The IKEA Effect: Why Going Digital May Not Be All It’s Cracked Up To Be

A few years ago police in Sweden were called to what they were told was a domestic disturbance.  Neighbours had heard all sorts of banging, yelling, screaming, swearing and crying coming from a house where a couple lived with their young son, and feared the worst. 

The police did not walk into a domestic disturbance; rather, what they found was that the couple had merely been trying to assemble a piece of IKEA furniture, and had run into some difficulty.  Hence the banging, the yelling and the swearing.  The young child was frightened by all the commotion, and started crying and screaming. 

That is the Ikea Effect. 

Well, actually it isn’t.  Continue reading “The IKEA Effect: Why Going Digital May Not Be All It’s Cracked Up To Be”

Social Wellness and e-commerce – Lament for a Local Hero

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“We can do all of this by phone and telex”

 In the 1983 film Local Hero, Mac (Macintyre) was sent to Scotland to buy a village, so that his employer, a global oil and gas company, could build an oil refinery on the ridiculously picturesque Scottish coastline.  Instead, Mac fell in love with the village, the scenery, the people, the northern night skies and the lifestyle of the place.  He couldn’t complete the deal as originally planned, and returned to Houston.  But, the final scene suggests that he hadn’t really left the town of Ferness.

The movie didn’t make much of an impact at the box office, but its warmth, charm, and subtle messages of empathy and understanding make it a continuing favourite of many.  Al Gore apparently named Local Hero as his favourite movie, perhaps because of its fit within a narrative of environmental stewardship (the oil refinery gave way to a marine institute).    The real charm of Local Hero, however, is in its gentle presentation of a narrative whereby Mac realizes that there is much more to life than his Porsche 930, his watch alerting him to conference calls, and an apartment full of high-end quadrophonic audio equipment (the 80s, remember?).  The movie presents a storyline whereby Mac starts mixing directly with the locals, and emerges far better for the experience.  In a time when we seem to be using technology to reduce and even eliminate human contact from our daily lives, it’s a theme worth revisiting.     Continue reading “Social Wellness and e-commerce – Lament for a Local Hero”

If You Want a Better Cup of Coffee, Pay with Cash

During the recent World Series one of the constant interruptions was an ad featuring a group of youngsters marveling about a mysterious stranger who obviously was “greatly respected,” and a man of “considerable power and influence. “  He came into town, received the best in goods and services from merchants, but never seemed to pay for anything.

It turns out that the stranger used a variety of mobile payment methods, including his smartphone and his Apple watch.  All he had to do was turn the appropriate device to the appropriate interface, and presto – payment made.  How wonderful.  How efficient.  How cool.

I wonder if the boys knew that the mysterious stranger likely left town disappointed.  Sure, he had a cup of coffee, a meal in a nice restaurant, a new hat and a book,  all swiftly paid for with a wave the wrist, but something was missing – all of those items didn’t satisfy him as much as they once did.  Why not?  Because it was too easy. Continue reading “If You Want a Better Cup of Coffee, Pay with Cash”