How to participate

We invite forward-thinking and sustainability-conscious companies and organizations to the fresh collaboration program LAETUS by the Estonian Academy of Arts’ Faculty of Design. LAETUS aims to elevate products or services to the next, more planet-friendly level through new generation design and open innovation. LAETUS offers companies and organizations a creative approach with new generation design to tackle their business challenges requiring sustainability, human-friendliness, and demanding technological solutions. Come, make a creative turn in your organization!

LAETUS addresses various challenges faced by organizations, involving both a far-reaching view towards the future and redesigning existing products and services. The program functions as an innovation lab, where, without disrupting the organization’s daily operations, there’s a focus on sustainability and the exploration of opportunities arising from new technologies based on the partner’s themes, analysis of user experience and identity, development of idea solutions, and more. In industrial design, we see potential partners as innovative entrepreneurs in material development, recycling, or repurposing fields. Additionally, we are open to collaborating with other research groups focusing on biomaterials from other scientific institutions.

The program brings together courses from the EAA’s design field and the business challenges of companies, offering synergy and fruitful collaboration, resulting in sustainable research and development projects that advance all parties.

Simply put, participating companies provide input by describing their challenges, and multidisciplinary student teams from EAA, led by experts from various design fields, set out to solve them.

The participating company in the program:

  • Engages in a forward-looking, innovative, user-centered, and design-based problem-solving process;
  • Observes and experiences the use of the latest human-centered design methods in its thematic area;
  • Directly benefits from the fresh and dynamic approach that design students bring to your organization.

The program organizes organizations to collaborate with special courses led by the best design teachers in Estonia. All courses deal with sustainability as a cross-cutting theme, and each course has its focus, which is tailored to the issues of the applying company or organization.

There are eight different courses available:

  • Mobility: Addressing the issue of last-mile delivery, students map different modes of transportation and users, including minority groups. As a solution, they propose a tool based on user analysis for last-mile delivery. This could be a new concept for a means of transportation, an extension element for an existing vehicle, or something else that significantly expands the target audience.
  • Industrial Design: Using slow design principles in the product creation process, including in-depth analysis of context, materials, and circular economy issues. Students delve deep into the research of the issues identified by the partner, positioning the partner company in the design and business landscape, and creating an innovative product prototype as a final solution. The results gain broader visibility at the Stockholm Furniture Fair, where prototypes are exhibited.
  • Service Design: The service design studio begins with identifying the problem and analyzing the end-user journey, leading to creating a more holistic, convenient, or otherwise better service scenario from the end-user perspective. Various organizations involved in service provision are considered, addressing all touchpoints between the end-user and the service, most of which are not digital. End-users and service-related individuals are involved in the design process. Public sector organizations are particularly welcome partners, as are social, welfare, and health-related themes.
  • Innovation Studio: Multidisciplinary designer groups analyze organizational issues from the perspectives of visual communication, product design, spatial design, and fashion design, creating synergistic, environmentally conscious, and innovative solutions. The result is a prototype and documentation relevant to the project theme.
  • Digital Product Design: Many digital information systems are complex for users and raise too many questions. In this project, we analyze the user experience of an existing digital information system or e-service. Based on the research, we design a new, user-friendly scenario. We consider the values behind the organization behind the information system and propose ways to convey those values to people. The result is a prototype of the information system or e-service and documentation of user research.
  • Art in Public Space: In rapidly urbanizing Estonia, the visibility of art in urban spaces is low, and the role of urban art as an organic part of quality public space is still being recognized. Through outdoor art, place identity is created, and various critical questions are addressed – primarily ensuring a memorable experience and memories associated with the place for users. Artworks in public space are created in the course. Prototypes of artworks and documentation are produced.
  • Design for Emerging Themes (course in English): New technologies, social, and ecological changes continuously bring new questions for which there are no answers or previous solutions. We analyze these emerging themes, which are expected to affect us in the near future. Interaction designers act as “translators” between people and technology, helping to understand the possibilities of technology in problem-solving and humanizing technology. In addition to analysis, short videos on four topics are produced, demonstrating technology capabilities from the user’s perspective.
  • Wayfinding System: The aim is to analyze existing infographics and improve them or develop a completely new graphic system. This may involve companies or local government administrative areas such as transport networks, health complexes, educational centers, or urban spaces. We analyze the situation, signs, location plans, the existence of movement corridors, pictograms, and compile a report. In the second stage, we propose options for improving the situation. In the third stage, we develop design principles and templates.


To apply for the program, organizations must complete a participant questionnaire, specifying the organization’s field of activity and associated challenges that they wish to address in the EKA Laetus program, as well as their motivation for participating in the program.

The participation fee for the program is 8,000 euros, plus value-added tax.

The program requires active participation from the organization and open communication. Effective collaboration requires that the design teams have an internal view of the issues and the field of activity of the organization.

After reviewing the questionnaires received by April 30th (inclusive), partners will be contacted by May 3rd, 2024.

The program runs from August 2024 to January 2025.

Completed projects will be presented at the EKA Design Showcase gala on January 23rd, 2025.

Any company or organization wishing to participate in the Laetus program confirms that the organization is registered in the Estonian Business Register, has equity that meets the requirements of the Commercial Code, and is sustainable and solvent, with no outstanding debts or overdue liabilities.