Design in research

By bringing strategic design approaches into the core of our research and innovation processes, we at VTT, support companies, organisations and business networks to explore and develop future-oriented and sustainable strategies, products, services and human experiences. In an agile manner, our combined approach of research and design brings together deep, interdisciplinary knowledge and contextual insight across organisational borders – supporting the diverse development needs of our customers.

Key facts: Co-creating future-proof solutions and ways of working, being:

Desirable, meaningful and ethical from human, customer and employee perspectives

Sustainable and viable from environmental, societal and business perspectives 

Emerging, progressive but feasible from technological and organizational perspectives

From strategic visions to innovative and future-proof solutions

Are you interested to explore your organisation’s future opportunities in broad, strategic topics such as shift to circular economy or big data and artificial intelligence in decision making? Maybe you want to understand your organisation’s role in fighting the grand challenges we must face together as a planet, while also making a sustainable business out of it?

Have you identified a specific product or service opportunity, or an operational challenge where you could utilize an emerging technology to create value in novel ways? Still not completely sure on a concept’s overall potential to scale and fulfill the tough user and business environment requirements and standards of tomorrow? 

VTT researchers and scientists have a lot to say about these multifaceted questions – and so do your organisation’s business and technology experts, central stakeholders as well as the current and future customers. Design has the ability to bring people together, formulate tacit knowledge and concretize and guide the development activities as the joint journey evolves.

In order to drive sustainable, holistic solutions, addressing the true needs of people, businesses, society and the planet, we need to bring together different viewpoints and expertise areas across organisational silos in novel, imaginative and agile ways. VTT’s combined approach of research and design plays a key role in accelerating this development.

Desired futures through transparent and agile collaboration

VTT’s combined approach of research and design evolves around strong service and business design expertise and Lean Start Up methods, placing them in the context of futures-thinking, ‘deep-tech’ and applied research. Central part of the approach is a systemic and transparent co-creation model that supports our customers to map out the key enablers and foundations for future-proof products, services and human experiences.

We bring the alternative scenarios into life with participatory methods, illustrative concepts, visual prototypes, granular customer journeys and blueprints as well as future-oriented actor and roadmaps. Throughout the collaborative process, we validate the key assumptions related to the alternative future directions in close dialogue with VTT researchers, customers and their key stakeholders. The approach provides valuable insight on both short and longer time-horizons, aiming to drive radical, positive change through actionable steps and continuous learning.

Lean validation of assumptions, early on in the process

Early on in the innovation process, our approach steers the research and development efforts and resources to a well-grounded and validated path, answering questions such as: What could be viable from both business and environmental perspectives in the context of our future operations? What kind of solutions could be desirable, meaningful and ethical from the point of view of the key stakeholders and actor groups? What is technologically and organizationally progressive and cutting-edge but still feasible and actionable to achieve, going forward? What are our key future opportunities – the problems worth solving – that we should focus our time and resources on?

Scalable and customer-centric ways of working

We tailor our collaborative process and engagement model specifically to every customer case, depending on the complexity of the overall topic and stakeholder engagement needed. Alternative starting points for the collaboration may range from strategic big picture exploration to accelerating the development of an already identified future opportunity from your innovation backlog. 

Our co-creative approach provides our customers strategic insight, adaptation of novel innovation capabilities as well as an immersive and validated look into the future services, products and human experiences.

Read our customer case story

In Rovaniemi, the Together Towards Participation (ESF) project – developing, piloting and implementing public and third sector integration models – utilised VTT's expertise in system dynamics modelling and service design for developing multidisciplinary service concepts and modelling the impact of the collaborative activities in the region.

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Niall Shakeshaft

Niall Shakeshaft

Vice President