Department of Design

INUSE People

The current and former members of INUSE research group.

Senior Researchers

Portrait image of Sampsa Hyysalo
Sampsa Hyysalo, Professor

Sampsa Hyysalo

Professor of Co-Design at the Aalto University School of Art, Design and Architecture

Sampsa's research focuses on designer-user relations in sociotechnical change. This includes interest in areas such as participatory design, codesign, open and user innovation, open design, peer knowledge creation, citizen science and user knowledge in organizations, social shaping of technology, practice theory, process studies of innovation and sustainability transitions.

Sampsa’s research orientation is multidisciplinary, science & technology studies, innovation studies and collaborative design being his main fields of reference. He received his PhD in behavioral sciences in University of Helsinki, working with activity theory. His docenture in is user-centered design of information systems in University of Turku. Sampsa has authored several books and published over 70 full length articles and book chapters. 

Find Sampsa’s CV (PDF) here.
Read Sampsa's publications (PDF) here.

Andrea sits holding a mic with a colorful blouse
Andrea Botero, Associate Professor / AoF Research Fellow

Andrea Botero (Group Leader)

Associate Professor and Academy of Finland Research Fellow at Aalto University School of Art, Design and Architecture

Andrea’s design works explores technologies, services, and media for collectives and communities. Through her research work she aims to understand how users and collectives come to understand the design spaces available to them and how designers could support infrastructuring processes around those spaces. Andrea has a Doctor of Arts (DA) in New Media, an MA in design both from Aalto University. Her BA is in Industrial Design from Universidad Nacional de Colombia. She is also adjunct professor (honorary appointment) at the Universidad de Los Andes in Colombia (COL).

Read Andrea's research profile here.

Antti Salovaara, portrait image
Antti Salovaara

Antti Salovaara

Senior University Lecturer

Antti is interested in creativity in knowledge work and the role of ICT use in those processes. Humans are creative tool users and able to discover novel solutions for practical problems in their work and everyday life tasks. This creative potential remains however scientifically weakly understood.
My background is in human-computer interaction (HCI) and cognitive science. I study repurposive appropriation - the processes by which users discover new purposes of use for technology. This research includes both quantitative and qualitative methods, and particularly field trials on technology prototypes. In my previous research, I have investigated creativity in knowledge work contexts. This research involved both individual-level studies on creative cognitive processes as well as development of new models and theories for understanding the organizational factors that may hinder or facilitate creativity in information systems use. 

Read Antti's research profile here.

Annamari Vänskä  Docent, Adjunct Professor, at Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture.
Annamari Vänskä

Annamari Vänskä

Docent, Adjunct Professor, at Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture.

Leader of the research project ”Intimacy, work and design” and Deputy Leader of the research consortium Intimacy in Data-Driven Culture (IDA), funded by the Strategic Research Council at the Academy of Finland. Annamari is a researcher of visual culture, fashion, art, and design. Her research focuses on fashion as cultural and embodied phenomenon, fashion curating and the effects of digitalization to fashion, fashion education and the body. She holds two Titles of Docent at the Universities of Helsinki and Turku. Her work develops and explores qualitative and experimental methods of research and analysis. Annamari is currently the Deputy Leader of the research consortium Intimacy in Data-Driven Culture (IDA), the Leader of its Communications Team, and the Leader of the research project investigating digitalization of creative work and fashion.

Annamari has been awarded e.g., with “Docent of the Year” title for research, teaching, and societal impact (2013) and “Scientific Book of the Year Honorary Mention” (2013) for her monograph on children in fashion advertising, Muodikas lapsuus (2012). Part of Annamari’s academic work is curating exhibitions, and she has curated 22 exhibitions in art and fashion in 2003–2022 nationally and internationally.

Explore the IDA project at

Postdoctoral Researchers

Hella Hernberg, photo by Eren Öztekin
Hella Hernberg

Hella Hernberg

Postdoctoral researcher at Aalto University School of Art, Design and Architecture.

Hella is an architecture and design practitioner and researcher striving for resource wisdom and ecological sustainability in cities and the society. Her specific research interest is in the mediation of multi-stakeholder collaboration processes advancing transformations towards sustainability. Her post-doctoral research investigates the mediation of multi-actor networks and processes in both spatial and material contexts. Hella holds a Doctor of Arts degree in Design (Aalto University, 2022) and an Architect (MSc) degree (Helsinki University of Technology, 2008). Her doctoral thesis, titled Architects as ‘Mediators’ – Socio-political roles in mediating the ‘temporary use’ of vacant spaces, investigated the roles of mediators in the temporary use of vacant spaces, as part of sustainable urban development. Her doctoral research was practice-based, partly based on her professional experience on similar themes since 2008 as an employee, entrepreneur, and civil servant. Since 2010, she has run her own company, Urban Dream Management, and in 2012-13 she worked as a strategic designer at the Ministry of the Environment.

