Department of Industrial Engineering and Management


SimLab is a multidisciplinary research group founded in 1998 and led by Professor Riitta Smeds. SimLab's research focuses on co-creation, management and facilitation of collaboration processes in networked business.
SimLab research group

SimLab provides teaching in the Masters' Programs of Information Networks and Industrial Engineering and Management at Aalto University School of Science.

The core of SimLab is a virtual collaborative innovation environment for business processes, physically constructed in Open Innovation House, Otaniemi, Espoo.

Contact information: Professor Riitta Smeds

The core method

SimLab™ process simulation is a participative, facilitated business process discussion about the process activities and information flows in business networks. The simulation is an action research method that supports the co-creation of the networked processes and business models.

SimLab's researchers, together with the organizations that collaborate in the network, formulate the objectives for their joint business process development, and select the concrete case processes for the simulation project. Thereafter, intensive interviews of the process owners and the key players of the case process are conducted. Based on the interviews, the researchers design and validate a visual process model, and prepare the manuscript for the simulation.

The culmination of the in-depth action research project is the simulation day, during which the researchers facilitate the simulation discussion and the group work. Tacit knowledge is explicated, and collaborative learning and innovation is supported. The participants co-create new knowledge for the development of their inter-organizational business process.

In addition to the SimLab™ process simulations, the research group applies games and other participative development intervention methods for business process and business ecosystem co-creation. The participative, facilitated co-development workshops are held in SimLab’s collaborative innovation space.

The data from SimLab’s action research consists of interviews, video recordings and observation. The data is analyzed applying multiple methods for scientific, educational and practical purposes. Multidisciplinary, collaborative analyses of the rich video data are conducted in SimLab’s Video Analysis Laboratory.

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