MDI Team

Marjo Alaviitala, M.A.

Specialist 050 329 4015

Marjo is a communications professional who has her expertise in organizational communication. She also has deep knowledge of modern Finnish and pedagogy. Along taking care of MDI’s own communication tasks she is eagerly participating to various projects, workshops and innovation camps. Co-operation with others inspires her and she enjoys writing and editing texts with a linguistic touch. In her spare time Marjo spends time with her two dogs, develops herself by studying and loves to play bass guitar.

Janne Antikainen, Lic.Phil. (Human Geography)

Design Director, Partner, Chairman +358 40 764 1829

Janne is a visionary human geographer who has researched, designed, and enforced national and local development policies for nearly two decades. His experience from i.a. the Ministry of Employment and the Economy has cultivated him into a far-sighted pioneer who applauds boldness and pattern-breaking approaches in regional development practices. Recently Janne has especially advanced the revamping of national governance policies, economic growth in municipalities, and strategic management. Janne is a char-ismatic public speaker who inspires his audience to think and solve problems in new ways.

Rasmus Aro, B.SOC.SC.

Specialist 040 187 1027

Rasmus is a soon-to-be Master of Political Science. As his major subject he has studied social politics and on the side political science. His expertise and interest are particularly relevant to regional development; regional competitiveness, vitality and demographic development. Rasmus has worked with the same topics almost throughout his studies. More broadly, he is interested in almost all social and political phenomena, and he uses a considerable part of his free time to explore different topics. His hobbies include traveling or planning a future trip.

Timo Aro, D.Soc.Sc.

Specialist +358 45 657 7890

Timo is a researcher whose expertise lies in regional development and demographics. He has actively engaged with the issues in developing Finland’s larger urban areas and regional structural change, as well as accomplished economic vitality analyses and municipal structure examinations. When he’s not passionately rooting for Pori’s local ice hockey team, Timo is the go-to man when you need to know about Finland’s migration flows.

Susanna Haanpää, M.Sc. (Planning Geography)

Specialist +358 40 936 8863

Susanna is a planning geographer and she has great knowledge in GIS analysis due to her diverse studies in GIS. Besides, energetic and productive Susanna masters different diagrams and charts. Earlier studies in arts guarantees visually clear and beautiful maps and documents. Especially Susanna enjoys doing different projects and seeing the final results of them.

Benjamin Heikkinen, M.Sc. (Admin.)

Specialist +358 40 410 9310

Benjamin holds a Master's degree in Administration and he has profound knowledge especially in the context of rural development. As a calm person who easily bursts into laughter, Benjamin masters a wide array of evaluation methods as well as secrets of network analysis. Benjamin has studied for example networks in place-based regional development. In addition to regional development, Benjamin has previous track and work experience in administrative and development tasks within both the government and cities. During his free time, Benjamin enjoys spending time in the nature and attending cultural events.

Jaakko Huttunen, M.Sc. (Planning Geography)

Specialist +358 44 970 7798

Jaakko describes himself as an easygoing, but curious regional and urban developer. Jaakko’s primary interests consist of strategy and future related developing tasks, such as focusing on housing, land use planning and urban culture developing. Jaakko has graduated from the University of Helsinki as a M.Sc., Planning Geography as his major. Before joining MDI, Jaakko has made his career so far as a project coordinator in Kuuma-region, trainee in the Ministry of Employment and the Economy, as a specialist for city of Vantaa, and as a Smart City concept developer for Demola Tampere. Outside of working hours Jaakko enjoys consuming football in different ways as well as playing other sports. He also enjoys cooking, watching documentaries and travelling.

Jouko Järnefelt, M.Sc. (Geo)

Specialist 050 373 3638

Jouko is a mix of an urban planner and a data-analyst, skills varying from strategic planning and GIS to big data and predictive analytics. When Jouko is not looking for better solutions from data, he is ambitiously helping organisations on questions regarding strategic area planning, smart cities, digitization, data management and knowledge management. Don't get lost in complexity, visionary and visually talented Jouko will find the way.

Aleksi Koivisto, M.SC. (ADMIN.)

Specialist 040 686 2604

Aleksi is a social scientist who has worked in youth organizations, in a training company and last years as a project manager. Aleksi has been following social- and healthcare reform in different roles. In his final thesis he studied the democratic themes of the provinces. His heart beats to regional policy and rural development. Outside working hours, he travels and bakes pies.

