Aalto Design Factory Annual Report 2015-2016

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ADF Annual Report Our year at Aalto Design Factory



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FAQ: What products does your factory design? Dear Reader, You are looking at our annual publication, which unfolds a year inside Aalto Design Factory (ADF). ADF was the first official building of Aalto University and serves now as an experimental learning and co-cretion platform for education, research and application of product design. During the past academic year, ADF has been the birthplace, for instance, of a portable humidity calibrator, an alcohol reducer for wine, and a new game design for the casino industry. Our students are the ones who design and prototype the products here in collaboration with various different partner companies. ADF’s role is to provide the students a platform that enables them to actualise their ideas, our mission is to educate the world’s best product designers. To accomplish these objectives on a daily basis, we combine theory with practice, use such pedagogic methods as ProblemBased Learning, and keep ADF easily accessible. Since we find these values and modes of operation to be the very core of ADF, we have decided to showcase the academic year 2015-2016 through them. We have categorized the variety of projects, international activities and everyday happenings under these philosophies, which also include for example open innovation, internationality and interdisciplinarity. The data in this publication has been assembled by conducting surveys on students and researchers and interviewing people from the community. Some data was gathered from measurement devices around the building and own tracking systems of the staff memebers. We hope this publication reflects our practices and values, and gives you a sharpened image of what Design Factory is about - who are the people in the community and what they have been doing during the past year. - Sonia El Kamel & Katariina Helin, The Editors in Chief

Misleading keywords? The chapters of this report are named with words that describe our goals and modes of operation. Those words are not so infrequent. Most people are using them, and most probably believe that everyone understands their meaning.

The stories, facts and figures under the chapter titles may shed new light on the understanding mentioned above. The stories are original and true. However, there is always the risk that this kind of report leaves a bit polished or sugar coated impression.

To be on the safe side, let me just give some additional, ugly and realistic interpretations for those key words:

Interdisciplinary = misunderstandings Problem Based Learning = problems (all kind) Theory & Practice = mismatch, uncertainty Easy access = disorder and uncontrollability Interaction = collisions / disturbance International = discomfort Passion = depression Open = chaotic

What I’m saying is that when such goals, philosophies and ways of working are applied, the shadow sides should be kept in mind, too. A strong community is important, in order to support any student, staff member or poor professor on a bad day. I wish Design Factory to be considered the place, where one will not be left alone or betrayed.



Interd ciplina Students graduating from university are expected to master their disciplinary knowledge in increasingly complex and diverse tasks, while collaborating with people from different fields and backgrounds. Hence, Design Factory has its focus in interdisciplinary activities. In the courses held at ADF students often work in teams, and in some courses it is essential that each team has students from the fields of engineering, business and arts.


The interdisciplinary aspects of ADF are not limited to the courses and students only. We like to see ADF in general as a melting pot of different fields, backgrounds and experiences. The ADF community consists of students, teachers, company representatives and researchers, other staff members or visitors from all over the globe. At ADF, no one is resticted to one role only. On the contrary, we encourage our people try out new things and bring their extra-curricular expertise into the team. As the father of Design Factory, Kalevi “Eetu” Ekman says; “You best learn by having various roles.”

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Background of ADF Staff Background of ADF researchers




Background of ADF Students





FAQ: Is it hard to work in interdisciplinary teams?

“Not in my experience. On the contrary, when students with different academic backgrounds work together it usually leads to better and more diverse coverage of the task at hand. When the team and its members have a versatile set of skills the results are usually more thorough and take into account multiple, even opposing, viewpoints.”

Markus Juslenius Business Technology Student Participated in Aaltonaut in 2016

“At first I found it a bit challenging, because other fields have different learning cultures and ways to approach things. I‘m used to starting from the bigger picture and proceeding to details from there, whereas someone else might find it easier to start from detailing. I realized that when you only work with people from your own field, you might get stuck in your own routines.” Suvi Majander Industrial Design Student Participated in Aaltonaut in 2016


Glimpse to learning activities hosted by ADF Originating from product development and design education, Design Factory provides an environment that is suitable for experiential learning. The Design Factory approach combines disciplinary knowledge with design thinking and working life skills, such as collaborative working style, effective communication skills, and ability to implement theory to practice.



Aaltonaut is Aalto University’s Bachelor’s Minor Programme on Interdisciplinary Product Development launched for the first time in 2013. Duration: 9 months

Pack-Age, Interdisciplinary Packaging Design Project is an Aalto minor that is offered as one long 15-credit interdisciplinary project course. Duration: 3 months

Aaltonaut courses rely on problem-based learning as well as interdisciplinary teamwork in hands-on projects. The general goals of the Aaltonaut programme are refining teamwork and communication skills and reinforcing the entrepreneurial attitude. The programme is designed to be started on first or second year of studies and is aimed at the students of all six schools of Aalto. It consists of three mandatory and two elective Aaltonaut courses.

The students work in groups on company projects. The learning tasks involve designing future packaging concepts and package prototypes. The learning content consists of theme lectures and workshops as well as independent and supervised group work. Teaching is based on collaboration between different teachers and schools. Utilizing competence and cooperation networks makes it possible to offer more comprehensive and holistic approach to teaching and learning packaging design.

Students are also offered a possibility of doing their bachelor’s thesis in co-operation with the Aaltonaut program. The desired Aaltonaut characteristics are curiosity, courage, initiative and ability to take action. The programme offers integrated language studies focusing on communication and teamwork and academic mentoring designed to develop students’ skills in planning studies, finding out one’s own interests and understanding one’s own role in an interdisciplinary team.


The teaching themes include: Graphic design and packaging structures, design for user experience, marketing, branding and consumer research, package development and model making

ME310 Mechanical Engineering 310 (ME310) is an interdisciplinary, project-based course for Master's level students from all Aalto schools, and represents a true integration of engineering, business and design disciplines. Duration: 9 months ME310 Projects 2015-2016 Originally created at Stanford University, the course has operated continuously for over forty years and Aalto has maintained this intimate relationship with Stanford through ME310 for nearly a decade. ME310 is all hands-on, all the time. Also, each team in ME310 pairs with another team from a foreign university to jointly solve the proposed design challenge. These partnerships add diversity to the project teams and give students the opportunity to experience true international collaboration – an essential skill required in this highly globalized world. All teams in ME310 typically start their projects at Stanford University where they participate in a design thinking kick-off workshop and experience the entrepreneurial culture of Silicon Valley. Final proof-of- concept prototypes are typically presented at the Stanford Design EXPE each June in California.

Kongsberg In collaboration with University College of Southeast Norway: Defining the future of semi-autonomous truck driving Lapeyre In collaboration with Paris Est d.School: Redesigning the kitchen for the elderly Merck In collaboration with University of St-Gallen: Improving the patient journey Shoe INN In collaboration with Stanford University: Facilitating the transition to enter the clean room


#Otaniemistories Otaniemi stories present people in Otaniemi. A photographer takes photos and interviews briefly people he comes across on the campus. Follow the stories with a hashtag #otaniemistories on Aalto University’s Instagram @aaltouniversity and Facebook. Photos and texts: Aalto University / Aki-Pekka Sinikoski Many of our DFers have been interviewed in #otaniemistories and in this publication we feature some of the posts that introduce people from our community.

