Katja Hölttä-Otto

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Personal profile

Artistic and research interests

Prof. Hölttä-Otto is an expert on product development methods, espacially on interdisciplinary product development. Her current research areas include empathy, circular economy and creativity. She is interested in how empathy and creativity can be developed and learned and also how creativity evolves during engineering education. She is also interested in novel methods for finding latent needs, needs not expressed by the user. She is interested in how product development can contribute to a more sustainable world, and she is also active in the area of systems engineering and does research in complex system architecture and modularity.

Prof. Hölttä-Otto teaches product development methods including design thinking. She is in charge of the ME310 Global Innovation Program at Aalto University: http://me310.aalto.fi/, which is part of the global SUGAR network on global interdisciplinary design thinking (http://sugar-network.org/).

Prof. Hölttä-Otto is a recipient of the NSF CAREER award and has won nine best paper awards or similar distinctions. She is an associate editor for the ASME Journal of Mechanical Design and an active member of the ASME Design Theory and Methodology community.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 7 - Affordable and Clean Energy
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production

External positions

Associate Professor (tenured), Engineering Product Development, Singapore University of Technology and Design


Associate Professor (tenured), Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth


Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth



  • Innovation
  • Creativity
  • Empathic design
  • Engineering pedagogy
  • User involvement
  • User-centered design
  • System Engineering
  • Product development
  • Mechanical Design


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