Conference Day 2: Keynotes by Martin Kenney and Joanna Chataway

The second half session of the second day for 18th international THC 2020 included two distinguished keynote speakers, Professor Martin Kenney and Professor Joanna Chataway chaired by Professor Marko Seppänen.

Professor Martin Kenney from the Community and Regional Development at the University of California started his speech by introducing his topic “Platform-Dependent Entrepreneurship and Private Regulation: What Does It Mean for Entrepreneurs, Small Business and Society?”.

Professor Martin discussed the power of platform and its implication to entrepreneurs and the society. He argued that the global economy is reorganised in a few mega platform owners, and the unprecedented emergence of Covid-19 has made platforms more powerful than ever. Due to the coronavirus pandemic most of the real world works and interactions such as Triple Helix Conference moved to virtual platforms like Zoom. The society is massively joining to the digital platforms, for instance Chrome is used by over 2.5 billion, Android 2.5 billion, and YouTube 2 billion people. He then said that life is reorganised in a new way – figuratively digital data is the new oil in the economic sense. Therefore, he underlined that the platforms are a in every bits of our life activities and this has its own implication in simplifying and mediating the way entrepreneurship, business and society interacts. He concluded that digital platforms are the new contexts for our entrepreneurship and the business. In further extrapolating the essence of digital platforms from the triple helixes context, he said that digital platforms are the new players in the process of quality regulation power.

The second keynote speaker was Joanna Chataway, a Professor of Science and Technology at University College London (UCL). She started by gauging the focus of  the audience into the dynamically changing social and economic models and the way we all live with them. She then said her speech will attempt to cover some of it in a way to indicate the theme of the conference along with the coronavirus pandemic and its impacts in the way STI undertaken. She then continued her speech by reminding the audience that there is a controversy over the STI private and public investment and the economic and social pay back. However, in the last few years we become aware that some innovations causes many problems and the ex post regulation is in sufficient. Therefore, due to some of the problems are cross boarders it demands the collaboration effort across nations globally. Hence, universities in collaboration with their local government are identified to be the potential role players in this regard. She seriously send her caution message by saying that the STIs should revise its ways of working to consider the new problems such as environmental degradation and inequality. Finally, she stressed that having these as an important agendas, we need to reconsider the way Triple Helix actors play in the innovation process and the way its by products can be carefully handled, and for this to happen, we need to employ the essence of  critical realistic experimenting and generation evidence.

Text and photos: Tsegay Girmay