#82 Olli Heiskanen “I am proud that we are not only designing a new beautiful design item, but a product that will have a real impact and be of practical value in people’s lives. During the ME310 course, we are designing a kitchen concept for French furniture and furnishings store Lapeyre, which will allow elderly people to live at home longer by making kitchen work easier. It felt great when, after testing our prototype, a 92-year- old woman who lived alone said that this is exactly what she had wanted for a long time.”

Olli Heiskanen, Student of Industrial Design


Irena Bakić, student, Department of Chemical Technology

#74 Irena Bakić “Empathy is deliberately putting oneself into someone else’s position. For example, in planning a successful design it is essential that the designer can examine the product or service he or she has designed, or the individual decisions related to it, from the perspective of other people. This kind of design thinking would be welcome in Finnish decision making too. Recently it has felt as if most decision makers have completely lacked the ability to put themselves in the position of the people who are most affected by the decisions they take.”



PBL PBL has several meanings for us DFers. At times, during the low points and moments of despair, we refer to it as PainBased Learning. Then again, when feelings of excitement and accomplishment are experienced and the work feels rewarding, PBL equals to Passion-Based Learning. Usually it is however known as Problem-Based Learning or Project-Based Learning. Courses hosted at DF intend to incite child-like curiosity and independent thinking. They are designed to be problembased - the students have to develop solutions to challenging problems presented by companies. The idea is to replicate the situations that occur in working life, as some tasks might not have clear solutions.








I2P course I2P (Internship Innovation Course) is a hands-on course on innovation, delivered in collaboration with ESADE Business School (Barcelona).

The I2P students come from a variety of design, business and engineering backgrounds, and work in multidisciplinary, international teams – comprising both Aalto and ESADE students. Each team is assigned an open-ended innovation challenge by a client organization.

spaces. One key learning point is that complexity and uncertainty in innovation can be managed, but to do so we need to create empirical evidence from users, experiments, tests and prototypes, rather than relying on assumptions and secondhand best practices.

In 16 weeks, the teams undergo an explorative development project based on design thinking and lean startup methods, and ideate, prototype, validate, and deliver to the customer a solution and a business model. The course revolves around the idea of exploration and experimentation: we teach our students techniques on how to explore systematically uncertain, openended innovation challenges. Opportunities are found and investigated by listening to potential users, and quickly iterating between analytical thinking, idea generation and testing through prototypes and experiments.

The course is enjoying growing popularity among the students, and at least half of the participants got motivated to apply through positive word-of-mouth. The reason? I2P offers meaningful challenges and a setup that helps self-discovery and learning immediately usable new tools – as it emerged in student feedback:

By the end of the course, the students have gained a strong sense of the challenges and benefits of working in multidisciplinary, geographically distributed teams. Their creative, analytic and leadership skills are stimulated as they need to find by themselves a sense of direction in the uncharted and complex problem

Words by Stefania Passera, Teacher in charge of I2P


“I find that learning design thinking was the best of my outcome from this course. I am happy that everything I learnt from the course could be applicable to my life and to new projects.”

“I’ve learned by far more than in any other course. I loved the hands-on spirit and our multidisciplinary team. I learned so much about myself as a team member. I now know my strenghts and weaknesses better than ever and want to improve them further”

- I2P Student



FAQ: “In the case of for example PdP -course, the IP rights belong to the sponsoring companies. What do the students think about this?

“It really depends on the nature of the project, product, and the company. In our case of developing a new gas storage solution for Valtra tractors, even if we had invented a new storage solution fit for the tractor, wouldn’t really makes sense to us personally to own the rights outside of the context of a tractor. In case of a patent the students will still be the inventors, even when not the owners. But of course that’s the name of the game and we all agreed to it when we signed the papers in the beginning of the year.”

Bijan Bayat Mokhtari Mechanical Engineer Project Manager of the PdP team TorqueSquad sponsored by Valtra in 2015-2016



The idea for Rat Relay came from Porto Design Factory, and in the first pilot in January 2016 also Aalto Design Factory (Finland), Design Factory Melbourne (Australia) and Nexus Design Factory (USA) participated. In this teaching experiment global problems were solved for eight hours by one country and then passed on to a new country, just like runners pass on the baton in a relay. In the end the problem returned back to the originating country for finalization of the outcomes.

Solving global problems Members of four institutions in DFGN network were presumably the first people ever to test teaching product development in a 48-hour global relay

During the 48-hour relay, ADF staff members and student volunteers worked in interdisciplinary teams of four to six people in eighthour slots to solve the problems originating from the four different countries. ADF teams, all together 14 people, worked a collective 197 hours within the two days.

educational context in such an intensive time span.” The aim of the experiment was to develop a new international experience and pilot a new way of learning. The idea for the experiment came from Porto Design Factory, which is part of the Design Factory Global Network. The network enables solving global problems with truly global input as the network is currently spread over five continents.

Original article: Aalto.fi

Rat Relay simulates a real-world situation in industrial product development. Often only one individual or team works on a project for a limited time and not from the project’s beginning to its end. ´In Rat Relay projects are rotated around the world, taking advantage of the collaborative power of several creative and interdisciplinary teams,’ says Päivi Oinonen, the Design Factory Global Network strategist and one of the organisers of the event from ADF. ”As far as we know this was the first time that product and service design has been tried out in global networks in an



Theo Pract In addition to providing the students with thorough theoretical knowledge, we find it fundamental to offer them courses that develop their practical skills and give them real-life projects and experiences. We think that the best way to realize this perspective is to collaborate with industry. “You would do the same things as you would do in working life. You’re going to be working with your client with a real problem to solve, with a team that consists of different people from different fields – but you’re still in a safe university setting.” - Anniina Mansikka-aho, PdP Alumnus & Student of Industrial Design


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The PdP course is based on the problem based learning (PBL) philosophy. All the tasks are given and sponsored by companies, who are searching for innovative cooperation with the next generation of product developers.

All you need is Love, Design, Business and Engineering. The teams have nine months (Sept-May) to design and manufacture a product for their sponsor company. Our role is to offer the students a safe and supporting environment where hey can learn by doing and provide them with all the necessary tools to do so. PDP Gala At the end of the academic year, the PdP projects are presented at the annual Product Development Gala. This year the gala was spread into two main days: Presentation Day and Exhibition Day.




In the beginning of the course, much attention is directed to the forming of interdisciplinary teams. Each team must have members from the fields of engineering, business and arts.


