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Dr Tuukka Toivonen

Reader - Course Leader MA Innovation Management
Central Saint Martins
Researcher Research
Tuukka  Toivonen


Twitter: @Tuukka_T Instagram: @dr_tuukka
Homepage: Blog:


I am an entrepreneurial academic specialising in creative processes with a collective dimension (research and teaching) and creative community strategy (consulting and impact).

At Central Saint Martins I lead the MA Innovation Management, an exciting multi-disciplinary course that equips students with the perspectives and skills they need to drive cutting-edge innovation and design processes across diverse contexts, with social impact and sustainability transitions in mind.

After gaining a PhD from the University of Oxford in 2009, I was appointed to several prestigious lectureships and senior lectureships at global institutions such as Kyoto University, Goldsmiths, SOAS and University College London. At UCL, I remain actively involved in research and supervision at Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (where I am a member of the Urban Innovation & Policy Lab) as well as the UCL Institute for Global Prosperity (where I teach sessions on Transformative Entrepreneurship).

Building on a long-term research programme on “networked creativity” supported through an ESRC Transformative Grant (£250,000/2016-2018) and other sources of funding, I am developing new scholarly insights, strategic frameworks and evaluation tools that help organisations build flourishing creative (work and innovation) communities. Co-authored academic outputs emerging from this work have been recognised at the most competitive level globally within management and organisation science, attracting a best paper designation from the Academy of Management in 2019 (for an article on a new phenomenon we call creative jolts), among other achievements.


As self-proclaimed “creative workspaces” proliferate as a key instrument within innovation management and as they grow into major industry in their own right, it is vital that we hold providers and managers to account by assessing – through sound diagnostic techniques and conceptual clarity – whether they really do provide excellent support to innovative teams and creative, entrepreneurial individuals, through orchestrating important relationships, interactions and flows of knowledge. This underlying concern informs my innovation management teaching and supervision at Central Saint Martins and it is also embodied in the work of Creative Friction, my collaborative consultancy that works across the globe with a range of clients from the British Council and Sitra (Finland’s main innovation fund) to the Global Thinkers Forum (that promotes female empowerment and leadership through mentoring and community).


Thinking back to the past five years or so, I am most proud of three things: successfully setting up the new MSc in Global Prosperity as a UCL senior lecturer and programme director (2016-2018); supporting the endeavours of many ambitious undergraduate and graduate students who have chosen to become global social entrepreneurs, innovation managers as well as PhD scholars at universities such as Cambridge, UCL and QMUL; and taking over as the director of the hugely exciting MA Innovation Management course at Central Saint Martins in 2019, allowing me to co-create new projects and lines of thought with highly talented, versatile students from a mix of (design, innovation, social science and humanities) backgrounds at a time when far-going social, economic, cultural and technological transformations are urgently called for.

In addition to the above roles, activities and interests, I also enjoy mentoring creative hub managers, social entrepreneurs and sustainability leaders whatever their location or background which is why I became a contributor to the British Council’s Creative Innovators mentoring scheme in 2019.


I welcome inquiries from students at CSM and beyond as well as requests for public lectures or professional contributions falling within my areas expertise. Also, I am always up for exchanging thoughts and engaging in exploratory conversations with anyone whose interests overlap with mine in one way or another.


The following list contains most of my recent publications (also see my Google Scholar profile). This list will be periodically updated.

Latest co-authored expert reports (available online):

Toivonen, Tuukka, and Carsten Sorensen. The Creative Process in Coworking and Collaborative Work. London: Creative Friction, 2018.

Toivonen, Tuukka, Emma Nordbäck, and Ville Takala. Sparking Social Innovation: Evidence on Teams, Ideas and Incubation from Finland (An Evaluation Study of the National ‘Ratkaisu 100’ Challenge Prize Competition by SITRA). Helsinki: SITRA, 2018.

