Design Future Health

design thinking in health technology education

The GREAT Network organizes Basic and Intensive Courses inspiring practical applications tailored to boost ideas in innovating novel solutions for various healthcare challenges of today.


Our Design Thinking in Healthcare Innovation Online Course Wraps-up

Last week our new Design Thinking in Healthcare Innovation Online Course was completed. The students and the organizers came together for the last time and we experienced something really great when the students presented their group works. Our students had utilized the Design Thinking process to solve the diverse problems of health care and created innovative and new solutions. We witnessed many great pitches of various processes, toolkits, facilities and innovative spaces and applications.

Students intensify their knowledge on ideation and prototyping during the 3rd session of the basic course

Another GREAT week started and our students deepened their knowledge in ideation and prototyping. Our guest lecturer Sebastian Soidinsalo, a Business Development Manager from the University of Helsinki gave a fascinating lecture about Design Thinking which included the process of identifying the real need of customers, brainstorming, prototyping and testing. Exactly what we needed!

Have you thought about how to improve customer or patient experience? Or how to increase employee efficiency and satisfaction?

Our second week of the Design Thinking in Healthcare Innovation online course started with the topic – Empathize and Identify. Sini Koivisto from Teho-opisto gave an interesting lecture and shared a designer’s view on Design Thinking through amazing case examples.

“Design Thinking in Healthcare Innovation” Online Course Begins

The four-week “Design Thinking in Healthcare Innovation” online course started on the 12th of May, Wednesday with 52 enrolled students across the GREAT network of Higher Educational Institutions

Design Thinking in Healthcare Innovation – Online Course

Online Course for Design Thinking in Healthcare Innovation Kicks off!

Enrollment starts from 18th March – 23rd April 2021.

Solutions for Healthcare and Life Science

One of the network collaborators is the Hospital District of Southwest Finland. The aim is to find ways to improve patient care and working conditions of healthcare professionals by innovating working solutions that efficiently address empirical challenges.

The GREAT Network

The Design Future Health (GREAT) project is a network of Nordic and Baltic Higher Educational Institutions namely – Universities of Oslo, South-Eastern Norway, Tartu, Turku, Åbo Akademi and Centre for Digital Life Norway. The network builds on a close research collaboration between the network partners, which advocates for novel solutions to tackle the challenges in commercializing academic and clinical discoveries.

Creating a Novel Culture of Innovation

The network introduces Design Thinking to promote a new culture of innovative thinking and applying it in health technology innovations. The education offered by the GREAT Network is based on the design thinking process created by the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University, the so called

The Art & Science of Design Thinking

Design Thinking has existed since the 1960’s; yet it has been used relatively little in health education. Medical schools and health education programmes have only recently started to explore Design Thinking possibilities in education. The network aims to stand in the forefront of the leading edge of recent pedagogical development and implement new learning tools, fostering creative minds to make a difference that matters. 

- I wanted to learn more about Design Thinking


When I was invited to the GREAT project, I immediately got interested. I had previous experience in digital projects and especially in user-centered process in the development of health promotion interventions. I wanted to learn more about Design Thinking ideology to deepen my expertise in this area”. 

Anni Pakarinen (PhD, MHSc, RN)

Chairman of the GREAT Network

Development Manager, Senior Researcher 

University of Turku, Department of Nursing Science 

- Design thinking as a new tool and mindset for research

“I want to study Design thinking not just as a tool for traditional innovation purposes, but also as a tool and mindset for research and research communication”

Marthe Jordbrekk Blikra

Post-doc Researcher

Nofima, Norway 

Digital Life Norway Research School

Co-coordinator of the Intensive Course Content group

- New ways to solve complex problems

Design thinking enables us together develop technology and services that support patient well-being and thus improve patient experience in a patient-centered manner

Annika Nordberg RN, BHSc

Master of Health Science Student

University of Turku

GREAT Intensive Course group (administration coordinator, preliminary material and online course) 

- This gives me a deeper understanding of the human need, when solving a problem


“For me, Design thinking is a great methodology. It takes us through different predefined stages that enables us to really understand the human need in the complex problems we are trying to solve”.


Vidar Thomassen

Master of Health Science Student

University of South-Eastern Norway

GREAT Development group – Webpage and Online Course

- A tenet for creating true value


“I see it as a tenet for creating true value of what we are aiming for, either for ourselves or for the things we render our efforts to. Learning to infuse Design Thinking in our pursuits will transform our goals more than for what it is and for what it will be.”


Kaile Kubota

MHSc Student in Future Health and Technology

University of Turku / Fudan University

GREAT Development group

- An amazing opportunity to build a much-needed bridge between health and technology

“We have an amazing opportunity to build a much-needed bridge between health and technology, and I strongly believe that design thinking is just the right tool for such endeavour. Come along and let us shape the future of healthcare together!”

Danijela Simonovic

Master in International Health, Uppsala University, Sweden
Master in Pharmacy, University of Tromsø, Norway
PhD student in Medicinal chemistry at the University of Tromsø, Norway

- Design thinking, a core in innovative welfare technology solutions

Design thinking is a core in the development, implementation and evaluation of innovative welfare technology solutions in health care

Representatives from Åbo Akademi University

Linda Nyholm (Docent, Senior Lecturer) 

Steering Group and Symposium

Camilla Mattjus (RN, MHC)

Symposium and Thematic Events


- To me design thinking isn’t just a tool - it's a mindset.

“I have previously been exposed to design thinking through books, podcasts and design jams. Having been invited to join the GREAT team, I finally found an opportunity to overlay my research skills with a philosophy I have been very keen to adopt.”

Aman S. Chahal

Postdoctoral Researcher

Instiute for Clinical & Molecular Medicine

NTNU- Norwegian University of Science and Technology

- I became inspired by design thinking...

“I got a chance to visit the Stanford University a year ago… I became inspired by design thinking and how we could use it also in hospital settings.”

Eriikka Siirala (PhD, MNSc, RN)

Innovation Agent

University of Turku & Turku University Hospital

Secretary of GREAT Steering Group