Ingka (IKEA Group) goes big - and virtual

The company successfully used Xynteo’s virtual collaboration process to advance its long-term climate change agenda, despite the Covid-19 crisis.

How does a global retailer bring together a worldwide team to push on with an ambitious sustainability strategy, when it suddenly becomes impossible to hold physical events?

Ingka (IKEA Group), working with Xynteo’s team, solved this challenge recently, to stay on track with shaping the future they want to be a part of.

Battling climate change during the Covid-19 crisis

The company is developing a new and innovative climate engagement strategy, through which it hopes to engage its 750 million customers in a conversation about the global climate ambitions they all share.

Despite the significant health and economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis, the year 2020 also marks a key milestone in the global agenda to address climate change. Although key events such as this year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) have been delayed, Ingka recognised that it was now more important than ever to remain committed to its target of becoming climate positive and circular by 2030.

So, when travel restrictions and social distancing guidelines from the Covid-19 crisis made a previous planned cross-functional workshop impossible, we adapted quickly. Together, we developed a new virtual workshop process, to keep Ingka’s innovation pipeline and strategy on track.

Ingka’s At-Home virtual workshop

On the morning of 30th March, from our kitchen benches and home offices across time zones, more than 30 participants gathered in a virtual waiting room, ready for a full day of collaboration to define a climate campaign for Ingka and the many, many (750 million) people.

The day would see thought-provoking conversations with leading experts, agile sprints to brainstorm campaign ideas across three breakout groups, and cross-functional discussions on weaving together the business narrative across three target audiences: government, business and consumers.

Chester Cunningham, Managing Director at Xynteo, reflected on the day’s outcomes; “it was impressive and promising to see that businesses and key stakeholders could still come together with an agile approach. This shows that we can still achieve connection, ideation and real tangible outcomes if we bring together the right strategy, tools and mindset.”

Together, we were able to innovate and brainstorm across functions without being co-located. We were able to extract valuable insights and knowledge and generate actionable outcomes, embracing innovation in the new (virtual) normal.

Rounding off the day were closing words from Ingka Global Head of Public Affairs & Advocacy, Simon Henzell-Thomas, who thanked participants for their incredible energy and engagement throughout the day. He later remarked that this workshop had left him in awe, saying: “This sets a new benchmark for digital meetings. Before the current crisis, many people thought that driving business from home is not possible, but we proved that it is.” The feeling was echoed by other participants later that day, underlining their excitement to continue the conversation and work together with Ingka to make the strategy a success.

Lessons learned from the day

The bar has been raised on agility

  • The huge challenges we are facing with Covid-19 put the concept of agile business strategy and culture to the test. Truly agile companies are able adapt and cope, without losing sight of key business priorities. This virtual workshop was an example of that.

Virtual is the “new normal”

  • Surprisingly feedback from the workshop showed that collaborating online can actually be more effective and satisfying than physical events, even for networking. With the right trust and technology, there’s no limit to virtual collaboration.

We must keep reinventing growth

  • It is clear that innovation remains a ‘must-have’ for any organisation, breathing life into the business, to ensure sustainable growth. Now more than ever, it is important that we keep reinventing growth at the centre of our purpose.

To learn more about Xynteo’s work to reinvent growth, please contact Chester Cunningham.