Insights

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Floris van der Marel

Floris is design researcher skilled in creative facilitation and design coaching combining Participatory Design and research practices to contribute to political activism by amplifying unheard voices and challenging power imbalances and normative hierarchies.

Based on data collected in the Design+ project Floris is contributing to our understanding of designers’ experiences in large tech organizations as they attempt to challenge the status quo in engineering-heavy organizational cultures and in DesignBites he’s diving into the creative responses of entrepreneurs and their communities tackling the pandemic. He’s also continuing working with participatory design in hospital settings based on a 2019-20 visit in Design Factory Melbourne.

Floris draws from a MSc degree in design research from Delft University of Technology and Middle East Technical University, as well as a BSc degree in industrial design engineering. Prior to joining Aalto Design Factory, he worked at the Frisian Design Factory in Leeuwarden, Netherlands.

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JoelFloris van der Marel
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Maria Mikkonen

Maria is a researcher in the DesignBites project, specifically interested in the themes of storytelling, networks and ecosystems, and entrepreneurial identities. She comes from an international design business management (IDBM) background, with first-hand experience of entrepreneurship from running her own company TwentyKnots. She’s also a passionate photographer, and comfortable decoding narratives in not only in the interview data but also the Instagram feeds of the ventures we track.


Download our DesignBites report here.

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Tua BjörklundMaria Mikkonen
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Senni Kirjavainen

Senni is a designer doing research on design processes and ways of supporting creativity. She is involved for example in Design+ tracking initiatives taking design thinking to practice large tech companies.

Senni is passionate about smooth user experiences and services that really serve their purpose. She draws from a MA degree in industrial design from Aalto University, and doctoral studies in engineering design.

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adminSenni Kirjavainen
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Tua Björklund

Connecting theory and practice

Tua is one of the co-founders of the Design Factory. As a professor of practice appointed to the Design Factory and the head of its research, her work revolves around understanding, teaching and developing co-creation efforts, turning ideas into improvements in different contexts: design, entrepreneurship, management, and teaching.

Tua heads research at the Design Factory, looking into co-creation and the impact of the Factory, promoting innovation and empathy in engineering education, and how entrepreneurial opportunities are produced. In addition, she manages the externally funded research projects Design Plus and DesignBites, investigating how design thinking can change the way companies organise for innovation and how collaborative experimentation can give rise to new opportunities. Outside of Aalto University, Tua is one of the associate editors of the Journal of Engineering Education, the highest ranking journal in engineering education.

On the teaching front, Tua is a part of Design Factory efforts to promote developing university teaching. She teaches responsible innovation in Mechanical Engineering in Society, Design thinking in Innovation Projects, Service design tools for creating change and design innovation in executive and professional education.

Tua has a DSc degree in work psychology from the Aalto University School of Science, and an MA degree in cognitive science from the University of Helsinki.

Publications on the Design Factory

Recent journal publications

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adminTua Björklund
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Maria Clavert

Development Expert, Researcher

Maria is providing practice-driven pedagogical mentoring in the fields of design, business, and engineering. Her research interests include pedagogical change agency and design-based learning in engineering education.

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adminMaria Clavert
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Satu Rekonen

Satu is soon defending her doctoral thesis on managing exploration projects. Her post-doctoral research focuses on cross-disciplinary collaboration, collaborative cognitive processes, and the role of design in organizations. She is based in the industrial engineering department of the School of Science, but works in the Design+ and DRIVE research projects at the Design Factory.

Satu’s mission is to educate game-changers who are able to make a team more than the sum of its parts. She is making students aware of the importance of teamwork and soft skills, which facilitate the utilization of expertise. She draws from a  licentiate’s degree in industrial management and master’s degree in business.

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adminSatu Rekonen