Work up! x HDW : AI and ethics

The Work up! event on AI was held during Helsinki design week at Bio Rex. The event had two main speakers and two panel discussions centered around their performances. I was excited to learn more on how AI is perceived by professionals and what the big questions surrounding it’s use are at the moment.

AI as a challenger for the current work life

Minna Mustakallio gave a speech on how AI is going to challenge the current field of work. Developing organizations with AI is seldom a plug and play kind of a thing, so every organization should know what they are about and where AI could be applied to bring value. It’s very important to know what you are trying to make better with the help of AI and if it’s the right way to go.


Themes that should be considered when organizations start onboarding AI according to Minna include

  1. Encounters : knowledge, understanding, shared visions and even conflicts create something new. Are there some parts of encounters that can be made better with AI or is there something we want to protect, something that happens between people.
  2. Changing roles: what does it require from a human/employee when you’re making decisions with AI. Is the goal to reduce or increase autonomy for a single person. Should people focus on their strengths and leave the mundane tasks to AI? Should an equal amount of effort be put to understanding human and the context AI would be used in as is put to finding opportunities to implement AI?
  3. Ethics and responsibility: Who is responsible for the decisions AI makes? How transparent is algorithm-assisted decision making?
  4. People & purpose: What are we trying to make better with AI? What does the best work-life look like in Finland 2022? What is the purpose we’re fulfilling?


Mindfulness and using algorithms for the right purposes can bring a lot of good. Implementing AI is about co-creation. AI is a part of global digitalisation and will inevitably change the way we work.

Panel discussion about AI x Work

In the panel discussion Minna alongside with Jaana Leikas (VTT), Jaakko Särelä (Reaktor) and Petri Lattu (Nordkapp) dug in a bit deeper on the questions surrounding AI. Asking questions in fact was one thing the panelists were hoping to encourage. We are in the position right now, where we need to ask as many questions as we can to really determine where the future is going with AI.


The panelists discussed control. How much do algorithms already steer our lives and how will the development go in the future? How much of our decisions are already based on some type of algorithms?

It was suggested by Petri that we are already algorithm augmented because we use AI in our everyday lives without paying attention to it. Humans, social media and all of the connected technologies form a cybernetic collective. AI is not some separate entity. It’s “under the hood” in many things we already use.

One problem with AI is that data is always warped in some way. If you write “hän on sihteeri” or “hän on johtaja” to Google translator and translate to english it’s easy to see what happens. This is just one example that’s easy to test. AI also speaks with the voice of a young woman (Alexa, Siri..). Jaana suggested that this is due to the fact that a female voice is easier to listen to. Things like these should still be taken into consideration.

Minna brought up that instead of asking what will the future organizations look like, we should as what do we want the future organizations to be like. Cause when you place an assumption it many times becomes a reality.

The methods and processes of technological advancements should also be looked from a new angle when creating AI-systems. Development should be done in multidisciplinary and diverse teams and ethical questions should be kept in mind through the process. Education is the key to good AI implementation. It was also suggested within the panelists that in the future it might benefit the development to make a motivation map for the service as well as the user.

The questions the panelists wanted to leave the crowd with were:

  1. Will AI make communication between people easier?
  2. Is AI fair?
  3. How can I be a part of the development so that AI would benefit me in my everyday work?
  4. Why? Why do we need AI? Why are we doing this?

Ethical questions and AI

After the panel it was time for the days second speaker Maija-Riitta Ollila to take the stage and lift the veil on ethical questions in AI design.


AI is a reflection of human life. Ethics is still human-centric as opposed to machine-centric. Maybe we should shift our sights to life-centric or earth-centric view? If the earth is not liveable there is no work life.

Maija-Riitta also pointed out that algorithms are always warped. Individuals have cognitive bias, data is warped, organizations and societies have prejudice and discrimination.

AI strengthens trends in societies. Which trends do we want to strengthen? Who or what is AI making powerful? Do individuals in work life feel empowered by AI?

Amazon, Alibaba and google have acquired a lion’s share of business opportunities surrounding AI. Where is platform economy going? Big data and big brother meet in the middle: trust good, control better? It’s time to start planning from an ethics point of view.

