Category: News

Videos released

Jarkko Levänen being filmed at Väre building in Aalto University

During the autumn New Global researchers worked with Aava & Bang to bring the research published in scientific journals out for wider audiences. These videos present a few identified pathways aiming at solving global sustainability challenges.


Combining multiple logics to solve global sustainability challenges

How to grow and use forests in an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable way in Tanzania? Learn about Panda Miti project funded by Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Creating frugal innovations to solve global sustainability challenges

When entrepreneurship a solution to poverty and when it only makes things worse? Learn about grassroots innovators in rural India.

Using empathic design to solve global sustainability challenges

How can empathic design be combined to architecture? Learn about developing labour wards in India and Zanzibar.

Working with intermediaries to solve global sustainability challenges 

What kind of actors are needed when solving water related challenges in Kenya?

Entrepreneurial stories from emerging economies

The latest issue of a Finnish magazine called Maailman Kuvalehti features an article on entrepreneurship in emerging economies. For the article, New Global researcher Marleen Wierenga wrote a piece about Mitticool, which is one of the cases she uses in her research. Through experimenting and a trial-and-error approach, the entrepreneur Mansukhbhai Prajapati has developed several clay-based innovations.

The article covers also three other entrepreneurs from across the globe. A Brazilian artisan baker tells about the difficulty of working as an entrepreneur when the government does not provide support. A startup entrepreneur from Myanmar struggles with the poor infrastructure but at the same time operates as a change agent to promote equality for gender and religion. Lastly, a Mexican activist-entrepreneur wants to support agave farmers, but establishing a company in Mexico is difficult. 

The article – written in Finnish – can be found behind this link.

Urban energy transition in Kenya

As a part of New Global research, Erika Forstén recently finished her master’s thesis on urban energy transitions in emerging markets. The aim of the thesis was to identify the main urban energy challenges and barriers for the transition to a sustainable urban energy system in Nairobi. A literature review was conducted on socio-technical transitions in urban energy systems along with the challenges and barriers associated with them. The empirical data for the qualitative case study was collected mainly through semi-structured interviews during a field research period.

Over a half of all electricity generated in Kenya is consumed in Nairobi, where the urban population and its energy needs are increasing. The study found that the main urban energy challenges in Nairobi are the unreliability and inefficiency of electricity supply, high cost of electricity and pollution resulting from the use of unsustainable fuels. Barriers hindering the transition to sustainable urban energy include insufficient institutional capacity at the urban level, low awareness and availability of information on renewable energy and energy efficiency, lack of suitable financing mechanisms and lack of collaboration and communication between key stakeholders.

– Further research on the topic should increase understanding on how to overcome the urban energy challenges and provide modern energy services for increasing urban populations in Kenya and other emerging countries in a sustainable manner, says Erika Forstén.

This is critical as energy is not only the largest single contributor to global climate change, but also a critical driver of socio-economic development in emerging countries. Future growth of global energy demand will predominantly come from cities in developing and emerging countries, while Sub-Saharan Africa is among the most rapidly urbanising regions of the world, which also experiences the lowest levels of access to electricity.




New article from Levänen and Lyytinen in Ecological Economics

New Global researchers Jarkko Levänen and Tatu Lyytinen together with Sebastian Gatica published their article Modelling the Interplay Between Institutions and Circular Economy Business Models: A Case Study of Battery Recycling in Finland and Chile at Ecological Economics. The article is available free of charge online for 50 days.


This article develops an analytical framework for modelling the complex interactions between circular economy business model activities and the features of diverse institutional operating environments. Developed framework combines business model conceptualization with institutional theorization to understand how institutions influence on business conduct. Business model concept is used to describe organizational activities and managerial cognition in a structured manner and institutional theory is used to identify features that may facilitate or hamper particular activities in a particular operational environment. Countries’ institutional environments related to the advancement of circular economy differ from each other and therefore comparison between the situations provides an interesting context to study the dynamics between companies’ business models and the institutional features. We apply our analytical framework to a case study of two recycling companies operating in Finland and Chile to explore links between the firm-level activities and developments outside the firm. The results highlight the interdependent nature of the relationship between the business models and context-specific institutions, the logics between positive and negative value materials, and the differences between countries in the promotion of circular economy.


Success for New Global researchers at Academy of Management conference in Chicago

New Global researchers Jarkko Levänen and Marleen Wierenga and professor Minna Halme participated to Academy of Management (AoM) conference in August.

AoM is the largest and the most important conference in the field of management and organizational studies,

Project manager Jarkko Levänen presented his paper on sustainable forestry, and doctoral candidate Marleen Wierenga hers on effectual innovation processes. Both of the papers were well received and the audience provided the researchers with valuable feedback.

The paper by Minna Halme, Samuli Patala and Laura Albareda won the Best International Paper award. Their victorious paper explores the governance of circular economy systems through three case studies in Finland, Spain and USA. The authors develop a framework for how governance of circular economy systems develops towards a polycentric model that enables effective sharing of resources.

Improving energy services in rural India

In recent years, frugally-designed solar microgrid electricity services have emerged to meet the need for affordable, reliable electricity services in rural India. However, despite the life-changing benefits of these services and overall customer satisfaction, uptake remains lower than expected. Recent thesis by Lindsay Simmonds investigates this phenomena from a human centered design perspective, to examine the role design can play in improving the long-term sustainability of these services.

Read the thesis here.

