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Featured image: The IKEA Innovation Community

The IKEA Innovation Community

Justyna Baber, Innovation Community Leader

“When building a community make sure that you really understand for whom you are building it, what is it for and what will be the benefit both for the business and most importantly, for the community itself, because without people, you don't have community.”

In this inspiring episode we are joined by Justyna Baber, Innovation Community Leader at the world-famous Swedish furniture store IKEA. Justyna's passion for bringing people together and the need within the organization to unite people and projects around innovation was the basis for the creation of the IKEA Innovation Community.

Join us as we learn about the genesis of the IKEA Innovation Community, but also the strategies used to keep this community not only active, but growing and evolving over time. We will also discuss the broader impact of the IKEA Innovation Community and how it indirectly influences innovation and adaptation within the organization by bringing together passionate people from different roles to catalyze learning, sharing and connections.

Whether you're part of a large corporation or a startup, this episode offers valuable insights into fostering creativity, encouraging collaboration and building a thriving innovation community.

Below you will find the full transcript for the episode.

Innovation Community at IKEA

Chris: Hi and welcome back to Innovation Rockstars. Today I'm really excited to welcome Justyna Baber to the Innovation Rockstars episode today. Justyna is innovation community leader for Retail Innovation at IKEA calling in from South Holland today, and she leads the Center of Excellence in collaboration, encouraging internal and also external collaboration. Thank you very much for joining us. It's a pleasure having you. I'm really excited to talk about some of your most interesting findings.

Justyna: Hi Chris, it's really, really nice to be here today.

Chris: Yeah, thanks. And as always, we do start straight away with a short 60 seconds introduction sprint. The idea of the sprint is that we'll have a clock ticking in the background. We'll try to take around 60 seconds to introduce yourself, your career, your current role. So let's do this for the next 60 seconds. The virtual stage is all yours. Let's go.

Justyna: Well, I have a background in consumer and marketing insights. This has been my profession for many years. Before joining the client side, I've been working for an agency. So I've been seeing the two perspectives. I've also been having a teaching period at the University of Applied Science, which I loved. And I think this is a bit what I'm carrying on to my current role as well with the work with students. And then eight years ago, I joined IKEA in the role of the consumer market insights. And after a few years, I moved to the innovation team. And this is me. In the innovation team today I lead the community, the innovation community, as well as the Collaboration Center of Expertise.

Chris: Very professional. So now to get you to know just a little better, I do have three sentence starters for you. So I will start the sentences and would like you to ask to complete those sentences. So let's see what you make out of it. Number one goes like this. To stay inspired and informed in the ever informing landscape of retail innovation, I …?

Justyna: So I don't think we should separate retail innovation from all other types of innovation. We should look at it quite holistically. And that is what I do. And I really believe in having these two lenses, the micro lens to have a good understanding of the world and what's happening with the macro trends and how they might affect us. And on the other hand, just being very in tune with the people, as we call them at IKEA, with the many people, with the consumers and customers, to see how they react to all these big changes. And then of course you have somebody there, maybe on the side, maybe in parallel, you also see what's happening, what the competition is doing, what other companies are doing. But basically it is a very, very complex picture, I think, to follow.

Chris: Yeah. So a very comprehensive approach. Okay. Understood. So, sentence number two: In your perspective, of course, a common misconception about fostering external academic collaborations at a global brand like IKEA is…?

Justyna: I have the impression that perhaps in global companies the value of this, the value of hearing these external voices, of including these voices in perhaps even decision-making processes, is not fully appreciated, perhaps not fully appreciated. It is complex. Of course, it takes away the full control of the company, because if you have the counterparts, then you are not alone. And the value that it brings may not always be fully appreciated.

Chris: Interesting. Maybe we can discuss later why this might be the case. So I'll take a mental note. And then number three: One thing that people might find surprising about innovation at IKEA is what?

