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!