We develop creative methods and business.

We help others find the energy of the creative industries.

We support the development of innovations regardless of industry with user-oriented thinking.

The Creative Industries Research Unit serves developers, companies and the educational community in the region, regardless of industry.

We produce solutions in multidisciplinary teams and networks nationally and internationally.

Our research, development and innovation services bring together professionals from the creative economy and other fields.

Our goal is to seek the competitiveness and well-being of the future through creativity and multidisciplinarity.

The unit is part of the South-Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences’ digital economy focus area.

Read more about Research, Development and Innovation in Xamk.


  • Service design, gamification and creative methods
  • Creative business and management as well as cross-sectoral value networks


  • Sustainable design and bioproduct materials
  • Cultural heritage and well-being
  • Development of education

empathic design | sustainable development | experientialism | cultural well-being | foresight | data-analytics | digital equality | living lab

How can we help?

contact us


Current projects


Past projects


What are Creative Industries?

The role of intangible added value is a strong competitive factor regardless of the sector. Creative industries have the ability to embody and express values, concepts and meanings. Sustainable development, social well-being and ethics are emphasized as people's values and attitudes change.

Read more about Creative Industries in Finland

Time for (S)heroes

Time for (S)heroes 1,34M€ funded through Creative Europe. (S)heroes bridges digital design, fashion and costume, installation art, state-of-the-art technology and tools, entrepreneurial skills, capacity building. Prospective designers and artists welcomed to co-design in a digital portal, open events at technology centers, best proposals mentored and designers welcomed to residencies! 

Time for (S)heroes is a capacity building project for prospective fashion and costume designers. It enables them to collaborate with other designers and artists to co-design digital and tangible fashion, costume, and art works. Designers and artists are promoted to be the (S)heroes of the day to lead the green shift, advance and speak for circular economy, reduce material waste and spread best practices for sustainable fashion and costume design. 

We facilitate an interdisciplinary co-design process through a digital portal supported by educational contents and mentoring. Capacity building is provided in digital tools, entrepreneurial skills, interdisciplinary co-design, circular economy, digital costume and fashion design, art installations and character-based (s)hero narratives. Target groups generate proposals matching our topics: fashion and costume design products, installation art, (S)hero rethought narratives and recycled materials. (S)hero rethought means reading and reinterpreting hero narratives critically in the framework of sustainable design, inclusion, and diversity. Narratives will be reinterpreted together with young people via drama pedagogical methods to produce material for the co-design process.

Participants work together online, in onsite events and residencies. Capacity building phase aims to reach 3000 participants. Along the process best proposals are selected for further elaboration, 100 designers, at a Design Wave international festival. Finalisation takes place in residences. The resulting digital and tangible design and art works are showcased in events and exhibitions in public spaces to target groups and wider audience to communicate new (s)hero narratives and offer impactful experiences. 

The developed portal remains a co-creation and networking platform. We create guidelines for sustainable, digital fashion and costume design. We build a collective mindscape to enhance sustainability and communicate it to consumers to influence behaviour – everyone can be a (S)hero with an impact on the climate change. 

Visualizations: Heini Haapaniemi, Maarit Kalmakurki, Saara Kumpulainen

Call: CREA-CULT-2023-COOP / Number: 101131332 / Duration: 48 months 

Capital of Game Art

Kouvola is the capital of game art, an international event in 2022 and 2023. The art of games will be presented through striking events, exhibitions, cooperation with educational institutions, public lectures and competitions. The capital of game art highlights the versatility of games as well as games as part of contemporary culture and self-expression. Art of games is presented as a broad social phenomenon and an interpreter of the present.

Read more at capitalgameart.fi/en

Recent articles

Our strategy

Entrepreneurship and creative business

The research group is interested in both the development of business in the creative industries and the utilization of creative industry know-how and creative business models in various fields. We support cultural and creative players who want to commercialize their services and increase measurable added value.

We help industrial and service companies increase the added value of products and services, especially through design methods. Through our research and development work, we promote the growth of intangible capital in companies and communities in the region. In order to develop a growth-oriented and creative business environment, we combine creative experts and the growth needs of companies, and we facilitate the cooperation of value networks.