Valtteri Laasonen, M.Sc. (Geo)

Specialist, Partner +358 50 533 0604

Valtteri is a multitalented planning geographer and a sturdy project manager who can make each and every project meet its goals. Valtteri has a rascal personality and he accomplishes strategies for economic vitality and other goals, evaluations, surveys and interviews vigorously and with the resilience of an endurance athlete. As an excitable and knowledge-thirsty doer, Valtteri especially enjoys diving into materials that focus on and describe societal change. At the moment, Valtteri is deepening his expertise by doing post-graduate studies at the University of Tampere on the transformation of innovation policy from the perspective of competencies.

Anna Laiho, M.SOC.SC.

Specialist 040 749 9758

Anna has studied Social Policy and she has work experience in municipal consulting and market research. She is specialized in surveys and demographic analyses on competitiveness of municipalities and regions. Anna is particularly interested in regional vitality and the development of public services. Learning new things and personal development are close to Anna's heart. In her spare time she likes to practice yoga, read and wander in the nature.

Kaisa Lähteenmäki-Smith, PhD, (POL.SC.) & International Relations

Development Director 050 513 4810

Kaisa is a political scientist with a doctorate from the University of Turku. Her mission in life is to work towards maintaining the high quality of Finnish administration and societal development. She has pursued this goal previously for instance as a researcherand consultant, as well as a science specialist at the Prime Minister's office and in her work with the renewal of public sector leadership culture and practice at The Finnish Innovation Fund (SITRA) . Evidence-informed and experimental governance and decision-making and enabling experts, decision-makers and citizens to better interact are issues that are particularly close to her heart. In her free time, Kaisa enjoys cooking, air yoga and spending time with her two terriers, whose tenacity and joy of life she relies on as a constant source of inspiration. Motto in life: ”to be the person my dogs already think I am”.

Samuli Manu, B.Soc.Sc. (Sociology)

Specialist +358 50 356 3980

Samuli is a social scientist who is currently finishing his studies. He is competent with a variety of qualitative research methods and he enjoys to dig deep into different issues and phenomena. He is keen on theoretical and philosophical perspectives on society and politics as well. He has previously worked as a restaurant worker and as a musician, and his background in creative industries is always present in his thinking. In his spare time, Samuli is constantly balancing between decent citizenship and rock’n’roll life.

Minna Mayer, D.Soc.Sc.

Specialist +358 40 709 6898

Minna has recently defended her doctoral dissertation. She has work experience from research in both academia and the public sector. Previously, she has worked in the Employment and Economic Development Centre of Uusimaa region, University of Helsinki and Finnish Innovation Fund Sitra. She has wide knowledge on both quantitative and qualitative research methods. She has done extensive research with large data sets and she is especially interested in developing statistical indicators and visualization methods for big data. Minna has focused on solving complex societal challenges, in her dissertation she conducted research on public-private-parnerships in development cooperation. In addition to having experience from research, she has organized various types of events, from small workshops to international events. On her free time she especially enjoys watching movies.

Juho Nyman, M.Sc. (Geo)

Specialist +358 50 321 8790

Juho is a Geographer who's used to work with challenging studies and impact evaluations. Juho has plenty of torque to process extensive data mass, weather being statistical or qualitative. He feels special attraction towards Structural Funds Programme due to his own research in Master's thesis and later on in various projects. Juho is comfortable in producing detailed analysis and sharp conclusions.

Sinikukka Pyykkönen, M.Sc. (Admin.), B.Sc. (Pol.Sc.)

Specialist +358 40 846 0846

Sinikukka is an administrative and social scientist with an in-depth knowledge of evaluation, innovation and issues in public administration. She has extensive experience of carrying out regional and rural development evaluations and projects. Sinikukka is especially fond of preparing, developing and sparring evaluation methods. Following time spent at the OECD, she is experienced in accessing a wide range of diverse data sources and gets excited about recognising and analysing broad societal phenomena. As a quick-witted person Sinikukka is at her best running projects that combine different views and in formatting recommendations. In her spare time, she enjoys urban nature, contemporary literature and the visual arts.

Sari Rannanpää, M.Phil.

