Defence of doctoral thesis in the field of user interfaces, MSc Janin Koch

How to develop ideas with machines?
Creating collaborative AI for professional ideation

Title of the doctoral thesis is "Collaborative Systems for Design Inspiration"

When we look for a new project idea we often find inspiration from other objects, ideas or people. Developing such ideas and concepts is the essence of design practice. The proliferation of online material has revolutionized the way everyone and especially designers can access and collect such inspirational material. And yet, as much as technology supports us, the way we interact with computers often hinders this central aspect of design.

Interactive systems, including so-called “ Artificial Intelligences,” are not well- known for their creativity – yet. My work focuses on how such intelligent systems can help professional designers find and reflect upon visual inspirations in the form of collages, especially when their topics of interest are hard to explain with words. In this context I created three intelligent design systems for professional ideation. SemanticCollage helps designers identify the semantic meaning of images found online and reflect about them. In MayAI I built artificial agents that develop ideas together with designers by constantly learning, suggesting and communicating their ‘ideas’. Finally, ImageSense develops these ideas further for design teams to work together with serendipitous content browsers, semantic tools, and artificial agents. Each of these systems were evaluated with and by professional designers to demonstrate and document the roles AI can play in creative exploration.

My work extends our understanding of intelligent collaborative systems for creative processes, and opens new ways to assist designers in the era of digital ideation.

Opponent: Professor Peter Dalsgaard, Aarhus University, Denmark

Custos: Professor Antti Oulasvirta, Aalto University School of Electrical Engineering, Department of Communications and Networking

The defence is organised via remote technology (Zoom). 

Zoom quick guide

The dissertation will be publicly displayed 10 days before the defence on the publication archive of Aalto University at

Electronic doctoral thesis (

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