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Students developed interior design services for IKEA customers

The goal was to find solutions for customers’ everyday problems and develop existing models

In the Service Innovations study unit, the students followed Design Sprint, a five-day method developed by Google Ventures. Design Sprint method is a compact way of coming up with a prototype and testing it with the customers. Its biggest benefit is to compress what could possibly be several months worth of work into one week.  Each day has a different purpose and a different way of working as well.

- I never thought that we can get a product done that quickly, and not studying the theory from three to six months to get the prototype. Sprint method really pushed us to our limit, business information technology student Dang Minh Bui says.

There were 25 students on the course, and they worked in groups of five. The course took place in English and involved, amongst others, students from Business Management, Business Information Systems and Security Management. The instructors were Miia Seppänen and Kati Tawast.

IKEA joined in the project because engaging the customer and personalisation are very important to them. The intention is to integrate the products and the services as well as possible.

- The goal for the student projects was to gain ideas from outside the box. We were hoping for new ideas from new angles, perhaps utilising the existing models in a new way, says Jani Suomela, Service Business Leader at IKEA. 

The results of IKEA Challenge were altogether satisfying, and strengthened the thoughts IKEA had already. The students developed, amongst others, different applications focusing on interior design that stem from ease of service and cost effectiveness.  It is possible to see with the applications, for instance, what Ikea's furniture would look like in a customer's room. One of the proposals examined possible collaboration between IKEA and student housing foundations.

- I think the groups had developed excellent and diverse ideas. Basically, the same brief led to a variety of different perspectives. There were also ideas that can concretely be taken into practice and developed further, explains Jani Suomela.

The students were also happy with the project and felt they had learned a lot both from teamwork as well as the Design Sprint method.

- We all learned a lot from the Design Sprint process and we were really happy with the team we had, the way we worked together and the tasks we were given, team members Dang Minh Bui, Vilma Kärkkäinen, Markus Loikala, Djordje Rodriguez ja Meri Sainio explain.

- It is great that we didn't have only theory in this course, but an actual company to give us feedback, students Teemu Lahtinen, Mikaela Laukamo, Minh Thanh Nguyen, Kieu Trang Nguyen and Vilis Zuromskis reflect.

Learn more about our degree programmes taught in English.

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