Specialist +358 50 523 6872

Sari is an expert in rural development and programme evaluation. Her international education and work experience bring know-how from Europe to the Finnish evaluation culture. Sari worked on rural development policy in DG Agri, and she continues to develop and support evaluation of rural development policy in Europe. Sari is an efficient, hands-on consultant, who knows evaluation methods and processes, logical framework, as well as rural development programmes and their management. She is at her best when structuring large amounts of information into concise and prioritised summaries. Sari is an inspirational trainer and facilitator. She enjoys holding trainings and planning and facilitation of workshops, seminars and conferences with the help of participatory methods. Her special skill is to summarise the main points of group discussions verbally and visually.

Tommi Ranta, D.Sc. (Econ. & BA)

Managing Director, Partner +358 40 588 2839

Tommi is an economist who has wandered off into the inspiring world of regional development. He loves numbers and has built his expertise through positions in the banking and university sectors, a regional development company, and, now, as an entrepreneur at MDI and Jakamo. Tommi did his PhD on networks and has worked for more than a decade with program-based regional development, network management and innovation environment development. Tommi revels in challenging himself, successes, achieving visible results, and people who are passionate about their work.

Kirsi Siltanen, M. Sc. (Admin)

Specialist 040 667 4678

Kirsi has her background in regional studies and regional development policy, and is finishing her doctoral dissertation concerning regional innovation policy. She is a specialist in cultural policy and creative industries. Previously Kirsi has worked as a researcher, network coordinator and project manager in regional government reform. As a versatile specialist she enjoys multifaceted projects demanding cross-sectoral perspective.

Ilppo Soininvaara, M.Sc.

Specialist +358 50 411 0980

Ilppo is a planning geographer who’s about to begin his doctoral studies. Ilppo has focused on a wide range of political and societal themes and especially in urban topics. Different qualitative analysis methods and especially futures techniques are the spearhead of Ilppo's versatile expertise. Ilppo is excited especially about strategic planning, development of methods and understanding of bigger pictures. (Spectator) sports are an integral part of Ilppo's spare time.

Jere Talvitie, B.Sc. (Admin.)

Specialist +358 50 301 4698

Jere is a specialist in the field of local and regional governance. The basis of his specialization derives from the wide knowledge of economic and juridical regulation of public administrations. He is also well acquainted with regional innovation policies and all kinds of different network-based models that have been in the center of regional development in the 2010s. He is widely interested in competitive strategies and advantages that make regions prosper in global & nationwide competition. At the moment he is doing his masters in administrative sciences and he is studying the rearrangement of research, development, and innovation models of the social and healthcare sector in the new counties that are being formed as a part of Finland's provincial reform. Jere prefers to spend his time off by doing sports or watching documentary-films.

Satu Tolonen

Satu Tolonen, M.Sc. (Planning Geography)

Specialist +358 40 704 3247

On parental leave, 16th June 2016–
Satu is a planning geographer who excels in document, statistics and GIS analyses. On her desk, large data masses get transformed into neat and informative maps and graphs. Satu has a career background at the Ministry of Employment and the Economy and is well-familiar with regional development issues and research at both the national and European levels. Satu is pedantic and thorough, ensuring that all her survey, interview, and network analyses as well as final project reports are polished and visually sound. Satu is most fond of projects that require profound familiarization and enjoys working together with others.

Mikko Valtakari, Lic. Phil. (Planning Geography)

Specialist, partner +358 40 569 1568

Mikko is a Planning Geographer who has his expertise in research-based impact evaluations and designing of organisations' operations and serivices. Mikko is especially interested in the questions related to innovation, economic, and labour market policies, which he has both researched and consulted during the last 20 years. Mikko masters sketching complex issues and tackling the root causes of phenomena.

Anssi Kumpula

Anssi Kumpula, B.Sc. (Econ.)

Graphic Designer +358 50 357 9252

Anssi is a skilled and pedantic graphic designer who devours each project like it was his last meal. Anssi designs our MDI Newsletters, brochures, handbooks and final reports. His magic touch invites people to pick up our project outputs and guides the readers’ attention towards their contents. Straightforward visual appearances and artwork help highlight the key messages in each piece of work. Anssi also enjoys capturing genuine moments as an event photographer. Anssi has a cheerful and mesmerizing personality, but deep down, he’s also a speed-loving and cool-headed race driver.

Advisor Team

Jarl Matti Anttila, M.Sc. (Econ. & BA)

Partner, Board Member 041 439 2582

Jarl Matti is a rigid expert in business relationships and networks who always works whole-heartedly. He has measured, analyzed, and inspired hundreds of business relationships in various industries and steered dozens of strategy and development processes. Recently Jarl Matti has concentrated on digital sales opportunities. He is recognized as an inspiring and efficient workshop leader, and a compelling lecturer, whose life passions include the performing arts and football.

