One discovery was that the programs organically conceived by participants, rather than staff, seemed to have a higher success rate. In addition, the programs with especially large committees (i.e. number of people leading the event) were also quite successful.
As we discussed the ramifications, a fellow board member mentioned the concept of the “IKEA effect.” When people buy furniture at IKEA, they have to assemble it themselves. You might think people would find this frustrating. But, in fact, they report a high degree of satisfaction with their IKEA furniture – largely because of the greater sense of ownership that comes from the labor required to assemble the furniture.
This do-it-yourself-to-love-it-more phenomenon presents an invaluable opportunity for leaders of teams – and brands. When you can set up projects for others – or even a product – with a dose of assembly required, you are likely to garner a higher level of commitment.
Of course, by having customers assemble their own furniture, IKEA runs the risk of shoddy execution and improper assemblies that reflect poorly on their brand. Similarly, we must accept the risk of deviations from our expectations as a reasonable cost for empowering our teams and our customers. In many cases, the benefits of do-it-yourself are likely to outweigh the costs.
As leaders, we must challenge ourselves to let others create what we have in mind, if only to accomplish the ultimate goal of engaging others and fostering ownership.
***This article is based on research by Scott Belsky and the Behance team. Behance runs the Behance Creative Network, the 99% productivity think thank, the Action Method project management application, and the Creative Jobs List.