AI is changing things – or are we the ones driving change? Only agents can change things. Phenomenons aren’t actors, actors create and modify phenomenons. AI can’t be held responsible for the decisions it makes. There’s always a human behind that’s responsible (responsibility = response ability).


Panel discussion on ethics and AI

The panel discussion was instantly all over the ethics discussion. Ethical principes like avoiding accidents and doing good aren’t enough – we should think about the context behind AI to really get down to something concrete.

Petri was again talking about the idea of what’s fair in terms of AI. Jurisdiction, upbringing and agreements all have an affect on our future. Transparency in societal decision making is an important theme. Jaakko suggested that everyone should take the elements of AI course and also read the book Rauhan kone by Timo Honkela.

Again the discussion went to the bias in data. This was a common link through the whole day. As humans we should think what discrimination means. AI algorithms bring existing problems to light when they use all the data they can. What aspects of data are relevant and which are a source for discrimination (when is it relevant to consider a person’s age or gender?).

What decisions do we want AI to make concerning our lives? What values does AI base it’s decisions on? Who decides on the values? Regulation is important.

When used right AI can help make the peaks and valleys lower and help us look further into the future. This could potentially bring more safety. AI can also help spot challenges in

Maija-Riitta also wanted to challenge investors to think whether they should invest in increasing consumption or in environmental technology making a tie back to her speech about earth-centered thinking and ethics.


I was hoping the discussion would reach a more concrete level with more examples regarding solutions and implementation. I wish the panelists would have challenged each other more on the subject, now it was pretty much down to the presenter to lead the conversation.

On the other hand I was very happy that the crowd was included in the discussion through “twitter board” and polls that the crowd was asked to answer during the breaks in discussion. There were some questions or comments from the crowd, but the Twitter board seemed to have many interesting comments that were left unanswered.

The bias in data and algorithms was a topic that seemed to surface through the day. I think it’s a great topic and the event with it’s many great experts would have been a good chance to dig a little deeper. Same goes with the concrete codes of conduct from an ethical perspective – I hope the conversation between the panelists didn’t end when the “bell rang”.

We talk a lot about co-creation and multidisciplinary teams when it comes to developing solutions for the future. I think our experts in tiny Finland have great knowledge and should bump brains more often. How about a Super Hackathon on AI for the best of the best in Finland? Or a societal “co-working space” that would gather the experts that work around these subjects in the same space every now and again. Are we really coming together on this – we as people? Outside of these events that pose certain limitations.

We’re off to a start. Let’s make it a great one.


Laura Manninen



7 Things to Consider When Designing for Trust in AI and Robotics

by Miikka Paakkinen

This post belongs to a two-part blog series on design topics related to artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics. Part one focuses on trust and part two (to be published next week) will be on ethics.

Note: I will not go deeper in to explaining the concepts of AI and robotics in this post. For a summary on the technologies and the differences between them, check out this excellent article on

Photo by Franck V. on Unsplash


Will artificial intelligence take our jobs and make us useless? Can we trust the robots? The public discussion around these emerging technologies often seems to paint a negative, even dystopian picture of the future. When it comes to disruptive technological change, this is nothing new though. Lack of information or transparency usually leads to fear instead of trust towards the technology. But can we tackle this issue of trust with design?


Last week I attended a Helsinki Design Week seminar called “Future Talks”. It was organized by Future Specialists Helsinki and featured four keynote speeches loosely related to designing for trust in future services. Inspired by the event, I decided to write this blog post and dig a little deeper on the theme of trust in AI and robotics.


Why is trust important?

Screen Shot 2018-09-21 at 15.44.51

Ilkka Halava at Future Talks


If users don’t trust a service, they will not use it unless it’s absolutely necessary. This is obvious, but all the more important to acknowledge in the age of extreme competition and easy availability of information and alternatives. As futures researcher Ilkka Halava put it in his keynote at “Future Talks”, digitalization is a massive power shift from systems to humans. Bad and untrustworthy services will quickly become obsolete because they can easily be bypassed.


When creating services based on new technologies that users might not fully comprehend, such as AI or robotics, it’s especially important to gain trust for the service to succeed and provide value.


The question then seems to be – how can we design trust?


