Professor Mikko Koria

Director of the Institute for Design Innovation, and Professor of Design Innovation.

Mikko Koria

Mikko’s key expertise is linked to successful leadership of complex, multicultural and multidisciplinary organisations and initiatives, combining technical and social goals.

After researching and teaching in design, architecture and business studies in Brazil, Finland and the UK, Mikko’s research has focused on interdisciplinary learning, extreme projects and design business innovation. Over the last thirty years, Mikko has been widely engaged in management practice, research and teaching in various universities and the private, public and the third sectors in both industrialised countries and emerging economies.

Mikko has led complex, multicultural and interdisciplinary initiatives and organisations, building teams and meaningful solutions in humanitarian work and business contexts, in many cases linking technical and social goals. He has continuously expanded his design and architecture background to include expertise in the fields of management, economics, and innovation while always being conscious about wide and inclusive value creation for those involved.

Mikko's research, teaching and enterprise activities have taken him to Brazil, Mozambique, Sri Lanka, Vanuatu, Spain, Finland and the UK for long term engagements. He has also been involved in long and short terms project work in with organisations such as the EU, the World Bank, the Red Cross and UNICEF in over twenty countries in South America, Africa, Asia, Oceania and Europe.

Academic background

After studying at the Faculdade de Arquitectura e Urbanismo (FAU) of the Universidade de São Paulo (USP), Brazil, Mikko obtained a masters degree in Architecture from the Helsinki University of Technology, Finland. He later obtained an MBA in Design Management from the University of Westminster, UK, and a PhD in Economics and Business Administration from the Helsinki School of Economics, Finland.

Over the last few years, Mikko engaged in teaching and research in the areas of managing design in business and innovation at various universities in Finland, Japan, China, Brazil, and Chile. Before coming to the Institute for Design Innovation at Loughborough University London, Mikko was the Professor and Programme Director of the International Design Business Management programme School of Business of the Aalto University, Finland.

Current research and collaborations

The research agenda of the Institute for Design Innovation builds on the idea that design contributes to and enables innovation in multiple ways and on various levels.

Mikko's personal research agenda has a strong focus on value creation in design innovation, through the application of design into multiple contexts involving users, organisations, ecosystems and society at large. The area examines managing user and customer involvement in new product, service and business development, co-creating value in the (new) creative and culture industries, and applying design(ers) thinking into new and disruptive business models. The relationship between design and culture is also a focal area of Mikko's interest, together with new modes and future perspectives of design driven innovation. Another research area (and a central challenge in societies overall) of interest in linked to designing public policies and services and studying the links between the development of innovative policies to the research on delivery of relevant and coherent services that help to deliver innovation that matters. This area is in turn linked to investigating transformational leadership, activism and critical thinking in design management and practice today and in the future.

Mikko is currently collaborating with scholars from Aalto University, RCA, University of Helsinki, among others, and with organisations such as UNICEF and the World Bank.

Current PhD / research supervisions

Current PhD Supervision

MSc Joona Kurikka, currently undertaking his PhD at IdeaSquare, CERN, Switzerland. Joona's PhD has a focus on collaboration across organisations and activities linked to CERN, covering areas of business development and commercialisation of technology, and involving expertise in multidisciplinary product and service development.

Current Emerging Research Projects

A collaborative project with UNICEF, investigating policy design within international development (Funded by the KONE Foundation) which has a provision for several PhD students.

Interests and activities

Mikko is very interested in the study of interdisciplinarity, linking various disciplines in novel ways to produce new combinations that are both meaningful and create new opportunities. Music is another area of interest and he has been producing music for a very long time. Mikko also enjoys craft and building work as a way to engage thought into hands-on action.

As Associate Dean for Enteprise, Mikko provides strategic and operational leadership of the campus’ enterprise activities and long-term goals. Mikko works closely with the University’s Enterprise Committee and Stakeholder Management Team to raise awareness of our enterprising opportunities amongst all students.

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