Creativity, entrepreneurship, future of work: Recent outputs:

Toivonen, T., Idoko, O., Jha, H., & Harvey, S. (2019). Creative jolts: Responses to existentially threatening feedback along the journeys of early-stage entrepreneurs. Academy of Management 2019 Best Paper Proceedings.

Takala, V., Nieminen, K., Toivonen, T., & Pulkkinen, R. (2019). Can prizes enact genuine social change? UCL IIPP Blog (UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose). 6 March 2019. Impact article.

Toivonen, Tuukka. ’A multivitamin for the future of work? Rethinking the value of coworking for digital creatives’. The RSA Future of Work Blog, 7 Nov 2018. Impact article.

Toivonen, Tuukka, and Carsten Sorensen. 2018. The Creative Process in Coworking and Collaborative Work. London: Creative Friction. Expert report.

Toivonen, Tuukka, and Carsten Sorensen. ’Why the coworking industry must take creativity seriously’. LSE Business Review, 7 June 2018. Impact article.

Gryszkiewicz, Lidia, Tuukka Toivonen, and Ioanna Lykourentzou. ‘Innovation Labs: 10 Defining Features’. Stanford Social Innovation Review, 2 Nov 2016.

Toivonen, T. (2016). What is the social innovation community? Conceptualizing an emergent collaborative organization. Journal of Social Entrepreneurship, 7(1), 49–73.

Gryszkiewicz, L., Lykourentzou, I., & Toivonen, T. (2016). Innovation labs: Leveraging openness for radical innovation? Journal of Innovation Management, 4(4), 68–97.

Toivonen, Tuukka, and Nicolas Friederici. 2015. ‘Time to Define What a “hub” Really Is’. Stanford Social Innovation Review, Online article (April 2015).

Toivonen, Tuukka. 2014. ‘Success of Angry Birds Reflects Growth of Young Entrepreneurship in Finland’. Guardian Sustainable Business, 8 September 2014.

Toivonen, Tuukka. 2013. Japan’s Emerging Youth Policy: Getting Young Adults Back to Work. Abingdon: Routledge. Full research monograph.

Toivonen, Tuukka, Vinai Norasakkunkit, and Yukiko Uchida. 2011. ‘Unable to Conform, Unwilling to Rebel? Youth, Culture, and Motivation in Globalizing Japan’. Frontiers in Psychology 2. *Reached the status of the most frequently read paper in Frontiers in Psychology.

List of grant-funded research projects:

•SITRA’s Ratkaisu 100: An Evaluation Study of a Landmark Social Innovation Competition in Finland (approx. £50,000in total funding). Role: Principal Investigator. Funded through Sitra.

•Networked Creativity in London’s Hubscape: Digital Entrepreneurs in Search of Value and Systemic Change (£250,000). Role: Principal Investigator. Funded through a competitive ESRC Transformative Research Grant; 5/2016-1/2018

•Collaborative Changemaking: The Oxford Social Innovation Communities Project (£17,500). Role: Principal Investigator. Funded through starting grants from the Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship and the John Fell Fund; 4/2012-7/2013

•Social Entrepreneurship in Japan: How Do Young Adults Become Social Entrepreneurs? (£35,000). Role: Principal Investigator. Funded externally by the Japan Foundation; 6/2011-5/2012

•Explaining Youth Activation in 21st Century Japan (£45,000). Role: Principal Investigator. Funded through a three-year PhD scholarship from the Emil Aaltonen Foundation, Finland; 10/2006-9/2009

•Is Japanese Family Policy Turning Nordic? (£4,500). Role: Principal Investigator. Finnish Cultural Foundation Grant to support MSc dissertation research; 3/2006-8/2006

Conference papers (to be updated):

Toivonen, T., Idoko, O., Jha, H., & Harvey, S. (2019). Creative jolts: Responses to existentially threatening feedback along the journeys of early-stage entrepreneurs. Academy of Management 2019 Best Paper Proceedings.