7 things to consider

Screen Shot 2018-09-21 at 15.30.53

Olli Ohls at Future Talks


To answer that question, we need to understand the core elements that foster trust towards such technologies.


At “Future Talks”, Olli Ohls (Robotics Lead at Futurice) talked about key points on research results regarding what creates trust in the field of social robotics.


Similar results could be noted in Innovation Management Professor Ellen Enkel’s 2017 Harvard Business Review research article related to trust in AI-based technologies (which you can read here:


Based on Ohls’s speech and Enkel’s article, I compiled a summary of seven things to consider when designing for trust in AI and robotics:


  1. Transparency – when the purpose and intention of the AI or robot is clear, and the underlying logic is understood by the user, it is much more likely to be trusted. A major positive impact was noticed in robotics when a robot was able to verbally explain its purpose to a user, as pointed out by Ohls. The development process behind the technology should also be transparent.
  2. Compatibility – the technology obviously needs to match with the problem it’s trying to solve. It’s also important to consider how users feel how it matches with their values and guides them towards their goals.
  3. Usability – the more intuitive and easier the innovation is to use, the better the chance of creating trust. Additionally, users should be able get a basic understanding of how the technology in question works, what its limitations are, and how one should work with it. As a crude comparison: it’s hard to start driving a truck if you don’t understand the basics of what automobiles do.
  4. Trialability – when users can test the solution before actual implementation, perceived risk is reduced. A trial can be conducted, for example, via a prototype.
  5. Performance – seeing an AI or a robot make a small mistake here or there won’t likely hinder our trust toward it, but constantly underperforming will. Expectation management is important here – users need to know what the technology is supposed to achieve and how it should do it.
  6. Security – the technology should be perceived to be safe to use from both a physical and a data security viewpoint.
  7. Control vs. autonomy – it’s important to understand the context and the purpose of the technology and find the suitable level of automation. Ask the question: should we lean towards the technology making the decisions, or the technology assisting a human in making decisions?


Takeaways and thoughts


AI and robotics are still very new to most people and the concepts might seem intimidating. To use the technologies to create real value, we need to design services around them that are trustworthy for their users and for the society at large. Keeping the points above in mind during your service design project could be a good start in working towards that trust.


The author Miikka Paakkinen is an MBA student in Service Innovation and Design with a background in business management and information technology.



What do you think of the list? Could your experiences regarding trust in services be translated to AI or robotics? Please share your thoughts below!


From nobody to creative designer

One Friday morning 28 students from different backgrounds sat down in a classroom at Laurea. At least as I know, majority of these people, had no or just little experience on designing, rather the opposite. The journey from nobody to be a designer had begun.

For long we have lived in a world where we have categorized people to either be creative or not.  As Tom and David Kelley state in their book Creative Coffidence, creative people were considered to be artists, architects, designers etc. Others should stay in their tightly described boxes and at least stay as far away from marketing or product development as possible. Tom and David call this “The creative myth”, which we, brave new students, were about to break.

As the world is changing into more and more complex, we need more creativity and ideas. Traditional way of creating things is just not enough anymore. Our lecturer Katja Tscimmel well pointed out; “just look around in your everyday living. Is there anyone more creative than a mon trying to get the kicking kid into kindergarten. Or have you ever realized how many variations of food you can make from yesterday’s leftovers.” How could we harness this everyday creativity to serve a bigger purpose?  The key is in mindset change.IMG_4140

Tim Brown stated already 2008 in Harvard Business Reviews article, that by changing the way we think, we can transform the way the business and the world is developed.  Creativity in business context is group work. Its taking advantage of peoples’ different experiences and outlooks on life and turning it into new innovative combinations of services, products or strategies.  Thinking an ideating together, testing new ideas and being able to think outside the given box is in the core of coming up with new ideas and innovations.

As we, new students at Laurea, were given our first task to innovate new student services, I was sceptic. Would we ever come up with any ideas or anything we would ever dear to show someone else? By letting go of the need for control or knowing the end results before even starting the work and just trusting the process, we dived into a fun, inspiring and in the end very creative group work.

