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The idea for a new type of event was born in 2013. The aim was to foster an understanding of the need for genuine development in Ostrobothnia, as a supplement to the prevalent custodial mentality and the defense of the status quo. Real development for Ostrobothnia could be achieved through connection to the global market and insights into what rapid technological advancement should concretely mean in daily life within both the public and private sectors, especially for its youth. Additionally, the event aimed to provide concrete solutions that could be realized without disadvantaging other regions. These solutions were intended to add value to the region and all of Finland. The event was not meant to become a platform where one could simply buy a spot and seek applause.

Initially, the event operated for several years under the name (and concept) NEW NORDIC CENTER, with well-attended sessions in the old RITZ cinema. Sture Udd personally organized it, with active participation from Joakim Strand among others. Representatives from both the public and private sectors were actively involved, as shown by the event photos—from Kokkola to Kristinestad, with both language groups represented.

By 2018, Bock’s Corner Village was prepared to handle larger events, and the company registered the name Wasa Future Festival. The event then welcomed a new active participant, Mari K. Niemi from the University of Vaasa, who contributed entirely new ideas and formats. Simultaneously, the event expanded to cover several days. In 2020, Wasa Future Festival gained national recognition—despite the pandemic—with major launches of concrete initiatives for the region, including EnergySAMPO, the bridge between Vaasa and Umeå arranged by Kvarken Council, and Young Talks organized by Marja Riitta Vest (then head of NTM Centralen), with participation from several ministers. Addressing rural depopulation with new economic connections to growing cities has also been a constant agenda item. Thus, WFF has become an event positively influencing development throughout the country.

In 2024, this development was further strengthened with the presence of many central Nordic actors and leading experts from across Finland, along with representatives from the national government. The 2024 themes were critical for the regions—develop or dissolve!