Rethinking Design at the Nordic Business & Design Case Competition 2017

Meet Team #LetsTechFinlandForward (a wordplay on “Let’s Take Finland Forward”) – the SMU Master of Science in Communication Management student team that placed top 3 in Asia at the prestigious Nordic Business & Design Case Competition 2017 by Design Finland 100. They tell all about their journey to developing a winning campaign:


By Jasmine Tan Jia Jing with contributions from Grace Ang Hui Ping, Paul Ho Yeok Chew and Natasha Kopitsis, SMU MSc in Communication Management (MCM) students

We began the module as students with a strong desire to broaden our perspectives and deepen our expertise in communication campaigns. It was pure chance that we came together as a group and hit it off instantly. The chemistry amongst each of us was infectious! Ideas bounced off easily and we were pleasantly surprised to discover how our diverse experiences worked to our advantage in the way we executed our plans as a team.

As part of the MCM programme, we were tasked to design a communication campaign on the topic of health technology for Design Finland 100. The challenge was to incorporate elements of Nordic design as a competitive advantage while at the same time tailoring it for the Southeast Asian market. It was challenging even for team members who were in this field, especially given the time crunch of just 10 hours to design a feasible campaign for our client.

We dived head first and never looked back. The odds were stacked against us as it usually takes weeks, if not months, to develop a robust and persuasive campaign. However, the pressure became a catalyst that spurred us on and helped us break through our mental barriers. It was this gung-ho attitude that kept us going. And the fact that we never gave up made all the difference.

Guided by our experienced and encouraging faculty mentor, Professor Gregor Halff, we strove to make sound decisions, which ultimately made a critical difference to our campaign. The northern light that guided us through this gruelling journey was the ‘Espresso’ Campaign Model developed by Professor Halff. We used it to help us crystallise our narratives, identify our unique selling point (which was non-invasive technology), and define our stakeholders. Thereafter, the rest of the campaign easily fell into place and we found ourselves completing the journey without a hitch.


Team #LetsTechFinlandForward mid-discussion


Despite the fatigue that weighed over us, we knew we were victorious because we proved to ourselves that we could overcome our mental barriers and differences to produce a sound campaign through our synergistic efforts. In preparation for our presentation to Design Finland 100, we carried out a mock presentation to our course mates. With the invaluable feedback gathered, we proceeded to fine-tune our campaign and eventually presented it to Dr Kirsti Lindberg-Repo, Founder of Design Finland 100, on 22 April 2017. The presentation was well received and we enjoyed the insights gained from interacting with Dr Lindberg-Repo. The campaign was then evaluated by an international panel of professionals and academics from Finland and Southeast Asia.

After a long deliberation, the results were finally announced. Knowing how intense the competition was with entries from all over Asia, and given that it was our first business competition, we did not bear high hopes. So, it came as a complete surprise that we had come in 2nd runner-up position of the Competition!

The win afforded us an all-expenses paid trip to Finland and the opportunity to present our campaign at the esteemed Design Drives Business seminar in Helsinki on 31 August 2017 to a distinguished audience including business, design and academic experts from Finland and Southeast Asia, alongside the Design Finland 100 company representatives. We are both honoured and humbled to be part of this experience.

Through this experience we have forged new friendships, understood the value of unity in diversity, realised the power of the human spirit, and more importantly, have developed a deeper appreciation of the Finland Health Tech Industry. Being pushed to the limit forced us to dig deeper into our understanding of the Asian and Singapore market to find new opportunities for Finland to add value to our markets and develop an effective communication strategy to help them achieve it.

We look forward to sharing our adventures in Finland with the SMU community in the later part of the year and we are grateful for the all the support and guidance from Professor Gregor Halff as well as our course mates of the Master of Science in Communication Management Programme 2017!


[Feature photo: Team #LetsTechFinlandForward –  (L to R) Lin Liangmin, Natasha Kopitsis, Paul Ho Yeok Chew, Jasmine Tan Jia Jing, Grace Ang Hui Ping]