Past Projects

Collaboration Environments in Global Distributed Product Processes (2010-2013) -ColPro

The purpose of this research project is to design, analyze, and evaluate new collaborative working environments (CWE) to develop high quality interactions and collaborations in global product processes, for example, when a company is delivering customer services. CWEs are a combination of infrastructures and environments  – including physical, virtual, social and organizational spaces – supporting individual and collaborative work. We aim to determine factors influencing on their design, implementation, adaptation and use by identifying enablers and hindrances in these environments. We will concentrate especially on the functionality and usability of virtual tools and human and organization practices when companies are operating in different countries and continents and their employees collaborate remotely with each other. Based on the needs of work processes and human actors we will explore new technology possibilities to enhance collaboration as our focus.

The research is done in collaboration with Strategic Usability Research Group (STRATOS) from Department of Computer Science and Engineering  http://cse.aalto.fi/research/groups/stratus/ at Aalto University School of Science, Media Technologies from VTT  http://www.vtt.fi/research/area/media_technologies.jsp?lang=en and  PBL Lab of Stanford University (USA) http://pbl.stanford.edu.  Our industrial partners are: AAC Global, ABB Motors, DNA, Inno-W, Konecranes, Metso Automation and UPM. The research project is funded by Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation and partner companies.

Professional Collaboration and Productivity in Virtual Worlds (2009-2013) – ProViWo

This research project studies how virtual worlds can be used in professional, work related collaboration and to enhance productivity in globally distributed teams. Here, virtual worlds refer to 3D environments, where users can flexibly change their avatars. This study explores both the strategical and managerial point of views to virtual worlds at work and studies different kinds of professional collaboration possibilities and productivity potentials of virtual worlds in-depth. First, the strategic uses of virtual worlds at work are studied and the good practices of using virtual worlds for professional collaboration are explored. Second, collaboration in a virtual world is studied in different events (e.g. brainstorming sessions and virtual team meetings) with partner companies. Additionally, research results are reported in two international seminars organized by the project as well as in prestigious international conferences and journals. This research is a collaboration project with Stanford University (USA), VU Amsterdam (The Netherlands) and Stockholm School of Economics (Sweden).

Well-being from a Short-Haul Office (Hyvinvointia lähityöstä) (2011-2012)

This development project is the first phase of a larger research program exploring facilities, well-being and new ways of work.  In this first phase a concept of a short-haul office is designed and created. Short-haul office is defined as a way of work which increases personnel’s flexibility and enables employees to utilize multiple work locations, especially offices near their home. The concept is based on the theories of multi-locational and distributed work as well as on practical and environmental motivators, such as reducing commuting and CO2 emissions. Case study will be conducted at a case company TeliaSonera.
Short-haul office concept will be developed by studying the physical, virtual and social prerequisites of multi-locational work as well as by evaluating the current work spaces and ways of working. Data on current work, locations of work as well as on employees’ mobility, use of space and technology is collected by interviews, questionnaires and other methods (e.g. mobile observation). Based on the analysis, there will be a series of workshops together with the personnel,  in which the concept of short-haul office is co-designed. Project Manager: Anu Sivunen

Read more about the project in Finnish (pdf, 3 pages).

Virtual Worlds as Innovative Working Environments
(2009-2011) – VIIWE

This research project studies how virtual worlds can enhance innovative collaboration in distributed teams and in global context. The project has two major aims and phases. First we review the current state-of-art literature and studies of innovative uses of virtual worlds as collaboration platforms in different situations (organizational training sessions, ad hoc meetings, product development prototyping sessions, etc.). Second, we interview a sample of managers and employees of companies currently using virtual worlds in order to explore the uses of virtual worlds as working environments and to find the best practices and future potential of virtual worlds. The study will be conducted in collaboration with Telematica Institute and University of St.Gallen – two leading European universities studying virtual worlds at the moment. Moreover, the insights gained from the vmWork Unit’s close collaboration with Stanford University’s virtual world researchers will be utilized. The results of the project will be reported in network activities organized by WORK-IN-NET programme as well as in academic conferences and journals and in an open seminar held at TKK for the interested Finnish organizations and academics.

