Daniel Graff

Daniel Graff

Associate Professor


Brief Introduction

   I am combining my interest in Design and International Business to gain a better understanding of designing products and services in and for China. I have expertise in design and innovation, designing in the East vs. West, new product and service development, and high performing design teams. My current research projects include work in the role of design in China, international design, product design adaptation, and design value. My field research engages a variety of organizations, including design consultancies, high-tech companies, manufacturing and services. My work has been published in top academic journals in design (e.g. Design Studies), design education (e.g. International Journal of Technology and Design Education) and group studies (e.g. Team Performance Management), and has been presented at conferences and workshops around the world. Before earning my Ph.D., I have gained a variety of experiences in service design in Germany, United Kingdom, U.S.A., and Finland, developing and implementing new service processes. 

  At D & I, my teaching includes Business Model Innovation. 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 in East and West, Role of Design in NPD and PA, Design Value in Emergent Economies, and Design Teams.



Business Model Innovation


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

  • 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.


  • 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:

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





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