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.
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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 organizations and education.
Tua heads research at the Design Factory, looking into sustainable design practices, innovation in organisations, co-creation and the impact of the Design Factory. 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. She is the Aalto lead for Cataly(c)st, a Nordic initiative for educating change makers for a more sustainable future. 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, Research in Design and Innovation, 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.
Recent journal publications
- Björklund, T.A., Mikkonen, M., Mattila, P. & van der Marel, F. (2020). Expanding entrepreneurial solution spaces in times of crisis: Business model experimentation amongst packaged food and beverage ventures. Journal of Business Venturing Insights.
- Björklund, T.A., Keipi, T. & Maula, H. (2020). Crafters, explorers, innovators, and co-creators – Narratives in designers’ identity work. Design Studies.
- Björklund, T.A., Maula, H., Soule, S. & Maula, J. (2020). Integrating design into organizations: The coevolution of design capabilities. California Management Review.
- Sheppard, S.D., Björklund, T.A., Chen, H.L., Gilmartin, S.K., Atwood, S., Reynolds Brubaker, E., et al. (2020). Connecting people and ideas: Making sense of a research lab through creating a shared frame. International Journal of Engineering Education, 36(2).
- Björklund, T.A., Keipi, T., Celik, S. (2019). Learning across silos: Design Factories as hubs for co-creation. European Journal of Education, 54(4), 552-565.
- Björklund, T.A. & van der Marel, F. (2019). Meaningful moments at work: Frames evoked by in-house and consultancy designers. The Design Journal, 22(6), 753-774.
- Björklund, T.A. & Krueger, N. (2016). Generating resources through the co-evolvement of entrepreneurs and ecosystems. Journal of Enterprising Communities, 10(4), 477-498.
- Rekonen, S.M. & Björklund, T.A. (2016). Perceived managerial functions in the front-end phase of innovation. International Journal of Managing Projects in Business,9(2), 414-432.
- Rekonen, S.M. & Björklund, T.A. (2016). Adapting to the changing needs of managing innovative projects. European Journal of Innovation Management, 19(1), 111-132.
- Clavert, M., Björklund, T.A. & Nevgi, A. (2014). Developing as a teacher in the fields of science and technology. Teaching in Higher Education, 19(6), 685-696.
- Björklund, T.A. (2013). Initial mental representations of design problems: differences between experts and novices. Design Studies, 34(2), 135-160.
- Björklund, T.A., Bhatli, D., & Laakso, M. (2013). Understanding idea advancement efforts in innovation through proactive behavior, Journal of Research in Marketing and Entrepreneurship, 15(2), 124-142.
- Björklund, T.A., Nordström, K.M. & Clavert, M. (2013). A Sino-Finnish initiative for experimental teaching practices using the Design Factory pedagogical platform, European Journal of Engineering Education, 38(5), 567-577.