Tim Brown listed some personality features needed to be design thinker and this how those showed in our case. We had to let go of our deep beliefs and step into the end users’ shoes. “What are the problems exchange student face?” Empathy combined with ability to use integrative thinking was critical. The use of “what if”, “How Could we” and “furthermore” took us forward in your thinking and in your ideation process. We had to stay optimistic and experiment things, as the clock was ticking. If it didn’t work, fail fast, take the next idea and be willing to start over if needed.

In the end of very inspiring two days we had internalized the design thinking idea, tested many creative DT tools and  created several new services to improve exchange students stay in Finland. Pretty well from “nobodies”   😉

Using Design Thinking to Build a VR Study Experience

What do you get when you put together a group of Laurea MBA in Service Innovation and Design students and Mindshake’s Katja Tschimmel and task the group to innovate a service for international students as part of the Design Thinking course? A crazy lot of innovation, creativity, collaboration, and learnings. In this blog post, I will go through how one group utilised Design Thinking to create a service offering a full in-class VR experience to anyone not physically present.

Everyone has creativity in them – uncovering our creative confidence

First, we learned the theory and about the toolkit for practical Design Thinking, including opportunity mind mapping, intent statement and insight and stakeholder maps.

As innovation starts with idea generation, these tools were great for uncovering creativity and helped narrow down our focus. IDEO’s Tom and David Kelley discuss in their book Creative confidence: unleashing the creative potential within us all (Crown Publishing Group, 2013) how everyone has creativity in them and these tools are a testament to that. For our team, the creative confidence was really built up by brainwriting which brought us the collective brainchild of creating a VR in-class experience from anywhere.


Fluency and flexibility demonstrated during the brainwriting exercise which finally lead us to cluster the ideas that had to do with VR

Presenting the prototype

Then it was the time to create a prototype to visually present the concept. This concept test gave us invaluable feedback from the other team which we then incorporated in the service (it was great that we had to listen to the feedback in silence as there was only the feedback, no defending of what we thought – making us concentrate on just what people want and need in their lives, also highlighted of importance by IDEO’s CEO Tim Brown in HBR back in 2008).


A prototype of the VR in-class experience


The real test and the permission to fail

Then we moved on to the service blueprint which proved to be a bit more difficult than our team had thought. Now was the time we actually had to answer some tough questions and we realised that we may not have actually gathered all the information we thought we did.

In real life, we would have taken a few steps back and interviewed international students (and other stakeholders), and possibly decided that this service was not viable. Failure was an option, but for the sake of the learning experience, we decided to come up with some of the answers. Tom and David Kelley also discuss in their book Creative confidence: unleashing the creative potential within us all about the “permission to fail” which essentially means that you have to learn to embrace failure to come up with better innovations. For us, the service blueprint demonstrated well that failure is part of the innovation process and not something to be afraid of.


Pitch perfect innovation and collaboration

We were then ready to pitch our innovation using storytelling. Overall, the tools really gave the framework for innovation, directing us to the goal of being able to pitch a concept.

What was also remarkable was how well we collaborated, even though we barely knew each other. Tim Brown also states in his HBR article from 2008 that the best Design Thinkers are not just experts in their own discipline but have experience from others. After working in a truly multidisciplinary team, I can fully see how much innovation benefits.

What do you think, how has your experience with practical Design Thinking been?

Can you learn to be creative?

by Kati Kaarlehto


This question was asked from our lecturer Katja Tschimmel at the very beginning of our contact days of the Design Thinking study module. This question in my mind I chose to read  Creative Confidence – Unleashing the Creative potential With Us All by David and Tom Kelley as my very first book in my Service Innovation and Design MBA-studies at Laurea. I was soon to find out that the question of creativity is definitely one of the profound questions in the “Design Thinking Universe”.

Why and how to be creative is the core of the Kelleys’ book. We often perceive that only artists, and designers are the privileged ones to be creative. Too often parents, teachers or study counselors categorize us into the “uncreative” and blog our creativity. However, being creative is something more than just drawing or writing a poem and can be unbloged in all of us. What we really need are creatively thinking engineers, doctors and government officers who are creative in the way that they face their everyday life problems and challenges, in the way that they design new solutions and develop their services in their own work environment.

The Kelleys have a very simple solution to the question in the caption. At some point, you just make the decision to be creative. Then act according to your decision. And how is that done? Design Thinking methodology and tools are designed and develop to assist in that.

