A B C of Design

Patterns of Human Interaction by Marco Ahtisaari


Recently I came across a presentation on “Patterns of Human Interaction” by Marko Ahtisaari (Global head of Nokia Design) at Copenhagen Design Week, which not only blew my mind, but changed my perspective about presentation all together.

About the presentation
Five billion people have a mobile phone. Today, no single, technological device is more in our hands than the mobile phone – it has become the media through which humans interact.

Marko Ahtisaari is the global head of Nokia’s design unit, and he is responsible for Nokia’s product and user experience design. During Copenhagen Design Week, Marko shared Nokia’s thoughts on how design will shape and influence the patterns of human interaction in the future at a Nokia event at Bella Sky Hotel.

What I found unique about the presentation is, Marko leaves a deeper impact without trying hard to sell. Its plane awesome, and it is modest and it is honest, which I think appeals to everybody equally. Marko is well dressed and extremely efficient in his walk, and he talk with a very positive body language. He always seems to be at ease and is smiling most of the time in a most friendly manner. Each of his words tell, he is clear and concise, he does not repeat, he does not overstate, his words all fit precisely in his talk. He makes a point he is trying to make, in a straight forward and most effective manner. And most important of all his presentation does not even have any bells and whistles.

Blank white screen with a white door ! amazing !

Most of the first few pages are hand drawn concepts or a single image. No chimming sounds, no explosion effects and no cutting edge graphics. 

Absolutely awesome ! My new idol ! If you want to learn how to present well learn from him Marko Ahtisaari (The Best presenter I have seen in the world). Each and everything he does is simple, yet mind blowing.

That also reminded me of something very unique, when I joined Nokia 2 1/2 years ago. I came to know that Nokia is all about “Being Humble” and I think thats the finiish culture completely opposite of American culture, which is a bit more aggressive salesmanship like ofcourse Steve Jobs.

Thank You for the Inspiration Marco Ahtisaari

Here are excerpts from another blog about the same presentation .


The Finnish Way of Being
Serendipitously I happened to bump into another type of Finnish awesomeness.  I listened to Senior VP of Design at Nokia Marko Ahtisaari’s presentation at the Copenhagen Design Week.
The first 12 minutes (the rest of it is mostly about Nokia design and future development, interesting as well) of his speech ‘Patterns of Human Interaction’ had an effect on me. His humble way of speaking about how better design can help us to make each other feel that we are welcome, is just awesome. A beautiful perspective! 

Another observation I made is his style of speaking, it is very Finnish (read: very non-American). He is not shouting and feverishly waving his hands – no, instead he applies the traditional Finnish style: he is calm, speaks very softly and is overall adorable and kind. And all that without being boring. It kind of reminds me of the way Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg speaks. Or Alex Osterwalder, or Aalto Entrepreneurship Society’s president Miki Kuusi. So I warmly recommend you to listen to Marko, at least the first 12 minutes.

Small Talk and Positive Silence

These great people and the two events – AaltoES with Steve Blank & Marko Ahtisaari and his talk about more human design principles – made me think about what is “Finnishness”, and why I’ll find it awesome and full of possibilities for the entrepreneurship too.
The Finnishness?, you may ask. Yes, we do have some national characteristics that can be more rare among other nationalities, we can be seen as very shy, but on the other hand our curiosity and creativity makes it easy for us to connect and share. To connect and share, and most importantly to listen. On top of that we are very persistent and diligent; we don’t like to give in. Except in football.
We Finns can easily be silent in company with other people. It’s natural. Foreigners often find our silence odd, or fascinating. Professor of Communication Donal Carbaugh, from University of Massachusetts at Amherst, have written an excellent paper about this – Silence and Quietude as a Finnish“Natural Way of Being” [pdf], with the following description:

“A Finnish communication code that structures some cultural scenes as occasions for positive silence, exhibiting a social model of personhood for which this is a valued, respected, and natural practice.”

I just love this expression, positive silence. Please consider positive silence as time for thinking, reflecting, and listening. The paper explains the Finnish way of communication with many good example stories; it can truly help in understanding us Finns…

Another great read is this short article of the Helsinki Times – No small talk please, we’re Finnish, in which freelance journalist Susan Fourtané describes her experiences:

“I particularly enjoyed the thoughtfulness and the moments of silence in between, giving space for observing our own thoughts before speaking. Yes, you have heard it right. Finns don’t do small talk. They don’t think a moment of shared silence is awkward. On the contrary, it is part of the conversation. A direct question gets a direct answer. There is no nonsense talk about nothing. There is no asking “How are you?” ten times until someone says something else, or stating the obvious. Finns are more interested in how you think, how you perceive Finland or what keeps you in this small and cold country, as they refer to beautiful and peaceful Finland.”

Less small talk and more positive silence, I believe that this enables better listening, and further better understanding.

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