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Mikko Rikala, industrial designer, Design Product Manager

We designers speak on behalf of urban residents. We know how to locate and visualise the unconscious needs of residents and translate them to reality. We act as filters or intermediaries between the residents and decision-makers at bureaus.

Who are you?

I am Mikko Rikala: industrial designer, service designer, innovator, facilitator, visual-sector ideas man, Master of Arts and enjoyer of visual arts.

I am also the father of two young boys, team manager for a little league team, avid constructor of Duplo blocks and narrator of Spiderman stories.

Moreover, I am a hunter, fisherman and, therefore, a passionate foodie. I am a reserve captain, peacekeeper and a guy who has been battle-tested on the international field – a contributor to history and enjoyer of campfires.

What do you do at Sito and what are your areas of responsibility?

I work as Design Product Manager at the Urban Planning Department.

My job entails all design tasks related to urban planning. I attempt to deploy “design-thinking” both internally at Sito and for customers. Residents are increasingly often interested in participating in the design of cities, urban spaces and services.

Participation, co-design and joint planning will become more common in every Finnish city and municipality. We designers speak on behalf of urban residents. We know how to locate and visualise the unconscious needs of residents and translate them to reality. We act as filters or intermediaries between the residents and decision-makers at bureaus.

In which kinds of projects have you participated?

All projects are interesting. Working at an interdisciplinary expert organisation like Sito is great, since every job is different. I take great pleasure in cooperation and feel that I pick up new things from my colleagues every day. We employ amazingly skilled architects, landscapers, bridge engineers, structural engineers, geotechnicians – you name it! I feel that I am at my best on a large team where we can evaluate and develop the task provided together.

One example of this was a City of Helsinki Sports Department project aimed at developing the sports facilities in western Helsinki. This project entailed considering and having a vision for the nature, genius loci and user needs at every site. People are always at the heart of practically all design jobs, which is what makes this so much fun. I also enjoy being able to develop and innovate new work on my own. I feel “free” at work.

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