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Natalia Berseneva, Student of Computational Nanoscience (COMP)

#78 Natalia Berseneva “Our team, which is called Limitless, is working on a PDP project for Beneq. The work started with a pretty straightforward question: How would you use the transparent display? We found that the most difficult part of the project was creating business solutions for an already existing technology. We came up with 200 different ideas and chose the three best ones to work with.�


Research at DF The roots of research at Design Factory trace back to its very beginning. The factory itself was born a research project called Future Lab of Product Design (FLDP), which explored physical and mental approaches to supporting design and development work as well as educating product developers. A common denominator for all of the research at the Design Factory is its practice-oriented nature. Researchers within the community work in close collaboration with students, teachers, industry and the public “Freedom; nice and helpful people sector, often adopting action for whatever weird need or idea” research oriented approaches that generate impact already during the research process. The Design Factory research community consists of researchers from various disciplines, universities and nations. On one hand, members of the ADF staff conduct research on the phenomena related to DF, such as design practices, design thinking and university educations, while on the other, the community at large explores design, development, and innovation from a wide variety of disciplinary perspectives and with diverse methological approaches.

*Collected from a survey sent to researchers


“Peer-support, interesting new contacts, buzz, good reputation of DF, celebrating small wins in the community” “Social events that bring variety in one’s work days, especially if I have a monotonous work phase and long-reaching deadlines” *


Kehitä Kokeillen Can a traditional company embrace a new and innovative approach? This question has been answered by Lotta Hassi, Sami Paju, and Reetta Maila who have been involved in the research project MIND at Design Factory. Their answer is yes – when you just start to do, and develop by trial and error. They have written a book “Develop through experiments!”, which has useful examples and advice about how to systematically develop and create new products and services from emerging ideas. The book also looks into how to learn from trials and how to lead trial based projects. The final outcome is a thriving organization with the capability to accelerate new development ideas.


FUCAM “In FUCAM we are collaborating with Airbus Group and several other industrial and research partners from Europe and Japan to develop a novel conceptual cabin design for short and medium range aircrafts operating in the the Asian market in year 2025 and beyond. The three-year project is funded by the EU Horizon 2020 programme. A western perspective has predominantly driven aircraft design. In FUCAM, we explore current societal facts, future trends and user needs in key Asian markets – Japan, China, South East Asia – and translate them into cabin design drivers. In parallel, innovative emerging technologies that could enable or support future cabin concepts are explored.

From these inputs, we aim to develop a future cabin concept capable of satisfying the identified user and airline needs while incorporating the most promising enabling technologies. Furthermore, thorough studies will be conducted on the integration of this cabin concept into the aircraft, involving producing functional mock-ups and a full-scale passenger validation mock-up. Our role in FUCAM is to drive the exploration and analysis of trends and user requirements along with facilitating the concept ideation and development process that translates the collected inputs into innovative cabin concepts.”

Words by Miko Laakso, Viljami Lyytikäinen and Samuli Mäkinen, The FUCAM team


academ outcom Making the service use experience visible and facilitating the communication between the users and the provider organisation are persistent challenges. We present a proof of concept for utilising a physical modelling approach called collaborative physical modelling (CPM) to reveal the different stakeholder interpretations of a service and to extract these interpretations in a format that can be easily shared and compared, thus facilitating user-developer communication. To demonstrate the use of this method, CPM is used in three differing cases. Our proof of concept brings relief to managers who understand the need for involving users in the service development but who are constantly bound by limited resources. We encourage managers to take advantage of this low-cost, time-efficient and easyto-adopt physical modelling approach before jumping into more complicated and resource-intensive methods. Rekonen, S.M. & Björklund, T.A. (2016). Adapting to the changing needs of managing innovative projects. European Journal of Innovation Management, 19(1),

Helminen, P., Mäkinen, S., & Holopainen, M. (2016). Better user developer communication in service development by collaborative physical modelling. International Journal of Services and Operations Management 23 (2)

Heiskanen, E., Nissilä, H. & Lovio, R. (2015). Demonstration buildings as protected spaces for emerging sustainable solutions – the case of solar building integration in Finland. Journal of Cleaner Production 2015. This paper analyzes sustainable building demonstration from the strategic niche management perspective. It studies how demonstration sequences conducted over a long time span gradually contribute to niche development for clean energy technologies at the national level. Our empirical analysis focuses on solar building demonstrations in Finland, an unfavorable context for the technology. Our findings show that the demonstrations leveraged sporadic windows of opportunity for the technology resulting from international developments. The projects supported three niche development processes: the building of networks, different types of learning and the creation of visions and expectations, thereby softening the ground for solar technology uptake in new buildings. However, they have also struggled to make an immediate impact on mainstream practices due to weak continuity and the challenging socio-technical environment. The paper concludes with implications for carrying out demonstrations projects that provide continuity in unfriendly environments.

Six PDP managers were interviewed throughout their projects to study their roles, activities and challenged. Different phases of the project presented different needs for the manager, and the early development phase emerged as a transition point. Establishing supportive ways of working before this transition seemed crucial, as reported activities tended to decrease while reported challenges increased.

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mic mes 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).

Judge B., Hölttä-Otto K. & Winter, A. (2015). Developing World Users as Lead Users: A Case Study in Engineering Reverse Innovation. This paper examines the “reverse innovation” of the Leveraged Freedom Chair (LFC), a highperformance, low-cost, off-road wheelchair originally designed for developing countries. A needs study of 71 developed world wheelchair users was conducted through three different data collectiown efforts. These data were contrasted with studies of 125 developing world wheelchair users, who were shown to be lead users for their developed world counterparts. The GRIT Freedom Chair, the developed world

research gone wild

The purpose of this paper is to explore managerial functions and related activities of inexperienced project managers in the frontend of the innovation (FEI) process.Based on the interviews of 15 PDP managers, the article explores managerial functions in the front-end phase of innovative projects. Taskoriented functions, such as providing structural support and coordinating activities, were emphasized over people-oriented functions such as empowering and encouraging the team when attempting to deal with the fluctuating contingencies of the projects.

version of the LFC, was designed based on results of the study. By recognizing developing country users as lead users, designers can reveal latent needs and create globally disruptive innovations. Clavert, M., Löfström, E. & Nevgi, A. (2015). Pedagogically aware academics’ conceptions of change agency in the fields of science and technology. International Journal for Academic Development, 20(3). The qualitative study explores promoting pedagogical development on a community level as change agency: acting as a broker between the discipline-specific and pedagogical communities of practice in order to establish mutually shared new concepts and practices of teaching and learning. The findings reveal practical means of promoting pedagogical development between academic communities of practice and point out various identities related to acting as a change agent. The study provides a theoretical model and further advances the understanding of pedagogical change agency in the fields of science and technology.

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selecte theses The thesis discusses the methods of Design Thinking compared to other established innovation processes and the course Product Innovation Project. To evaluate if Design Thinking can be implemented into the Product Innovation Project different workshops tailored to the teams in the acadamic year 2014/15 were conducted. The teams implementedthe new skills and by that improved their end results. The outcome of the thesis was a suggestion on how the course can be structured to implement these workshops into the Product Innovation Project.

