Tag Archives: innovation

Would you buy an IKEA bicycle?

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I’m a big fan of IKEA. I love their philosophy. I love their communication. I love their products. However, I’ve only just discovered that IKEA also sell bicycles. So..would I ever consider buying one? I know I’ve got lots already, but as stipulated in ‘the rules‘ you always need one more. (n+1)

I’ve not actually seen one, but here’s the video that explains what it’s about.

As ever with IKEA, the design is well thought-free, with a ‘system’ that integrates all the accessories. I like the idea of the rust free belt drive, but am not convinced by the automatic gear changing – not sure how this would work. If you were a regular cyclist in a flattish city that I imagine it would be work fine.

However, I think it fails on 2 fronts. If IKEA were really serious about solving urban transport problems and getting the world to cycle more, then it would make it much more affordable. £349 is decent value, but very much on a par with other bikes in the category. Secondly, would you really want to be seen cycling an IKEA bike? Generally cyclists are pretty brand conscious and I suspect they would feel a bit a bit weird. I’m ok with an IKEA duvet – but a bike? Not convinced.

I reckon these would be perfect bikes for city bike hire schemes.A real step up from the current London bikes which are a bit cumbersome. However, am not convinced the IKEA bike will change the world.

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Learning to Love Constraints, the BrewDog Way

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In my ongoing quest to learn from best, I’ve just read ‘Business For Punks’ by James Watt, the co-founder of BrewDog, the poster child for the craft beer revolution that is sweeping the Globe.

It’s an incredible story and it’s a great read. Insightful, clear and written with the same punk attitude as the brand. I heartily recommend it – even if you don’t like beer.

Although they see themselves as true rebels, in many ways they’re deeply conventional. They do the fundamentals really well. They have a forensic attention to detail on cost and finances, – the punk accountants! – an unerring obsession with the quality of their product and a deep sensitivity towards the culture of the business and the role of every individual. All great stuff.

However, what really caught my attention was the fact that as a small business, up against wealthy megabrands, they truly embraced the constraints they operated under and saw them as a springboard for success.

‘When it comes twenty first century marketing, not having a budget is definitely not a problem. In fact, it is a massive advantage masquerading as a thinly veiled constraint’

This ultimately drove them to embark on such ground breaking initiatives as their ‘Equity For Punks’ crowdfunding scheme, which is now extending to the USA. They understood that their constraints were opportunities for innovation.

This is the philosophy that we preach at ‘A Beautiful Constraint’ where we see limitations as advantages and sources of inspiration. Our point of view is that it is by truly embracing your constraint you will be forced to challenge your underlying assumptions, break out of existing modes of thinking and develop new alternative solutions.

We live in constrained times. More limitations are likely to be imposed upon us. In the future, the winners will be those who are able to turn their constraints to their advantage

Learning to Love Constraints

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I’m loving Adam Morgan’s latest book – ‘A Beautiful Constraint’. I’ve enjoyed all his books and this one’s a cracker. It feels like the right book at the time.

We’re living in times of constraint and austerity. Few businesses or economies are doing particularly well nowadays and we’re all being asked to do more with less.

What this book does is recognize and indeed embrace this reality, arguing that constraint is something we should see as a stimulus for inventiveness rather than something we should complain about.

It’s full of inspirational examples of where people have turned constraint into innovative solutions. There’s also lots of practical advice on both the mindset shift you need to undertake as well as tools and techniques you can use to embrace your constraint and thrive within it.

Highly recommended

Team Sky Porridge – How Strange..

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I’ve just found this in my local Budgens. A range of high protein porridge pots, branded by Team Sky. Now I’m a big cycling fan and am delighted that Sky are backing the new ‘Team Wiggins‘ However, a range of porridge does seem an odd brand extension. I wonder why it feels it could succeed against the established brands such as Quaker, Kellogg’s and Jordan’s? Good luck to them, but I can’t imagine it ever getting any real traction in the market.

Squegg – The Best Easter Egg I’ve Ever Seen

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My sister bought these for my daughters. They’re Thornton’s Squeggs – SQUashed chocolate Easter EGGS – geddit? Easy to carry, easy to eat and they look delicious. You could (almost) argue that they’re more eco-friendly than other Easter eggs. Like most great ideas, it’s simple, yet in hindsight, obvious. I’m sure they’ll become a big huge hit and spawn a whole series of copycats. Can’t wait to try them