Pekka Pokela, D.Sc. (Tech.), has been appointed as Professor of Practice in the field of product development at the Aalto University School of Engineering. The term of the appointment is 1 May 2022–30 April 2024. Pokela will work as part of the Design Factory’s product development team in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. His areas of expertise include product development, strategic management and sales, partnerships, and sustainable business.
Strategic product development, customer collaboration and sustainable business
Pekka Pokela (b. 1961) works primarily for the sustainable business consulting firm Gaia Consulting Oy, where he has been serving as partner and business director. Pokela has a decade’s worth of experience in product development and marketing in the technology industry sector.
Following a career in industry, Pokela served as director and management team member in industrial associations (Technology Industries of Finland, Confederation of Finnish Industries) with duties that included industrial and innovation policy, education and research, corporate financing and the internationalisation of businesses. Since then, Pokela worked at strategic consulting firm Eera Finland Oy as senior consultant and managing director. He accomplished his thesis work in 1990 at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), and completed his doctorate in 1991 at the Helsinki University of Technology.
‘The mission of product development is to enhance a company’s competitive edge and bring added value to customers. Succeeding in this requires knowledge of the market, the drivers of change, and customers, as well as an active, bold dialogue with customers. The themes of sustainable business, such as climate change mitigation and cherishing the diversity of nature and social values, introduce new demands and opportunities for products, services and the operations of companies. I look forward to the collaboration between Aalto University, the industry and other partners,’ said Pekka Pokela.
‘Pekka Pokela’s grasp of the industry, management experience, and his exceptional networks will help promote co-operation between the university and industry. He will also participate in teaching conducted at Design Factory, which trains world-class product designers for tasks in industry and society in general. Applying scientific knowledge to practical product development challenges begins during studies and is at the heart of learning. I wish Pekka Pokela a warm welcome to Aalto University and expect a prolific public discussion regarding an innovative and more sustainable future for Finnish manufacturing industries,’ said Gary Marquis, dean of the School of Engineering.
‘This Professor of Practice appointment demonstrates the high level of expertise, networking and innovation of our company’s personnel. We believe that this appointment will benefit Aalto University as well as companies, and we wish success for all involved. We are ready to support this cooperation,’ said CEO Markku Varis of Sweco Finland and Managing Director Ulla Heinonen of Gaia Consulting Oy.
Professor of Practice positions are fixed-term and part-time, intended for directors and experts from companies or the public sector to work in development and to build bridges between the university and industry. The emphasis of the job profile is in education.