23 of Aalto Startup Center’s ecosystem startups are attending the Arctic15 event. Arctic15 is a Startup Investor Event and a meeting spot for startup entrepreneurs, investors, corporates and media from 60+ countries.
Who are you and what do you do?
Visentools: Visentools is an empowering visual collaboration tool that radically improves ideation, communication, memorizing, mutual understanding, inclusiveness and the rapid exploration of challenges. Our method enhances teamwork efficiency, shortens output times and solves issues on simple or complex tasks. Moreover, the method is self-guided, intuitive and quick to employ at any moment using a facilitating application and symbolic artifacts for visual sensebuilding.
What kind of team do you have at the moment?
- Project Director and lead for self-guidance design Robin Gustafssonis an associate professor in strategic management at Aalto University. He has been at Aalto University since 2013. Robin’s research focuses on strategy, organization, and policy in industry and market disruptions, especially digitalization, the platform business, and the platform economy. He has successfully led several Business Finland innovation research projects and one Academy of Finland project. He founded the company Playmystrategy in 2019 and has 20 years of experience on small-size company boards as a member of the board and chairman of the board. He has been a judge (since 2017) of the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year competition and has evaluated over 200 start-ups and high-growth companies. Robin has substantial experience designing and teaching in executive education in strategic management. Robin is an expert in the flipped classroom, experienced-based learning methods, and a skilled user of the Harvard case teaching method and LEGO® Serious Play® facilitation method. He has received professional facilitator training and is a certified Lego Serious Play facilitator. His recent research interests have been in workshop designs to support strategy work using visual aids, such as Lego bricks, drawings, and pictures. He has several manuscripts forthcoming on the topic, including one edited book (Edward Elgar Publishing) on visual aids in strategy, a systematic review of insights from visual and social neuroscience research on the value of visual sense-building, and a manuscript on work-life playfulness.
- Creative Director Jaana Pejoskais a new media designer and design-based researcher. Her expertise is in new media production, visual communication and information design, and service and digital product design. Jaana is also the founder of OYO Games Ltd. and has previously worked as an art director at Lumination Films and as a creative director at Axis Digital Production and training center. She is finalizing her doctoral thesis at the new media group at the School of Art, Design and Architecture at Aalto University. Jaana has research expertise in contextual inquiry, participatory and co-design and qualitative methods such as ethnography-, surveys-, interviews, and user studies. She will lead the empirical work on designing digitally facilitated visual sensebuilding in teams. In addition, she conducts the verification study on the benefits of visual sensebuilding with metaphoric artifacts under the supervision of Jaana Simula.
- Visual Design, Mikko Illiis a design researcher specializing in multi-disciplinary and international work with videos and contextual interviews. His work combines knowledge from design, engineering, sociology and business fields. His doctoral research is about industrial sales interactions with visuals, and he has published some of this work in the “CHI” Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. He applies scientific research methods to socio-technical interaction contexts and produces design implications from this analysis. Some other activities that energize him are prototyping and visualization, for which he masters a broad set of related software.
- Commercial Director Thomas Tuominen has 25+ years of B2B service sales and sales & marketing management experience. This experience has been gathered in diverse locally and globally operating companies such as Schibsted, Management Events International, Huone, Smarp, Sector Alarm, and Clear Channel International. Tuominen has been centrally involved in go-to-market planning, service design, commercial design, market entry, and market execution in the abovementioned companies. The experience includes startup, scaleup, and mature operations. In addition, Thomas has been leading marketing organizations for the past ten years. He has thus gathered significant experience in digital marketing, as used in launching B2B services to international markets.
- Project Manager Tom Railio is a skillful software architect, developer and software project scrum master. He has a solid record in leading successful software development projects as scrum master for real company projects (i.e. for United Bankers, Accenture, and Aalto University) with a 7-9 student team within the Software project course at Aalto University (Aalto students at the Computer Science department are the most skilful young software developers in Finland). He is a doctoral candidate in his final year. He has been a course instructor in several courses, including Software Project 123, Enterprise Systems Architecture, Software Engineering, and Design of WWW Services at the Department of Computer Science at Aalto University.
