Collaboration and The IKEA Effect

What’s the IKEA Effect? Simply, it is a form of narcissism where we tend to appreciate and overvalue the things WE create ourselves. So a reason we may love IKEA furniture is less about how inexpensive it is but more that we built it with our own two hands.

Going it alone, as noted, can lead to an inflated sense of value for our own work. Others could see it as being less impressive of course and one could even surmise that feedback that can be less than glowing might get dismissed by the designer as being flawed.

Some research shows that this is all related to a need to be competent (in our eyes and the eyes of others). When we have feelings of low ability, people can tend to want to go it alone to create. A higher sense of competency thus can lead to less of that need to create in isolation.

The IKEA effect extends beyond physical creations. Think about the less tangible projects, solutions, and designs in organizations around L&D, Marketing, Advertising Campaigns, Leadership initiatives, Change Management, etc. When they fail, how many go back to criticize their own work and rather just point to other factors and forces that caused the lack of success?

Maybe then the value of collaboration is not limited to just creativity or innovation that so many tout. Maybe the value is also in bringing people together to work and preventing bad ideas from becoming expensive, time-consuming, and potentially damaging efforts.