Who are you, where do you come from and what work have you done? 

“I am a designer and design researcher from Mexico City. I have experience as a photographer and videographer as well as in product design and social design projects. I came to Finland to specialise in human centered and strategic design by doing a Master’s in Collaborative and Industrial Design at Aalto University.”

What project are you working with and what is your role in it? 

“I am currently working on the evaluation process for Smart Kalasatama where I have designed and conducted a research process for evaluating the impact of the innovation project in residents’ everyday lives.

I have also started to work on the FinEst Twins project, collaborating with academic partners from TalTech University and Aalto University, to create an innovation platform and living lab in Estonia. In this project, I support the planning of research programmes and the creation of the living lab environment.”

What do you anticipate to see and do?

“I strongly believe in the potential of strategic design and innovation to tackle wicked problems of today’s society. I expect FinEst Twins to grow into an internationally renowned innovation project with a strong focus on human centeredness and sustainability. I anticipate technology to shift from being the focus of research to a part of the strategy to create better, more sustainable, inclusive and comfortable urban environments.”

What interests you? 

“I am very interested in culture and how the human interacts with objects and space. I want to explore social systems and their implications in city planning and innovation. I am also interested in how creative thinking can promote the values of equality, inclusivity, diversity and collaboration.”

What do you do in your spare time? 

“I enjoy outdoor sports, particularly running and hiking. I am an avid photographer even now that it is not part of my job, I am interested in street photography and photojournalism. From my design background, I still enjoy crafts like woodworking, making clay sculptures, drawing and knitting.”

How would you like to develop a smart city?

“I have come to understand a smart city as a complex and multilayered system that involves residents, companies, organisations, governance systems, physical environments, economic systems among others. I believe that to develop a smart city we must be aware of all these layers and ensure that interventions are done in every one. While doing so, we are shifting this complex system into our vision for the future.”

What type of skill do you bring to Forum Virium Helsinki? 

“Educated as a creative, I bring people’s perspectives into the projects I work in. My valuable skills for the company are the capacity to work with residents and conduct research and evaluation methods. I also have used my training in workshop facilitation and creative thinking methodologies.”

Welcome to Forum Virium Helsinki, Michel!