About us

Anna

Much of what I have done relates to design, creativity and competitiveness in one way or another.

I am currently working as Vice President at the Aalto University in Finland. I was the Dean of the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture in 2014-2019. My Professorship is in Strategic Design. 2009-2014 I was Professor and Rector of the Umeå Institute of Design at Umeå University in Sweden. I’ve also worked as Post Doc and Visiting Professor at the Management Department of ESSEC Business School, France.

A lot of my working career I have done outside of academia, in industry. Typically around topics of design, management, end-user understanding, strategy, and startups. In 1997-2009 I worked in various roles in Nokia, most recently as Head of Design Research & Foresight.  During the years I have been a board member of several companies, public organisations and universities. I think this is a wonderful way to connect to several fields, and hopefully to contribute with a different viewpoint. It is also a great way to learn more, which is something I truly enjoy. My current board memberships are in Vitec Software Group AB (publ), Kalevala Jewellery, and as Chair of the Board for the Designmuseum in Finland.

I am an eternal optimist and love participating in changing the world for the better. This often takes me to projects that don’t really show on a cv but that are very dear to me. They range from EU-and nation-driven policy & impact groups and statements to supporting some of our young and bright when they want to launch their first app or have a great idea they need help with. Working together with people from different backgrounds is a pleasure – and a great way to expand your mind.

Anna Valtonen. Photo by Ilkka Vuorinen

Matias

I am a seasoned marketing and communications professional, business development expert and leader of creative work. My career consists of a broad spectrum of senior management positions in technology companies, but I have always been a communicator and storyteller at heart. I believe strongly in data-driven multi-channel marketing, analytics, content strategies and measured customer journeys.

I have a Master of Science degree in Technology from the Department of Engineering Physics and Mathematics of Helsinki University of Technology (Aalto University) and over 15 years of experience of leading, planning and implementing growth activities in global high-tech businesses, start-up companies and public organizations.

I currently work as Vice President, Business Growth and Development at Beneq, where I am responsible for marketing, customer experience, design and digitalization.

I have a long history as a business development and change management coach. I have been working as a digital business and growth consultant for a multitude of companies, from start-ups to large organizations and from slow-moving B2B to consumer goods and web-based services. Demanding change management and digital business projects are what I have always enjoyed the most.

I have also led sales teams with direct business and project delivery responsibility and have built, managed and developed successful international teams. I have a proven track record of growing businesses, managing international teams and keeping partners and customers happy.

On my so called free time I have been engaged in many extracurricular business and communications activities. I am a freelance journalist producing car podcasts for Bauer Media and maintain my writing skills as a blogger – see for example my story about a middle-aged man that decided to start eat less (in Finnish). I am also a marketing advisor at Frenn, a contemporary menswear brand. And of course also act as the managing director of Anva, managing our investments in interesting growth companies.

Matias Impivaara