I am Esa-Mikko Santamäki, Esmi among friends. Only my mother, when she is angry at me, calls me Esa-Mikko. I am the co-founder and CEO of Agile Work as well as its ecstatic leader and lead producer in our projects. My background is in the IDBM programme (international design business management) and product development – so I am really an engineer!

I have researched, defined, developed and built workplaces over a decade, since 2006. It all started from my master’s thesis “Introduction to redesigning product development working environments”, where our research team developed through experimentation the first prototype of the Aalto University, the Aalto Design Factory (ADF). In addition to developing the ADF concept, I have been involved in bringing the new multidisciplinary Design Factory spatial concept to countries such as Shanghai and Chile. Today, it has already expanded to 15 countries (www.dfgn.org).

The concept has also raised interest in different companies: Why couldn’t we also challenge our working culture, renew our work spaces and work in a different way – in more open, agile and wonderful way? All in all, the Design Factory has been a great catalyst also for the founding of Agile Work. Its founders, many new customers and members of the network have been operating in or collaborating with the Design Factory. I have met many new people at the Design Factory’s hugging point, where many new ideas and projects have been initiated. So, don’t be a stranger, let’s hug. And don’t be afraid when I approach you.

Agile Work was founded, when I had worked together with Antti Pitkänen and we noticed that we shared the same interests and passions. However, we also came to realise that our working habits are quite different. Our differences and different backgrounds is the clue of this all. And now by coincidence, all of us at Agile Work has a background in the IDBM programme.

I love change, summer, Prosecco and a controlled chaos. My sure can do mentality brings me to different places and directions and challenges me every day. This is why it is good to keep your friends, networks, partners and customers close.

Let’s hug each other when we meet, have a glass or two and enjoy life!