can be fabulous. We like great mistakes.”