Toivonen, Tuukka, Onya Idoko, Harsh Jha, and Sarah Harvey. “When Unexpected Feedback Threatens Your Very Existence: ‘Creative Jolts’ along the Idea Journeys of New Entrepreneurs.”Presented at the 34th EGOS Colloquium in Tallinn, Estonia, July 5-7, 2018, 2018.

Idoko, Onya, and Tuukka Toivonen. “Unpacking the Dynamics of Creative Influence along Entrepreneurial Idea Journeys: Beyond Idea Generation and Feedback Interactions.” Presented at the 10th International Process Symposium (PROS) in Halkidiki, Greece, 20-23 June 2018.

Toivonen, Tuukka, Ville Takala, and Emma Nordback. “Can Social Innovation Competitions Produce Transformative Solutions to Grand Challenges? The Case of Sitra’s ‘Ratkaisu 100’.” Presented at the Entrepreneurship as Social Change Conference at Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland, 28-29 June 2018.

Toivonen, Tuukka, Ville Takala, and Emma Nordback. “Who Benefits from Innovation Competitions and Incubation Programmes? The Role of Team Characteristics & Orientations in a Nordic National Innovation Competition.” Presented to Sitra (the innovation contest organiser and research funder) in Helsinki, Finland on 28 March 2018.

Books and special issues:

Toivonen, Tuukka (2013). Japan’s Emerging Youth Policy: Getting Young Adults Back to Work. Abingdon: Routledge.

Furuichi, Noritoshi & Toivonen, Tuukka, eds. (2015). Kokka ga Yomigaeru Toki: Motarazaru Kuni de aru Finrando ga Nandomo Saisei Dekita Riyuu (When Nations Revive: Why Finland Has Been Able to Reinvent Itself Time After Time). Tokyo: Magazine House. Available in Japanese.

Goodman, Roger, Imoto, Yuki & Toivonen, Tuukka, eds. (2012). A Sociology of Japanese Youth: From Returnees to NEETs. Abingdon: Routledge. Available in English and Japanese.

Norasakkunkit, Vinai, Uchida, Yukiko & Toivonen Tuukka, eds. (2015). ‘Cultural change: Adapting to it, coping with it, resisting it, and driving it’. Frontiers in Cultural Psychology(a peer-reviewed open access collection of 11 scientific articles). Over 127,000 views received to date

Journal articles (peer-reviewed):

Lassiter, Charles, Vinai Norasakkunkit, Benjamin Shuman, and Tuukka Toivonen. “Diversity and Resistance to Change: Macro Conditions for Marginalization in Post-Industrial Societies.” Frontiers in Psychology 9 (June 1/2018).

Gryszkiewicz, Lidia, Ioanna Lykourentzou, and Tuukka Toivonen. ‘Innovation Labs: Leveraging Openness for Radical Innovation?’ Journal of Innovation Management (open access)4, no. 4 (2017): 68–97.

Toivonen, Tuukka. ‘What Is the Social Innovation Community? Conceptualizing an Emergent Collaborative Organization’. Journal of Social Entrepreneurship7, no. 1 (2016): 49–73. doi:10.1080/19420676.2014.997779.

Toivonen, Tuukka & Imoto, Yuki (2013). ‘Transcending labels and panics: the logic of Japanese youth problems’, Contemporary Japan Journal of the German Institute for Japanese Studies Tokyo, 25 (1): 61-86.

Norasakkunkit, Vinai, Uchida, Yukiko & Toivonen, Tuukka (2012). ‘Caught between culture, society, and globalization: Youth marginalization in post-industrial Japan’, Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 6(5): 361-378.

Toivonen, Tuukka (2012). ‘“Don’t let your child become a NEET!”: The strategic foundations of a Japanese youth scare’, Japan Forum, 23(3): 407–429. Awarded ’Paper of the Year’ Prize

Seeleib-Kaiser, Martin & Toivonen, Tuukka (2011). ‘Between reforms and birth rates: Germany, Japan and family policy discourse’, Social Politics, 18 (3): 331-360.

