Sanna-Maaria Siintoharju as lecturer at HAMK Design Factory


Sanna-Maaria Siintoharju started as a lecturer in the Design Factory team at the beginning of August and will start Design Factory operations in Valkeakoski. Sanna-Maaria’s background is in the field of international business, and she brings with her international partners and a broader perspective on international operations.

New HAMK Design Factory to Valkeakoski campus

During the fall, Sanna-Maaria has built the premises of the Valkeakoski Design Factory and got to know more about the Design Factory concept through research, study courses and workshops. She has been going around telling students and companies about Design Factory concept and negotiated possible new working life projects. The students have been really excited about the Design Factory Valkeakoski facilities and activities, and some students have already joined to the PDP course organized by Aalto Design Factory. Students have had the opportunity to participate in the nine-month Aalto Design Factory Product Development Project (PDP) course as part of Aalto University’s and HAMK’s cooperation and the ATTRACT project.

“Working at Design Factory has been exactly what I had imagined. I have the freedom to do many things in my own way, but of course it also comes with a lot of responsibility. The most rewarding thing has been talking with the students about different projects (PdP), which they have been very excited about. That it can be like this? Yes you can! At the moment, I have made DF’s space look more like DF, there are stickers on the wall, a toolbox has been acquired, a terrible pile of prototyping cardboard and soon I will also get 3D printers and a laser cutter at least. And after all, it started with cleaning the place…

At the moment, I am developing a new local PdP, at least for the welfare sector, and it will probably combine business, data analytics and data processing. The combo is not yet known, but something like this. The largest development projects are of this type, as several interested companies have already come in in a short time. Super cool! In addition to this, I am running a bigger marketing development project with the local football club FC Haka, now the HAMK Diili is going on here in Valkeakoski, which involves IB and automation engineers and the focus is on international operations. My job description is related to all this, new projects, their organization and management, international cooperation also with other than RUN universities, as well as local smaller, hackathon-type solutions. It’s exciting to see what all this can become, because now we’re going to try a little bit of everything. While the students prototype their own solutions, I also prototype my own ideas – what works, what doesn’t.” -Sanna-Maaria Siintoharju

Straight to action

As the first international action, Sanna-Maaria will travel to the first Design Factory Global Network Research (DFGN.R) conference in the Netherlands in October together with HAMK Design Factory director Jari Jussila and LearnWell team Postdoc researcher Juulia Lahdenperä. At the conference, Lahdenperä presents research on the development of students’ working life skills in Design Factory’s student projects. The two-day conference is part of the international Design Factory week, and the goal of the trip is to hear about the activities and research of Design Factories around the world, network and look for new cooperation opportunities.

Sanna-Maaria dives deep into the world of business projects and is involved in developing Design Factory’s courses in cooperation with teachers and staff. Future projects include the International Product Development Project (iPDP) in spring 2023 in international cooperation with Design Factory Mannheim. Longer nine month-long Product Development Project with Aalto Design Factory and Design Factory Mannheim is staring in fall 2023 where Sanna-Maaria is also strongly involved.

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