IKEA Instructions – From Irritating to….Encouraging?

Chris is an intelligent man, a professional engineer excellent with tools and carpentry work, and savvy when it comes to thinking dynamically. He has an impressive resume with constructing things, from a 500 sq/ft tree house 50 feet up; to the most beautiful wine cellars in the villas of Tuscany, Italy. He doesn’t shy away from taking his designs to the next level and a common saying by his friends, family, and admirers is, “Chris never needs instructions.” The dedication and patience he has for all his projects helps display his ability to turn something from simple to complex.

Everyday Chris was looking for something new to create, to be imaginative, to master something unique and original, but he ultimately looks for a challenge, something that will force him to test his creative limits.

One day, however, after a trip to the home furnishing retailer giant, IKEA, Chris was ready to assemble a new office desk, an unsuspected challenge he never saw coming..

It’s not like Chris was trying to build a time machine..


Just a simple office desk for his home. Some IKEA instructions may be easier (yet still difficult-to-follow) than others, like the one below,  but the desk Chris was attempting to assemble (the “Fredrik”) just wasn’t making sense, even for the engineer himself.


Because the instructions were too complicated and easily misinterpreted, Chris became frustrated, impatient, and irritated. This desk was advertised as a 45 minute job and with Chris’ professional experience, he was confident it would only take him 20 minutes tops! But now after 2 hours and many arguments with his friends (who are now trying to help after observing Chris’ struggles) Chris notices something else in the IKEA box..

Even after finding a flash drive which presumably included help on building the desk, Chris was just too fed up and stubborn to even see what was on it. He figured nothing else could help him at this point and he’d have to return the desk anyways. But because after failing himself and getting no help from his friends or research on-line, he decided to insert the flash drive into his computer and was surprised to what he heard..

An excerpt from the audio file:

The encouraging, relaxing, calm audio is definitely not what Chris expected to find on the flash drive. It was very random and almost sounded a little “brain-washy” but for some reason he couldn’t turn off the audio. He listened then listened again, realizing that his frustration and irritability slowly drained away. Although he didn’t want to admit it, the words in the audio were beginning to help him relax and visualize/interpret the images on the instructions better. Because of this, Chris was able to complete step one of the instructions. He immediately went to step two and again, staying relaxed and calm, he was able to understand how the screws, arrows, and desk pieces align.

Finally, just after 20 minutes, Chris was able to assemble his office desk!


Now every time Chris buys a home furnishing from IKEA, the accompanying instructions are a breeze, simply by staying relaxed and envisioning how all the pieces come together. He has even taken this concept into his personal engineering work and just last year designed the top-selling office desk in the world, its called the “Flash Drive” and when asked about his inspiration in the design, he answers “I closed my eyes.”



2 thoughts on “IKEA Instructions – From Irritating to….Encouraging?

  1. Ha, and I thought the new desk would be called “The Chris”! Now the whole process is turned into some sort of zen meditative practice. If they can only find a way to serve fresh little meatballs out of the box…

  2. Visualisation to ease Ikea experience! Awesome idea. Well, done you for getting to the final project stage. I hope you will come and join us on the open course DS106 Open Summer we are planning over on the G+ community. A chance to have fun making stories on the web without any pressure of grades. Hope to see you there, it has been great following your progress here.

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