At the core of our strategy is a vision of a fair and sustainable future, in other words, the next era of well-being.
The basis of Sitra’s work is a vision of Finland as a pioneer of sustainable well-being. Sustainable well-being means a good life that is lived within our planet’s boundaries – here, now and in the future.
Sitra’s operations are guided by six principles of sustainable well-being, all of which are interlinked. Comprehensive well-being is the goal of all activities, for which the carrying capacity of the earth sets the boundary conditions. Members of society and modes of operation in the economy, in communities, in the development of knowledge and skills, and in administration support these goals.
- Addressing well-being in a holistic way – People’s everyday lives have become increasingly complex, and coping requires support for life management as well as solutions that sustain both physical and psychological well-being. Comprehensive solutions need to be a goal of decision-making.
- Adjusting to planetary boundaries – Climate change and dwindling natural resources force societies to change. Environmental sustainability, such as the sensible use of resources and carbon neutrality, must be understood as prerequisites for all political action.
- Empowering individuals and communities – A new kind of communality is on its way. People need to be offered extensive opportunities to wield influence when dealing with issues that affect them. It is a good idea to examine proposed solutions originating from the community and to try them out.
- Moving to a regenerative and collaborative economy – The ways the economy works and its structures need to be reformed in such a way that the economy will produce comprehensive well-being and is not dependent on the constant increase in the consumption of natural resources. A new kind of co-operation is needed to achieve this.
- Building competencies for a complex world – People with knowledge and skills are an important success factor for Finland. They are increasingly expected to have a command of broader disciplines in addition to specialist skills and knowledge of a specific area. Groups composed of people from different backgrounds are often good at solving complicated challenges.
- Developing inclusive and adaptive governance – Administrative bodies are not keeping up with changes taking place in society. Different branches of administration must make an effort to break out of their enclosed silos and work to unite different administrative branches. Proposed changes need to be embraced and tested energetically.
+ Strengthening resilience – The implementation of these six principles increases the resilience of society – its ability to take advantage of unexpected changes and treat them as sources of learning new things and gaining strength.
The drafting of the principles for a society embracing sustainable well-being was intended by Sitra to be a continuous process. The first report on the principles of sustainable well-being was published in the spring of 2013. The Vision for Finland working paper (2014) summarises our present understanding of the topic.
To mark the centenary of Finnish independence we are joining forces with another Finnish future institution, Demos Helsinki, for a major visionary project. The search is on for the Next era for Finland’s welfare society. How should we think about the change in the world today? What kinds of elements create sustainable well-being built on Nordic values, with an emphasis on the extensive participation of people, a high degree of trust and fairness?
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To support our work, we constantly evaluate our activities: are we doing the right things, at the right time and in an effective manner?
What is this about?
Between 2016 and 2019, an independent evaluation is being made of our work, to help us maximise our impact. The purpose of the impact evaluation is to produce high-quality and unbiased information on how effective our activities are. The starting point of the evaluation is Sitra’s shared goals for impact, which guide our work to promote sustainable well-being.
Our goals include:
- addressing well-being in a holistic way;
- adjusting to planetary boundaries;
- empowering individuals and communities;
- moving to a regenerative and collaborative economy;
- building competencies for a complex world;
- developing inclusive and adaptive governance.
What do we do?
With the help of the evaluation we are increasing our knowledge and understanding of the factors that breed success for sustainable well-being and the future as a whole.
With our impact evaluation approach, we emphasise the applicability of the evaluation in developing our own activities and in learning new things. It is essential that the evaluation set-ups and methods take into account the nature of our work for the future, the operating environment and the dynamics and time span of systemic changes.
Sitra’s operating methods involve close co-operation with our partners and stakeholders. The evaluation especially targets Sitra’s contribution and the methods of impact. It inspires debate and makes us think about what activities we should be involved in, how we should do things and for how long.
What is happening now?
For the first targets of the impact evaluation, Sitra’s Board of Directors chose the goals of addressing well-being in a holistic way and making the economy restorative and communal. In the autumn of 2016 we selected independent evaluators to assess these aims. By 2019, we will also have evaluated our effectiveness in the goals concerning the other principles of sustainable well-being.
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International advisory panel
An international panel of experts discuss Sitra’s strategy and promote our work out in the world.
What is it about?
Serious problems do not stop at national borders. To tackle shared problems, close dialogue must be held in international arenas. In addition to Sitra’s specialists co-operating closely with international partners, Sitra’s international advisory panel will challenge Sitra’s Next Era vision work, and help us in our theme and project work.
As an independent body, the advisory panel will offer its views on Sitra’s strategic choices. It is also hoped that the panel will give support and further impetus to Sitra’s activities in international arenas.
Members of the panel
- Anders Wijkman – President, the Club of Rome, member of the board at the Tällberg foundation and Stockholm Resilience Centre
- Naoki Saito – Deputy Director General, National Institute of Science and Technology Policy (NISTEP), Japan
- Geoff Mulgan – Chief Executive, Nesta
- Mariana Mazzucato – Professor, University College London
- Bruce Jones – Foreign Policy Program Director, Brookings Institution
- Aart de Geus – President and CEO, Bertelsmann Foundation
- Pekka Ala-Pietilä – Chairman of the boards of Sanoma and Huhtamäki
What is happening now?
The panel convenes one to two times a year. In 2017, the panel launched its second two-year term in September 2017. The next meeting will take place on 8 October 2019.
The meetings will focus on topical phenomena, sharing what has been learned and learning about Finnish innovation activities.