Design Thinking in the Product Innovation Project Alexander Hehenberger Production Science and Management (TU Graz)

Mapping the difficulty of design activities in product design team work Tuuli Utriainen Information networks, global product design Multidisciplinary product design work can be challenging in both colocated and online environments. This work uses a novel framework to map out experiences of six multicultural, distributed design teams regarding different design activities. The results

show distinction between challenges that emerge when working remotely (convergent activities) and colocated (real world engagement). Effects of the team members’ backgrounds and correlations between activities were also explored.

Capturing Participant Data from Product Design Process – Triangulation of Three Different Approaches Irena Bakic – Wood product engineering, Environmental engineering

Self-efficacy in new product development teams Martti Jerkku – Entrepreneurship & International Trade This thesis explores team members’ perceived self-efficacy during new product developmentproject in capstone course context. the study participates in the discussion of self-efficacy in engineering ieducation by exploiting research of self-efficacy in new venture creation and in the entrepreneurship framework. The analysis presents that soft andinteractions skills are in fact in the core of confidence in product development project

The main result of this research is the Youth Led Innovation program which was developed in New York and Finland and tested in Finland and Uganda between 2013 and 2016. The results this thesis indicate that the design thinking methods which are generally used successfully by the universities and leading global design agencies can provide meaningful learning opportunities for marginalized youth and provides them skills to tackle local problems and create solutions to them in collaboration with their peers.

ed s The Operating Conditions in Re-used Consumer Electronics Business Ecosystem – Case Online Store of Second Hand Computers Juho Katainen - Engineering Design and Production (Machine Design)

Capturing Participant Data from Product Design Process – Triangulation of Three Different Approaches Jani Kalasniemi Mechanical Engineering This study focuses on triangulation of three different measuring methods to understand the amount of support a design team needs from professionals in order to learn new skills for the product design process. The goal of using triangulation is to articulate the strengths and weaknesses of the three methods by comparing the collected data. Measured data is the time coaches spent with the design team during a prototyping challenge which lasted for four days and four hours and was organized at IdeaSquare in CERN in January 2016. Methods used for the data collection are time-lapse images, time-tracking software, and written coach notes. The outcome of the study is that none of the three methods proved to be superior, but each one of them brings up useful data for future studies when combined.

The Dynamics of Proactive Striving – Initiating and sustaining development efforts in product design and entrepreneurship Tua Bjöklund, Lis.Sc.(Tech.), MA Not even brilliant ideas advance themselves. Based on 80 interviews conducted in 13 Finnish organizations, a model is presented for supporting key transitions in the process of translating opportunities into actual improvements in organizations. Interaction with the environment through boundary objects was found to play a key role in both initiating and sustaining proactive development efforts. The market for used goods continues to grow in popularity as people’s environmental awareness and valuation of sustainable development have led to notable changes in consumer behaviour. Central to this thesis are the study of both the business ecosystem of re-used consumer electronics and the practical dynamics of the business model therein. The project is made up of the practical business ecosystem and to the theoretical analysis of the business model involved, in addition to a section delving into e-business specifically. The purpose of the study is to create new understanding concerning opportunities for businesses that work toward sustainable development through their dealing in used goods. The study has been carried out as a case study of Tietokauppa VihreäOmena’s first year in business. VihreäOmena’s background, business ecosystem and business model are described and analysed in the study. Based on this analysis, business challenges and opportunities are identified. The findings of the study are significant in their practical insights into how projects linked to recycling can be improved in both their planning and implementation.

Enhancing the value of early stage prototyping in product development Saurabh Ingale Mechanical Engineering Prototyping is misunderstood and underused tool, especially in multidisciplinary product development. It is necessary to know what exactly are the functions of the prototypes, namely verify, refine and communicate idea. Aim of the thesis was to provide the necessary information and guidelines for using prototypes to their full potential for effective and efficient product development.


Easy In the past, for over 50 years, the ADF building at Betonimiehenkuja 5 served as a VTT research laboratory. This can still be seen in the foundation and structure of the building with its high room heights and a large gantry crane close to the ceiling. The constantly developing spaces that are open around the clock, are designed to be easily accessible and to host everything from lectures, workshops and seminars to community breakfasts and spontaneous encounters that can lead to fruitful collaborations. At ADF, the university students and community members have easy access to materials, people, equipment and spaces in order to actualise their ideas through prototyping and to support problem-based learning. FAQ: How have the spaces developed during the years? We constantly develop the spaces according to the needs of our users. There are several rooms you can’t find anymore, e.g. the Big Sister for user testing & observations with recording possibilities, or Kino the small movie theater. During the last academic year, we added a comfortable team working place called “Heaven� in Puuhamaa, a bookable prototyping room called Mushroom, and continued developing the Lobby area.


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Aallon Aarteet - The treasures of Aalto Words by architecture student Jenny Jolkkonen for the course “Aallon Aarteet.” Translated by Laura Toikka.

“The autumn rain whips against my face; I am surrounded by wetness. The wet grass feels soft under my feet. My big toe feels the stinging grip of cold water which seizes my shoe, step by step. The seam of my shoe is leaking. I hasten my pace as my eyes land on a glowing door in front of me. It feels as though it is radiating warm light into the darkness of this Tuesday morning. Inside I am met by bright light and warmth. My fingers are numb. My steps echo in the empty hallways. As I encounter the marble wall I know I have come to the right place. I immediately find the door to a large room. My gaze wanders in the dimness. I find my seat and rub my fingers to warm them up. Gradually the coldness of my fingers mixes with the stuffy air of the room. I dig out my notes and wait. People stream in steadily. I still wait. There is no teacher to be seen. Uncertainty fills the room. My friend takes matters into her own hands and sets up the lecture slides. We all stare unknowingly at the white canvas, filled with reflected black text. The people around me whisper. They guess reasons for the absence of the teacher. The lecture slides are interrupted soon as Anniina Mansikka-aho takes over the stage. Her face seems familiar. I have met her sometime before. A new set of slides opens up in front of us. We go through the history of Design Factory. I have never visited the place in question, so my interest gradually awakens as the lecture progresses. Anniina glows with ardour as she tells us how pleasant working at DF is. We are told how many versatile courses and lectures are held at Design Factory. I become excited as well as I hear about the various opportunities to learn new things.


The course that stuck in my mind is a course in which students work on product development for companies. In it the students work together with companies and other students. Amazing works and ideas have been carried out during this course! Especially various development cooperation projects sounded intriguing. I hope that one day I can work on development cooperation on a daily basis. The stuffy air in the room causes many to yawn. After the lecture many pack their things away quickly and rapidly head out. We walk the school’s hall as a large mass. Now the hall doesn’t echo, nor does it feel as bleak. The wind and rain still whip against the window. I dig my mittens out of my bag. This time I have a weapon against icy fingers. As I think about Design Factory’s lecture and how I could use what I learned in the future, a thought about openness comes to mind. It is wonderful when people are open. Anniina gladly shared what she had learned and encouraged us to join in. She hoped that we would someday visit the Design Factory. Welcoming with open arms is important. Forming cliques and an introverted environment do not offer the same kinds of learning opportunities. An open heart is much more receptive. Another thing that comes to mind is spontaneity. It is great that some people can be so self-imposed and spontaneous! I find planning important, but not planning everything can liven up daily life. I believe that with spontaneity we can accomplish truly great

“As I think about Design Factory’s lecture and how I could use what I learned in the future, a thought about openness comes to mind. It is wonderful when people are open.”

things. Unexpected outcomes. Unplanned outcomes.”