Leadeship, Distribution, Change (2009-2010) – JoHaMu
The project has four aims: (1) to identify the core of leadership in distributed, virtual organizations and to develop theory of virtual management; (2) to study dynamics of virtual organizations and group processes in their teams as well as formation and change of networks; (3) to study interaction in virtual network in order to identify power relationships and their dynamics, and (4) to study, how well companies having implemented means of virtual interaction have succeeded in developing experiences of presence. Based on research findings, new practices and tools will be developed. The study is a joint project with and Turku School of Economics and University of Turku.

Mobile Financial Services (2009-2010) – MoFS
MoFS aims at changing the use habit of financial services to mobile environment. The goal is to promote change towards a “wallet” in mobile phone that replaces or complements the traditional wallets, cash, banking and cards and to enable Single Sign-On authentication. The primary focus is to develop safe and flexible trust enablers and cost-efficient banking and payment tools for existing, new and innovative mobile services and to put these in practice by creating the critical technical and business enablers. This can only be achieved by co-innovation crates ecosystem for mobile financial services. The primary focus is to develop safe and flexible trust enablers and cost-efficient banking and payment tools for existing or new mobile services and put these in practice by creating technical and business enablers. Project is a collaboration project with SoberIT and a part of Flexible Services (TIVIT) programme.

Evaluation Method to Study Mental Workload Factors in Mobile and Multi-Locational Work (2009-2010) – MoMoStressi
Developing well-being in mobile and multi-locational work is a challenge for a company and its work health care system. The aim of this study is to develop a method for professionals in occupational health care for identifying mental workload and risk factors in mobile and multi-locational work. In this study: (1) the epidemiological bases of complexity factors in work are reviewed, (2) a framework to analyse mobile and multi-locational work is developed, (3) data is collected from mobile employees (’heavy travellers’), (4) a method to identify risks in mobile work is developed, (5) the method is tested as a tool of occupational health care personnel, and (6) the distribution process for benefitting the method is defined and main actors are trained. The research project is a collaboration project with the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, Turku University of Applied Sciences, and University of Helsinki.

Multilocational Office (2008-2010)
The Multilocational Office -project focuses on the physical, virtual and social prerequisites and premises of multilocational organizations. Technological solutions as well as physical spaces which enhance multilocational work and its management are being developed during the project. In addition the project studies the adoption of mobile and dispersed way of working, and assesses the success of the change as well as the usability of technological solutions. Based on the project, a management model for a ‘multilocational office’ is being created and put into use. This model is based on the dispersed and mobile way of working with the help of information and communication technology and can be utilized in national and international level.

Funding: Tekes TILA-programme and participating organisations.
Read more about MoVi in Finnish (pdf, 8 pages).

VinCo – Innovative Business and Collaboration in Virtual Environments (2008-2009)
This TKK & Stanford research project studies how collaboration and communication in global distributed teams and in fully virtual environments can enhance business and innovation. Here, virtual environments refer to MMORLG -category, that is, 3D-environments, where users can change flexibly their avatars. Dynamics of communication and innovative, value-adding collaboration in fully virtual settings beyond computer game research are yet not studied. First, a pre-study on geographically distributed innovative collaboration is conducted with conventional e-working tools. Simultaneously, methods for studying MMORLGs are developed. In subsequent two multidisciplinary two study rounds the new 3D environments are studied in-depth and in close international collaboration.

Funding: TKK’s MIDE Programme. Project Manager: Anu Sivunen

vmStan – Virtual and Mobile Knowledge Work (2008-2009)
vmStan is a HUT & Stanford collaboration project. The target of the project is to perform world class research as HUT & Stanford collaboration and transfer the results to Finnish industry for productivity and well-being development. Research questions:
HOW TO ENHANCE VIRTUAL TEAMWORK IN GLOBAL COMPANIES ?
1.Identify the job demands of global teamwork
2.Provide methods to support virtual knowledge work
3.Face and overcome the challenges of virtuality and mobility
4.Follow-up the effectiveness, productivity and well-being of the team
Funding: TEKES Liito programme. Project manager: Niina Nurmi, researchers Virpi Ruohomäki and Petra Bosch. Read more

