Open-Source Community – Ell-i



Supporting Ell-i co-operative to create a vibrant open-source community & facilitating its communication. ELL-i long-term aim is to create a master level system, which connects and controls various devices related to the Internet of Things. ELL-i has a technological, people-centred and ecological mindset. ELL i co-operative is located in the premises of Open Innovation House of EIT ICT Labs in Espoo, Finland and has its assembly in Helsinki Hacklab. Around ten active members make up ELL i’s core team. The EU-funded, non-profit co-operative aims to extend its developer community in order to create an open source platform, which attracts companies to apply it.


ELL-i is an open source hardware and software platform currently focusing on Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) devices.


IDBM students from Aalto University were asked to support the company to approach new customer segments so that the company will get a step closer to being able to license ELL-i technology. In the course of the project the topic “communication and popularisation” turned out to play a crucial role for ELL-i’s future and therefore was defined as the superior topic for the project.


The IDBM team applied a triple diamond model in the process. The first phase served to define the project topic, the second phase was used to dive deeper in various research topics and define the concept topic and the third phase dealt with the concept development.

The team joined the weekly meetings with the client to understand ELL-i’s objectives and mindset. Moreover, the students visited Helsinki Hacklab, joined an internal Hackathon as well as the demo presentation of ELL-i technology. The IDBM team organised workshops with ELL-i co-operative to define its operation model in more detail.

Field trip
Seeing great potential to learn from the start-up spirit the students decided to travel to the San Francisco Bay Area/Silicon Valley where the team participated in various events and conferences that are related to the Internet of Things, community building and open source.


The IDBM team decided to create a guideline, giving an outlook on various approaches how ELL-i could improve its communication skills regarding future customers and become more popular with community members. Part of this guideline will be a preview of ELL-i’s web presence.


Anssi Laurila (School of Business), Hai Sun (School of Science), Julia König (School of Arts & Design), Yebyul Kim (School of Arts & Design)