Kari Hannus, M. Sc. (Tech.)

Advisor, land use, housing and traffic, municipal economics +358 50 2970

Kari is a senior urban development expert. His special expertise lies in planning, land use, housing and traffic issues. Kari has deepened his knowledge in municipal technology and municipal business during his position as the deputy mayor of the City of Pori. Kari is enthusiastic about managing the vitality of cities and physical and functional development of city centres.

Kristiina Helenius, M.Sc. (Econ)

Advisor, International affairs, United States +358 45 122 6051 / +1 202 365 9174

Kristiina has both exported Finland and imported foreign countries to Finland for about two decades. She has worked as a reporter, diplomate, NGO leader and a consultant and lived in Central Europe, Asia and the United States. She has made way for foreign investments and knowledge in Invest in Finland, Stubb’s and Ollila’s country brand working group and as a CEO for Amcham Finland. As the Nordic West Office leader for United States she wants to make sure that the Nordic voice gets heard in the capital of a great power, U.S. Her mission is to help Finnish actors function in the United States.

Eero Holstila

Eero Holstila, M.Sc.Soc.

Senior Advisor, Urban Policy 050 567 2087

Eero is the grand old man and groundbreaker in Finnish urban policy who has, as a sociologist, a nuanced way of understanding the world. Eero has previously held positions as i.e. the Director of Helsinki Urban Facts, the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development for the City of Helsinki, and the CEO and Chairman of the Board for Culminatum Innovation Ltd. He has an intelligent personality and he is an eloquent speaker. Urban development, “sparring” in urban strategy development, and policies for innovation and economic vitality, are at the core of his professional competencies. He also continues to participate in European urban development discussions. Outside the office, Eero is passionate about classical music and sports.

Timo Hämäläinen

Timo Hämäläinen, M.Sc., M.A.

Advisor, Urban Policy 040 510 0313

Timo is a geographer specialized in urban & regional planning issues and cultural policy. He is known as a sharp opinion leader with crisp writing skills. His blog,, dissects the inner workings of Finnish urban development. He is also an urbanist advocate as one of Urban Helsinki collective’s founding members. Timo masters the latest trends in urban development, the different dimensions of citizen activism and participation, as well as the particularities of developing city centers and areas around transit nodes.

Petri Jalasto

Petri Jalasto, M.Sc. (Tech.)

Senior Advisor, Transport Policy

Petri is an expert in mobility systems and policy. During his former post at the Ministry of Transport and Communications, he has substantially influenced the development of Finnish transport infrastructures – especially in urban areas. Petri is particularly interested in future-oriented studies and has been part of a professional movement to overcome the silo-thinking within public administration that affects the implementation of e.g. urban policies. Petri has adventured in the world of contract-based development and is an able guide for revealing how to make them work. Lately Petri has taken an interest in the servicizing of transportation, which he sees will revolutionize the field of transportation in the near future.

Jari Kolehmainen, D.Sc. (Admin.)

Senior Advisor, urban and regional development +358 40 584 9077

Jari’s background is in the regional studies and he is an expert in knowledge-based regional development. He works as a research director at the University of Tampere. Jari has worked in the field of regional innovation activities, economic development and innovation policies and strategic regional development for almost twenty years. In addition to academic research, he has been involved in numerous practical regional and urban development processes as lecturer, sparrer or external expert. Jari is a jack-of-all-trades in the field of urban and regional development!

Natalia Rincon, M.Sc. Architecture, PHD candidate in Smart Cities

Advisor, Urban Policy 040 9359 824

Natalia is an architect and a computer science engineer with focus in citizen engagement, urban planning and smart cities. She is a founder and CEO at CHAOS architects Oy which develops the smart city platform which unites citizens, cities and developers - and provides urban analytics with citizen engagement, big data and forecasting. She is also writing her Doctoral Dissertation in urban planning at Aalto University. She dedicates her free time to the Green Party, where she serves as a deputy councilor and as a member in several urban planning boards in Tampere.