Workplace Resources Management (2007-2009) – ProWork
The goal of the project is to understand what the crucial elements for productive knowledge work are and what kind of requirements it sets for the physical, virtual and social work environment. Based on the findings the second goal is to develop an evaluation and foreseeing method and tool. The tool allows user-organizations to analyze and evaluate social and individual knowledge work processes and to develop physical and virtual workplace resources to support the productive knowledge work, both in the current situation and for future changes. The third goal is to develop service concepts for workplace resource management to support user organization in developing the most efficient workplace solution for productive knowledge. The project has been a collaboration project between Helsinki University of Technology, Stanford University (USA) and NTNU (Norway).
Read more: www.proworkproject.com

NEW GLOBAL (2007-2008)
The study on “Globalisation and New Collaborative Working Environments” is commissioned by the European Commission. Globalisation issues are in the heart of EU policies regarding integration, trade, employment and social affairs and the information society. New collaborative working environments (CWE) driven by strong technological integration and application of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) can enable companies to exploit global networking opportunities. This study explores how globalisation affects the way companies are operating and investigates how even the very small EU companies can respond to it and extend their business possibilities in a beneficial way by establishing new collaborative working environments. >> Read more

VerMeet (2006-2008)
– The objective of the research project is to analyze the demands and success of virtual and mobile work operations and management methods in geographically distributed organizations. The project will also create new and sustainable management practices, collaboration and development methods to improve virtual and mobile work. Funding: TEKES. Researchers: Niina Kokko, Marko Hakonen, Anu Sivunen and Satu Koivisto.

Collaborative Work Environments Supporting Organizations’ Capabilities – KYKY (2006-2007).
The project studies the use of collaborative work environments in organizations, their challenges and benefits, and to what degree they support competence development in work. The project provides a theoretical model of evolving use: how to overcome resistance in organizations and to successfully implement and use collaboration technologies. Researchers invite all interested parties to participate in the discussion in the collaborative technological environment (http://kyky.dicole.net/). Funding: The Finnish Work Environment Fund. Researchers: Eija Korpelainen (project manager), Meri Jalonen and Tommi Gustafsson.

Researchers invite all interested parties to participate in the discussion in the collaborative technological environment (http://kyky.dicole.net/).

Virtual Team Assessment and Development Model – VITAL (2004-2007).

The projects aims at developing a modular toolbox to support forming, performing, maintaining and developing dispersed groups and projects. Funding: TYKES. Researchers: Niina Kokko, Satu Kuokkanen, Marko Hakonen and Anu Sivunen.


Read more about Vital Web Tool here (in Finnish)

Click on the picture to access the tool.

Distributed workplace – dWork (2004-2006).
The project will provide (1) a conceptual framework, strategies, and analytic tools, and (2) concrete models, tools and practices that will help corporate real estate (CRE) groups to participate in the design of physical workplaces, ITC networks and connections and the managerial policies that support the corporation’s knowledge work as it distribute activities in their value chain. Funding: Nokia, Nordea and Senate Properties and TEKES. Researchers: HUT: Marko Hakonen, Satu Kuokkanen, Petri Mannonen, Mika P. Nieminen, Jouni Rekola, Virpi Ruohomäki and Anni Vartola. MIT: David Good, Michael Joroff, Chuck Kukla, William Porter and Alexis Sanal.

Mobile work: well-being and design principles (2004-2005).
The projects aims at studying manners to organise work, working practices and their challenges from the leadership viewpoint and the components of well-being in mobile work. Funding: the Ministry of Labour. Reseacher: Ursula Hyrkkänen.
Hyrkkänen, U. & Vartiainen, M. (2005) Mobiili työ ja hyvinvointi, Työpoliittinen tutkimus, nro 293. Helsinki: Työministeriö. 276 s.

Job demands and stress factors in dispersed work (2003-2004).
This project aims at analysing and describing the job demands, stress factors and job characteristics of dispersed, virtual work and their relationship to well-being. Funding: The Finnish Work Environment Fund. Researcher: Niina Kokko.

Challenges of mobile work (2003-2004).
The project’s purpose is to clarify the conceptual bases of virtual, mobile work and to develop a vision for sustainable mobile work systems. Funding: the Ministry of Labour. Researchers: Anssi Balk, Kari Jalonen Johan Lönnblad, and Matti Vartiainen.

Functionality and development of virtual organizations 2002-2003

The functionality of virtual organizations 2001-2002