Finnish ambassador to Australia discusses the value of design in business

Thursday 22 May 2014

A low angle photograph of Swinburne University of Technology signage on the Advanced Technologies Centre building in Hawthorn.

Design is an essential component to a successful business, according to the Finnish Ambassador to Australia, Pasi Patokallio, and must be incorporated wherever possible.

Recently visiting Swinburne University of Technology, Mr Patokallio toured the School of Design’s flagship vehicle, the Swinburne Design Factory, and was able to see firsthand how businesses are benefiting from incorporating design work and thinking into their practices.

“As Swinburne is part of the Global Design Network, along with Finland’s Aalto Design Factory and several others, I was keen to come and see some of the great cross-disciplinary and collaborative work that they’re currently undertaking,” Mr Patokallio said.

“Design is pretty close to our hearts in Finland. Aalto University was where the original Design Factory was born and I think that it is a great model.”

The Swinburne Design Factory encourages students from a range of disciplines, including engineering, design, business and technology, to work on projects with industry partners. The projects encourage the students to look at different ways of solving problems.

“Close collaboration between business, university and government is essential if you want to be able to grow and succeed in the 21st century,” Mr Patakallio said.

“Especially incorporating design. Design can really value add to an organisation.”

Director of the Swinburne Design Factory, Anita Kocsis  said that since beginning of 2012, the Swinburne Design Factory had worked on a range of projects with both Australian and overseas organisations.

“Our students have worked with industry sponsors in both the public and private sector, including CSIRO, Kmart, and VISY,” Dr Kocsis said.

“Through these projects facilitated by Design Factory principles we have been able to not only provide solutions and concepts to these organisations, but get our students challenging the way they think and address industry issues.”

“It was great to have the Finnish Ambassador come and visit the Swinburne Design Factory. Finland are a leader in the design area and we aim to continue our strong relationship with them now and in the coming years.”