Working life experiences In the Fall 2015 Design Factory took part in Teknoloikka, an internship program organized by TAF (Techology Academy Finland). Teknoloikka offers people under 22, who have graduated from high school, the possibility to explore working life in the field of technology in form of a four-month long internship. Design Factory’s trainee, Sonia, was given independent tasks in audiovisual communications but was not left completely alone as she was mentored by DF staff throughout her internship.

”Being a mentor in the Teknoloikka program gave me a completely new insight into the phase in which young people are transitioning from high-school to study in higher education. I learned how the the vast opportunities of today bring certain challenges to finding a career from a wide range of selection. I hope that we can develop models and structures that help the adolescents find their own study path faster, and utilise the learning process in case the discovery phase lasts a bit longer.” -Elina Kähkönen, Teknoloikka mentor & Teacher in Charge


”Teknoloikka was a valuable experience as not only did I learn vital hands-on skills in audiovisual communications, I was inspired to apply to study Information Networks – a field that I had not considered before. Now I am a student in Aalto University and still working at Design Factory as the internship led to an extended contract. I hope that in the future, more companies would give this opportunity to young people.” -Sonia El Kamel, Teknoloikka trainee

Aalto Design Factory has hosted five working life trainings (TET-harjoittelu) during 2015-2016. Three of them were project tasks for the teams of two students: Jaakko and Vertti (Pakilan Yläaste 8th grade) developed ideas on how to make school more motivating for the boys of their age. Kanerva and Harriet (Oulunkylän yhteiskoulu 9th grade) made a video to motivate girls to get interested in technology. Maria and Roosa (Helsingin Suomalainen Yhteiskoulu 8th grade) tailored an Aalto Design Factory tour for 8th grade student groups. All the teams worked independently with the task given and accomplished their tasks excellently. The concept of utilizing the expertise of the secondary school teams in defined projects in TET-training will continue and enlarge at Aalto Design Factory during 2016-2017.


Spaces At Aalto Design Factory, there are many spaces for prototyping. The main purpose of these spaces, called Machine Shop, Print Shop, ElectroShop, Knitting Factory, Paint Shop, Wood Shop, Mushroom and Puuhabunkkeri is to serve the students that take courses at Design Factory.

The biggest asset for students that use the shops are the people who run the shops and who instruct and help in different matters regarding product development, design, and purchasing the materials. The staff is able to manufacture parts for the prototypes and products, but also incites the students to try out their ideas independently.

“The tools available. Having access to wood- and metalworking shops means you spend less time shooting down ideas because of feasibility issues, and more time prototyping.� -Student Feedback



New Spaces: Mushroom Mushroom is a new concept of reservable space inside DF, which combines private prototyping area with a flexible meeting room. The main idea is to give teams a space where they can focus on work for multiple days in a row without having to clean up and rearrange in between. The room can be booked in advance for 3-7 days for any DF related project that has multiple people working on it, but if available is suitable for impromptu prototyping sessions as well. Inside you can find a good collection of tools, a well-lit workbench, stackable chairs and tables, as well as a sofa and a big screen. After piloting this academic year, Mushroom has supported around ten projects by IDBM, PDP, Partner Plaza, and DF thesis workers. Development will continue based on feedback to serve especially the students’ needs better. Although the somewhat hidden location of this windowless room is perfect for private working, more teams will hopefully find its existence in the future. Words by Ville Kukko-Liedes, Printshop Master

“Co-working spaces are aligned in general workplace transition, where the social aspects of the work are taken into account much more than in the past. These characteristics emphasize in especially the collaborative nature of co-working spaces both in functional and spatial solutions.” - Typologies for co-working spaces in Finland - what and how? Inka Kojo & Suvi Nenonen (2016)



Interac FAQ: How do you keep up with communications in such a diverse working environment? At DF we emphasize the meaning of communication and interaction both in our pedagogic approach and in our daily activities - soft skills are vital in order to tackle challenges.

Our community is interdisciplinary and multicultural. Here different backgrounds, different fields, different experiences are all working together and enriching the outcome. The accessibility and openness of DF drives interactions within our community. Our working environment and spatial arrangements encourage informal collaboration and knowledge exchange between students, researchers, companies, staff - and even visitors. DF encourages the community to interact with each other - share ideas and help. If you are stuck with your ideas or have a bad day, just head to Kafis - it’s by the coffee machine that ideas are hatched, partneships are formed and spontaneous meetings occur.











Awards Arctic15 EntoCube, a Design Factory based startup, won the Pitching Competition at Arctic15 in June 2016. EntoCube is a startup that offers the world a solution for a high quality protein. They offer the technology to farm insects for insect producers and the insect protein ingredient for food industry. The Pitching Competition at Arctic15 is a part of the yearly competition at Arctic15. Every year, fifteen selected startups from the Nordics/Baltics have the chance to pitch their startup as a part of the Arctic15 conference. The winner of the competition will receive an investment of 50 000 €, among other prizes Arctic15 is the largest startup event in Finland in the spring, heavily focused on matchmaking and business connections. It is organized by ArcticStartup. Source: Arcticstartup.com

Espoon Kasvattajayhteisö 2015 Aalto Design Factory received Espoon Kasvattajayhteisö 2015 -recognition from the city of Espoo. The recognition was granted by the mayor of Espoo, Jukka Mäkelä, at Espoo Day in August 2015. The recognition tradition started in the year 2011, and the award is aimed at communities that act as an important educator. Sources: espoo.fi

Aalto High 5 Community Builder Aalto High 5 awards are granted as recognition of excellent work in areas that represent the key functions of Aalto University. Proposals for award winners, who could be either individuals or groups, were received from all over the community. The Design Factory is one of the key drivers for strengthening Aalto University’s multidisciplinary way of working. It is a place where students, teachers, researchers and industrial and other partners can interact under the same roof. The hands-on approach and attitude of the Aalto Design Factory community have created a unique student centric learning culture fuelled by passion. The community builder award was presented to Aalto Design Factory: Kalevi Ekman and his team. Source: Aalto Communications


Kalevi Ekman Jose Vasconcelos World Award of Education by the World Cultural Council “Kalevi Ekman, Professor of Machine Design at Aalto University and the founder of the Design Factory, was granted the Jose Vasconcelos World Award of Education by the World Cultural Council (WCC). The award was given as a recognition for the international and human approach he has brought to university education as well as for his visionary and inspiring ideas that have made the Design Factory concept an important teaching and learning platform that brings together students, researchers and companies. Ekman is an esteemed mentor and teacher, who has promoted multidisciplinary and cross-cultural collaboration and, for 20 years, has carried out pioneering work for the development of learning methods that encourage entrepreneurship, support teamwork and engage students.” Source: Aalto.fi

