Upgraded Life TALKS vol.4 – Design stories from Healthcare


Upgraded Life TALKS vol.4 – Design stories from Healthcare

The first Upgraded Life TALKS event in 2017, and the fourth in the series, Design in health and wellbeing,  was dedicated to the importance of design in health and wellbeing solutions. Supported by Uudenmaan liitto, TALKS has aimed to gather the health community together throughout the year and give an opportunity for startups, corporates, students, public sector and healthcare professionals to network with each other. It has been a great journey that started with an inspiring session with medical professionals who have decided to found health-related startups. The next event was focusing on improving the daily life of cancer patients and for the collaboration opportunities between startups, public sector and corporates.

At TALKS vol. 4,  Sami Niemelä from Nordkapp, Niina Venho from Moodmetric and Pekka Kumpula from SEOS Design were discussing the process of designing wearables and equipment for health & wellness. This time the event took place in the cosy and spacious Microsoft Flux community space.

TALKS audience

Sami Niemelä from Nordkapp told the story behind the design of Beddit (“sleep tracker you don’t need to wear”). He emphasised the importance of finding a purpose: “Find a purpose and everything else will follow”. Having a good team with a mutual chemistry is also a crucial factor for success, which can be even more important than a big budget. He underlined that there are no excuses for not delivering the best quality possible and that striving for the best, may be not only difficult, but also a very fun process. Sami thinks it is very important for a product to be consistent from the design point of view, as in the Beddit case, starting from IOS to apple watch, package and tag on the actual product (strip of the fabrics that goes under the sheet).

Sami told a lot about trust and mutual respect as vital components of Nordkapp collaboration with the Beddit team. He drew attention to the complete transparency between them, which means sharing all the design iterations, both successful and unsuccessful ones.

Niina Venho from Moodmetric spoke about their collaboration with Kalevala Koru, which resulted in beautiful rings that help to manage stress and recovery. The idea was to create a jewel without highlighting the technical device, and ring form was chosen because of a number of sweat glands located on the palms needed for the proper work of the device. Niina revealed the challenges their team faced on a way to balance desired accuracy and pleasant user experience.

Pekka Kumpula from SEOS Design shared a design story of Q-Flow surgical light which was born as a result of their collaboration with hospital furniture and equipment manufacturer Merivaara Oy.

The design process started with the goals for the production team, namely to improve patient safety and work environment and to communicate Merivaara’s brand image through the design.


They studied the user needs and mapped the possible challenges. Operating theatre is a very specific environment, and thus they had a lot of technical requirements to take into account, including air flow, shadows and aseptic.

Pekka also explained the concept of “design DNA”: the use of similar colours, shapes and materials to create a unified user experience. This supports increasing the unified user experience and connect the company’s products with each other to increase brand awareness. Their great work among the surgical light was rewarded when the Q-Flow won Fennia 2017 Grand Price.



Panel discussion wrap-up

  • Differences and similarities in designing for the consumer market and industrial market. All speakers agreed that design for both of the markets requires value creation and user-centric approach. No matter if you design something for consumers of professional, it will fail if there is no value.  
  • Speakers shared their stories of involving end users in the production stage. For example, while designing Q-Flow light, SEOS invited surgeons and nurses in the office to give feedback and test prototypes. Test of Beddit design was done through user communities. While testing, Moodmetric’s team realised they can’t fit in everyone’s aesthetics and decided to find the target group who is happy with their product.
  • Healthcare world now clearly sees the benefits of good design. The practical side of the products and careful meeting of all regulations are not enough for improving patients experience, but through better and humanised design it is possible to make a change in perception, for example in hospital experience.
  • There was also discussion about how new technologies can reduce rising costs in healthcare, e.g. by introducing online therapists and wearables increasing public awareness of their health risks. Predictive healthcare and artificial intelligence will be guiding us to implement preventive health measures.

You can watch the most part of the event on the HealthSPA Facebook web page.


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