Anna Asikainen and Nina Martin are key people for this year’s study project #Helsinki/Beirut. They will help us coordinating the study project and guiding the students throughout the course, especially with regards to the activities and project work done in Beirut, Lebanon. Here a short intro:
We are Anna and Nina, two Aalto students/soon-to-be graduates from ARTS and BIZ. For the last nine months we have been working on the idea of starting our own social enterprise around the possibilities that new technologies have to offer, especially in non-welfare states.
I am Anna from the Master’s program in Management, Sales and International Development (Aalto BIZ). I am especially interested in the field of social business and entrepreneurship, sustainability studies and clean technology implementation. Geographically speaking, I am most fascinated by Latin America, where I conducted my thesis research, and the Middle East, mostly because there’s a vast un-utilised potential of social business climate in these areas. I am intrigued by new venture creation that is socially responsible and sustainable from the very beginning.
I am Nina, a third-year student from the Media Lab (Aalto ARTS) who got to dive deep into design thinking. I was given the chance to apply this to a three-months design research project in Lebanon with the MENA Design Research Center in Beirut. The challenges and opportunities of the Lebanese landscape, technically, culturally and socioeconomically speaking, are vast and made me return six times in the last year as well as become a Service Designer for various projects. With my thesis work in South Africa I am exploring a framework for cross-boundary communication, a concept that also lies at the core of our initiative.
Together we started last year something we called tentatively “Aalto Middle East Initiative“, and with help from others got started this Media Factory-funded student project you will participate in. We will explore the symbiosis of design, new technologies and entrepreneurship in an ever-changing society and get insights into an exciting ecosystem.
Our role in the course will be most visible during the preparations for the trip to Beirut, and when helping communicate and collaborate with the partners and people there. We will be meeting all you in the first session. See you!