Toivonen, Tuukka, Norasakkunkit, Vinai & Uchida, Yukiko (2011). ‘Unable to conform, unwilling to rebel? Youth, globalization and motivation in Japan’, Frontiers in Cultural Psychology, 2 (article 207/open access). Recognised as the most frequently accessed paper in this journal

Toivonen, Tuukka (2011). ‘Japanese youth after the triple disaster: How entrepreneurial students are overcoming barriers to volunteering and changing Japan’, Harvard Asian Quarterly, 8 (4): 53-62.

Miller, Aaron & Toivonen, Tuukka (2010). ‘To discipline or accommodate? On the rehabilitation of Japanese ‘problem youth’, The Asia-Pacific Journal, 22-6-10.

Public impact publications (to be updated):

Gryszkiewicz, Lidia, Tuukka Toivonen, and Ioanna Lykourentzou. ‘Innovation Labs: 10 Defining Features’. Stanford Social Innovation Review, 2 Nov 2016.

Toivonen, Tuukka (2015). ‘Showcasing a contested future: musings on Nesta’s FutureFest 2015’, UCL Institute for Global Prosperity blog, 21 April 2015.

Toivonen, Tuukka and Friederici, Nicolas (2015). 'Time to define what a “hub” really is', Stanford Social Innovation Review, 7 April 2015.

Toivonen, Tuukka (2014) ‘Success of Angry Birds reflects growth of young entrepreneurship in Finland’, Guardian Sustainable Business, 8 September 2014.

Toivonen, Tuukka & Furuichi, Noritoshi (2012). ‘”Shizuka na henkakusha” ga shakai wo kaeru: Nihon to Oubei no “wakamono mondai” no kyoutsuuten to sai’ (‘“Quiet Mavericks” the Ones to Change Society: Comparing Youth Problems in Japan and Western Countries’). The KOTOBA Magazine, Summer 2012.

Toivonen, Tuukka (2011). ‘Japanese youth after 3.11: From underdogs to change-makers?’, Wochi Kochi online magazine (Japan Foundation).

Some recent academic presentations (to be updated):

Tuukka Toivonen, Onya Idoko, and Sarah Harvey. ‘In Search of the Creative Conversations That Matter: Person-to-Person Interactions and Business Model Development’. Presented at an AMJ Paper Development Workshop on New Ways of Seeing, Lancaster University Business School, 7 April 2017.

Tuukka Toivonen, and Onya Idoko. ‘Networked Creativity: An Organisational Inquiry into Creative Interactions among Entrepreneurs at London-Based Coworking Spaces’. Presented at ESCAPES: The Entrepreneurial Spaces and Collectives Research Group Bi-Annual Meeting, Green Templeton College, University of Oxford, 28 March 2017.

Tuukka Toivonen. ‘Coworking Spaces: A Connective Infrastructure for Very Long Lives?’ Presented at Hubs and the Future of Coworking (original NetCreate impact workshop), Impact Hub Islington, London, 27 March 2017.

Tuukka Toivonen. ‘Networked Creativity: An Organisational Inquiry into Creative Interactions among Entrepreneurs at London-Based Coworking Space’. Presented at School of Business and Management, Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), Departmental Seminar Series, 8 March 2017.

Tuukka Toivonen. ‘Networked Creativity: A Longitudinal Approach to Tracing Ideas & Interactions through the Hubscape’. Presented at the Coworking Dynamics and the City Workshop at CAMEo (Cultural and Media Economies Research Institute), Leicester University, 1 March 2017.

Tuukka Toivonen. ‘My Path to Sustainable Global Prosperity and Business Modeling’. Presented at Member Show and Tell, Work.Life London Fields, London, 28 February 2017.

