At least these five things I’d like to accomplish during 2017!

Oh, hey there! Crazy how fast time goes by, it’s almost 2017 already…I’ve been super lousy at wishing everyone happy holidays, but nonetheless I hope you managed to spend some relaxing time with your loved ones. There’s something magical about December: you know, all kinds of festivities taking place and people crafting to do lists for the upcoming year. And I’m not making any exceptions here, which is why I decided to wrap up 2016 by listing a few things I’d like to achieve at work during 2017. So here goes, five things I’d love to accomplish next year (just a curated selection: if possible, I’d like to make more things happen, but somehow these resonated really well with my current mood):

1. Online learning + other teaching-related activities

Yes, we’ve all been there. Looks like the next big thing, but so far it has been so so at best. Well, there have been interesting openings, and the user experience is definitely getting there, which is why I feel the time is ripe to do some serious experimentation in this field. Funding has been applied – keep your fingers crossed! – so if that pulls through, I can share some more news with you soon. But it is definitely fascinating a field ripe with opportunities, especially if you look at online learning as a way to design learning from a student’s point of view. It’s not so much about economies of scale, but creating exciting content that both entertains and educates you. Perhaps not in that order, mind you. But let’s see, definitely something I’d like to toy around with!

2. Publish papers

I know, this is a cliché, but I feel there are exciting paper ideas I’ve been working on with my co-authors for quite some time now and I really want to get them out there. This autumn was crazy in terms of teaching, and I feel bad for neglecting all my paper projects, so this is to all my co-authors: I’m really sorry! I really enjoyed that teaching sprint, but it also meant I couldn’t devote as much time to writing as I was hoping to…

So hopefully you can forgive me, as I really enjoy working with you. Plus those papers will surely generate some interesting discussions + contribute to existing debates on diverse topics.

3. Inspire companies and other organizations to experiment with design

Hmm, maybe a bit dodgy a wording there, but examples like this and this should illustrate what I mean with this objective. Also, I recently attended a cool meeting with some serious business people who were actually really into design and understanding how design could become a strategic asset for organizations. That project will actually materialize in 2017, so hopefully I can share some news about that soon.

But still: we as academics have still a lot to do to get design where decisions are made. For example Kauppalehti, one of the major Finnish business newspapers, hardly publishes anything related to design, and that’s something we need to change. Design is not only something quirky or a process you can glue on to existing activities, but instead it implies a more radical change – positive, mind you – in the way we interact with the surrounding society. There are so many cool design-driven initiatives taking place in Finland and all over the world, and I feel we as academics could do so much more to get the top management excited about design.

4. Help our students identify, craft, and strengthen their creative vision

I can’t emphasize the importance of this topic. Regardless of what we are doing, we all have this innate desire to create something – to leave our mark in the universe – and this is something we should try to support, nurture, and develop. If you want to educate yourself, we shouldn’t be pushing you down, but instead lovingly support your endeavors.

After all, this is one of the main reasons I decided to pursue an academic career: I get massive kicks out of seeing people succeed, and my thesis supervisor really nailed this when she told me she wants her students to eventually surpass her. Takes a lot of courage to say that, and it has inspired me so much, so thanks for sharing those words with me, Connie. Means a lot to me, and hopefully I can convey that to my students.

5. Finally, design methods to make it easier and more comfortable for people to visualize their orgasm

Not sure how many of you know this, but my pal and a good sport Chris have this side project where we invite people to draw / visualize their orgasm. It hasn’t been easy to get people to draw their orgasm for us, which is why I really hope we can come up with methods to get people excited about this. Granted, it’s super personal and all orgasms are unique, but I have a good feeling about this project.

If you have any ideas how to make this happen, please let Chris and me know! It’s an exciting project that aims at uncovering meanings and emotions behind orgasms through visual means, so hopefully we’ll receive tons of submissions from now on.

That’s it, my list of five things I’d like to accomplish during 2017! And with that, I wish you all a happy and glorious 2017 – may it bring you lots of inspiration, love, serendipity, and success!



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