Young Designer of the Year Pyry Taanila, a former PdP student and ADF startup partner, won the award Young Designer of the Year. The jury’s comments about Pyry: ”Pyry Taanila is an advocate of design thinking and strong user-centered design. He is an inspiring example of a young and open-minded entrepreneur in design business, who has succeeded in commercializing an innovation and building a totally new product segment utilizing design. Taanila and the Catchbox company are exemplarily creating new business in Finland by successfully combining design with commercial and technical skills.” Design Forum Finland’s Young Designer of the Year prize was instituted in 2000 and is was being awarded for the 14th time. The prize can be awarded to individuals or groups displaying new creative concepts and skills in design. The 5,000 € prize is intended as professional encouragement for young designers to engage in uncompromising and distinctive work. Source: Press release/Design Forum Finland


monthly highlights











2nd Yonsei summer school: 19 students from Yonsei, 6 from Aalto

Philadelphia University Nexus DF opening

International Design Factory Week in Santiago, Chile hosted by Duoc Design Factory

Frisian DF Launch

Me310 Fall presentations




Aalto Ventures Program’s Thought Leaders’ Talk

8 new partners in the ADF Partner Plaza

PdP course starts

Jönköping International Business School, Associate Dean for Education Anna Blombäck

RTU Design Factory opening Yle Morning TV filming at Aalto Design Factory Visitors


Leaders of African business incubators

President of Brazil

Delegation from French Embassy

President of Slovakia

President of Tatarstan Singularity University Delegation

School of Engineering Dean’s X-Mas Coffee Teknoloikka Final Event








Fazer CXHack Hacktahon

Me310 Winter presentations

IPD Final presentations

Pack-Age & ME310 Gala together

Summer school on computational interaction

TAF Millenium morning coffee

Pack-Age course workshops and prototyping

Aalto Strategy Competition

Challenge Breakers Course Opening

BIM Digital design and construction summer school


February March



PDP Halfway Show. RatRelay 48h hackathon (PhilaU, SWIN, Porto, Helsinki) Workshop for Korean Teachers Visitors Sydney Centre for Innovation and Learning delegation Tallin University of Technology delegation Curt Carlson & Esko Aho

Lyon Business School MBA student workshop,working with EntoCube brief

Helsinki Law Clinic (by University of Helsinki, Faculty of Law)



New ADF startup partners: NordiComm Technologies Oy, Luteidentorjunta Helle, Project Chameleon

Minister of Education and Culture Beijing Economic Technological Development Area Tokyo Institute of Technology Osaka University Cross-Boundary Innovation Program

European Space Agency Event 3rd Design Factory Bootcamp @DF (Peru, Bolivia, the Netherlands, Turkey, Latvia, New Zealand) Visitors Prime Minister Juha Sipilä Minister of Education, Namibia

Impact Business Competition Product Design Gala

FUCAM (Airbus EU-project kick off) workshop


Aalto Researchers Breakfast

Aalto ARTS teachers delegation

ABB Marine workshop

Antti Herlin The President of Korea Institute of Science and Technology

Committee for the Future the Parliament of Finland





Students Say: “My team tried to make an electronic prototype, but none of us were engineering, nor knows how to make it. From the electroshop we get advises regarding what and where to learn in order to make it, and we were given an hour or also introduction to Arduino. It gave us a good starting point.” “PDP course assistant supported us with "I like, I wish" feedback session; ADF Tuesday breakfast helped our team to get feedback from researchers and other students.”



Interna Internationality is strongly tied into the everyday life at Design Factory. Our students, researchers, teachers and community members come from different parts of the world or are ready to go out into the world. Hence, the working language is English. Being international is fundamental to the courses organized at Design Factory. For example, in Product development Project -course there are remote team members from universities around the world in each team. Also, all teams in ME310-course are globally distributed, so that half of the team is made up off students in another country in another university part of the SUGAR-network. In addition, the students start their project at Stanford University, where they participate in a design thinking kick-off workshop, and at the end of the course present their prototypes there together with their international team members. Many projects are done in collaboration international partners in the Design Factory Global Network (DFGN). DFGN is a network of innovation hubs in institutions in five continents of the world. Shared understanding and common ways of working enable Design Factories in the network to collaborate efficiently across cultures, time zones and organizational boundaries fostering creativity in organizations.


tional 28 189

















Design Factory Global Network Design Factory Global Network (DFGN) is a network of innovation hubs in universities and research organizations in five continents of the world. DFGN is on a mission to create change in the world of learning and research through passionbased culture and effective problem solving. Design Factory is first and foremost an understanding of how to spark and support creativity and innovation. All the Design Factories bring together research, students and business practitioners not only to create a new learning culture but also opportunities for continuous experimentation. Every Design Factory is a space, place and a mindset to enable serendipitous interactions between the different stakeholders. At the core of the activities in all Design Factories are interdisciplinary problem-based project courses where students work together with industry sponsors. This makes them the obvious and most often the first form of collaboration within the DFGN. ADF supports the development of both the platforms as well as the courses, leading to similar ways of working despite the geographical distribution. At the end of 2015 DFGN extended to nine countries around the world, and in 2016 three more Design Factories join the family bringing the total number to 12 in 11 different countries. Design Factory as a model has attracted a lot of interest abroad, and further platforms are under development ensuring that the growth of DFGN will continue in the near future.


“All the Design Factories bring together research, students and business practitioners not only to create a new learning culture but also opportunities for continuous experimentation.�

METU Design Factory, Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey

NYC Design Factory, PACE University, New York, USA PhilaU Nexus Design Factory, Philadelphia University, Philadelphia, USA Duoc Design Factory, Duoc UC, Santiago, Chile

Design Factory Melbourne, Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia Sino-Finnish Centre, Tongji University, Shanghai, China Design Factory Korea, Yonsei University, Seoul, Korea

Aalto Design Factory, Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland Porto Design Factory, Porto Polytechnic, Porto, Portugal RTU Design Factory, Riga Technical University, Riga, Latvia Frisian Design Factory, NHL University of Applied Sciences, Leeuwarden, the Netherlands Ideasquare @CERN, CERN, Geneva, Switzerland


Inspiring new Design Factories Aalto Design Factory supports the development of Design Factories in other universities or institutions around the world that are inspired by the model. All the DF-style platforms are independently developed for the needs of the host institution. ADF has a different role in each of them, making all relationships unique in the network. In 2015-16 new experiments were made in order to improve the services offered to institutions interested in model.

DF Bootcamp DF Bootcamp is a week-long intensive hands-on experience of the DF concept, organized at ADF every spring. It is tailored for institutions hoping to develop their own experiments in the field of interdisciplinary collaboration and problem-based learning. The goal is to learn the ins and outs of ADF as a platform and to take the first steps towards the preferred by kick starting the planning of participants’ experiments in their home institution. With the help of DF experts, lectures and workshops participants become familiar with the DF history, infrastructure, ways of working and pedagogical philosophy, while starting to develop their strategy and implementation. During DF Bootcamp there is the benefit of sharing the experience with other participants and existing Design Factories. In April 2016 altogether 21 participants from 6 different institutions took part in DF Bootcamp. In addition to METU from Turkey, institutions from Peru, Colombia and New Zealand joined the Bootcamp for the first time and FDF and RTU DF sent staff in for professional development.



