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Personal profile

Description of research and teaching

Anu Kajamaa, PhD, is an Adjunct Professor and Principal Investigator in the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki, Finland. She is Co-Leader of an expert group called Learning, Culture and Interventions (LECI). Anu has received several awards for her research and teaching:

  • 2019 The Best Paper Award finalist, International Society for Professional Innovation Management (ISPIM), Florence, Italy
  • 2018 Best Practice-Oriented Paper Award, given by the Strategizing Activities and Practices interest group at the Academy of Management Annual Meeting (AOM), Chicago, US
  • 2017 The Best Research Paper Award, by the International Association for Medical Education (AMEE 2017) Annual conference
  • 2015 The Adult Educator of the Year, by students of the Institute of Behavioral Sciences, University of Helsinki
  • 2013 Outstanding Doctoral Research Award, by Emerald and the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD)

Anu is currently involved in an Academy of Finland-funded research project "Learning by Making: The Educational Potential of School-Based Makerspaces for Young Learners' Digital Competencies" (iMake). She is a coordinator of the NOS-HS funded project entitled “Nordic Research Network on Digitalising Childhoods" (www.digichild.net), and a member of the Playful Learning Center, which is an ecosystem for research, development and educational practices. She is the Institutional Leader in an EU H2020-MSCA-RISE-Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research project, entitled "Improving collaborative working between correctional and mental health services". Anu is also one of the founders of the European Centre of Excellence in Qualitative Study and Inquiry in Training and Education, University of Groningen, The Netherlands.


She is a passionate researcher, supervisor and a pedagogically qualified teacher who loves to carry out research-based teaching. She takes active part to faculty development as a member in the Faculty Council and Faculty research committee at the Faculty of Education, University of Helsinki. Her research focuses especially on organizational learning, change and development via interprofessional working and formative interventions. She is an expert in sociocultural- and practice-based theories, qualitative research methods and participatory intervention techniques, drawing especially from cultural historical activity theory and the Change Laboratory method. Her current research contexts are primary schools, teacher education, health and social care, and entrepreneurship hubs/fabrication laboratories.


Her work is highly international, she is a research group member in several national and international projects and consortiums (e.g. with Centre for Medical Education and Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University, Montreal, Canada; Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, USA; and University of Oulu, Business School, Finland). She has been a visiting researcher and teacher at many universities and business schools, such as the University of California, Berkeley, USA; McGill University, Canada; Columbia University, USA; ESSEC Business School, France; University of Exeter, UK; Nancy-Metz Business School, France; University of Technology Chemnitz, Germany; University of Gothenburg, Sweden; University of California San Diego, USA; and University of Otago, New Zealand.


Education information

PhD, Docent


  • 516 Educational sciences

International and National Collaboration Publications and projects within past five years.

Publications 2005 2019

Can Innovation Management Do Better? Co-existing Organizational Arrangements in Hospital-restructuring

Kajamaa, A., Hurmelinna-Laukkanen, P. & Rantakari, A., Jun 2019, The proceedings of The XXX ISPIM Innovation Conference - Celebrating Innovation - 500 Years Since Da Vinci - 16-19 June 2019 - Florence, Italy: (Eds.) I. Bitran, S. Conn; C. Gernreich, M. Heber, K.R.E. Huizingh, O. Kokshagina, M. Torkkeli, M. Tynnhammar. Research Reports.. 93 ed.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

From Material Objects to Social Objects: Researching the Material-Dialogic Spaces of Joint Attention in a School-based Makerspace

Kumpulainen, K. & Kajamaa, A., 21 Jun 2019, CSCL 2019 Proceeding of the 13th International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning. Volume 1: A Wide Lens: Combining Embodied, Enactive, Extended, and Embedded Learning in Collaborative Settings. (Eds.) Kristine Lund, Gerald Niccolai, Elise Lavoué, Cindy Hmelo-Silver Gahgene Gweon, Michael Baker.. International Conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning , Vol. 1. p. 352 360 p.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

How to… use qualitative research to change practice

Kajamaa, A., de la Croix, A. & Mattick, K., 24 Jun 2019, (Accepted/In press) In : The clinical teacher.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Makerspaces promoting students’ design thinking and collective knowledge creation: Examples from Canada and Finland

Hughes, J. M., Morrison, L. J., Kajamaa, A. & Kumpulainen, K., 2019, Interactivity, Game Creation, Design, Learning, and Innovation: 7th EAI International Conference, ArtsIT 2018, and 3rd EAI International Conference, DLI 2018, ICTCC 2018, Braga, Portugal, October 24-26, 2018, Proceedings. Brooks, A. L., Brooks, E. & Sylla, C. (eds.). Cham: Springer , p. 343-352 10 p. (Lecture Notes of the Institute for Computer Sciences, Social Informatics and Telecommunications Engineering; no. 265).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

Motive-demand dynamics creating a social context for students’ learning experiences in a making and design environment

Kumpulainen, P. K., Kajamaa, A. M. & Rajala, A. J., 2019, Cultural-historical approaches to studying learning and development: societal, institutional and personal perspectives. Edwards, A., Fleer, M. & Bottcher, L. (eds.). SAGE Publications Ltd, Vol. 2018. p. 185-199

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

Projects 2004 2020

DigiChild: Nordic Research Network on Digitalising Childhoods funded by NOS HS/Academy of Finland

Kumpulainen, K., Kajamaa, A., Erstad, O., Mäkitalo, Å., Drotner, K. & Jakobsdottir, S.


Project: Research project


Kortejärvi, H., Laaksonen, R., Kari, H., Yliperttula, M., Kajamaa, A., Ronkainen, J., Vuollo, P., Kilpijärvi, T., Salmela, A., Rahko, V., Makkonen, N., Vähälassi, L. & Kunnamo, I.

01/09/2014 → …

Project: Other project

Activities 2005 2019

International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction (Journal)

Anu Kajamaa (Reviewer)
12 Apr 2019

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

Tackling wicked problems through Change Laboratory Interventions

Päivikki Lahtinen (Speaker), Sarah Hean (Speaker), Anu Kajamaa (Speaker), William Dugdale (Speaker), Björn Larsen (Speaker)
15 Jan 2019

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation

Dialogic Interaction and Connected Learning in a Design and Making Environment: The meaning of materiality

Kristiina Kumpulainen (Speaker), Anu Kajamaa (Speaker), Antti Rajala (Speaker)
7 Apr 2019

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation