HAVUU TOMORROW (2014-2015)

Havuu is a Finnish startup with an innovative application of Kerto® wood to build modular space solutions & furniture. They approached the International Design Business Management (IDBM) program at Aalto University with goal of expanding their business model through a 6 month collaboration with our team.


The project dealt primarily with business model generation as well as product and service development.

We want to internationalize Havuu and reach new markets.
— Jukka Rissanen, CEO, Havuu

After profiling Havuu, we refined our brief to target current trends towards scale-able open office spaces, in response to Havuu's internal shift towards tailored space design.


We realized the key to Havuu's successful internationalization would be finding a global niche.

We conducted a comparative analysis of global markets to find countries with related cultural themes and shifts towards open office design. 

We traveled to Japan as a case study, because of the significant cultural difficulties that companies there overcome in their transition towards open office culture. 

We performed interviewsfield research and conducted a workshop with local design professionals. 

We created personas and future scenarios to represent our findings and found a global niche - combining Havuu's unique design knowledge with their ability for rapid prototyping. 


I worked in an multi-national, inter-disciplinary team with four talented characters.

Yifan Zhang , China UX & Industrial Design

Yifan Zhang, China
UX & Industrial Design

Junmei Lu , China Business & Management

Junmei Lu, China
Business & Management

Taru Mikkola , Finland Business & Marketing

Taru Mikkola, Finland
Business & Marketing

Satu-Päivikki Kyykkä , Finland Product Design

Satu-Päivikki Kyykkä, Finland
Product Design


Team lead & facilitator
Technical expertise

I facilitated concept development and decision making, challenged perceptions and focused the team on tangible results.

I presented our work to peers and Havuu, and coached the team's presentation skills.

I jointly designed and acted as facilitator in our highly regarded 'Towards a Worklife Utopia' workshop at i.school, University of Tokyo.


A major tool for our research when on-site in Japan was the workshop with local academics and furniture design professionals at i.school, University of Tokyo.

Teams championed their concepts, which explored the emotional, practical and fantastic ideas of future work spaces, painting a picture of consumer desirability.

The workshop was created jointly by Yifan and I.

Just wanted to thank you for organizing a fabulous workshop at our studio. And also to congratulate you on a fantastically professional attitude - nicely done! Haven’t seen such levels of professionalism in any IDBM student team before. You can be proud of yourselves!
— Miika Lehtonen, Program Manager, i.school


I guided a process of convergence to distill the outcomes from the workshop into a coherent set of insights, which Yifan then turned into a deck of insight cards for Havuu.


Based on our success of 3D printing Havuu's product line for the workshop, I also printed an extended series of miniatures that Havuu could use for marketing and prototyping purposes.


In addition to the insight cards and miniatures, the Havuu team delivered an in-depth concept book detailing two inter-related branding initiatives that Havuu could engage in order to appeal to the global open office niche.

Havuu Hub

The Hub represents a medium-to-long term strategy, extending Havuu's need for an expanded showroom to offer a rapid prototyping work shop and open work space for furniture and space designers. Over time, it builds Havuu's capability to capture design insights from the implementation & user tiers.

Havuu Online Playground

The Online Playground represents a digital outreach, building an online catalog of Havuu-sponsored and community-contributed CAD & 3D designs that can be ordered & manufactured as prototypes with a single click. The resulting community extends Havuu's brand globally.


Our concepts were presented at IDBM's industry project showcase at Lonna May, 2015 to broad praise and the final deliverables remain valuable tools for Havuu's strategic team to this day.

The team's inquisitive nature, playful approach and thought-provoking insights provided a valuable counter-point to Havuu's ongoing challenges as a startup in the saturated furniture market.