Justyna: I think about how much goes on in the IKEA universe. Not many people know that. And this is my favorite fun fact to introduce IKEA with. IKEA is actually a franchise. It's organized in a franchise system, which means that there are many, many, many organizations operating under the IKEA brand. We have the franchiser organization. This is where I belong. We have our 12 franchisees who run the retail stores. We also work closely with a design and research studio called Space10 in Copenhagen. They are completely dedicated to IKEA. So if you think about it, there are 12 franchisees, there is retail innovation on the franchiser's side, there is product innovation on the franchiser's side. There's a lot of innovation and development initiatives going on, which makes the whole picture very, very interesting.

The genesis of the IKEA Innovation Community

Chris: This makes it certainly not as easy as it was maybe fully centralized. So let's talk about this. And that's maybe also the reason what inspired the creation of the IKEA innovation community, which we'll be talking in a minute. Let's take one step back first and talk a little bit about IKEA's distinct culture. I guess it's rooted in Swedish origins, right? So we have very specific values, influences. How do they influence innovation processes and also collaboration within IKEA?

Justyna: Yeah, so indeed with the Swedish roots and the very distinct IKEA culture IKEA is a very collaborative organization as such. The structures are flat, the communication lines are short. You can go and approach anyone. There are no hierarchies. So that makes the collaboration already much more possible than in other places. And it's a culture, IKEA culture is born from retail operations where there is pace, there is willingness to act, there is the non-nonsense attitude, which I think is very important and also then helping the collaboration efforts. In addition, IKEA has really strong values. One of them is the togetherness, the coming together to solve problems, again, coming from maybe quite tough environments when it comes to retail. That togetherness also, of course, helps in collaboration efforts. And then there is innovation. I think IKEA has always been a disruptor. We always say that we have innovation in our DNA. We like to think that every one of us is an entrepreneur. And that's true. We have certain ideas, we have certain freedoms to use those ideas. Because of the flat structures, there is always a way to try to implement those ideas if you are really passionate about them. So I think IKEA has a fantastic ground for both collaboration and innovation, and all this is somehow always pushed with the low-cost attitude, which then makes things more or less nonsense and more practical and applied. So IKEA's culture is definitely helping both collaboration and innovation.

“The IKEA culture is born from retail operations where there is pace, there is willingness to act, there is the non-nonsense attitude, which I think is very important and also then helping the collaboration efforts.”

Chris: And how was then the setup of the innovation community at IKEA inspired? Did it root out of the decentralization or the stronger decentralization or because it was rooted more in the way IKEA does business and how IKEA works? So what inspired the creation of the community?

Justyna: Yeah, that definitely played a role. There were a couple of factors coming into play there. So to start with, at that point, we still had a fairly fresh organizational setup, not the franchise setup that has been in place for decades, but a fairly fresh organization setup. I was new to innovation. I just moved teams. And I had the experience from my insights work at IKEA, where we had a really strong community. We worked all across all these different IKEA companies. And within innovation, I couldn't find a place, to unite people and projects and so on. So the inspiration was kind of a need that I had. And I started talking about it with my colleagues. And it turned out that it's not just me. So that was a pronounced need of many, many colleagues working within innovation, but also announced by people who were simply interested in innovation and couldn't find a good way of getting in.

Chris: So there was no home, if you speak in, you know, maybe even IKEA terms, there was no home or at least no digital home for all the activities around people, projects, processes. There was no platform that unifies all that. Is that true?

Justyna: Indeed. And of course, we started to work also on a business level with having a more centralized approach. But the people level is exactly what the community started to address, meaning to connect people, to bring them together and start a conversation. So, you know, it’s one thing if we have a portfolio view for the 3 or 4 teams working within innovation. But it’s another thing when people know each other, and know who is working with what, what are the learnings and so on. So that was basically the role of the community.

Chris: Yeah, that makes sense. So tell me more about the start. How was it rolled out? Probably gradually? How was it established? And maybe you can also talk about some of the initial challenges in actually setting it up.

