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  • Writer's pictureWelcomeHome

Learning from a Bookshelf

Updated: Jun 7, 2023

In 1979, a young designer at IKEA envisioned a better bookshelf.  Affordable, functional, and stylish, the “Billy” was an immediate success, first in Sweden, then across Europe, and eventually around the globe.  Today, the Billy bookshelf remains as popular as ever, with one being sold every 3 seconds.


The reason – four decades of relentless innovation.


That may strike some as a strange perspective.  The Billy looks largely unchanged.  It’s a bookshelf, after all.  What’s innovative?


Consider this:

The Billy bookshelf is now 50% lighter.


It’s twice as sturdy.


And, it costs 40% less than it did in 1979.


Over the course of the past 42 years, there haven’t been any moments with Ingvar Kamprad in all black, alone on a stage, unveiling the Billy 39 Plus.  No wow moments.  No flashes of lightning.


Rather, IKEA started with a good idea, built a great product, and committed to making it better every single year.  And, did it again, and again, and again.


WelcomeHome is different from IKEA in so many ways but we find inspiration in the Billy.

It’s not enough that we brought senior living operators the most innovative CRM, with integrated texting, calling, and emailing, the automation of sales standards, an embedded knowledge center. . .


We have to be the most innovative company in the senior living space.


Senior living can’t stand still.  We and our operator-clients need to act and think differently to make an outsized positive impact for their residents, employees, and investors.  They, like us, ask . . .

  1. What is the nature of the innovation we want to encourage and invest time behind?

  2. Is it about making things easier for users?

  3. Adding new features?

  4. Lowering the cost of doing business?

  5. What are the audacious, multi-year initiatives vs. the incremental improvements we want to achieve?

  6. Who should own innovation and how should we measure the success or failure of our efforts?

Ultimately, the goal is to create a culture of relentless innovation.  A single innovation – whether a software feature, a memory care program, a building design, or a bookshelf – can be copied.  But a company and organization that keeps improving – even when it doesn’t need to – thrives for decades.


To learn more about WelcomeHome, our plans for 2021, and innovation in senior living, or to share how you are fostering a culture of relentless innovation, reach out.

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