Foresight & Analyses


We believe that future research or foresight is and should be a collective learning exercise in order to succeed. It is important that all related people (with different backgrounds and often conflicting interests) set up the focal research question together, go thought the learning journey together (using different types of analyses and expertise on their way) and finally brainstorming the results and needed actions together.

This page illustrates the CV our team’s personal research, foresight and analytical work experiences and cooperation projects with other researchers and wise statesmen over time. Some of the research projects below were initiated and carried out during the time our team members worked at the Estonian Development Fund. We are willing to assist our partners in their own foresight and research projects; as well we are ready to lead or participate in new and challenging projects across the world. Please write to: info@estcorp.eu.

The Future of Work and Skills 2025 - 2015

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Four Future Stories for Järva County - 2015

Scenarios are a tool for helping to take a long view in a world of great uncertainty. Moreover, scenario planning allows making future-proof decisions today. The ESTCORP team led the process and development of alternative narratives – four future stories – for Järva County in Estonia.

International Institutional Accreditation of TUT - 2014

The CEO of ESTCORP Dr Ott Pärna was among the authors of An International Institutional Assessment and Accreditation Report of the Tallinn University of Technology (TUT) for the Estonian Higher Education Quality Agency EKKA. The institutional accreditation of TUT was an external evaluation assessing the compliance of the management, administration, academic and research activity, and academic and research environment of the university with the legislation as well as with the purposes and development plans of the university.

Financial and Social Sustainability of Estonian Microfinance Market - 2014

This research paper analyses the applicability of the rational assumption that supports the position that it is unnecessary to protect people against the consequences of their choices in the Estonian microfinance market. This is done in the light of the perfect market philosophy, inevitable information asymmetry among market players and time-inconsistent preferences of borrowers. The purpose of the article is to find evidence whether the microfinance market in Estonia sufficiently satisfies the basic conditions of a financially and socially sustainable free market.

Modern Concept of Social Innovation University - 2013

The ESTCORP team supported the Tallinn University’s Rector’s Office in their strategy work in making the university more socially responsive and entrepreneurial, both in Estonia and internationally. According to the new Development Plan of the University, five focus areas linking the university competences to the societal challenges were the following: educational innovation, digital and media culture, cultural competences, healthy and sustainable lifestyle, society and open governance.

Estonia – The Business Paradise: Attracting Higher Added Value FDI – 2013

The project “Involvement of RD&I intensive and higher added value foreign investments as a part of Estonia’s innovation policy” was carried out for the Government Office of the Republic of Estonia. The research project analyses how foreign investors can leverage the industry, technology and economy upgrading in Estonia. The analysis puts FDI into a modern and interdisciplinary context where highly mobile global knowledge workers are more likely to choose a job because of where an organisation is located rather than because of the organisation itself. Therefore, the question what makes cities and countries great comes into play. Among other analyses, this research includes six country case studies: Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Singapore, Czech Republic and Lithuania. The research was conducted together with Technopolis Group.

Towards a Systemic Approach to Understanding and Managing Innovation in the Public Sector – 2013

This research project is about innovation in the public sector. In a time of economic crisis and continued cost-cutting, public sector innovation is essential for governments in order to maintain service standards and find radical solutions for complex challenges. The research question of the project asks what are the main characteristics and driving forces of the public service innovation system and do they differ across countries? The research has four perspectives through which the public sector innovation process is analysed: managerial, learning, technological, and systems perspective. As data on public sector innovation is quite rare, this research provides a unique combination of theoretical foundations and exploratory cross-country survey on public sector technological innovations in four European countries – the UK, Denmark, Finland and Estonia.

Management and Development of State Owned Enterprises – 2012

An analytical work on how to better lead, manage and develop Estonian state-owned companies. Among other things, the analysis contained different best practices across the world (i.e. Temasek Holdings in Singapore, Ownership Steering and Solidium in Finland) and provided alternative management structures to be possibly implemented in Estonia.

Experimental Economic Policy – 2012

Modern economic policy is a joint discovery and development process of public and private sectors, together with academia, which support businesses in finding and utilising new emerging opportunities rather than continuing old pathways and cutting in stone old existing economic structures. Based on the international stock of knowledge and practices, this analysis opens up the emerging topic of experimentation in economic policies, together with smart specialisation and required strategic agility in state affairs.