- Verification study responsible Jaana Simola is cognitive neuroscience and cognitive psychology researcher with a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Helsinki. She is a docent at the Neuroscience Center and the Cognitive Brain Research Unit (CBRU) at Helsinki University. She is specialized in research on consumer perceptual and cognitive processing and learning. She is skilled in data analysis, experimental research design, and methods such as eye-tracking, electroencephalography (EEG), and magnetoencephalography (MEG). Jaana Simola will lead the verification study on the benefits of visual sensebuilding with metaphoric artifacts together with Jaana Pejoska. Jaana S. will work on synthesizing insights from cognitive and visual neuroscience insights and social psychology to design effective visual sensebuilding.
- Advisor Kim Väisänen is an angel investor and an entrepreneur. Kim will act as an advisor and steering group member in the project. His portfolio currently includes over 20 investments. Before his time as an angel investor, he co-founded the world’s leading data erasure software company Blancco and was its CEO from 1997 to 2015, when they sold it for 60MEUR. In addition, he has written four books related to business and entrepreneurship and has been the host of the reality show ‘Leijona Luola’ for entrepreneurs pitching their idea.
- Advisor Timur Kärki founded Gofore in 2001 together with three friends. Timur became CEO of the company in 2010 when Gofore had around 25 employees. During his nine years as CEO, the company grew 50% yearly. Today, Gofore employs almost 600 people across Finland, Germany, Spain, and Estonia. Timur is since 2020 chairman of the board of Gofore. Kärki has been a member of the Board of Directors of Ilves-Hockey Oy since 2017 and the Board of Directors of Modulight Plc since 2021. In addition, Kärki previously acted as a member of the Board of Directors at VMP Plc in 2019 and Navakka Group Oy during 2019–2020. Timur will act as an advisor and steering group member in the project.
- Advisor Paul Arpikariis the Chief Evangelist of Sellforte, a rapidly internationally growing BtoB SAAS Martech company providing advanced analytics to optimize digital marketing. Paul is the chief evangelist focusing on brand awareness, Go-To-Market strategy, and the commercialization of new products. Paul previously held the position of commercial director at Sellforte and Head of Sales at Schibsted. Paul will add critical digital marketing and sales experience to the team.
What is your innovation?
Visentools: The Visentools R2B project develops the concepts, designs, and prototypes of the self-facilitating application and symbolically explicit artifacts used for visual sensebuilding. With advisors’ support, the team is actively testing and developing the method, the artifacts, and the facilitation app with end users of diverse backgrounds. Founded on the most recent design research, cognitive psychology, and cognitive and social neuroscience, the artifact’s sizes, shapes, and colours are designed to inspire intuitive and playful sensebuilding. In addition, the concept and pilot design is done for the digital facilitator application, and the use of AI algorithms will be explored.
What kind of problem does your innovation solve?
Visentools: Professionals operate today with limited collaboration skills, leadership and planning. On average, professionals use 25 hours per week in meetings, and over 70% of those meetings are reported to be unproductive. In addition, bad communication causes 44% of delays or failures in work completion. Visentools solves those core challenges in today’s business world, including costly miscommunication, the inefficiency of meetings, adjusting to diverse working teams, inclusiveness and limited ability for self-expression. Our tools enable all participants to express their thoughts and deploy their skills in meetings productively; it harnesses our inner superpowers of innovation and storytelling and activates our visual brain. Using our tools, all collaboration becomes more productive, time-efficient and goal-oriented without needing an external facilitator.
What is your idea’s impact for society?
Visentools: Visentools improves workplace equality and improves inclusion. Using our method, a workplace becomes fairer, enabling self-development for all individuals, enhancing personal and organizational innovation, and reducing interpersonal conflicts arising from miscommunication.
What are your main Sustainable Development Goals and why?
Goal 4*: Quality Education; by helping to make education more efficient
Goal 8*: Decent Work and Economic Growth; by enhancing teamwork
Goal 9*: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure; by enhancing innovation work
*Source: United Nations: sdgs.un.org/goals
What are you currently looking for and what are your next steps?
Visentools: To prepare for commercialization, we seek inspiration and companies/organizations willing to act as demo clients while continuously developing our service. In addition, we seek benchmarking experiences using tools to improve meetings and find ways of better understanding the challenges in working collaboratively today. Our project is on schedule, and we have launched our first MVP after only 4 months; we are looking for bright minds to join our journey in making our launch in 2024. We are also ready for first discussions with VC’s.
What are your main targets in the Arctic15 event?
Visentools: We are learning from other start-ups’ failures and wins, sharing our thoughts and getting better and faster at service development. We look for inspiring discussions with future investors who, together with us, want to improve how people perform and enjoy work in the future.
Website: visentools.com (reserved, no content yet)