The workshop was opened by Juha Teperi, Vice President of Tampere University. The speech was followed by two additional opening speeches by Päivi Myllykangas, Director of Innovation and Future, Council of Tampere Region, and Marianne Murto, Co-Founder of Value Creative and Entrepreneurship and Team leadership student from TAMK Proakatemia.
Professor Henry Etzkowitz, founder of the concept of Triple Helix Model of innovation, gave a keynote speech, which was followed by a panel discussion. The panel discussion was chaired by Markku Sotarauta, Professor of Regional Studies at Faculty of Management and Business from Tampere University. Panelists including Prof. Henry Etzkowitz, Prof. Johanna Kujala, Vice Dean of Faculty of Management and Business, Tampere University, Mr. Jere Wessman, Creative Director of Demola and Mr. Seppo Haataja, Program director of Smart Tampere Ecosystem Program, Business Tampere.
Both keynote speech and panel discussion addressed the importance of social sciences and humanities in regional development, particularly in supporting business development. The speakers and panelists identified that there is room for further exploration of the potentials of soft sciences in the field of business. They noticed also challenges in enhancing the soft sciences in regional innovation. For instance, it can be difficult to measure the engagement of soft sciences in business development, and it also takes time to build trust among the Triple Helix actors in order to realize this engagement. It was stressed that the role of higher education institutions is not simply to serve the industrial needs, but also to address the challenges in the society where it is embedded