Markets and Innovation at the Bottom of the Pyramid – 2012

Across the world, most businesses focus their activities – products and services – at the top, indeed the smaller part of the income pyramid. This literature review and analysis work focuses on the bottom part of the pyramid and how to tackle it. This part of the global market consists of about 4 billion inhabitants, which is more and more accessible, with the total purchasing power of a “few trillion” US dollars and growing.

Estonia-India: The Future of (Economic) Relations – 2012

The goal of the Estonia-India foresight was to identify means of stimulating business opportunities and mutually valuable economic relations between the two countries, establish a basis for the knowledge about the Indian economy and a contacts network of potential partner institutions/companies to further advance collaborations.

Talent Foresight – 2012

The first phase of the Estonian talent foresight together with the International Talent Forum. The mission of the foresight was to provide knowledge for a topic that spans a range of various policy areas and stakeholders, draw a complex concept from this and initiate a discussion about the pathways to opening up Estonia and making it attractive for (foreign) talents. The world is a battleground for talents where apart from companies, nation states are also competing against each other alongside negative population growth and aging trends. The answer does not lie in one-off education or migration policy fixes or project-based campaigns, but in a jointly developed holistic solution – in a Talent Policy.

World in 2020: Key Trends and Their Impact to Estonia – 2012

This research report presents the most significant external changes that could influence Estonia in the following decade. Based on them, conclusions have been drawn as points for consideration in the process of establishing objectives, priorities and activities regarding the use of EU and other resources when making future plans for Estonia, in order to ensure that external opportunities as well as risks are taken into account. This trend analysis is also helpful as a tool for all decision makers and interested parties when planning strategies for various policy areas as well as company business strategies.

ICT in Financial Intermediation Sector – 2012

In today’s world, the biggest influence on ICT (Information and Communication Technologies) is in their applications in other economic sectors and areas of society. This analysis focuses on different future crossroads of the financial intermediation sector and ICT sector trends. Based on this synthesis, the report draws out alternative development trajectories and makes suggestions to both areas, as well as jointly.

The Role of Different Funding Models in Stimulating the Creation of Innovative New Companies in Europe – 2011

This international research project lead by Technopolis Group focused on three main questions. Firstly, what are the main financial mechanisms in the US, Europe (EU plus associated countries such as Israel) and other industrialised countries for stimulating new high technology businesses (or ”Yollies”: young leading innovators)? Secondly, what do VC activities in the US, Europe and other selected industrialised or emerging economies look like today? And thirdly, what is the most appropriate mix of financial support for young innovation companies and what mix of financial methods is optimal at the European level?

Estonian Growth Vision 2018: Goals and Aspirations for the Next Decade – 2011

The Estonian Growth Vision 2018 was one of the widest structured national vision building exercises carried out in Europe. It was a year-long process engaging around a thousand leading thinkers in Estonia into a strategic discussion about the future of Estonia that phrased its goal as “Estonia – globally competitive, locally attractive” and described the 8 key vision choices where the work done today will largely determine the future path of the Estonian economy.

Scenarios 2018: Four Alternative Futures for the Estonian Economy – 2011–2012

The report contains four possible scenarios of the Estonian economy: Southern Finland, Hanseatic League II, Skype Island and State Returns. The conclusions drawn from the scenarios were the basis for the creation of the Growth Vision 2018. The report is also a good handbook for joint scenario-building work in different areas, consisting also of methodological aspects and respective international knowledge.

ICT in Healthcare Sector – 2011

It is estimated that the healthcare sector is becoming the biggest global profit-making area for the information and technologies sector by 2020. Similarly, e-health related costs are estimated to become the third largest cost area in the health sector with about 5 per cent of total costs. This report analyses the opportunities of using ICT in different areas and “layers” of healthcare. It also suggests that, given its high “e-reputation”, Estonia should become the development lab for healthcare innovations.

Trend Blog “Fututuba” – 2011

Success in the turbulent world depends on how much we know and understand the inevitable processes taking place in the world. The trend blog “fututuba” (futures room) introduces fresh surveys and stories on future workplaces, sprouting business opportunities, the future of energy sector, green economy, aging, distant markets, urbanisation, novel governance methods, foreign investments, consumption, migration, and more.

ICT in Education – 2010

The coming decade or two are bringing radical experiments and changes to the nature of education, its provision methods, inter-linkages, etc. One of the cornerstone components of this transformation is information and communication technology and its applications. This report analyses the potential usage of ICT in education, draws a roadmap and provides key-suggestions in preparing for these developments, taking advantages of them and boosting them.