Read Hella's research profile here.

Kaisa Savolainen black and white portrait photo
Kaisa Savolainen, Postdoctoral Researcher

Kaisa Savolainen

Postdoctoral researcher at Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture and at the School of Science

Kaisa (DA, M.Sc. (Tech.)) is a postdoctoral researcher at Aalto University. Her research focuses on human-centred design, user research and co-design in different contexts. Before starting her doctoral studies in 2013 she has worked for over 10 years for different companies holding several  positions related to e.g., usability, user research, co-design, and strategic work.

Read Kaisa's research profile here

Marika Silvikko, postdoctoral researcher
Marika Silvikko

Marika Silvikko

Postdoctoral researcher.

Marika’s research sits in the field of science and technology studies and explores how futures are envisioned and enacted through technologies and technoscientific projects. Her interests relate to energy, time, and waste. Before joining Aalto, Marika worked at the Belgian Nuclear Research Centre and the University of Exeter from where she also received her PhD.

Natalia Särmäkari  Postdoctoral Researcher at Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture.
Natalia Särmäkari

Natalia Särmäkari

Postdoctoral researcher at Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture.

Natalia is a fashion and design researcher. She works in the research consortium Intimacy in Data-Driven Culture (IDA). Her research focuses on digital fashion, the designers' profession and alternative approaches to design authorship, including co-design and open-source fashion. Natalia explores how the fashion design field, increasingly interlinked with gaming and computer science, is shaped by the current technological environments. She also looks at the virtualization of museums and digital possibilities in preserving fashion design as a cultural heritage.

Natalia has a Doctor of Arts (DA) degree from Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Design. Initially trained as a fashion designer, Natalia holds MA from Aalto University and BA from Lahti Institute of Design. Natalia has a diverse pre-academia work experience in the fashion industry and beyond.

Read Natalia's research profile here.

Doctoral Researchers

Anna Salo-Toyoki portrait
Anna Salo-Toyoki, Doctoral Student

Anna Salo-Toyoki

Doctoral student at Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture.

Anna holds a M.Sc. in business with a study background in marketing and retail as well as arts marketing and management. Before joining the Department of Design doctoral program, she also worked with the cross-Aalto International Design Business Management community looking into spaces and places of co-creative practices. Balancing her career between academia and business, she took interest in applying creative and design-led approaches to service development and placemaking in the complex retail property sector – a field she has evolved as a design-minded practitioner in since 2011. In her doctoral dissertation she’s focusing on positions of the user in retail property development and how placing user knowledge at the center of development processes could potentially serve as an innovation catalyst in this currently distressed industry.

Read Anna's publications here.

Portrait of Brenda Vertiz
Brenda Vertiz, Doctoral Student

Brenda Vértiz

Doctoral student at Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture.

Brenda is a design practitioner and a doctoral student at Aalto University, school of Arts, Design and Architecture. In the last decade, her areas of research and design practice have revolved around exploring the possibilities and limits of transformative and participatory design practices advancing creative explorations, socio-economic inclusion and public imagination.

During the last four years, she worked as a public servant in the Mexico City’s government with women and children living in marginalized neighborhoods, creating alternative and collective tactics for the re-appropriation of public –but contested– city spaces. Currently her doctoral research focuses on spatial justice and feminist approaches to design, as well as in the social reproduction of exclusion in civic and urban life.

Read Brenda's publications here.

goeun park portrait
Goeun Park, Doctoral Student

Goeun Park

Doctoral student at Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture.

Goeun's interests include Do-it-yourself (DIY), renewable energies, youth innovation, participatory design, and collective climate actions. Her doctoral work focuses on youth collective climate actions, especially on energy issues, and relations between DIY workshops and youth empowerment for collective energy actions. She worked as a researcher for several design and cultural foundations and worked as a senior manager of a cultural center in Seoul, South Korea. From 2017 to 2019, she had organized solar DIY workshops in Finland to teach citizens how to make small scale renewable energy generators and her doctoral work builds on this experience.

Nathaly Pinto portrait
Nathaly Pinto, Doctoral Student

Nathaly Pinto

Doctoral student at Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture.

