This site contains the archives of my travel blogs from 2010-2016.

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Monday, September 17, 2012

U.S. Constitution Day

Today, Sept. 17, 2012, marks the 225th anniversary of the signing of our Constitution at the Philadelphia (Constitution) Convention in 1787. The best way to honor the day might be to read it.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Helsinki Design District

I'm loving that I live right in the heart of the Helsinki Design District!
Check out this short video highlighting some of the cool people and stuff around here :)

Open Helsinki: Embedding Design in Life. from WDC Helsinki 2012 on Vimeo.
We are open. For us, openness equals transparency, curiosity, global responsibility and innovation. We believe that design can create happiness.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Design Thinking

Ever since I took a serious interest in the origin, principles, and process of design thinking, I've started to look at products in new ways. What used to be simple short-lived frustrations -- with the way an object doesn't work ideally in a way I'd like to use it, for example -- have blossomed into full-blown grievances, often accompanied by a conviction that, with just a little time and effort, I could come up with a much more appealing product.

(Okay, maybe the umbrella isn't
entirely at fault in this case.)
Take, for example, umbrellas. Is the inside of an umbrella not the most uncomfortable place to be? Especially for women, whose hair inevitably becomes tangled in the spokes every time. How many times have you been poked in the eye (or ear or face) by an umbrella user walking with or by you? How many times have you pinched, sliced, bent, or scratched your fingers while opening an umbrella? For me, every time. What a horrible experience!  What drives us to use a product that we know will invoke cursing or weeping with every use?

Which is why, when I look outside and see rain, I automatically run an internal risk analysis: Injury by umbrella vs. flat, wet, mop-like hairstyle for the rest of the day. Usually I opt for freedom from dangerous, encumbering umbrellas and design my outfit around a hat, scarf or hood.

Now, if I were an umbrella manufacturer, hearing a customer (or rather, potential customer) testimonial like this would be a sign of complete and utter failure on my part. Clearly, a pretty new pattern or more ergonomic handle isn't going to win this customer over; the umbrella would have to be completely overhauled before such a person even considers a new purchase.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Welcome to Aalto University

While this isn't quite how I thought the first week at Finland's elite business school would go, I'm shirking off my preconceived notions and going with the flow.  I ended up making some great friends this week with both Finnish and other foreign master's students, and quite a lot of friends in bachelor programs as well, since the two are usually combined into one 5-year program in which some master's courses can be taken before the bachelor is even completed. Also, since the Strategy program is a joint program between the School of Business and the School of Engineering, we have the unique opportunity to take any course offered at either campus (regardless of whether it counts toward our degree), which allows us to network, study alongside, and get to know students in both schools.

I've come to learn that the student union and student guilds are to be taken seriously.

daily walk by the sea

sunset over the harbor
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