‘Some Assembly Required’ supports change

By Christopher Stevenson

Common sense would seem to dictate that consumers would derive more value from furniture that is delivered assembled. Really, who wants to buy a desk in pieces, pour all the parts onto the living room floor, and spend two hours trying to decipher instructions and assembling?

But as William Safire said, “Never assume the obvious is true.”

As it turns out, multiple research projects over the past 60 years have shown that participating in the creation of something enhances a person’s perceived value of the end product, whether it’s IKEA furniture, cake batter, or a Build-a-Bear stuffed animal. In the words of Roberto Fernandez, Ph.D., faculty member at CUES’ inaugural Strategic Innovation Institute, hosted at MIT Sloan School of Management, if you help make a product you like, “you like it that much more.”

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