No. 42



The Role of the Digital and Innovation Transition in the Strategy “Estonia 2035”

09 December 2020


RiTo No. 42, 2020

  • Ivo Suursoo

    Ivo Suursoo

    Chairman of the Board, IXIO Grupp; Chairman, Chamber of Innovation Acceleration at Estonian Employers’ Confederation; Best Leader 2024

In my article, I assess the vision document “Estonia 2035” (2020) from four aspects: the feasibility of the strategy, the role of the digital transition, the role of the innovation within the context of “Estonia 2035” and citizens’ expectations to the Riigikogu. “Estonia 2035” expressly describes the dream destination.

At the same time, fifteen years is a short time for a country. “Estonia 2035” is a good vision, but for the vision to become a strategy, choices need to be made for the coming fifteen years.

The strategy contains a block “The changes needed”, where the necessary changes are presented in five thematic groups, each containing four to eight desired changes; in total, there are 27 changes needed. For all of them to be launched, it would be necessary to begin to move towards nine goals during every following four-year election cycle of the Riigikogu. Once the desired changes have been selected within the framework of “Estonia 2035”, it is the right time to turn to stakeholders again and to formulate missions in more detail as a result of a broad-based discussion. Under missions, we have in mind bold, inspiring goals with a wide social impact that set a clear direction. They have a targeted and measurable impact, and high innovativeness is required to accomplish them.

Digital transition means the implementation of information and telecommunications technologies in society, making the creation of value more available, faster and simpler. The lag in Estonia’s digital transition is most felt in two directions: the low digitalisation of the private sector and the backwardness in fast Internet connections. In addition to two digital debts, several large solutions of Estonia’s digital governance have reached or are reaching the brink of becoming morally outdated and thereby a digital bomb in a critical state is ticking in the basements of our fine-looking electronic governance.

Making use of the potential of product innovation to increase productivity is what we call innovation transition. Our aim is that all companies were engaged in research and development to innovate their products and services. Whether we will continue with a low-productivity economy or rise among the countries with a high innovativeness level and high added value will depend on how we will be able to launch innovation.

What can the Riigikogu do? The article makes five recommendations to the Riigikogu, because the Riigikogu indeed plays an important role in the control and direction of the executive power. First, higher goals should be set for the strategic management model and, to conclude, it is recommended to transfer the research and innovation issues from the Cultural Affairs Committee to the Economic Affairs Committee.