02 03



At the start of the academic year Middle East Technical University from Ankara, Turkey, expressed interest in the DF –model and collaboration with ADF and DFGN. METU begun experimentation with their own interdisciplinary courses already in fall 2015. In November 2015 they sent a delegation of 11 staff members to ADF for DF Crash Course. The course was an intensive 1-day deep-dive into the concept of Design Factory to kick-start the planning of their own project. After the Crash Course the idea of the METU DF begun to take shape. To get further support and inspiration for the project METU participated in the DF Bootcamp in April 2016. At the end of May 2016 MDF was formalized in METU, and soon after MDF joined the DFGN. Opening celebrations of the newly renovated space will be held in the start of the new academic year as the 3rd round of interdisciplinary projects kick off.

"When we established METU Design Factory, we were quite intimidated by the task given to us: "Make engineers, designers, and social scientists collaborate! Three distinctive communities that do not play together well Oh, do not forget the industry partnership in the mix as well! Aalto Design Factory has not only demonstrated us that this is indeed quite possible, beneficial, and fun but also through DFGN provided us a knowledge base, shared with us other DFs' war stories & best practices, and most importantly made us realize our own potential and utilize our own resources to tackle this challenging task. I am personally grateful to folks @ADF and @DFGN. It gives me strength to know that METU DF is part the 'family' and my family is ready to support me in my endeavors." - Arsev Umur Aydinogly , Coordinator for the Interdisciplinary Design Studio @MDF





Passio At Design Factory we want our people to feel passionate about what they are doing. We think that work should feel challenging but fun! We are not outcome-centered; what matters the most is the learning process. We have a passion for doing and we empower people to take initiative, share their passion and aim high. ADF is like a second home where it is allowed to have fun, experiment, fail fast and learn from mistakes. By providing people the opportunity to get to know and experiment with the DF ways of teaching and learning, we help to spread a new passion-based learning culture throughout Aalto University – and the world.

FAQ: Are you allowed to hug outside of Hugging Point? Hugging Points were originally launched in Aalto Design Factory. Hugging Point is essentially a purple rug on a floor next to a sign that says “Hugging Point”. When people are tired, unmotivated or just in the need of a hug, they can step on Hugging Point for someone to pass and ambush them into a hug. And yes, if you feel like a rebel you can hug outside of Hugging Point.


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AALTO ON FIRE Aalto on Fire is knowingly the first university project of this scale going to Burning Man Source: Aaltoonfire.fi, Photos Mikko Raskinen

In August 2015 a group of Aalto University students, faculty and alumni created an interactive art installation that was displayed at the Burning Man festival at Black Rock City – an art community in the Black Desert in Nevada that hosts 70 000 festival goers for an entire week. The Aalto on Fire team designed a six meter long wooden pike head at Design Factory and constructed it at the destination, 8313 kilometers away from Aalto University. A traditional Finnish musical instrument, kantele, was built inside of the pike’s head by Hannu Koistinen - one of the few Kantele masters in Finland.


The team hosted discussions and workshops throughout the festival and invited people to interact with their art while sharing their teachings and learnings. Following Aalto on Fire, in 2016 a new project, Koulu on Fire, takes the Finnish education system to Burning Man.

We at Aalto on Fire believe that going out into the world and exploring our creative limits is the key to making Aalto and Finland known worldwide. That’s why we decided to film everything and want to make a document about the process and learnings, people and emotions, expected and unexpected things along the way. We hope to show that these types of projects can help the participants in their own lives and their surroundings in a wider scale.”

”As the world around us changes we feel like we should go out there and try things, no matter how far out they seem at first. All of us have volunteered their time, money and effort to the project which shows the passion that drives us.

Aalto on Fire

“I visited at Design Factory and Startup Sauna in Helsinki — what a wonderful experience I had. It’s still etched in my brain and I’m excited to tell our staff about Aalto University and Aalto on Fire. It’s amazing opportunity to work together with Aalto University and its students and faculty.”

— Meghan Rutigliano - Regional Network Manager, Burning Man

“One of the core values in Aalto University is to bring together students from different disciplines, namely art, tech and business. Aalto on Fire project is an amazing example of co-creating something truly remarkable together. We have full support on this initiative.”

— Prof. Kalevi Ekman - Director of Aalto University Design Factory


TUOTE Students of Product Development Tuote – founded in 2015 – is an association for people interested in product development. The association aims to break the boundaries of conventional disciplines and to bring product development students together. Tuote wishes to act as a medium for students where they can further their skills and knowledge, network, and share their ideas with other product development enthusiasts. Furthermore, the association aims to better the interaction between students and Aalto University. Aalto University has numerous product development courses, many of which are taught in Design Factory. In fact, it was the interdisciplinary courses held in the Design Factory which brought the founding members of Tuote to discuss the future of the product development students. Since there was no connecting factor between all the courses and programs, it was decided that something needed to be done. Thus, Tuote came to be. Naturally, the name of the association is the word for “product” in Finnish. Tuote aims to actively host events, excursions, and workshops for its members. In addition, Tuote will do its best to inform its members about product development-related activities. The first excursion of Tuote took place in a rotational moulding company in Helsinki. In spring 2016, PMC (Project Managers’ Club) and Tuote fused together in order to reach a larger number of people, whilst respecting the traditions of PMC. Words by Anti Auvinen, One of the founders of TUOTE


First Class Medal of the Order of the White Rose Factory’s project coordinator of Finland Design Pirjo Helander-Björkwall was awarded with the First Class Medal of the Order of the White Rose of Finland (Suomen Valkoisen Ruusun I luokan mitali) on the 6th of December 2015. The medal is granted by the President of the Republic and is given to a deserving citizen as recognition for service to his/her native land. “My time at Aalto Design Factory has been the highlight of my career! I have enjoyed tremendously working in this dynamic, youthful, international environment. The assignments are constantly reformed and I’ve had the opportunity to develop the ways of operating for different challenges.”

Pirjo has served the scientific community of Finland for 45 years in various different positions and tasks. Before joining the Design Factory family in 2009, she has worked, for instance, for the National Library, the University of Helsinki and WoodWisdom – a project that functions under the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation.


Jani Kalasniemi

FAQ: Where do the students end up after spending time at DF?

