IKO is among the world’s leading experts in shingles. An alternative to tile or metal roofing, asphalt shingles are typically flat, overlapping elements made of compressed particles. They’re affordable, durable, customisable and easily installed.
You’d expect that such a 66-year-old dinosaur with an established product wouldn’t be willing to step out of its comfort zone, but IKO has a long history of pushing boundaries by combining technology, expertise, and a reasonable amount of guts.
But whereas it’s common to cover a roof with shingles in the US, they’re a niche product in Europe. So they asked the Bundl team to help them challenge the industry, bringing IKO into the European home roofer mindset.
“Being a traditional family business, our long-term goal is to incorporate innovation into IKO’s DNA to achieve the company’s goals. (…)
Ultimately, with our innovation strategy, we want to be different than the competition, add value to our offer with happy customers and grow our business.”
This first phase is all about research, scheduling, and setting up the teams. Then, in a 5-day sprint, we’ll develop, shape, and pitch our ideas to the high ranks. Finally, we’ll validate the results with real customers to get concrete feedback for a potential follow-up to the project.
This is where we build our project’s foundation. It usually starts two to three weeks before the actual sprint, and by the end of this process, we are fully immersed in the subject, ready to start the week at full speed.
For IKO, we had two main elements on which to focus our research:
IKO’s factory sits in Slovakia, so we had to fly there to get a more in-depth understanding of their process. The Bundl team never says no to a chance to travel, so we quickly booked our agendas, a meeting room, and plane tickets to Bratislava. We also invited IKO’s best experts from all over Europe to meet us for a half-day intake workshop.
Our host was Impact Hub Bratislava, a co-working space right in the center of the city. This step in the process was built for us to learn from the IKO team, so we weren’t brainstorming ideas or creating new concepts. Instead, we focused on picking their brains as they showed us opportunities and struggles.
“The start of a new project is always an exciting moment. How will this group interact? How is their flow?
The actual start with the Intake Talk in Bratislava kicked off well. Basically Bundl needed, in this session, a lot of input from us and the IKO colleagues were eager to share their insights and thoughts.”
The result of the Intake Talk was a series of avid, honest discussions. While the team agreed about what they didn’t want to focus on, the struggles and opportunities differed from country to country. It was challenging to get everyone on the same page and on the right track, but a huge eye-opener and a true learning experience for everyone.
Key goals we setup for the following sprint:
Work towards setting up an innovation culture within the company;
We wrapped up the morning with a presentation to explore the possibilities and the “no goes” in the industry, providing the team with new ideas to ponder until we meet again in September.
“The next steps are all about generating ideas and shaping them further into feasible concepts.
I expect my innovation team members to step out of their comfort zone and — with the help of Bundl’s approach and tools — find their creative and intuitive skills to dream, observe, explore, test, fail, and try again. I am convinced, that embedding a creative start-up mentality would be good for IKO, as it will create a balance with its natural analytical, rational capabilities.”
We drove for roughly 1h30 before reaching the plant, built in the middle of a remote field of blossoming sunflowers. It was the summer holidays and the place was oddly silent, the production frozen and only a handful of people were at their posts. We couldn’t see the machinery in action, but someone guided us through the whole setup, from raw materials to packaging, testing and sorting processes.
Back in Antwerp, it’s time to dissect our learnings to structure the Value Proposition Pitch. Every project is different, and thus every exercise and fly-in expert must be carefully selected to ensure the efficiency and productivity of the week.
We’ll structure the week, adjust and create new exercises, pack our Post-its, markers and dot stickers, and fly back to Bratislava for a week of intensive idea generation. I document the process every step of the way, so stay tuned for updates.