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.
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 the co-director of the Design Factory, an assistant professor in leading for creativity in the School of Engineering and the deputy director of Materials to Product (M2P). 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 research projects CREATNet, Design Plus, Design+Sustainability, and ATTRACT, 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 and belongs to the Design for Transformation and Change research network. Outside of Aalto University, Tua is a senior associate editor at 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 and human-centered design in Mechanical Engineering in Society, Design thinking and creativity for innovation, and Prototyping for 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., Gilmartin, S.K. & Sheppard, S. (in press). The dynamics of innovation efforts in the early career. Creativity and Innovation Management.
- Surma-aho, A., Björklund, T.A. & Hölttä-Otto, K. (in press). User and stakeholder perspective taking in novice design teams. Design Science.
- Björklund, T.A. & Hannukainen, P. (2022). Tracking design from offerings to strategy. Touchpoint, 13(1), 86-92.
- 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.