The Design Cafe : Digital Community Training Event

Design thinking is steadily being integrated at Aalto Startup Center. With the addition of designers from Aalto University a "Design Cafe" has been one of the initiatives to support design learning within startups, research to business (R2B), and Aalto startup Center.

Design Cafe Training Event at Aalto Startup Center
Design Cafe Training Event at Aalto Startup Center


Most Thursday mornings at 11am our designers at Aalto Startup Center are just about to begin their thirty minute session with our startups and researchers. The Design Café event is about educating and sharing design thinking, methodologies, and methods.

The need for our startups and researchers to learn about ‘designerly’ ways of thinking has been well understood and is supported by our business advisory team.

“Now design and creative skills are integrated into everything we do. As a team, we’ve got involved in service, communication and process design, which has been a huge place for us to learn. ” – Marika, Head of Aalto Startup Center

“Design is usability and is not a separate part of other activities, as marketing, for example, should not be.” – Bengt Forsström, Business Advisor at Aalto Startup Center

Design Café

The Design Café event was introduced by our previous intern designers, Karishma Jain and Alessia Menegolli, as a way to boost creative thinking skills, spread awareness about human-centered innovations, and to help our community accelerate their competitive advantages. Today our new design trainees Bohan Sun and Darren Bratten continue to do so. Design Cafe has accumulated into nineteen group sessions to date, consisting of presentations, small discussions, and mini workshops.

“Usually we have about five to ten people in attendance. Our participants are interested to use design thinking in order to create market leverage and to be knowledgeable about what design can do. We know that it’s not just about visuals!” – Bohan Sun, Designer at Aalto Startup Center

The designers’ Design Café has given our community support to learn about a broad range of topics which encompasses design, including content marketing, business strategies, research methods, and more. The Design Café covers design topics ‘from A to Z’. Startups and researchers from technology, science, or engineering backgrounds are likely to learn something new from our master design students and be able to apply it in their work.

“For every Design Café we are aiming to clarify the benefits and the structure of different methods and styles of thinking that a designer uses. All of our startups and R2B cases  can learn to think like a designer and we can help to push them in the right direction” – Darren, Designer at Aalto Startup Center


The sessions are announced a week in advance in Aalto Startup Center’s Newsletter and accessible through our Microsoft Teams Digital Community Channel. The Café has offered a relaxed, remote learning environment in recent months, bringing members of our digital community together.

Interesting and relevant topics if you are new in design, or just want to refresh your memory. Good presenters as well!” – Design Café Attendee

“[Good] to learn basics in relaxed atmosphere and to enjoy design processes.” –Design Café Attendee

Did you know?

In 2021 the designers at Aalto Startup Center are also establishing a new initiative called “Designer Pool”, to help our startups in our Business Generator program and researchers in our Pre-incubator program to work with students from Aalto University. Please contact our designers if you would like to know more.