Great in Spirit. Bases of Societal Innovation *
The article deals with the interconnections between the development of population and society’s capability to innovate.
The development of any society (including economic innovation and investments) depends on the population, the people, and not merely on their number, but also on their talents and their degree of empowerment; therefore, human resources are particularly important in small countries and cultural spaces, where every talent is worth its weight in gold. In Estonia, too, the issues relating to population development require systematic study and comprehension as well as clear priorities set by the state. In our opinion, the shaping of attitudes oriented towards study and self-development is the central task for the state in the nearest future of the Estonian society.
The last section of the article includes some practical proposals regarding the trends of action the policy makers could consider in shaping a comprehensive view of the development of population or, in other words, a comprehensive talent creation policy.
The accelerating development of technologies in the 21st century, first and foremost, requires societies to be creative and to have the courage to see things in a new light. Creativity is crucial not only because it leads to a wealthier society, but also because it secures sustainability. A creative person is capable of showing initiative, constructing new business models, services and forms of work, and meeting the economic, environmental, social, cultural and other challenges the society is faced with, in this way contributing to the welfare of the society as a whole.
Art, cultural and informal education are seen as central to developing creativity as they enable to channel the overall creativity of the population into the development of the society. It is necessary to raise awareness and improve cooperation in this issue in the whole society insofar as the call for increasing individual creativity has the potential of becoming a future vision for the entire country.
Already 150 years ago, Jakob Hurt formulated the ethos of the Estonian nation: “Let us be great in spirit, if we cannot be great in number.” In the context of today’s demographic policy, it means that besides the number of population, the viability of our society, nation, language, and culture equally depends on human development, empowerment and the quality of life. Therefore, the development of the population and the talent policy need to be viewed as a comprehensive topic defining the future of Estonia.
* Peer-reviewed article.