Internationally Competitive Universities: Internationalisation Trends and Practice – 2010

The report explains the basics of internationally competitive universities and alternative ways how this competitiveness can be achieved. The report discusses internationalisation and its part in the creation, development and management of a world-class university. The report is based on a review of recent relevant literature and on the authors’ knowledge (Academic Cooperation Association) of and experience with the themes of higher education internationalisation and excellence in tertiary education.

Foresight on Export of Health and Wellness Services in the Next Decade – 2010

The foresight project tested a hypothesis that Estonia has a potential for exporting healthcare services. The final report explains the underlying requirements for the export of healthcare services, discusses the trends driving the growth, analyses the competitive advantages of Estonia and offers strategy choices for using opportunities. The basis for justifying the topic of this study was the fact that commercial presence/outward direct investments and consumption abroad/health tourism comprise two major ways of cross-border provision of healthcare services (respectively 50% and 40% of global healthcare services export turnover). Moreover, more than half of all Europeans would be willing to consume healthcare services abroad according to the survey conducted in the European Union in 2007. But only 4% (c. 17 million adults) have actually experienced cross-border health services within a year.

Financial Services Sector in Estonia: Growth and Export Opportunities and Policy Implications – 2009

The foresight project (initial report by Oxera Consulting) explored the prospects of Estonia in increasing the export of financial services and concluded that Estonia has the opportunity to increase exports in certain niches of financial services, primarily by offering professional back-office services to international financial companies and providing asset management and private banking services to the Central and Eastern European and the CIS markets. Attention was also given to the public-private cooperation platform concept FinanceEstonia.

Industry Engines 2018: Growth and Internationalisation Opportunities of Manufacturing Industry for the Next Decade – 2009

The foresight project, which searched the future leading industries, outlined three types of growth opportunities for the current manufacturing companies and provided policy suggestions concerning the activity of the state in supporting the shift of Estonian industry into new growth areas.

White Paper to the Parliament – 2009

The White Paper was a vision by Estonian economic experts to the Parliament for the necessary steps to overcome the economic crisis in Estonia and to establish a basis for new growth. A similar timely report was also produced by NESTA in the UK “Attacking the Recession: Setting the Agenda for a New Economy”.

Est_IT@2018: Estonian ICT Sector in the Future – 2009

This was a flagship foresight project of the Estonian ICT sector highlighting the areas of the economy with the greatest IT growth potential and putting forward policy suggestions for what to do to enable Estonia to reap the benefit from ICT as much as possible. The main attention of the final suggestions was put on ICT related human resources, including the internationalisation of higher education, interdisciplinary master’s programs in Technology and Business Administration with emphasis on IT, and roadmaps in the six focus areas identified.

The Current Status of Estonian Economic Competitiveness and Future Outlooks of Economy – 2008

This report analysed the Estonian economic structure, competitiveness and future outlook, and compared the picture with other more advanced and successful countries. The analysis, written by researchers from the University of Tartu, brought out structural weaknesses of the economy and illustrated four alternative scenarios forward.

Annual Reports “Forward!” to the Parliament of the Republic of Estonia – 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011

These annual reports focused on different “burning” and “future” topics related to the advancement of the Estonian economy and society. The focus of the 2011 issue was on the opportunities and challenges emerging from the future developments of the world economy; megatrends strengthened in the crises; Estonia’s need for and hesitation related to Asia; a global war for talent and deepening lack of qualified labour in Estonia emphasising the need for holistic talent policy. Also, Estonia’s choices to respond to the rapid global changes with agile governance and experimental economic policy were shown.

Establishing the Basis for the Elaboration of the Estonian Design Policy Measures - 2003

The report (research by Mollerup Designlab A/B) presented a proposal for an Estonian design policy and its 7-year vision. The underlying hypothesis was that good design is a strong competitive factor as design is marginal to production costs and paramount in terms of market impact. The proposal for an Estonian design policy is based on three research studies. The studies deal with Estonian design supply, Estonian demand for design, and design policies in a number of comparable countries.

Business Incubation in Estonia – 2003

The report reviewed the current situation and guidelines for government intervention in Estonia related to business and technology innovation. The report was published by the Innovation & Technology Policy Division of the Ministry of Economic Affairs of Estonia in Innovation Studies (3).

Innovation in Estonian Enterprises 1998-2000 – 2002

The report presented the results and analysis of the Community Innovation Survey III among Estonian enterprises. The results were published by the Innovation & Technology Policy Division of the Ministry of Economic Affairs of Estonia in Innovation Studies (2).