Justyna: Yes sure. So after I realized that there was a need like this, of course, I got myself together with a couple of other passionate people from other teams. So we have never been alone. I mean, that would be quite ironic to do a collaborative effort on my own. There is always a small working group working with the topic. And I think it was in a way looking at it retrospectively which wasn’t quite a standard design process that we have followed and which I haven’t seen it at that time so far. So we started talking to a lot of the people around us. We've been talking a lot to the senior management. What do they think? And step by step we had brainstormed and we had started to formulate the value proposition of what we were doing. How is this going to benefit both the community, the people, but also the business? So it kind of brings the benefits from both perspectives. Who is it for? Who are the stakeholders? Who are the users? What are we going to do? What does that even mean to have a community? A community is quite an intangible thing. When do we know that there was no community and then there is a moment there is a community, what marks the start of it? So these were some of the questions to address in order to define how are we going to communicate, and what are going to be our channels? Do we need a separate platform? So a lot of design considerations actually that went there into play. And when we were ready, because we had ongoing conversations also with the senior management, the buy-in was pretty much there, the sponsorship was there and of course that helps a lot. And then we started with a kick-off event, a get-together as we called it. So an event where we all got together between the different teams for a bit of a longer period of time, that was three or four hours, where we told each other who's who, who's doing what. And this is how it began.

Chris: So, okay, and then what about at least some of the challenges? Because, okay, I understood. I mean, starting with the impact in mind, with the value in mind, with the benefits in mind. Sure, that's a very strong way to start this off instead of just experimenting and seeing what happens. That is great. But, you know, maybe, you know, was everybody just convinced from day one, like, yeah, super, let's just do it. And then, you know, bring a total, a very high amount of value to the people. Or, you know, have there also been some naysayers or some initial challenges? And if so, tell me more about them.

Justyna: I would really say that I don't recall challenges. It might sound maybe even over positive, but it's really true. I think that was exactly the right time and the right place to launch an initiative like this. Were there naysayers? Maybe people, some people perhaps were a bit unsure. But we definitely had a green light from most people and people were excited. People really thought that this is something that they need. And on top of it, we did take that experimental approach. Indeed, we didn't really know. We didn't have a long term plan. Anything like that has never been done at least in our part of IKEA. I'm always very careful saying at IKEA because there is so much going on all across. So we decided from the very beginning, we will take that test and learn approach. And in that way, with this kind of learner's attitude, you also don't feel there are challenges. You have learnings and then you move on. So, yeah, I honestly don't think we had any bigger challenges at the beginning. The only thing, if at all, was at the beginning as much as in the middle and even today, is perhaps the ambiguity of the term ‘community’. I think we call community all different things. And this is a common word and everyone perhaps has a slightly different understanding of it. Which means that there could be a little bit of a confusion of the role of community and what is it, what's the purpose for it. That's why I started to, anytime I would introduce our community, I use a sentence I have found somewhere, and which I haven't come up with it myself. But for me, that was really important to distinguish between network and community. And it says ‘all communities are networks, but not all networks are communities’. And the difference between them and what makes a community, community is the common sense of belonging or common sense of shared identity. So you have to find this common denominator between people. And there was also something that I learned also on the way that many times, I think we call communities perhaps simply communication channels are called communities. Simply because they bring people together to share information. And this is something that has been always very important for me: to have many people in the community communicating with us as facilitators but not as those who push the messages out. And I think that is the ultimate goal. And this is the ultimate aspiration to have the conversation going with only slight kind of help from some of the backstage. But the community itself is made by people.

“All communities are networks, but not all networks are communities. And the difference between them and what defines a community is the shared sense of belonging or the shared sense of a common identity.”

Chris: And so if you define the community like this, what is then the common denominator for the IKEA innovation community?