Nathaly Pinto is a doctoral researcher at Aalto University, Finland; and adjunct professor at the Pontificia Universidad Católica, Ecuador. Her research and practice take place at the intersection of participatory design from the Global South, intercultural communication, and design for advocacy. Through her praxis, she aims to bring greater visibility to marginalized communities’ struggles and also create spaces of deliberation and learning. She teaches undergrad design students at Pontificia Universidad Católica and for almost a decade, she has worked on projects with and for popular classes and indigenous peoples, by collaborating with different civil society organizations at local and regional scale in Andean South America. She currently works with indigenous organizations and youth in the Ecuadorian Amazon, researching and learning from local practices of resistance that challenge social exclusion. Together, they are designing visual materials and sustaining processes that aim to support and advocate for diverse indigenous struggles, within a framework of Indigenous Community Communication.

Read Nathaly's research profile here.

Tuomas Harviainen portrait
Tuomas Harviainen

Tuomas Harviainen

Doctoral Student at Aalto University, School of Arts, Design and Architecture. Professor of Information Studies and Interactive Media at Tampere University

Tuomas is Professor of Information Studies and Interactive Media at Tampere University, but as a firm lifelong learner is working on a second doctorate in design management, at Aalto ARTS. Harviainen holds Master’s degrees in Theology (Helsinki) and Service Innovation and Design (Laurea UAS), and a doctorate in Information Studies and Interactive Media (Tampere). He also has a small service design agency of his own. Harviainen has over 70 peer reviewed publications and two published monographs, and he has co-edited seven other books. His research in the area of design studies focuses on design management, the service design of information systems, game development as a type of design, and design business ethics.

Read Tuomas's publications here.

Camilo Sanchez  Doctoral student at Aalto University's School of Arts, Design and Architecture.
Camilo Sanchez

Camilo Sanchez

Doctoral student at Aalto University's School of Arts, Design and Architecture.

Camilo's research explores alternative and collective future visions by adapting Futures Studies methods into Human-Computer Interaction design.

In particular, his research applies the concept of anticipation to the design of interactive prototypes to question the motivations, beneficiaries and implications of HCI in the face of uncertainty and possible futures. Previous to his doctoral studies, Camilo worked as a research assistant for the Sound and Physical Interaction research group at the Department of Art and Media at Aalto University.  Camilo holds an MA in Sound in New Media from Aalto University and a BPhil in History and Science of Music from the Autonomous University of Madrid.

Read Camilo's research profile here.

María Ferreira Litowtschenko
María Ferreira Litowtschenko

María Ferreira Litowtschenko

Doctoral student.

María’s research focuses on design in the public sector, especially in experimental institutional forms like public sector innovation labs and particularly in the Latin American context. In addition to design in the public sector and governance, her research interests encompass design activism, participatory design, social change, and sustainability. She holds a MA in Creative Sustainability (Aalto University, Finland) and BA in Fashion and Textile design (Design School, Uruguay). She has worked at the Design School in Uruguay teaching undergraduate students and continued contributing to some courses at Aalto University at master’s level.

Read María's research profile here.

Felix Anand Epp portrait image
Felix Anand Epp

Felix Anand Epp

Doctoral Researcher at Aalto School of Arts, Design and Architecture and School of Science

Felix's doctoral research investigated expressive wearable technologies and how they shape our social and clothing practices. He primarily uses research through design in the field and participatory methods to explore embodied technological experiences and technology-mediated social interactions. In his current project at DoD, he develops methods for practice-based research and design to incorporate futures thinking and anticipation in technology innovation.

Over the past ten years, Felix has been an interdisciplinary researcher in human-computer interaction with a background as an interaction and media designer. He worked on technologies for the web, mobile and physical spaces in small to global enterprises and open-source collectives.

INUSE Alumni

 Cindy Kohtala

Cindy Kohtala

 Jouni Juntunen

Jouni Juntunen

 Louna Hakkarainen

Louna Hakkarainen

 Mikael Johnson

Mikael Johnson

 Pekka Murto

Pekka Murto

 Pia Helminen

Pia Helminen

 Samuli Mäkinen

Samuli Mäkinen

Stephanie Freeman

Sebastian Greger

Tiina Kymäläinen

Find out more about INUSE

INUSE Research group exhibition space in a bright room with lighting tripods set up, some green branches and 5 people viewing.

INUSE Research Projects

Current and past projects of the INUSE research group.

Department of Design
Marttila, Botero & Hyysalo: Openness turn in co-design

INUSE Publications

Recent publications from the INUSE research group.

Department of Design
INUSE - The Users and Innovation Research Group
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