case study:

Is there a market in the shade?


In sunlight deprived Scandinavia with its long dark winters, the formula is easy: the more natural light, the better. Further south in Europe they don’t feel the same way, and VELUX asked us to find out why, in order to develop a new strategic platform for blackout blinds.


We interviewed people in near pitch darkness and others in warm, cosy cocoons of yellow glowing light with the intent to understand what makes people feel good in their homes. We helped create 20 full scale prototypes that ensured the final concept was spot on.


IS IT A BIRD laid the basis for VELUX’s work on a whole new generation of blackout blinds that clearly distinguishes them from other brands in the market.

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Making daylight comfortable

“The blinds were there when we moved in.
I haven't really thought about changing them”
the challenge

Usually they just come with the home, and residents take them for granted. Yet light has a huge effect on our temporal environment and daily routines.

The Scandinavian interpretation of ideal home lighting has driven VELUX’s product development so far, but that doesn’t translate well into the southern European context, with its different needs for heat and light. We found that within the southern European idea of comfort, darkness is as important as light, and is, together with temperature and good ventilation, key to good sleep quality. The closer the bedroom replicates a cocoon, the better.

“I need my bedroom to be like my cocoon,
warm, dark and cosy”
the approach
We held a large qualitative study to gather deep knowledge of French homes through interviews, participant observation and acting out.

We studied the perception of light, indoor climate, aesthetics and home design in order to create a strong springboard for the innovation process. We then worked closely with VELUX executives and engineers to share our findings and develop concepts. We hosted a creative workshop with VELUX representatives from all over Europe that allowed us to work directly with the people that mattered, and create the most effective solutions with strong strategic potential.

In our development of a new product range IIAB gave us a solid starting point with creation of deep insights into our customers
IIAB guided us through a well-structured design thinking process and throughout balanced viability, desirability and feasibility, involving stakeholders and customers.
The process IIAB drove gave us the insights and approach to open new opportunity spaces and build new value propositions.  
Kent Holm, Vice President, VELUX
The Result

We laid the basis for VELUX’s work on a whole new generation of blackout blinds. For example, a new Roman blind that contains decorative features and is not fully integrated into the window, and a black-out Energy blind that maximizes the use of light during the day and offers total darkness at night.

IS IT A BIRD’s work has been used by market executives, engineers, the marketing team and product development team. The focus on the human aspect and experience has given employees a whole new understanding of their customer’s experience of light and comfort in general. This new human understanding also influenced other big decisions in VELUX.

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