New Global in the media

Media articles by New Global team

  1. Opinion piece in Talouselämä: 
  2. Private sector in development (opinion piece):
  3. New Global theme presentation:
  4. Business in the African countryside:
  5. University cooperation brings innovative water solutions to low-income markets:
  6. Opinion piece in Helsingin Sanomat: 
  7. The team also created blog posts about their field work:

Other media coverage

  1. Finnish solutions for climate change saving the world:
  2. Anti-malaria innovation:
  3. New Global theme presentation:
  4. Four billion euro opportunity:
  5. Fish net maker wants to save the world:
  6. SuomiAreena:!/jakso/33001006/suomiareena/786889/94-suomi-100-vuoden-paasta-make-sustainability-great-again.
  7. Finnish Family Firms Association’s annual seminar:
  8. Coverage from SuomiAreena 2018: Aamulehti, Kauppalehti, Talouselämä, Seinäjoen Sanomat, Helsingin Uutiset, etc.

New Global links with Aalto Community of African students

In January the newly found Aalto Community of African students ACAS organised an event ‘Get to Know Africa’. The event gathered students from different faculties and from 9 different African countries.  New global project specialist Emma Nkonoki was onstage sharing her experience in working with projects in East Africa as an African living in Finland. She told how students can get involved in different activities concerning their countries of origin while they are here in Finland. She stressed the importance of being curious and active in following up what Finland is doing with students’ countries of origin including attending relevant events for networking purposes.

Aalto Community of African Students (ACAS) organises or facilitates events that are aimed at helping the students of African origin to successfully integrate and find fulfilment in their studies at Aalto University. The purpose of the association is to bring together Aalto University students of African origin and those interested in the continent in order to promote general knowledge about African culture as part of the diversity of the University. Furthermore, the association supports its members’ interests and development in their careers and studies through collaborating and sharing ideas on business, technology and volunteering. ACAS’ future plans include more events as a continuation to the theme of Get to Know Africa. The next event will introduce others to the various types of foods from the continent with the event Get to Know African Foods. More details on this will be posted on the ACAS website and social media pages – so follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, as there will be limited spaces. In addition to ACAS’s own events, they are looking forward to collaborating with other organisations in their upcoming student’s programme and organising events together with a uniting idea of building more bridges between Finland and African countries.

New Global at Aalto’s first East Africa Day

Team New Global contributed strongly to East Africa Day, a special one-day training event conceptualised and produced by Aalto Global Impact. The first event was organised at Design Factory on Otaniemi campus on 12 January 2018.

As an academic guest Sara Lindeman (New Global, Aalto University) discussed with Eija Ranta (Development studies & Social anthropology, University of Helsinki) the market context of Easter African communities and the current trends in sustainable development, including the increased engagement and role of the private sector. Both researchers highlighted the need for systemic change and a balance between an accountable state, a free civil society and a responsible private sector to achieve development goals. The discussion also touched upon power relations and how a human rights-based approach could contribute to development by emphasising participation and accountability.

Jarkko Levänen moderated a session with entrepreneur panelists: Jussi Impiö (Fuzu, Demos Helsinki), Mari Martikainen and Minna Impiö (Mifuko), Jymy Parhiala (Nanomaji) and Saija Hollmén (Ukumbi/Hollmen Reuter Sandman architects). The panelists brought to the table a wide range of expertise from non-profit, entrepreneurship, research and business development perspectives, and shared their lessons and best practices from Eastern Africa. The panelists advised the audience to go about their work with respect, humility and trust/reliance on local expertise, while observing the nuanced differences of local contexts and being aware of the possibility of unexpected consequences/impact of the work.

Emma Nkonoki held an expert presentation on culture and practicalities. Emma shared her best tips on social interactions, foods and culture, transportation, health and safety, providing an invaluable perspective of a person intimately familiar with both Tanzanian and Finnish cultures.

Emma Nkonoki

Sara Lindeman’s doctoral defence: press release, links and photos

Doctoral defense: Sustainable development in emerging markets requires active and reformative market organizing

Sustainable development refers to a balans between the social, ecological and economical. In her doctoral dissertation “Early-phase market organizing in subsistence settings”, Sara Lindeman studies how informal trade in urban slum areas is gradually organized into markets. The empirical work is done in East-Africa, India and Brazil. The studies examine when market organizing can lift people out of poverty, and provides insight into market organizing for sustainable development at large.

”Established economic theories claim that markets are best organized through a en “laissez-faire”- attitude. My research shows empowerment of disadvantaged groups to actively participate in market organizing processes is necessary for sustainable development”, says Lindeman

Current power strucures benefit from the fact that market organizing processes tend to remain invisible and unspoken. This makes it more difficult to do the reforms of the economic system that are needed for sustainable development. Lindeman develops conceptual tools to understand and influence market organizing at an early stage.

”Path dependence is strong in market organizing. Steering the process towards greater power-distribution and sustainable development from the outset is easier that changing established institutions. There is a potential for innovative and sustainable market organizing in emerging markets”, says Lindeman.


More information:

Sara Lindeman, + 358 50 448 5040

Researcher and project manager, Aalto New Global

The research is based on several ethnographic studies and published in three journals. The public defens takes place on Friday the 19th of January, 2018, as part of Marketing research at Hanken School of Economics.



Video about Sara’s research


Doctoral dissertation

Upload pictures about research in Tanzania here