Justyna: Yeah, so that is the innovation aspect. That was one of those considerations at the beginning. For whom should it be and how broadly you can define it to make it still inclusive. I guess all about inclusivity, and we want that people benefit of good initiatives and yet still focused. So it doesn't become a community of everything for everyone, because then it's not a community. Then, of course, at the highest level, we are all a community of coworkers at IKEA. We have common passion for IKEA for sure. But we wanted to have something a little bit more focused. So in that way, we did define the innovation community as the common platform for connections, discussions, learning and inspirations for people with passion for innovation. So we didn't really want to limit ourselves to people who only work with innovation teams. Because again, that's IKEA. Sometimes you actually do quite a lot of innovation, but your title is or even your team is not having innovation in the title. So, the common denominator was interest and the drive to talk about and to take part in a conversation about innovation and about IKEA.

Running the IKEA innovation community

Chris: And how did you move on from there? I mean, yeah, I understand that there was a lot of excitement, movement, energy in the very beginning. You know, everybody chimes in ‘this is a brilliant idea! Let's come together and build that community.’ Now, over time, of course, you need to make sure the community remains active. It's engaged, you know, it's productive. So at least something is, you know, coming out of this. Is it learnings? Is it more inspirations? Is it what is it? So how do you make sure that the innovation community remains active and in the best case, even grows and becomes stronger over time?

Justyna: Yes. So in our specific case, I feel that we've been taking two years now running the innovation community. We are going from strength to strength because more people know about us and more people are interested to join the conversation. And I think there is something like a community member life cycle almost that perhaps people first need to come and maybe just take a look if this is for them. Join one event. See what's the vibe. See what's the topics. Is this for me? Is this not? And maybe some people will engage immediately. I mean, of course, that's a personality matter as well. But some people need a little bit more time and perhaps then they engage if they are being given the space, if they feel safe. And then a commitment perhaps comes after that, that they actually start feeling with time. Yeah, this is where I belong. This is actually, you know, this is me. And I've been seeing this happening. So, of course, at the beginning, there's a lot of curiosity, as you are saying, but there's not that much commitment. I think we actually were very lucky with this is a very energetic crowd. But, you know, commitment grows over time. And I think with time, we've been seeing people kind of moving on that journey from being curious to then starting to engage and being really committed. And we managed to develop within in the community but especially in the workplace. I mean, communities exist in all sorts of places, and the workplace is a very specific community because on the one hand you want to build trust, you want people to be themselves. But at the end of the day it's still a professional environment. And so it's even if at IKEA we are super informal, it's still a professional environment. How to make that space kind of safe, so people can be themselves, they can ask questions, they can joke. And somehow with time, we did manage to do that with a certain level of, I guess, of informality, with authenticity, I suppose, of people, presenters, especially. We started to have really good conversations during our meetings. We meet every month to talk about a project or an initiative. But in the beginning it was quite formal and very quiet. So I tried to split into breakout rooms after each presentation to discuss in smaller groups, which didn't work at all in the end. That was a key learning for me. It was too forced and not natural enough. And people didn't like it. So we stopped that. And instead we all stayed in the main room, but with an open conversation. So sometimes people would jump in and just open their microphones and talk. A lot of times they would comment in the comments, and it would be buzzing. There would be so much energy and fun and a bit of banter. And then you really start to feel that this is working. This is what this group of people need. This is what this group of people find fun and interesting and useful, of course. Yes. And then they start to contribute even more. So it's also a self-perpetuating. The better people feel, of course, the more they want to invest.

“Communities exist in all sorts of places, and the workplace is a very specific community because on the one hand you want to build trust, you want people to be themselves. But at the end of the day it's still a professional environment.”

It's the ongoing dialogue with people in all different, you know, all different places, all different levels with all different roles. Because, as I said, we didn't limit ourselves to people who only work in innovation. So it's also interesting to hear, you know, if you don't work with innovation, how do you see it? What do you need? What would you like to see? So, yeah, that an ongoing dialogue and sort of always being connected to the actual people you work with. I think that's also something that really helps them to be able to bring, you know, the topics, the speakers, the kind of conversation that works for that group of people.

