Designers x Gov meet to get more inclusive

Anni Leppanen
5 min readDec 1, 2021

The City of Helsinki and Finnish government design community “Julkis-muotoilijat” are organising a meet-up with non-Finnish speaking designer students and recent graduates in order to open new possibilities for a more inclusive future.

We have some amazingly talented non-Finnish speaking designers in Finland and we should have more of them working with/in the government. This event is for inspiration, encouragement and increasing collaboration between non-Finnish speaking designer students/graduates and the government design community.

We at the city of Helsinki design team finally had a chance to hire a non-Finnish speaking designer trainee, and this gave us the idea to host an event to spark further change and bring us closer.

The event will include small group discussions facilitated by non-Finnish speaking designer talents. Here’s an introduction to our amazing facilitators.

Photos of event facilitators and international design talents

Introducing: international design talents in Finland

June (Jooeun) Park
Hello everyone! I’m June, a final year Master’s student studying Collaborative and Industrial Design at Aalto University, from South Korea. At the moment, I’m working as a service design trainee at the City of Helsinki. My long-standing motivation to engage marginalised people in designing public services led me to study service design and work with the city organisation. Last year, I worked with and for Roma people living on Helsinki streets to improve their healthcare access in collaboration with Kalasatama Health Station as part of the 2020 Student Service Design Challenge. Before my study, I worked as a service designer at Korea Institute of Design Promotion, redesigning policies and strategies for resettlement of refugees and immigrants with municipalities and the Ministry of Interior.

Read more about June’s experiences working for Helsinki in her blog post

Mirko Wittka

Hei, I am a designer originally from Germany who came to Finland to study Creative Sustainability at Aalto University. During my studies and within my graduation thesis, I worked with the Finnish government, primarily on values and strategies in public sector digitalisation. Since my graduation, I work with a design consultancy for clients across all sectors on topics ranging from value-driven future studies to developing and facilitating human-centric strategies to creating visual and actionable tools and prototypes.

Natalia Villaman

Moi! I’m an Argentinian designer and cultural mediator who has been in Finland for the past four years. During this time, I have completed my master’s at Aalto University, where I wrote my thesis on acknowledging power dynamics and politics in design facilitation. Currently, I am conducting my doctoral research at University of Helsinki, where I explore the role of facilitation in the public sector by designing citizen participation in the context of Finnish immigration public policies, in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior. In addition to this, I am active in initiatives and networks related to crisis, social design, policy and activism.

Uttishta Varanasi
I’m Uttishta, a service designer from India finishing my studies from Aalto University. Having done projects with the cities of Helsinki and Espoo during my studies, I’ve developed an understanding and interest in the intricacies and challenges of designing with and for the government. Earlier this year, I also helped organise and facilitate the Feminist Futures Hackathon in Helsinki.

Andreas Sode

Hi, I am a service designer from Denmark who has lived in Finland for 5 years now. I recently graduated from Aalto University where I studied an MA in New Media Design and Production. In my master thesis, I studied the City of Helsinki’s OmaStadi Participatory Budgeting Game, where I through interviews with civil servants, designers, and citizens evaluated what kind of impact the game has had on the overall inclusiveness of Helsinki’s recently launched participatory budgeting process (2018–2019).

Michel Nader Sayún

I am a Mexican designer based in Finland, interested in cities, system design, collaboration and participatory practices. I currently work setting up the FinEst Centre for Smart Cities in Forum Virium Helsinki. I am an Aalto University alumni with a MA in Collaborative and Industrial Design and have a License in Industrial Design from ITESM CCM. I have experience in projects related to design social challenges, impact and research. I have been working for the past two years around innovation management and cities in Forum Virium Helsinki.

Betsy Akins

Hi there! I am from the US, but came to Finland to study design after working in education administration in Austria for many years. I recently finished my master’s in Collaborative and Industrial Design at Aalto University and am currently working for Ecovala on REFLOW — an H2020 project piloting solutions for circularity in cities. My work includes developing capacity building resources for city employees and policy makers, building a community of practice for circular solutions in cities, and disseminating findings from the project. My research interests are the role of design in wellbeing, community development, social justice innovation, and baking the perfect chocolate chip cookie.

If you are interested in this event, there are still a few places left — please sign up, details below.

You are warmly invited to join us:

Designers x Gov — City of Helsinki meetup


Webinar and networking


8 December 2021, 3–5pm


Online, Teams

For who?

  • non-Finnish speaking design students and recent graduates interested to find out more about working as a (service) designer in government (city of Helsinki or Finnish government more widely)
  • members of Julkis-muotoilijat Finnish government design community.


City of Helsinki designers and Julkis-muotoilijat community


We have some amazingly talented non-Finnish speaking designers in Finland and we should have more of them working with/in the government. This event is for inspiration, encouragement and increasing collaboration between non-Finnish speaking designer students/graduates and the government design community.


15:00 Welcome words — City of Helsinki

15:10 Welcome words — Julkis-muotoilijat Finnish designers in government community

15:15–16:00 Examples from the field — what does a service designer do in the government?

16–17 Networking and small group discussions around design in government — students/graduates and practitioners get to know each other

How to sign-up?

Please let us know you are coming. We will send you the Teams-link after you have signed-up. Sign-up here


Get in touch with the organisers: and



Anni Leppanen

Strategic designer, change agent and specialist in sustainability transitions, digital transformation, government and experiments.