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.
Translating insight and creating tools for understanding
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).
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.
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.
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.
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 three externally funded research projects Design Plus and DesignBites, investigating how design thinking can change the way companies organise for innovation. 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 design thinking and service design in executive and professional education, the open hackathon Rat Relay for Global Good, and AAN-C1003, an integrated course to promote reflection, setting learning goals and skill communication in the interdisciplinary bachelor-level Aaltonaut product development minor.
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., Keipi, T. & Maula, H. (in-press). 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.