Chris: So you're doing this monthly, if I understood, monthly events at least, bringing the community together. How does it work? I mean, so do you have specific projects you talk about, specific, for example, customer insights, specific trends and technologies that different parts of the community share from different locations, from different teams? Of course, no matter if they have innovation in their title or not, but just solely based on the work and the impact that they're having. So is it like this? You have an agenda, then you talk about this. And who's bringing in the topics? Are you inviting people? Are they, you know, submitting their ideas to be part of the agenda? How does the community operate as such?

“The goal of the community is not to innovate. It's rather defined as an enabler on our bigger kind of innovation landscape picture. An enabler that makes it easier for people to connect, to share, to learn.”

Justyna: Indeed, we have three formats. So we have the monthly meetup and it's all going on online. This is also a design consideration, you might think, simply because it's much more inclusive. With a global organization, we wanted to be able to keep connecting with our friends in Asia, for example. I mean, otherwise we would need to, if that was in person, we would need to unfortunately exclude some people. So that was something that we decided to do. So, yes, we have a monthly meetup. This is for mostly, I think, 99% so far we've been doing with internal guests, introducing initiatives, introducing projects or introducing big reports. So, of course, we have a very strong connection to our insights team. And then if there was something that they wanted to share, they always have a stage with us. And there's always high interest in that kind of content. So that's the monthly meetups. Then so far in the almost two years, we have done three get-togethers. This is a longer format. We also have a Teams channel. We decided not to go for a dedicated platform. It is tempting in the beginning to have a whole shiny new digital enabler. Because of that kind of test-and-try attitude, we said, OK, let's just start small and see what happens. And then we learned that this is the most convenient way. People don't switch channels. We would need to produce a lot of content all the time to make people log in. And Teams was already there for everyone. So that works really well. And we also have, of course, our place, our hub on the intranet where one can find all the content. So, yeah, this is how we operate today. It might be changing soon, because, again, it's always about trying something new, seeing what works, what doesn't. And sometimes the most unexpected things work, which is great. But that's why it's really important to keep going and not stagnate. Keep it fresh.

Chris: And is there any specific project or an initiative that was born out of that community or some new type of collaboration that has had a great impact on operations, customers or something that you can share?

Justyna: The goal of the community is not to innovate. It's also an enabler on our bigger kind of innovation landscape picture. It's defined as an enabler and an enabler that makes it easier for people to connect, to share, to learn. And I think in those three goals of learning, sharing, connecting between, that's definitely where I could say with a lot of confidence that we are hitting those goals. However, indirectly, I'm pretty sure today, tomorrow, in a year's time, there is also influence on the actual implemented innovations that then face the customer because people connected, because people shared, maybe there were ideas coming out. But that is not such a direct link today.

Chris: Yeah, sure. OK, but that gives a very good picture and overview of that community. I do have some more questions about the ecosystem, but before we move forward, let's play a quick game, Justyna. This is a super simple game. This is how it works: I will ask a question. And the trick is that I need you to answer superfast. Speed is key. So don't, you know, don't think for too long. Just shoot. And yeah, if we need to discuss, we can discuss. That's the idea. It's called rapid fire round. So number one: What is the most innovative piece of furniture you've seen so far?

Justyna: So I cannot forget. I'm a child of the 80s. So in my parents' house we had this bed that turned into a desk. And it was funny because we weren't even in a small room. But somehow it was there. And I think about today, when I see these innovations coming in, we also have a line now, quite new, with this multifunctional furniture. I think that was quite an innovation in the 1980s.

Chris: So, yeah, it was. That's a classic by now. I agree. OK, number two: If you had to choose between a traditional store or a digital showroom, which one would you choose and why?

Justyna: Both. Omnichannel is the answer. I think perhaps we need to rethink the role of the traditional store. But for sure, it's not one or the other.