Tuukka Toivonen. ‘Sustainable Global Prosperity & Business Models’. Presented at the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity/Centre for Enterprise and Economic Development Research Seminar, Middlesex University, London, 25 January 2017.

Tuukka Toivonen, and Onya Idoko. ‘Collaborative Spaces & Creativity: An Object-Centric Approach to Tracing Ideas & Interactions through the Hubscape’. Presented at Research Group for Collaborative Spaces (RGCS) Annual Conference, Paris, 16 December 2016.

Working papers, book chapters, dissertations and other articles:

Kapturkiewicz, Agata & Toivonen, Tuukka (2018). ‘New Pathways to Economic Participation? Youth, Labour Policy and Entrepreneurship in Japan’. In Education in Japan in a Global Age: Sociological Reflections and Future Directions, edited by JSES. Tokyo: Japan Society of Educational Sociology.

Friederici, Nicolas, Toivonen, Tuukka, Graham, Mark & Ventresca, Marc (2015). ‘The Hub Organization: Fluid boundaries as enablers of collaboration between diverse independent knowledge workers.’ A working paper presented at the European Theory Development Workshop at Cardiff University, 26 June 2015 (available online).

Gryszkiewicz, Lidia and Lykourentzou, Ioanna and Toivonen, Tuukka (2015). ‘Innovation labs: Leveraging openness for radical Innovation?’. SSRN Working Paper.

Toivonen, Tuukka (2013). ‘Youth for 3.11 and the challenge of dispatching young urban volunteers to northeastern Japan’. In: Gill, Tom, Steger, Brigitte & Slater, David (eds.),Japan Copes with Calamity: Ethnographies of the Earthquake, Tsunami and Nuclear Disasters of March 2011. Bern: Peter Lang.

Furuichi, Noritoshi, Toivonen, Tuukka, Terachi, Mikito & Ogawa, Tomu (2012). ‘Japanese youth: An interactive dialogue: Towards comparative youth research,’ The Asia-Pacific Journal, 10-35-3.

Toivonen, Tuukka (2012). ‘A review of: “Lost in Transition: Youth, Work and Instability in Postindustrial Japan” by Professor Mary Brinton, Harvard University’, The Journal of Japanese Studies, 38 (2): 493-498.

Toivonen, Tuukka (2012). ‘Moral panics vs. youth problem debates: Three conceptual insights from the study of Japanese youth’. In: Krinsky, Charles (ed.), The Ashgate Research Companion to Moral Panics. Surrey: Ashgate. Pp. 265-281.

Toivonen, Tuukka (2011). ‘Is there life after work for Japan? Political “Work–Life Balance” research begins to address the hard questions’ (review essay), Social Science Japan Journal, 14 (1): 55-61.

Seeleib-Kaiser, Martin & Toivonen, Tuukka (2011). ‘Promoting gender equality, birthrates, or human capital? Germany, Japan and family policy discourse’. In: Florian Coulmas, ed. Imploding Populations in Japan and Germany: A Comparison. Leiden: Brill. Pp. 175-201.

Toivonen, Tuukka (2009). Explaining Social Inclusion and Activation Policy for Youth in 21st Century Japan. DPhil thesis, University of Oxford.

Toivonen, Tuukka (2007). ‘Is Japanese family policy turning Nordic?’ Barnett Paper in Social Research, 2007/1. Oxford Department of Social Policy and Social Work, University of Oxford.

Toivonen, Tuukka (2006). A Comparative Look at Japan’s Recent Family Policy Reforms: How Real are the Nordic Shades?MSc thesis, University of Oxford.

Toivonen, Tuukka (2005). Justifying the Welfare State in the Nordic Countries and Japan: Ideas of Social Justice in Theory and Practice. BSc Thesis, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University.


Current research students

  • Denise Bianco, Art for community making: new curatorial approaches bridging businesses and social milieu (Lead supervisor)


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