Weekly notes is a series of blogs offering an insight into the topical issues being discussed each week by Sitra’s research and strategy team.
This week, the team can’t help but try to grapple with and perhaps navigate the rapidly changing geopolitical environment. How does it impact on an organisation like Sitra? What does it mean for our current projects? How do we negotiate the timescale incongruity between daily developments and two to three-year plans? Should we try to form a “Sitra” response?
Answers to these questions are not immediately apparent. Not because we are not watching, reading and thinking, but because challenges of this scale and potential impact are without immediate precedent in our professional lives. In this way, we recognise that we are wading into uncertain waters.
Outside of Sitra, the Finnish government’s budgetary process is under way and we are paying close attention. As any public budget does, this forthcoming budget will reflect the priorities of the new government leadership and will affect society in different ways. We are deeply embedded in the new budgetary landscape of austerity and we expect ever more clarity on what the government deems essential.
Teppo, our man in East Asia, continues to build a Finnish network there and will soon be interviewed by Finnish media on the topic of Finns living abroad. Also, he will help facilitate a historic visit by a delegation from the Ministry of Employment and Economy (TEM) to Taipei in the near future.
The research team overall is intensely focused on drafting new chapters for the update of Sitra’s Discussion Paper on building a sustainable well-being society. The first draft of this material will be available for public comment in November 2014 with a final publication date target of Spring 2015.
Finally, Ernesto continues to lead our trend list activities that will culminate in a publication in September. The research team has had intensive conversations each time the trend list is on our agenda, which speaks of its utility as a conversation starter. The usual suspects such as the changing climate and ageing population will make this year’s trend list, but to return to the opening of this post, how do we rationalize an X event like the Russia–Ukraine crisis in a structure such as a megatrend list? It seems we will have to wait for more information.