Tag Archives: start-ups

&WHAT | IKEA BOOTCAMP.

Welcome to Älmhult. A little place in Sweden put on the map by your favourite flatpack furniture – IKEA.

What brought me to this place you ask? The IKEA Bootcamp.

If you know me, you know I love start-ups. I am fascinated about the ideas and the founders that invest the greater part of their lives to build a company and drive growth for products or systems that have the ability to change the world.

The IKEA Bootcamp is doing exactly that. Over 1,500 start-ups from around the world applied to join the three-month programme.

Ten start-ups were selected with at varying stages of product development and company maturity. They picked up their teams and lives, moving to Älmhult, Sweden, where they live in a residence near IKEA headquarters for three months. It is here they are given access to a team of experts with the mission to grow their companies and build out their proposition ahead of DEMO DAY.

DEMO DAY is on 5th December 17 where all of these companies will pitch their propositions to the IKEA Senior Leadership teams and external VCs. This will give them the opportunity to be part of the IKEA offering and in stores worldwide.

I travelled to IKEA of Sweden to give the ten start-ups a workshop on how to build their Social Strategy – particularly where to focus their time and money with limited resources.

It was such an incredibly inspiring day learning about each of the start-ups’ journeys and pushing ourselves on how we can capture the essence of their brand on Social Media to achieve their objectives. Whether that be Brand Awareness or Sales, each requires a unique approach.

Post the workshop and before I had to catch the train back to Copenhagen I popped into the IKEA Museum (YES, there is such thing) for a whirlwind trip through the exhibits.

It took you through a history of the brand and the founder,  Ingvar Kamprad who started the company in 1943. Still remaining incredibly humble for being a billionaire and the 11th richest person in the world.

Some of my favourite quotes around the office were…

  • The fear of making mistakes is the root of bureaucracy and the enemy of development.
  • No method is more effective than a good example.
  • What is good for our customers is in the long-run good for us.
  • A prototype is worth a thousand meetings.
  • Ten minutes are not just one-sixth of your hourly pay; ten minutes is a piece of yourself. Divide yourself into ten units and sacrifice as few of them as possible in meaningless activities. Most things still remain to be done.

 

The presence of the solid foundation of beliefs and principles that Kamprad has defined and built the IKEA brand on are very apparent through out the IKEA of Sweden offices. There are subtle reminders everywhere ensuring that all of the employees are aligned with and working towards the same values. It is this unity that has allowed the company to be so incredibly successful.

Definitely a culture that all companies in whatever sector should attempt to emulate. Only a few more weeks until Demo Day, best of luck to the teams!

-&what x

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&WHAT | FASHION TECH LAB.

Miroslava Duma is the founder of Buro 24/7, a fashion blog and now media outlet based in Russia. She has been one of the biggest fashion leaders to originate from the market.

Having been an avid follower of her activity, I noticed a few months ago that she was posting more on tech and start-ups – developing partnerships with the giants like Google, Facebook and Alibaba. Curious to know what all of these little hints were laddering up to, Duma recently launched Fashion Tech Lab. Her own start up in the Tech and Fashion space – two of my passion pastimes.

Fashion Tech Lab is said to be a hybrid venture – part investment fund, accelerator and experimental lab with the core objective of driving new tech and innovation within the fashion industry. More details on the new venture can be found on Business of Fashion.

What I find so inspiring about this is that Duma with a background in fashion and business took time to meet with and learn from the heads of the tech giants to cover her background research to start this company. An opportunity that many cannot afford – either with financial or network limitations. However, an approach similar to this could easily be taken on a smaller scale, by reaching out to inspiring and successful leaders either in your network or extended.

I would love to take a couple months, head to Silicon Valley or an up and coming start up city like Tel Aviv and learn from all of the people driving the innovation and industry in the tech space. There really is so much knowledge to gain from the people that are doing things differently. From stepping out of your comfort zone and into a space in which you know nothing – ready to learn everything.

People like Tim Ferris speak of the Real-World MBA, taking the leap to put yourself out there and learn as much as you can either from people within the industry. An alternate approach is using the investment you would make on an MBA to start a company or invest in companies acting as a VC to learn business strategy and management in real-time.

Studying for an MBA is a thought that I consistently revisit, weighing up the opportunity cost of the degree from a cost, education and connection perspective. Still yet to come to a decision on that subject but its examples like this that make me rethink the traditional way of doing things. It is amazing to see leaders like Miroslava Duma  building innovative businesses and learning from those around her then making it happen.

Similarly to the advice I received from Anya Hindmarch (full post here), it is important to take a risk and start something. It won’t be perfect, but get it out there and iterate as you go along.

It will be interesting to see where Fashion Tech Lab goes from here, excited to be following the journey. So inspired by women like Miroslava Duma who are pushing the boundaries and reshaping industries, proving that anything is possible with a dream and a whole lot of ambition (+ capital) backing that. 👊👊👊

xxxx