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Mari Suoheimo

Associate professor



Mari Suoheimo is working as an associate professor of service design at the Oslo School of Architecture and design. Her research concentrates on how to approach wicked problems in service design. Wicked problems are diverse and can range from sustainability to the use of technology. Suoheimo´ s research interests are in the field of mobility and logistics, emerging technologies, public services, participatory design, design for policy, circular economy, design theories, decolonizing design and sustainability.

She is a Doctor of Service Design (2020), Master (2010) and Bachelor of Industrial Design (2008) -University of Lapland; Bachelor of Art Education (2015) – Centro Universitario Claretiano. Suoheimo has working experience in service, UX and product design, marketing and branding, e.g. in the development of the JEFFER.SON brand. At Grasp Ltd., she worked as a marketing analyst. At the Everest International School, she was an art teacher and the teaching language was English. In Brazil, Suoheimo also owned a micro-enterprise called Design District.

After returning to Finland from Brazil, Suoheimo began her doctoral studies in service design. Suoheimo graduated in three years and defended her thesis called “Approaching Wicked Problems in Service Design”. During her studies she published eight peer-reviewed scientific publications. In 2018 Suoheimo received one-year grant from the Lapland Cultural Foundation for her thesis. She has worked as a service design researcher and project manager at the University of Lapland for both LUX research group and Co-Stars Service Design research group.

Suoheimo has experience in research projects funded by EU (H2020, ESR/ESF, EAKR), Academy of Finland, Interreg Nord and Business Finland. At the Co-Stars research group she participated in applying successfully funding to start a new master’s degree program in service design called PAMA at the University of Lapland. Other successful funding calls have been SEEYouth (Trans-Atlantic Platform), Engage4BIO (Horizon), and Seed funding for Sino-Nordic research collaboration. Suoheimo has worked as a project manager at the following research projects “Muittut, muitalusat – The Story of the Sámi by the Sámi” (Interreg Nord), Smart Social Distancing (Business Finland) and FrEE – Framtidens EnergiExpert (ESF).

She has publications in the following journals: the Design Journal, Processes, the International Journal of Design Management and Professional Practice, and Revista Educação Gráfica. She is also part of the editorial board of The Design Journal.


Publications (34)

Conference paper

The Context of Addressing Power Dynamics in Design

To support transformative aims, scholars highlight a crucial need for increased attention to power dynamics in service design (SD). Current literature emphasizes the need for individual service designers to build reflexivity around power without much consideration for their surrounding context... Read »

Conference paper

Wicked Strategies: Comparing Evolved Double Diamond and PPG’s Framework for strategy creation for Wicked Problems in Service Design

This article compares the Evolved Double Diamond model with PPG Industries’ framework for responding to wicked problems, as presented by Camillus (2008). Camillus argued that wicked problems often increase as an organisation faces constant change or unprecedented challenges. Indeed, the social complexity of wicked problems as well as technical difficulties make them difficult to manage... Read »

Book chapter

Service Design Thinking Method for Educational Leaders

Leading educational work can be a challenge as it includes guiding many different stakeholder groups. This study presents the service design process used to develop a service mobile application aimed at supporting the work of school principals in Finnish Lapland. Design thinking and Double Diamond are co-creative processes used by service designers to approach problems... Read »

Book chapter

Innovative and Sustainable Service Design

Service refers to applying competencies such as knowledge and skills through processes and performances to benefit others (Vargo & Lusch, 2008). Service design is a planning activity (Zomerdijk & Voss, 2010) for organising business resources such as people, props and processes (Malone et al., 2003) to improve both the employee experience (Bertolotti et al... Read »


Lecture: Como abordar problemas complexos no design de serviço através da colaboração transdisciplinar. [How to approach complex problems in service design through cross-disciplinary collaboration]

Lecture: Como abordar problemas complexos no design de serviço através da colaboração transdisciplinar. [How to approach complex problems in service design through cross-disciplinary collaboration], for the doctoral, master’s and bachelor’s degree students in design... Read »

Book chapter

Historical Perspectives on Service Design and Technology

Currently, there are several ways of viewing and approaching service design. These differences can sometimes create confusion regarding what service design is and does as a field of practice and research. Against this backdrop, this chapter discusses the existing service design perspectives that can be employed when practising and researching service design... Read »


Service Design for Emerging Technologies Product Development: Bridging the Interdisciplinary Knowledge Gap

The productization of emerging technologies related to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (FIR) is now getting more attention across different industries. Compared to the previous industrial transformations that the world has seen which relied on mechanical innovations, the ongoing FIR is seeing software and data-driven products as the foundation... Read »


Academic Working Group: Service Design

Service Design working group as general focuses on education, teaching, research and learning in the area of service design. As more designers work in areas where a service perspective is dominant, new demands on knowledge, skills and attitudes are being forefronted. As relational perspectives become more important to design, culture and design can strengthen each other across old borders... Read »


Academic Working Group: Service Design

Service Design Working Group is aiming to share information about service design teaching [introductory courses and briefs to students, both defining and sharing tools/online resources] and how the information is shared about specific areas of service design such as architecture, housing, and healthcare. .. Read »

Conference paper

The First Diamond is Service Design and the Second is UX/Interaction Design: the Double Diamond Model and Team Roles in Making a Mobile Service Application Using Cross-Disciplinary Teamwork

The aim of this qualitative case study was to investigate how visual tools such as the double diamond (DD) model and persona cards can support the cross-disciplinary team members’ understanding of their roles in a digital service design process... Read »

Conference paper

Service Design and Digital Pedagogy: Managing the Creation of a Learning Space for the Energy, Real Estate, and Construction Fields

  • Suoheimo, Mari|Aejmelaeus, Monica|Stukolkina, Lada|Tohka, Antti|Koutonen, Ella-Mari

This paper will investigate how professionals from the energy, real estate, and construction fields can update their knowledge regarding energy transition using service design and digital pedagogy, recognizing that these people will be working full-time. The Uusimaa has an aim to be carbon neutral by 2030, and this will require a change from the old ways of producing energy to new ways... Read »


Scientific abstract: Elinikäinen oppiminen teknillisillä aloilla käyttäen palvelumuotoilua ja asiakaslähtöisyyttä näkökulmana alojen murroksessa [Lifelong learning in technical fields by using service design and customer centric perspective in the transition of fields]

Jatkuva oppiminen on tärkeää tekniikan aloilla. Ilmastonmuutos ja siihen liittyvät toimenpiteet ja uudet lait muuttavat tekniikan alojen työmahdollisuuksia ja koulutusta. Eri aloilla pyritään vähähiilisempään energiantuotantoon ja se on muuttanut alojen tuotantomuotoja. Uudelleen kouluttautuminen työn ohella on välttämätöntä työn pitämiseksi... Read »