Chris: Yeah. OK, and then the last one that might have happened to quite a few people across the globe, I don't know, but: Did you ever get lost in an IKEA store?

Justyna: Yeah, I've heard this joke that it's a rite of passage. I mean, you cannot be a real IKEA lover until you have been lost and found. 

The IKEA ecosystem - A win-win collaboration

Chris: Well, I mean, if you find them one day, that's fine. Well, I think I got lost once in an IKEA, but that's many, many, many years ago, actually. And it's really easy to find out and to get somewhere else. Right. So not too big of a deal. OK, now let's talk a little bit about the ecosystem, the external engagements. I'm also interested because you've built quite an impressive, external ecosystem for innovation. And why is it important for IKEA? I mean, OK, you have a great internal community, right? You have this big community and that's even international, multinational. So why even collaborating with external entities and especially academic institutions?

Justyna: I think it's quite a simple answer. We can't solve today's challenges on our own. And this is true for any company, I suppose. The world is too complex, and the issues are too systemic to try to solve them within the confines of one organization.

Chris: So tell me more about these collaborations. Maybe can make a few examples with whom you are collaborating. And how these external parties work? How do they look like? What value do they bring? And how do they fit in the overall innovation picture?

Justyna: Yes. So what we've been focusing in the collaboration center of expertise is to bring different types of collaborations with the external world. And I suppose this is playing back to my background in consumer insight. I am used to bringing the external voice into the decision-making, because this is basically what you do if you are working in insight. And I think it's even more important to have that with an innovation, whether this is in the scope of kind of finding out about the world or brainstorming or then hopefully also developing solutions not in isolation. 

Chris: Can you make an example of a project? Are you allowed to share something?

Justyna: I think we have been sharing also more broadly on LinkedIn is perhaps just off the top of my head, the two last initiatives that were concerned with this big program called ‘Star of Tomorrow’ where we are looking at the ‘Star of Tomorrow’. There are several streams and it's a complex program. We have been working both with the design students of the Technical University in Delft and with Hyper Island in Sweden. And essentially, the types of collaborations here were actually quite similar. We invited students to develop ideas together, and to ideate. How it looked was different. It was very interesting to see different processes. But at the end of the day it was about getting the outside ideas in, which weren't that many. This is something that I think is quite important to understand. Doing this kind of collaborations, of course, it takes time and effort on both sides. And it will probably not result in the next groundbreaking idea. I think this is something that is really important to understand from the beginning that the learning and the value is in the process of interacting with students, of seeing the ways of thinking of the young people, of what they prioritize, what they find interesting, what they find exciting. And there's of course, there's always some fresh twist. What I really also like working with students is they are not political.

Chris: Well, that's true. They're going to learn this pretty soon, so no worries about that. But yeah, of course, that's a fair point.

Justyna: They just say what they think. And this is very refreshing. 

Chris: Well, of course, that's fair to say. So, OK, that's the benefits for IKEA. Now, what's in for the students? How do you ensure, you know, the benefits are, you know, mutually you know, realized on both sides?

“Working with students is unlikely to produce the next groundbreaking idea. The real value lies is in the process of interacting with students, of seeing the ways of thinking of the young people, of what they prioritize, what they find interesting, what they find exciting.”

Justyna: We put a lot of effort into it. That's why it's actually a dedicated role of mine to do this. It is not left to the project managers to do it on the side, because that would be too much to make sure that there is value. So, of course, we work very closely with the teachers or the lecturers, with the program managers at the universities, to make sure that the students have an optimal learning experience. But also fun. I think that's also very important, that they find it enriching and enjoyable to work with us, and that we give them the good impression that they can learn from us. Both during the sessions and in the preparation of the sessions, because you will see very quickly that there is a difference in the way of thinking, maybe in the academic world and in the business world. And I think it's a really nice mutual check that things can be done differently.