You should ask questions, especially Why-questions. You should leave your desk and office to observe your customers or end-users and thus learn true customer empathy. You should get surrounded with same-minded creatively thinking people and to keep up with all the possible trends and phenomena around you – a not just related to your own field of business but beyond.

In her article Design Thinking as an effective Toolkit for Innovation Katja Tschimmel also concludes that Design Thinking is not merely the designer’s mental ability, but can be developed and trained by anybody who wants to solve problems in a creative way, who wants to conceive new realities and who wants to communicate new ideas.

The Kelleys emphasis open mindedness and liberation from your preconceived ideas and assumptions. They quote Mark Twain who once said “It’s not what you don’t know that gets you into trouble, it’s what you know for sure that ain’t so”.

I recognized that too well during the work shop sessions led by Katja and where the Design Thinking tools of the Mindshake Design Thinking Model were applied. Our task was to perceive the Laurea world through an International student´s eyes with some chosen Design Thinking tools. As I have worked with international university students, way too often in the group I captured myself thinking or even saying “this would not work or this has already been tried out or this Laurea would not support”.


If I felt a slight shame about my narrow-minded, not-so-creative thoughts during our work shop, I also felt that something truly different could take place in this class with these tools, some familiar and some new to me, and with these mates representing so different professional backgrounds and experiences.

While reading “Creative Confidence” I also felt splashes of joy and confidence – by applying and starting these studies I have definitely taken right steps to unleash my creative potential. I have definitely made the decision: I am creative (always been!) and want to shake my ways of thinking and perceiving this world and my work – with the help of Design Thinking tools but also of all my lecturers and wonderful class mates.

Let the journey begin!


DASH Boom Bang!

“You gotta get stuff done.” – Jeremiah Tesolin, Iittala.

Event: DASH – Design Process

Time: 13.9.2018 17.00 – 19.00


Host presenting DASH – Design Hackathon

Place: Clarion Hotel Helsinki (Tyynenmerenkatu 2, 00220 Helsinki)


”Interested to discover new design processes and learn different approaches to design? DASH – Design Process gathers three companies from different fields to uncover their design process.

Using different design processes help you to work more efficiently and to break down a large project into manageable chunks. Architects, engineers, scientists, and other thinkers use design processes frequently to solve a variety of problems.”





Keynote1: Roman Musatkin, Product Designer at


Roman Musatkin

What defines design process?

  1. Maximizing Pruduct Development speed
  2. Building the product with the most advanced customers
  3. Everyone does customer support
  4. Everyone is involved in the design process

At product building is fast: plan – design – release a feature the same week. Customers give instant feedback about user experience issues or bugs in the system. They use whiteboards, sketching and Invision to keep the process agile and not too complex.




Keynote 2: Virva Haltsonen, Senior Strategist at Pentagon Design


Virva Haltsonen




Fazer Lakritsi new release, had try it after Dash 🙂

Virva presented Fazer Lakritsi concept project as a case design process. Together they built a portfolio that is turning settings around in liquerice business.  Pentagon design uses double diamond as the basic design process, normally the prosess is divided in five phases each with own meaning in the iterative project. Their long-lasting design thinking agency relies in simple formula in success: empathy + creativity + rationality = user
needs + business success. Pentagon designs attributes their success in ”Rational passion” combining rigorous procesess and creativity. Virva emphasised that it is important to learn quite quickly. Find answers to questions like ”How do we know that we are onto something interesting?” ”Who should be involved?”




Keynote 3: Jeremiah Tesolin, Creative Director at Iittala

Jeremiah Tesolin explained design process more through guidelines about how to develop a company:

  • Making it relevant
  • Working with what the company is really good at
  • Doing something a bit wild
  • Working with the right people
  • Familiar yet surprisingly new

Jeremiah Tesolin


It was very interesting to hear three keynotes about the same topic with three quite different companies. They all had a lot in common in their design processes though. The dominant theme seemed to be doing things. Doing things fast. It of course fits well to the hachathon theme coming up, but also about being efficient is important in modern world today. Being agile in development process and maximizing product development speed keep you at an advantage point when comparing to competitors. Rapid prototyping and other methods are important, because you need to learn quite quickly about what to do with your next move. Doing things from scratch ’till release fast gives you opportunity to also grow fast if you do your process right.

