Blog

  • Preparing a TED talk: a journey to the essence of my work

    For the past two weeks, I have been busy preparing a TED talk that will take place on March 22 in Delft, The Netherlands. Several times in the past, I have been approached about possibly speaking at a TED event, and I have never pursued the opportunity until now. Among the reasons for my hesitation is that I consider the

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling
  • How IKEA influenced the shopping experience

    Near the end of the previous post, we touched on the significant role IKEA played in the democratization of retail shopping. Nowadays, it would be easy to lose sight of what a remarkable achievement this was in the furniture business, which has long been extremely traditional and resistant to change. In fact, when considering IKEA’s impact on the entire industry

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling
  • Democratizing shopping for the “many” people

    Our previous post closed with a brief discussion of Ingvar Kamprad’s leadership by example, how he both molded and modeled IKEA’s unique corporate culture. Judging by the interviews with employees that I have read or seen, it would be reasonable to believe that the founder’s personal behavior may have shaped and maintained “The IKEA Way” more than any other single

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling
  • The source of IKEA’s resourcefulness

    Since the company’s beginnings, IKEA and its founder have been characterized by a strong sense of identity that comes from the region of Småland—a harsh, rugged, punishing region that is largely agricultural. As we saw in the previous post, one of the defining traits of the Smalandians is their extraordinary thriftiness, an ability to go through life with limited resources.

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling
  • How IKEA’s core values are connected with its creator’s origins

    Last time, I wrote that one of the best examples I have ever found of using personal narrative to influence one’s world was that of IKEA and its creator, Ingvar Kamprad. In fact, IKEA’s corporate culture is so tightly intertwined with the origins of its iconic founder that it is sometimes difficult to separate the two. On a surface level,

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling
  • The compelling story of IKEA: what’s in a name?

    News that that IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad had passed away—on January 27 at the age of 91—left me a bit reflective. Though I never had the pleasure of meeting Mr Kamprad, his life narrative and the story of IKEA have been a part of me for the past twenty years. The company he started has provided some of the most frequently

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling