Daniel Graff

Daniel Graff

Distinguished Research Fellow


Brief Introduction

   I am currently a Distinguished Research Fellow, PhD Supervisor, and Director of the Strategic Design Lab at the Design & Innovation College, Tongji University. The SDL has the aim to increase the awareness and use of design in China, and to promote a Chinese perspective of design in the world. Before joining Tongji University, I studied for my Doctor of Science at the International Design Business Management (IDBM) program at Aalto University. After completion of my degree, I joined Loughborough University London as an Assistant Professor in Design Innovation.

   My current research focuses on the design process in practice, and in different contexts. I explore, for example, how designing is influenced by the international environment (e.g. in China), how multi-disciplinary teams design for and with machines, and design innovations. My research is published in highly-ranked international academic journals in design (e.g., Design Studies, Journal of Engineering Design) and group studies (e.g., Team Performance Management). I won national awards and received international recognition for my research.

   At D & I, my teaching includes Business Model Innovation and Design Studio 1. Prior, I taught concept development, design-thinking and multidisciplinary and multinational teamwork to various audiences (B.A., Master, & Ph.D. students) around the world (e.g. Aalto University in Finland, Loughborough University in the U.K., ESADE in Spain, American University in the U.S.A.). Through my teaching, I have worked with many international clients (e.g. KESKO in Finland, VW in Germany, Panasonic in China, Children’s National Health System - Sheikh Zayed Institute in the U.S.A.), helping to develop new products, services, and/or processes. I further have professional experience in creativity workshops (e.g. World Bank), and consulted organisations in regards to design and innovation (e.g. Maynooth University).



International Design, Design Innovation, Design Process, Design Methodology and Design Teams.



Business Model Innovation; Design Studio 1


Education Background

Doctor of Science, Aalto University, Finland (International Business);

M.B.A., Helsinki School of Economics, Finland (General Management);

B.A., University of Applied Sciences Wiesbaden, Germany (International Business)


Work Experience

  •  Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Design Innovation, Loughborough University London, Institute for Design Innovation, U.K.

  • Researcher & Lecturer International Design Business Management (IDBM),Aalto University, School of Business, IDBM Program, Finland


Published Journal Articles

  •  Comi, A., & Graff, D., Fan, F., & Xu, J. (accepted 2023). When West Meets East: Uncovering the Chinese perspective on design and designing. Design and Culture (IF .81).

  •  Graff, D. (2022). The Impact of Graduate Student Goal Orientation on Design Projects. Journal of Engineering Design, 33(5), 388-411. https://doi.org/10.1080/09544828. 2022.2076556 (IF2.83).

  •  Meslec, N., Graff, D., & Clark, M. (2020). Increasing team ideation by sequencing the task type and content. Design Studies, 70. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.destud.2020.100947.

  •  Graff, D., Meslec, N., & Clark, M. (2020). Perceived analogical communication in design teams: Development and validation of a scale. Design Studies, 67, pp. 55-76. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.destud.2019.11.004.

  •  Graff, D., & Clark, M.A. (2018). Clear as a Bell: The Influence of Analogies on the Development of Cross-understanding in Design Teams, Team Performance Management, 24(7/8), pp. 396-410. https://doi.org/10.1108/TPM-04-2018-0028.

  •  Graff, D., & Clark, M.A. (2018). Communication modes in collaboration: An empirical assessment of metaphors, visualization, and narratives in multidisciplinary design student teams, International Journal of Technology and Design Education. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10798-017-9437-9.

  •  Meslec, N., & Graff, D. (2015). Being Open Matters: The Antecedents and Consequences of Cross-understanding in Teams. Team Performance Management, Vol. 21 (1/2), pp. 6-18. 10.1108/TPM-10-2014-0055.

  •  Koria, M., Graff, D., & Karjalainen, T.-M. (2011). Facilitar Los Ecosistemas De Innovacion A Traves De La Education Superior. Economia Industrial No 381, pp. 35-42.

  •  Koria, M., & Graff, D. (2011). Managing the Creative Mess: Handling Wicked Projects in the Creative Economy. REDIGE Review on Design, Innovation and Strategic Management, Vol. 2 (2), pp. 32-43.

  •  Koria, M., Graff, D., & Karjalainen, T.-M. (2011). Learning Design Thinking: International Design Business Management at Aalto University. REDIGE Review on Design, Innovation and Strategic Management, Vol. 2 (1), pp. 1-21.


Published Books & Book Chapters

  •  Graff, D. (2015). Essays on the Contribution of Analogies and Cross-understanding to Knowledge Processing within Teams. Helsinki: Aalto University: School of Business.

  •  Graff, D. (2012). Best Practices in Cross-functional New Product Development Teams: Review and Analysis of Literature. In T.M. Karjalainen (ed) IDBM Papers Vol2. IDBM Program, Aalto University: Helsinki.

  •  Graff, D., Koria, M., & Karjalainen, T.-M. (2011). Theoretical Model of Cross-functional Team Effectiveness. In T.M. Karjalainen, M. Koria, & M. Salimäki (eds.) IDBM Papers Vol1. IDBM Program, Aalto University: Helsinki.

  •  Amogpai, A., Graff, D., Halme, J., Kouva, S., Omidiora, M., & Tang, T. (2010). Understanding Open Innovation. In Bit Bang –  Energising Innovation, Innovating Energy. Yrjö Neuvo and Sami Ylönen (eds.). Helsinki University: Helsinki.

  •  Graff, D., Jin, Z., Karilainen, A., Kouva, S., Medyna, G., & Ramkumar, P. (2010). Smart Grids – Power to the People, Power from the People. In Bit Bang – Energising Innovation, Innovating Energy. Yrjö Neuvo and Sami Ylönen (eds.). Helsinki University: Helsinki.


Honors and Awards:

  •  2023: High-level talents introduced by Shanghai from oversea.

  •  2020: Nominee, Best Paper in Design Studies 2020, Elsevier and the Design Research Society (DRS)

  •  2015: Best Doctoral Thesis in International Business in 2015, Aalto University and the Finish International Trade Organisation




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