�I'm currently working in a startup called ZeroG. We specialize in custom footwear, and our goal is to revolutionize the industry with better products and by implementing new technology. We will ensure that our customers will have their best fit for their feet every time. Design Factory has been a part of my life since 2009. First in the form of a product innovation course ME310, and later on I was working in the machine shop helping students like myself to build their prototypes. I have learned a bunch of different skills and mindsets through ME310 and Aalto Design Factory: hard skills, soft skills, and so-called ‘rules for life. Hard skills include mostly machining, building, and engineering. Whereas soft skills include abilities needed in social situations; understand and appreciate the difference of other people, work together, and listen to others. Nevertheless the fact that hard and soft skills are vital for all of us to master, I believe that these three mindsets have helped me to survive in the intense life of a startup, where every day is a new adventure.�


Santeri Vanhakartano “I’m the lead industrial designer working at ABB Marine & Ports. I have done my Master’s degree studies in industrial and strategic design in Aalto University. Design Factory, being as an open educational ‘melting pot’ allowing students, researchers, and companies from differing perspectives to catch up in a totally refreshing and multicultural environment, was a great and inspiring place during my studies. It also opened great opportunities for networking and fun. I also experienced this well adopted concept of Design Factory when conducted an exchange studies in Swinburne University of Melbourne and also when being connected to Design Factory of Tongji University, Shanghai. Now, that I’m responsible of user and customer experience developing new product portfolios and services in the global business, I see that the innovative environment of Design Factory is still one important enabler. I have taken my colleagues to connect with other colleagues and stakeholders worldwide. Design Factory is a place to get inspired, to create a shared understanding and to fail early for better improvement - or even creating radical new concepts.”



Open I Experimentation is the art of trying things out in real life and what could be a better place to experiment than ADF, which gives both smaller and bigger projects training wheels and a safe playground. During the academic year ADF is a home for everything from nonacademic, student driven and ambitious projects to early phase startups and already well-established companies. DF is a platform where we support companies to make the most of the potential co-operation that Aalto University offers. Partner Plaza is a space at DF that accommodates several Start-ups. Partners are selected according to their motivation for close collaboration and the mutual benefit potential within the vast community in DF and Aalto University. FAQ: What is the role of the companies in the course projects? Sponsoring a course project can be an inspiring and inexpensive way to bring new ideas, technologies or business plans to life. What is needed from the sponsor is support and evaluation during the course and the idea for the project: perhaps a problem that exists with current products or technologies, or just some interesting new idea that cannot be investigated internally at the moment.


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Startup Story from ADF: LeeLuu Labs

LeeLuu Labs Oy is a startup company based at Aalto Design Factory. At the moment they are working on a LeeLuu Nightlight, which is a touch-controlled nightlight that helps kids sleep better. From a school project to a startup LeeLuu started as a school project in the school of Arts and Design, where the project was about life changing events in people’s lives. The event in this case was when children start to sleep in their own rooms. As children may be afraid of irrational fears when being alone, LeeLuu wanted to change the image and in the contrary show it as a cool thing to live in the own room. This would also empower parents and allow them to have a better sleep.


The company was created in 2014. Originally the school project lasted for 12 weeks in which the prototype was fully done. It had a lot more features than now. It was tested with school students and kindergarteners, who would reclaim it immediately. Eventually additional features were taken away, for example because parents were worried about things getting broken when it had a throwable feature. New technology The nightlights are touch controlled. This is possible because of textile sensors that can feel human touch. This is enabled through conductive fabrics, fabrics that can be used to measure changes in electric field. Through measuring these changes, a multitude of inputs can be sensed, for example touch.

There are three different kinds of Leeluu’s: The Cat, The Owl and The Hedgehod.

From friends to co-founders The team members, Lisa, Heini, Enni and Hanna, have known each others before starting the company. Lisa and Heini met in ME310 course and Emmi and Lisa had worked in another school project before. Lisa and Hanna went to the same Degree in European Masters in Design. Funded by the crowd In early 2016, LeeLuu raised money in crowdfunding campaign. They reached their goal of 50 000 euros in 60 days. Usually only about 10 percent of crowdfunding campaigns reach their goals, so LeeLuu was really pleased with the result. Customers from 31 countries pre-ordered LeeLuu Nightlights.

What next? In the future, LeeLuu will continue to develop their products and utilize the technology – technical sensors.

Working at Design Factory LeeLuu decided to work at Design Factory as it’s lot more than just a working space. A second option is always available and the people here help others out. The community is the key, especially as LeeLuu works in a field where they should cover a lot of skills. Although they use freelancers in their projects, in Design Factory a company can tap into more knowledge. The people of the community are from different backgrounds and have variety of skills. It is also easy to build a covering network at Design Factory.



Lisa Gerkens, Student of Industrial Design, Co-founder and Product Developer at LeeLuu

#80 Lisa Gerkens “We wouldn’t be here without assistance from Aalto University. It all started with a 12 week course with interactive objects. We got such good feedback that we decided to participate in the Summer of Startups here in Otaniemi and, later, in the Startup Sauna. Now, after a lot of hard work and interactive prototyping and designing, we have managed to make a touch-sensitive nightlight for kids that many have described as truly magical. With the help of these nightlights kids can feel safe in their own room during the night. And, like all parents with small kids know, this also ensures better sleep for the entire family.”


Source: Aalto.fi Photos: Mikko Raskinen

ABB Project

A team consisting of Design Factory staff built a mock-up for ABB, that is, a model of the space in which the ship’s azimuth thruster axle seals are replaced. The mock-up built by Vesa Saarijärvi, Kari Kääriäinen and Sauli Larkiala, helps guarantee that an axle seal can be replaced from the inside of a vessel during repairs at a wet dock. The team had about a month to complete the project.

The possibility of replacing seals from inside a vessel is very appealing to shipping companies as dry docking a large cruise ship can cost millions of euros, and there are no suitable places for this repair work at ports. ABB’s Senior Project Manager VeliPekka Peljo says that the possibility of replacing axle seals from the inside of a vessel is already a feature of the company’s current Azipod XO azimuth thruster.

“It is difficult to clearly see on a design table whether replacement of seals can be successfully accomplished from the inside of a vessel. The model we have is equivalent in size and shape to the Space in which the engineer must work when replacing the seal, and, thus, ABB designers can use the model to ensure that the operation is successful” - Kari Kääriäinen, ADF

“We unequivocally also wanted to maintain this maintenance characteristic, which will give us a competitive edge, in our new Azipod® azimuth thruster. We knew from past experiences that the Aalto Design Factory is a good and flexible partner, and, for this reason, we decided to utilise their expertise once again in the creation of this mock-up. - Veli-Pekka Peljo, ABB



EDITORS IN CHIEF Sonia El Kamel, Katariina Helin


GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Sonia El Kamel, Suvi Majander, Essi Nisonen

PHOTOGRAPHERS George Atanassov, Julius Konttinen, Mikko Raskinen, Aki-Pekka Sinikoski, Design Factory Staff, Aalto Students at Design Factory

CONTRIBUTORS Laura Toikka, Tiina Tuulos, Päivi Oinonen, Miko Laakso, Antti Auvinen, Ville Kukko-Liedes, The ADF Community

Thank You The annual publication team wants to thank everyone from the ADF community who have contributed in producing this publication, wether by writing articles, providing support, advice and ideas, or simply having a karaoke break with the team. With love, Sonia & Katariina

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