Chris: That's it. Yeah. Is there something like a certificate, like students get the IKEA innovation practitioner associate, something like that? I have found that students like certificates. It's part of why they study. Just asking.

Justyna: We have done that last time with Hyper Island. Indeed, we didn't think about it for us. That was completely a blind spot. But the program manager from Hyper Island said they would love to have something tangible that they have a little bit of paper. And so there were certificates issued after that. And there's you know, there's awards normally of one sort on another. And we make it playful.

Chris: Yeah. Because you're right, some people love to have things on paper. I totally agree. Not everybody needs it, but there is, you know, a cohort. So, OK, I agree. Makes sense. Cool. Yeah, that's that's actually pretty nice, because I guess there is lot in for the students as well to really see how organizations actually work from the inside. That is a lot of value to students. And, you know, maybe one or others might also decide to join IKEA later on because they resonated very well with the things you do with the culture that you have. So I guess that's indeed beneficial for both sides and always good to have the students and maybe even some of the researchers to, I don't know, perspectives from them. OK, cool. So we're coming to an ending already, but I do have three more things. If you know whether there is somebody out there listening to this episode right now, be it, you know, watching the video or in the listening on some of the podcast portals. Now, if you could give one piece of advice to them, to anyone in a company that who is looking to foster a vibrant innovation community, what would your piece of advice be?

Justyna: I need to do more than one. I think make it simple would be one. Definitely just try to start with a simple way as possible and then build from there. And second would be to make sure that you really understand for whom you are building a community and what is it for and what will be the benefit both for the business and most importantly, for the community, because without people, you don't have community. So if you need to build, want to build one, you need to make sure that people see the value in what you are doing. It's not just about having, you know, gathering people in one channel and hoping for the best.

“When building a community, make sure that people see the value in what you are doing. It's not just about gathering people in one channel and hoping for the best.”

Chris: There needs to be more. That's great. Already answered to two of my questions, because I also was aiming at the simplicity. But you already mentioned this perfectly. I also say don't overcomplicate in the beginning, right? It doesn't make any sense. And of course, if you have a community that doesn't have people, you won’t have a community. You have nothing, of course. That's that's very valid. OK, and then I'm just left with one final question, which I need to ask: Please tell me your most impactful Innovation Rockstar moment. If you reflect your entire journey at IKEA so far. What was your most impactful Innovation Rockstar moment?

Justyna: I think there were quite a few. But of course, the freshest in my memory is the most recent one. So although I have eight years under my belt, I will recall the last get together with our community we had in June - the two half days - which was a very successful event. And then the being there at the background, I'm always there in the background. I hardly even listen to the actual content because I'm busy with everything else. Seeing the energy in the chat, seeing how many people turned up, seeing people's appreciation, the questions, the energy. It's just this moment of thinking, you know, we are doing something really useful. It has got an impact. And we are actually doing it pretty well.

Chris: And that's your rockstar moment. All right. Thank you. Thank you very much for sharing this. Sounds awesome. And that's it already for this episode. I know there is much more to share, but we only have limited time in one episode. So thanks Justyna, for sharing the journey, the insights, the learnings and also some of the recommendations you can give. It was a pleasure to listen to you.

Justyna: Thanks for being on the show. Thank you very much, Chris. It was pleasure.

Chris: All right. And to everybody listening or watching, you know, if you want to learn more, or have any question, then simply shoot us an email at And for more Innovation Rockstar stories, enjoy all the other episodes on any major podcast distributor you can get. That's it from Innovation Rockstars for this one. See you soon. Thanks. Bye bye.

About the authors

Dr. Christian Mühlroth is the host of the Innovation Rockstars podcast and CEO of ITONICS. Justyna Baber leads the IKEA Innovation Community.

The Innovation Rockstars podcast is a production of ITONICS, provider of the world’s leading Operating System for Innovation. Do you also have an inspiring story to tell about innovation, foresight, strategy or growth? Then shoot us a note!



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