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4 different forms of bringing design thinking to giants

Greetings from the d.confestival and d.safari, a mix of a design thinking conference and festival celebrating the 10th birthday of the d.school Hasso Plattner Insitute in Potsdam, Germany. This has gathered design thinking academics and practitioners around the globe together to discuss everything from design thinking and neuroscience to social innovations. I would like to share some of the experiences of trying design thinking relayed from the very largest companies, exceeding most Finnish cities in size.

Container muse as a first step at Daimler (284 000+ employees): To help turn both management and employees to fans of design thinking, Daniel Biederman describes bringing in a design thinking container and first batch of design thinking coaches in the middle of a plant to give first-hand experiences in design thinking. A bit over a year into the process, they’ve package design thinking into a step-wise process to help employees have faith that a result will wait at the end.

Moving on to consulting internal teams at Phillips (114 000+ employees): Maarten Rincker shared moving on from design thinking training to a dedicated unit helping internal projects in human-centered innovation. Design thinking skills have thus needed to be coupled with consulting and project management expertise to be able to create successful end-results, not just good ideas.

Bringing design thinking to the customers at SAP (84 000+ employees): Similarly Andreas Hauser reports that while SAP has trained thousands of employees in design thinking, he’s more excited about the 600+ customer design engagement that have been completed after SAP began offering design thinking to its clients and partners. They use design thinking to make sure their doing the right thing, and agile to effectively deliver it.

Employees self-organizing at Bosch (390 000+ employees): Uwe Raschke shared the journey of the Home and Garden business unit giving organizational design to the collective hands of the employees last year. As a result, different departments relocated to a shared building, organizing cross-functionally around application areas, eliminating two out of six hierarchical levels, and incentives were transformed from the individual to team-level performance. They are now experimenting with increasing transparency by opening up high-level meetings so that any employee can tune in.


One underlying theme: communication

The importance of communication was highlighted in all of the different forms of efforts. Daimler and Phillips, just some years into bringing design thinking to the organization, emphasized the need to get showcases to concretize the added value design thinking can bring. Looking back at already a decade of efforts, Sam Yen from SAP and Angela Haas from Swisscom/Creaholic both described scaling design thinking in their organizations as a bumpy ride with ups and downs. Success stories can again help here in recovering from the speed bumps. Andreas Hauser from SAP highlighted tailoring the message to each audience – convincing sales with client deal values, consultants with adoption rates, developers with product improvements, and so on.

In addition to sharing success stories, many highlighted that design thinking needs to be experienced rather than just told of. Both Frederick Pferdt from Google and Uwe Raschke from Bosch highlighted opening up the company’s decision making to everyone in it and the transparency of the top management. So let’s share our development ideas and build on top of them!

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Tua Björklund4 different forms of bringing design thinking to giants

Refresh your thinking on innovation

In Finland, much of the nation halts to a stand-still in July. This can offer a perfect time to refresh and get some new inspiration for your work. Read on for a few questions you may want to ask yourself, and some easy reads to provoke more thinking on the topics.

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Tua BjörklundRefresh your thinking on innovation

Open position: Aalto University Design Factory is looking for a part-time team player!

In an ideal world, one would only be doing things that one loves most. A true team player is a person, who loves to do whatever is needed, in order to achieve the common goal. A perfect team player is exactly what we are looking for.


In this particular position – it’s all about communication. But what is communication in our case? Sometimes you need to be precise as an accountant, sometimes more like a creative director in the following fields:

  • Event coordination (managing reservations, being the touch point for guidance and help, technical support)
  • Internal and external communication (reports, website, social media)
  • Visitor management (as part of the team: tour hosting, administration)
  • Being one of our jacks-of-all-trades (e.g. urgent help in printing, 3D printing, AV-systems, photographing & filming tasks) so you definitely cannot be afraid of technology!

It’s a part-time job and you must be able to proceed with your studies as well. However, if you could combine these two duties in a way that makes you easily accessible and ‘visible’ at Design Factory, that would be perfect. We will fully support your studies with truly flexible work arrangements, on the other hand we highly appreciate your help sometimes on very early mornings or very late evenings.


A good candidate fulfills the following specs:

  • a social, positive and energetic person,
  • like a fish in the ocean with different social media channels,
  • passionate about exploring, developing and testing means for good communication and information sharing,
  • a student of Aalto University, who could commit for staying with us for 1-2 years before graduation,
  • who already has had a touch point to Design Factory community, e.g. through courses, projects or other activities in the ecosystem,
  • fluent both in Finnish and English.

You are expected to communicate with several different stakeholders, write blogposts and organize everyday situations. In general, you must handle and organize many things at the same time, never being afraid to face new challenges with positive and proactive attitude. You should be able to work both independently and together with engineers, designers and business guys and gals alike, take responsibility, and be a true team player at heart.


Working at Design Factory

As Design Factory is an experimental learning platform, this position also gives you a great opportunity to learn new things. If you aren’t a master in social media, photographing, visual communications tools or WordPress yet you will get a chance to learn all of that. You will have lots of flexibility and room to see what is needed, and personalize your own position. Most importantly, you are in charge of your own work and the job shouldn’t delay your studies.

The position is part time, starting immediately as a good candidate is found. We hope that you could be working 16-24h/week.


How to apply?

Tell us about yourself in any way you feel most appropriate for this position by contacting Tiina Tuulos, tiina.tuulos(at)aalto.fi.


All you need is love, design, business and engineering.

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Tiina TuulosOpen position: Aalto University Design Factory is looking for a part-time team player!

Does early ideation result in collaborative fixation within a development team?

Various types of creative sessions are typically held early on in projects to help design teams in exploring the solution space and ensuring a wide consideration of potential design directions. However, research has shown that such a group situation might result in fixation effects from exposure to ideas and perceptions of other group members. Miko, Tua and Senni studied how an early ideation workshop affects the range of perspectives to the problem and ideas for solutions present within interdisciplinary teams.

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Miko LaaksoDoes early ideation result in collaborative fixation within a development team?

Balancing between divergence and convergence in design creativity research

Greetings from the design creativity research community, convening at Atlanta at the 4th International Conference on Design Creativity (ICDC)! Read on for some interesting results from a place where laughter yoga, standardized tests, and prototyping facilities in actual castles all co-exist in peace.

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Tua BjörklundBalancing between divergence and convergence in design creativity research



29sep08:00- 09:00140. BisnesTreffit / BisnesDates "3D-printing in Business"


27oct08:00- 09:00141. BisnesTreffit / BisnesDates "Data Driven Business"


24nov08:00- 09:00142. BisnesTreffit / BisnesDates "Opportunities at CERN"


15dec08:00- 09:00143. BisnesTreffit / BisnesDates "Powerful Communication"


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Please contact the people below

Tiina Tuulos

+358 50 323 6586