Leadership is important to us. We support development processes through design leadership and responsible leadership. We develop and apply new forms of leadership because the growth of excellence requires proactive and new creative leadership. Managing excellence and performance is the key to a productive and prosperous work community and the growth of intangible capital.

Our creative power and distinction emerge from living in the midst of uncertainty and imperfection, but being excited about it. We listen with a sensitive ear, come up with ideas together and experiment boldly.

Gamification and service design

The development of technology creates new business opportunities, but also challenges to change.

The development of technology creates new business opportunities, but also challenges to change. The Gamification and Service Design research group combines user-driven service design expertise with an in-depth understanding of the potential of new technology.

We have built a modern infrastructure on the Kouvola campus for the production and development of new age services. We bring knowledge from the development perspective and modern digital tools to the empathic production of user experiences.

Creative processes are our special expertise. We help the players of our multidisciplinary cooperation network to develop their products, services and business. We are constantly looking for new and innovative ways to serve users from the change in development and behavior.

Cultural well-being

Cultural well-being refers to the potential of culture and the arts to promote health and well-being. Culture promotes community, prevents loneliness and exclusion, provides stimuli, brings meaning to life, supports mental health, and maintains activity and ability to function. Cultural well-being is a phenomenon that is a broad entity formed by activities, education, development and research. The implementation of cultural well-being emphasizes the professional and long-term co-operation of arts and cultural actors with other industries.

Many of our unit’s projects utilize different art-based methods with different target groups, create opportunities for actors in the creative sector and engage in active networking and stakeholder cooperation.

Cultural well-being is a phenomenon that is a broad entity formed by activities, education, development and research.

Cultural heritage and environment

We work with various stakeholders in the sectors of architectural heritage, cultural tourism, museums, education and cultural well-being.

As a regional developer, the Creative Industries Research Unit also participates in the preservation of cultural heritage and the resource efficient utilization of cultural environments. We develop in a multidisciplinary way, combining design thinking and the cultural environment framework. The approach is also more broadly related to urban development, the involvement of residents and the consideration of everyday environments as a resource that supports well-being and well-being.

The unit’s specialists participate, for example, in the sustainable development of the local Alvar Aalto’s building heritage in Kouvola’s Inkeroinen Tehtaanmäki and in mapping the possibilities of new use.

Bioeconomy and bioproduct design

The Creative Industries Research Unit is an active part of a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary network, developing knowledge and design of new wood and bio-based materials. Developmental work is carried out with companies, other educational institutions, and the research units of the XAMK itself.

Student cooperation, e.g. with bioproduct design training and other research units, enables innovative material experiments to meet the evolving needs of users and the environment, as well as the refining of the use of wood and other renewable materials in welfare environments.

The intelligent and renewable use of natural resources, responsible design, and sustainable development are genuinely part of planning and creating the materials and needs for the future. The circulation of materials from the forest to the finished product, considering the entire life cycle, is the basis of sustainable well-being.

The intelligent and renewable use of natural resources, responsible design and sustainable development are genuinely part of planning and creating the materials and needs for the future.

Development of education

Creativity is a key factor in learning in the changing world.

Learning is creating knowledge in cooperation with other people and not so much its transfer from one person to another. Creativity is a key factor in learning in a changing world.

Competence in the creative fields supports the development of user-oriented education. We bring the most suitable creative methods to live situations and digital learning environments as well as various hybrid models. We develop interactive creative solutions together with education professionals, students, and education leaders. In development, we combine expertise from different fields and build experiments with multidisciplinary teams.

The themes related to the development of education emphasize interaction in the digital environment and game solutions. Interaction is also essential in the implementation of inclusiveness, a deep understanding of the user experience, diversity, and support for the development of international education.

Future Experience Lab

Future Experience Lab FUEL is an open learning environment and an intelligent co-development space that connects companies and actors in the region to joint development and interaction, to the innovation ecosystem.

Read more about FUEL

Plant the Future

In the pursuit of responsibility, individual actions are not enough. Combining multidisciplinary expertise and process management are prerequisites for sustainable value chains.

Watch the full video here.

Contact us

Ari Utriainen

Head of RDI Unit
Kouvola Campus

Samuli Karevaara

Research Manager
Kouvola Campus

Heini Haapaniemi

Research Manager
Kouvola Campus

Irina Kujanpää

Lecturer,Research Manager
Kouvola Campus