Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Learning from IKEA hacking: i'm not one to decoupage a tabletop and call it a day.

(Comment left on: Nicholas Lupfer's Blog)

Daniela Rosner - School of Information - University of California - Berkeley CA
Jonathan Bean - Department of Architecture - University of California - Berkeley CA

Paper Link:

Rosner and Bean conducted a qualitative study on a particular online community that identifies themselves as IKEA hackers to examine the increasing trend of interest in personalization and Do It Yourself (DIY) culture. IKEA hackers provide "an intersection between online culture and the material world of creative practitioners."

IKEA hackers take IKEA products and modify them to create unique products. Examples of IKEA hacking include the GYNEA chair, two IKEA chairs made into a single gynocology chairs with comfortable leg rests.

The study was a simple set of 9 1=2 hour interviews where the researchers questioned the hackers about their motivations, inspirations, and various creations.
The researchers discovered 3 themes:
1) Identity and Creativity
2) Technology
3) Hacking

Most hackers felt a kind of creative expression in IKEA hacking that made them feel like valued individuals while simultaneously being identified as part of a community that enjoyed similar interests of creating useful and unique products.
One participant labeled this idea as "non-concurrent collaboration."

Most hackers felt a kind of satisfaction from the haptic sense of physically manipulating objects and noted that they couldn't get this sensation from traditional computer based hacking.
They also noted that they felt RL (real life) hacking had a constructive feel which opposed the kind of destructive feel that computer based hacking has.

My Spill:
One interesting idea to come out of this idea was that parties interested in collaborative design should provide tools to encourage the performance of collaborative values as well as a common medium for collaboration itself.
There has to be some kind of business idea that could take advantage of that.

It is interesting to see how much web based culture can intersect with RL.

The drawback of this study is probably a lack of quantitative data to work with.
But from the perspective of the paper, it is probably on a minor drawback.
I would have liked them to discuss a few more IKEA hacking creations to get a better feel of the process of it.

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