In order of doing design process right, all three companies have another thing completely the same: getting customers involved. Having customers involved in the design process helps you to understand the users needs and get genuine feedback. Some build the product together with the most advanced customers, others are making things relevant by understanding the context of use. As Jeremiah Tesolin said: “You own the vase, but you bring the flowers into your life.”

Just as building services with clients/customers/users, you also need to involve everyone in the company in the design process. Sharing the knowledge in “Friday demos” or talking to people stimulates your brain to new ideas. Working with the right people creates objects and services people love. A lot of the times sharing and learning is done by tools such as whiteboard, InVision, Slack, Pinterest, photographing and other things that help you visualize things.

One has to make exceptions to the system and create change towards collaboration and new contexts for services and designs. New moments, new experiences, new uses, new behaviours, new relationships, new degrees of funcion.


”Dash is organized by Aalto Entrepreneurship Society, the largest and most developed student entrepreneurship community in Europe. Aaltoes organizes various events and programs to promote entrepreneurship and help early-stage startups to start their ventures. Aaltoes is behind events and programs such as Kiuas, early-stage startup incubator, and FallUp, Europe’s entrepreneurship event for students.”


The author Siru Sirén is MBA student in Futures Studies and Customer-Oriented Services in Laurea UAS// Licenced social service professional


More info and ideas:

*Article-photo taken as a screenshot from Dash website

Data-Driven Design Day 2018

Data-driven design day was held as part of Helsinki Design Week this year. I first heard about it when I attended the DASH Design + AI event back in June. Lassi A. Liikkanen was there talking about how AI impacts interaction design and giving a short introduction to AI and ML. At the Data-Driven Design Day the focus was not on Lassi though who was hosting the event, but in an array of interesting speakers.

Design is Emotional Functional Feasible and Sustainable

Tom Nickels from Avaus started the day by talking about how design should be first and foremost emotional, but also functional, feasible and sustainable.


Tom talked a lot about futureproofing and about what’s on the horizon for design. His speech really resonated with me in terms of content. Futureproofing is in the intersection of emotions and AI, where these to intertwine.


Social context and empathy, ethics and social responsibility are important subjects that rise in importance when we develop technology, design and business further.

Tom talked about three horizons. The first horizon is insight-driven design that’s already within our grasp: The digital twin created for physical products and for consumers/groups of people. It’s about designing for humans while integrating a feedback loop that keeps the iteration going (Attributes – Customer/Digital Twin – Behaviors and outcome).

Horizon 2 is generative design. This is the upcoming big change for actual automated design & content. Algorithms are producing parts of the design. Personalizing the service experience with customer information tucked in the background paradigms (the ChAIr project). Designing for digital assistants which will be a major interface change in production of services. Designing digital personalities and marketing in the age of Alexa which acts as a filter. This horizon is still covered partly in clouds, but it’s in our foreseeable future.


Horizon 3 is emotionally adaptive design. Adapting design using AI to the emotional stage  of customers. It’s the shift from AI to (A)EI which stands for (artificial) emotional intelligence – the capacity to recognize the emotions of oneself and others. Read emotion – Emotional target – Adapt service output. There’s still a lot of work to be done for this horizon to became everyday design, but it’s out there.

Back to top with a top class customer experience

After Tom Ilari Pohjola and Elina Martikainen talked about their experience in app design to gain top class digital customer experience. 85% of bookings and thus sales are done online nowadays and Aurinkomatkat wanted to ensure seamless customer experience in digital touchpoints as customer moves through the stages of dreaming, planning and booking a holiday.


Their app concentrated on a few key features during the stages of preparing for the holiday and the customer experience during the holiday. Testing was done in the actual locations and they used both guides, staff and customers as part of the development and iteration process. Customer needs and challenges were the number one guideline for their work. They reminded that data should drive decisions, not the highest paid persons opinion.

Designing the future of Urban Mobility

Apaar Tuli & Brylie Oxley from MaaS Global were next with their speech about the future of Urban Mobility and Whim.


