Insights

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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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