Insights

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Hanna Huhtonen

Hanna is a project researcher at the Design Bites project and passionate in bridging the food businesses and research closer in order to create solutions towards a sustainable and healthy world. Coming from an entrepreneurial family and having a business herself, she is fascinated about the motivations of the entrepreneurs and how food supply channels connect the world and different cultures. She believes that our choices around food can make a large impact on our world and wellbeing, the food being a necessity in all of our lives.
Hanna draws her experience from the master’s degree from the Helsinki University (2015) majoring in general history and minoring in development studies. At the private sector she has an extensive experience from the specialty coffee industry where she works as a consultant, importer and professional grader.
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Tua BjörklundHanna Huhtonen
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Erika Perttunen

Erika has a multidisciplinary background having studied both Strategy and Venturing in Aalto School of Science and Finance in Aalto School of Business. Currently, she is involved in the DesignBites research project delving into research on design processes, ecosystems and creative collaborations.

In addition to her research work, Erika plays a role in communicating about Design Factory’s research – intriguing findings, new projects, and upcoming events.

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Tua BjörklundErika Perttunen
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Anna Kuukka

Translating insight and creating tools for understanding

Anna has a multidisciplinary design background and she is accustomed to switching perspectives between research, trend forecasting, concept design, design management, product development and brand building. In Design Factory she focuses mainly on DesignBites project both as a researcher and in the development of insight. Anna is passionate about creating design solutions that bridge abstract and concrete ideas, enable stakeholders to share understanding, and, above all, improve the life of their end-users. 
 
Anna has a MA in design from Aalto University (2013) including International Design Business Management as her Minor. 
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Tua BjörklundAnna Kuukka
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Teo Keipi

Social aspects of innovating design thinking

Teo is a social scientist with a background in social psychology, economic sociology and behavioural economics. His past research has involved group decision making, attitudes and behavioural patterns linked to identity including issues of trust, wellbeing, risk assessment, accountability and social tie effects among others. His research at the Design Factory focuses on mapping contextual factors that influence motivational, performance and cooperative aspects of organisational decision-making that can be enhanced by the design thinking approach.

In terms of Design Factory projects, Teo contributes primarily to Design+, DesignBites and DRIVE, studying how the design thinking approach and nuanced group dynamics can be leveraged for innovating business strategy.

In the private sector, Teo has been involved with building cooperative strategies between corporations and start-ups in addition to studying corporate experiences of innovating and integrating start-up expertise within complex and well-established companies.

Teo has a PhD in Economic Sociology from the University of Turku (2016).

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Tua BjörklundTeo Keipi
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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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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