Their idea is to move from ownership of transportation towards access to mobility. Instead of focusing on how to design a better car (which will still balloon the amount of vehicles on our roads to 2.1 billion by 2050) we should be focusing on how to design a better city and encourage public transport, active modes in the city where trips are shorter (ie. public bicycles) and sharing of vehicles – MaaS is like having a skeleton key to the city. Inspiring stuff worth thinking about.

Pull down that dashboard: Are you really data-driven?

After MaaS Jan Hiekkaranta from Fourkind gave the audience a wake up call by challenging what data-driven really means.


Everyone is data-driven nowadays: we have some data to support our views. The problem is that it’s difficult. Easily accessible doesn’t automatically equal good if data means visualizations and presets of dashboards to get data that supports your opinion.


Jan urged everyone to embrace failures and learn from them as well as demanding more and making data as accessible as possible.

What data is meaningful then? Creating the metric first before you name it (made for masses metrics are not relevant most of the time). Stick to your data and know its limits. What’s your default option? What decision would you make if you had no data and why? Data inspired vs Data-driven : prove your ideas wrong and learn from it.


Bringing data to life: Principles for leveraging machine power for human good

Vilma Sirainen & Jay Kaufmann from Zalando turned the focus back to utilizing the collected data.

Jay pointed out that data is the stuff below the surface that we found on. In the user experience pyramid joy is on top, usability in the middle and usefulness at the bottom. To make sure we are building useful designs we need to make sure that they are based on actual data and customer needs.


Jay suggested a bunch of pairings to awake thought like organic compounds vs digital compounds – nature doesn’t have abrupt endings, it weaves seamless connections: what connections are meaningful here? How does this design adapt to any environment or device.

Dynamic vs static – does user input show immediate effect, are rewards clearly visible etc. and Human vs Machine – can the system interpret emotional states, what tone is appropriate etc.

After Jay Vilma gave a glimpse to their case study which is an algorithmic fashion companion. The development started by understanding their customers needs through customer portraits like the need for validation vs the need for inspiration. They did AB-testing by bidding the algorithm against an actual fashion advisor on suggesting outfits around anchor-items.


Zalando’s goal is to create auto-related content for each customer. Content that is automated but personalized to the highest degree.

Tallink Silja digital journey: smarter design decisions through data

Next up Matias Pietilä from Qvik, who had been a big part of the previously heard Aurinkomatkat app development process gave a little insight on how to make smarter design decisions through data.


Matias assured the audience that even if you don’t have the best data tools and practises at place you can still get some nice results by utilizing the data you have and remembering that qualitative data is data too.

His  lessons learned were:

  1. It’s about attitude, not about tools or process
  2. Don’t be afraid of sunken costs
  3. Smart default values don’t require AI
  4. Sometimes you learn by accident

It all starts with solving the correct and actual problems.

AI for news media

Last speech I had the pleasure to hear came from Jarno Koponen at Yle about AI for news media.


Jarno is the product lead for Yle NewsWatch. The value proposition is : interesting news come to you, get the news alerts that matter to you – on topics that you find interesting, experience and interact, wherever you are (by allowing location tracking), the way that works to you (mobile, apple watch etc.).

Jarno was especially focused on the battle for the lock screen on mobile devices which he believes to be the new news feed as well as a new algorithmic layer for personalization.


NewsWatch is developing a digital assistant called Voitto.

Voitto is a digital assistant that learns from you and with you all the time, not just in the app but on your lock screen too. Notification on the lock screen -> user can tell directly to Voitto if the content is interesting.

Figuring out the KPIs for a smart assistant is the next challenge: Content + AI + UX = Impact. What is the KPI for truth?


This day gave me a bunch of new information and a lot of repetition on previous learnings as well – which is always good. I’m no data scientist so I was glad none of the presentations were too complicated or filled with industry terms for me to follow.

I especially enjoyed Tom’s talk as well as Jarno’s because I’m big into emotions and the humane/ethical side of designing for the future. Cheers DDDD2018 and kudos to Lassi for this informative event.

Next year maybe have polls for participants during the event online or think up some other cool ways to encourage questions and conversation, this year it was very “finnish” 😉 (myself included).


Laura Manninen