Chris Smith, M.Litt (Strategic Studies), PhD Candidate in Public Administration

Advisor 040 757 7573

Chris is a political scientist specialising in the politics of health care management and administration. His
publication interests include ‘wild cards’ in futures research, Services of General Interest, European Social
Policy, Comparative healthcare reform processes and Marketisation and accessibility to health care. He has
extensive teaching and research project experience in an international environment having worked in the
UK university sector and in a Nordic context in the Spatial Planning field. The primary themes of his doctoral
studies at the University of Tampere are Agenda Setting and Public Choice theory in public service provision
– specifically in health care. Chris has become an avid sports fan now that participation is less realistic;
friends and socialising are also very important as are his ‘zen moments’ with his dogs.

Osmo Soininvaara, Lic. (Soc. Sci.)

Senior Policy Advisor

Osmo is an iconic and eloquent thinker, speaker, and writer whose spiky and bold commentary excites discussion and opinions repeatedly. Following his long career as a Member of Parliament and appointment as Minister of Health and Social Services, Osmo now works as a non-fiction writer and professional lecturer. His position as the Vice Chair of Helsinki's City Planning Committee underlines that urban planning and development is the topic his energy is particularly focused on. Osmo is an active opinion leader in urban policy debates; his columns in Suomen Kuvalehti often deal with urban development and he has freshly co-written a pamphlet called 'Kaupunkien voitto' together with Mikko Särelä for the Finnish Business and Policy Forum EVA.

Jukka Vesalainen

Jukka Vesalainen, D.Sc. (Econ. & BA)

Senior Advisor 050 562 5048

Jukka is a professor in management and organisation, a pioneer in Finnish network research, and the founder of MDI. Jukka is interested in organisations and their cooperation and he’s well-known as a pragmatic researcher and developer within the Finnish technology industry. Beside his professorship, Jukka works actively as a strategy sparrer and developer, and participates in the steering of small and medium-sized enterprises. In his free time, Jukka enjoys physical exercise and has a reputation as a soft-handed and unstoppable center forward at the ice hockey rink.

Anssi Uitto, M.Sc. (Tech.)

Partner, Board Member 040 527 3844

Anssi holds a master’s degree in industrial management and brings skillmanship, precision and efficiency to each of his projects. Charming and easy-going Anssi is an expert in networks, processes and innovations. During his career, he has steered countless extensive strategy and development projects for organizations from the private and public sectors. Anssi has a magic ability to structure matters logically and transform vague and complex issues into ones that are defined and understandable. Outside his work, Anssi likes to fish, drive his motorcycle and play badminton.

Established partners

Jouko Luukkonen, M.Sc. (Admin.), MBA

Owner, entrepreneur, LGR-Consulting Oy +358 45 189 3138

Jouko has a long experience in managing municipalities, networks, municipal development and board work. He has worked as a mayor and change manager. His specialty are interfaces between a municipality and a region. He is currently finishing his Doctoral Thesis for the University of Tampere about regional social and health care actors born in 2017.

Eero Laesterä, D.Sc. (Admin.)

Chairperson of the Board, Perlacon Oy +358 400 735 772

Eero is a consultant specialized in boosting municipal economies. His widely known expertise lies in economic pressure calculations and new ways of researching indebtedness. Eero has simulated different problems and systematized solution options for dozens of Finnish municipalities.

Perlacon Ltd is an experienced municipal consultancy, well known in almost every Finnish municipality. We provide our clients in developing good managements, so that the municipal organization serves its customers as well as possible.

Mari Dawe,

Client Manager +358 50 441 3209

Mari looks at things from a wider perspective and asks constantly why. Mari has over ten years of experience from an advertising agency and managing large customer cases. Being empathetic, Mari takes customers' wishes into account and empowers clients to look out of the box. Mari has created e.g. the new looks of the City of Seinäjoki.

BSTR Luova Konttori is an advertising agency aiming at find the core of things and clients. We dive deep, aim high and create sustainable ideas. Successfull ideas are our most important product. We combine creativity and marketing knowledge with data and technology. We are in total 25 experts ready to form a suitable team for every customer.

Minna Utriainen,

COO, Strategist, Avidly +358 40 834 4482

Minna is a bold strategic communications expert. She is driven by constant curiosity to understand people, deliver results and responsibly change the world. Behind the new perspectives are passion, attitude and nearly 20 years of experience in strategic communications and tactical marketing.

Avidly is a marketing agency with more than 240 experts in the Nordic countries, at 16 locations. We in Avidly are adventurous - we are constantly looking for newer paths for a better tomorrow.