Estimated reading time 4 min

Mapping what “international” means for Sitra

The world we live in is interdependent. Understanding and tackling complex societal issues requires international co-operation. At Sitra, all our work is based on partnerships and co-operation, both local and global.


Heidi Humala


Today, we are living in a world that is more interconnected and interdependent than ever. Countries, markets and communities are more accessible from our doorstep and from our pocket, and via our smartphone. In many ways, “international” is already local to us, inherent to the way we think, work and live. It is a mindset rather than an externality.

At the same time, the idea and practices behind “going international” have evolved over years. They are characterised by a more fluid, hyper-networked and informal way of working and communicating.

Looking at the themes that Sitra is currently focusing on, it is safe to say that success and long-term impact are built on smart co-operation across organisations and geographical borders. In a world where innovative solutions to complex issues are globally distributed, international co-operation can translate into increased competitiveness, stability and well-being. Hence, many of the challenges set out in our work are certainly not ones that Sitra as an organisation, or Finland as a country, could tackle alone. Echoing this sentiment, our Board of Directors updated Sitra’s strategy on international activities earlier this year. Reaching our targets requires broad international co-operation.

Global perspectives are indeed crucial to increasing the overall impact of our work and international co-operation is an important sounding board. International institutions, partners and forums can be significant levers if partnerships are developed on a long-term and reciprocal basis. A joint approach that encourages dialogue and sense-making is at the core of our work, both in Finland and abroad.

For us, it is important to identify the global change phenomena affecting Finnish society and to respond to these by fostering dialogue and building capacity among citizens and decision-makers alike. Sitra’s foresight and insight, as well as our training programmes, do this on an ongoing basis. Our visions and solutions for a carbon-neutral circular economy and the use of human-driven data are international from their very inception.

At the same time, it is increasingly important to understand how our international activities link back to our targets, and to ensure the relevance of these activities in terms of strategy and resources. If we can do that, then we can also develop our internal capacity and steer our actions to maximise the advantage we derive from the various international networks, partnerships and expertise we have – and will develop – throughout Sitra. Our network of expertise on international activities takes stock of the “why, what, where and how”, with the aim of sharing good (and not-so-good) practices among colleagues.

There are several ways in which Sitra engages with partners and projects around the world. Take a look at the first snapshot of this global work in the interactive map below. International advisory bodies and networks are prevalent throughout Sitra, and we work with experts around the world on various projects and thought pieces, to both gain and share cutting-edge knowledge and experiences. All our international co-operation has specific targets that contribute to Sitra’s overall impact.

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If something here sparks your interest and you would like to know more, get in touch! We will continue to post updates and maintain this overall picture of Sitra’s international activities.

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