Tua Björklund

Professor of Practice at ESADE Business School


  • ESADE Business School
  • Aalto University School of Business




ESADE Business School

My work focuses on turning ideas into improvements and innovations. In developing the Design Factory, I have worked with a wide range of stakeholders for building support for interdisciplinary academic efforts, teaching development skills, and designing user-centered solutions to complex problems. In addition, I've built international research collaboration both through the Design Factory Global Network and Stanford University. My research draws from over 400 interviews conducted in 90+ organizations, and has been published in design, entrepreneurship, management and education journals.


Company Name Aalto University Design Factory Total Duration11 yrs 2 mos

Professor of Practice

  • Dates EmployedAug 2018 – Present
  • Employment Duration1 yr 3 mos
  • Location Finland
  • Design Factory is working to transform university education, building co-creation with students, academia and industry. I develop new forms of education and lead research on design and innovation practices, focusing on initiative, expertise and entrepreneurial behavior. I teach idea advancement, design thinking and prototyping in three schools of Aalto and in executive education.

Head of research

  • Dates EmployedSep 2008 – Jul 2018
  • Employment Duration9 yrs 11 mos
  • I've had the privilege of taking part in the creation and the development of the Design Factory concept since its beginning. An experimental platform bringing together students, teachers, researchers and practitioners (adf.fi), Design Factory has grown into a Global Network currently on five continents (dfgn.org). I headed the operations of a six-person multidisciplinary research team, initiated pedagogical development support, and built international collaboration.

Key accomplishments

  • developing the research and pedagogical development agenda of the Design Factory and growing the team with key multidisciplinary capabilities
  • initiating and leading international collaborative research, including securing over 500k€ external funding
  • collecting data on design and innovation efforts through over 300 interviews in 50+ companies, as well as observations, experiments and surveys
  • authoring and co-authoring over 30 peer-reviewed scientific publications, as well as extending the Design Factory communications portfolio See less


  • Company Name Aalto University Executive Education Ltd
  • Dates Employed2008 – 2019
  • Employment Duration11 yrs
  • Lecturer in design thinking, service design, innovation culture and practices for training organized for professionals and managers.

Visiting Fulbright researcher

  • Company Name Stanford University
  • Dates EmployedAug 2016 – Aug 2017
  • Employment Duration1 yr 1 mo
  • Visiting Scholar in two labs in the Center for Design Research (CDR) - prof. Sheri Sheppard's Designing Education Lab and prof. Larry Leifer's designX - as well as the Scandinavian Consortium for Organizational Research (SCANCOR) at Stanford University. The visit was generously supported by grants from Fulbright Finland, the Technology Industries of Finland Centennial Foundation, Tutkijat Maailmalle / KAUTE Foundation, and the Foundation for Economic Education.

Key accomplishments

  • designing and leading three new qualitative and mixed-methods data collection efforts
  • developing recommendations for academia and industry based on study results
  • building the basis for continued academic collaboration and extending current industry collaboration See less

Development manager

  • Company Name Next Icon Oy
  • Dates EmployedJan 2008 – Jun 2009
  • Employment Duration1 yr 6 mos
  • Expert of training and usability. Developing medical training, hospital work practices, packaging, design training and usability testing.

Research assistant

  • Company Name FLPD, TKK
  • Dates EmployedMay 2007 – Aug 2008
  • Employment Duration1 yr 4 mos
  • Independent research in the Future Lab of Product Design (FLPD) project, focused around expertise, problem solving, prototyping and intuition. During this time, the "Innovation University" preparations for merging Finland's leading technology, business and design universities were proceeding. We used the opportunity to think about how we could educate the world's best product designers, developing the Design Factory concept. After a smaller prototype within FLPD, Design Factory opened its doors in 2008.

Key accomplishments

  • adopting new research methods to the project
  • extending pedagogical development to professional education
  • authoring and co-authoring the first seven conference publications of the project See less


Aalto University School of Science

  • Degree Name DSc (Tech.) Field Of StudyIndustrial management and work psychology
  • Dates attended or expected graduation2011 – 2015

Dissertation: The dynamics of proactive striving - Initiating and sustaining development efforts in product design and entrepreneurship

Teknillinen korkeakoulu-Tekniska högskolan

  • Degree Name LicSc (Tech.)Field Of StudyWork psychology and organizations
  • Dates attended or expected graduation2008 – 2011

Major in work psychology, minor in product development. Licentiate's thesis: Product development expert problem representations

University of Helsinki

  • Degree Name MAField Of StudyCognitive Science
  • Dates attended or expected graduation2007 – 2008

Major in cognitive science, minor in Usability School, a joint program between the University of Helsinki, Helsinki University of Technology and University of Art and Design Helsinki.

University of Helsinki

  • Degree Name BAField Of StudyCognitive Science
  • Dates attended or expected graduation2004 – 2007

Major in cognitive science, minors in management and computer science.

Courses Taught

Read about executive education

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