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The annual conference of the Foresight Centre "A Different Kind of Future", which takes place today, will focus on the changing role of the state in shaping the habits of the population and supporting complex decisions. The keynote speaker is one of the creators of the nudge theory – Cass Sunstein, Harvard University Professor of Law and Behavioural Economics.

“In recent years we have heard a lot about both digital and green transition which help to reduce the environmental footprint of the human race,” said the Head of the Foresight Centre Tea Danilov. “At the same time, Estonia is expected to reduce its CO2 emissions by 28% by 2035, and yet the greenhouse gas emissions of the transport sector have done nothing but increase each year. It is unclear if we will achieve the necessary reduction without a dramatic change in people’s habits.”

The research of the Foresight Centre has shown how a moderately improved public health would increase the GDP by one-tenth and would bring considerable savings in the treatment budget of the Health Insurance Fund, which is currently heading towards a deficit. “We also need to fully analyse how the increasing average life expectancy would not entail an increase in the years lived mostly in poor health and in need of long term care,” Danilov added.

Danilov is sceptical that these problems could be solved without changes in society. “Indeed, the conference will focus on how can we generate attitudes that support transitions, and what should be the responsibility of businesses and individuals for the environment, health, and pensions in the future society,“ she explained. 

Speeches and presentations will be made at the conference by the President of the Riigikogu Jüri Ratas, Roland Berger’s Transportation Competence Center and Co-Head of the German office Tobias Schönberg, Norwegian transport analyst Øystein Berge, Kantar Emor Research Director Triinu Ojala, TalTech’s researcher Dr Kaire Holts, Experts of the Foresight Centre Johanna Vallistu and Uku Varblane, Expert on Social Protection and Analyst Katre Pall, and Kantar Emori Research Expert Heidi Reinson

The keynote speaker is the co-creator of the nudge theory, Harvard University Professor of Law and Behavioural Economics Cass Sunstein with his presentation How do social changes take place? Can we nudge people towards better health and pension?

The discussion panel will analyse the state’s role in directing social changes. The panel consists of member of the Foresight Council Annika Uudelepp, members of the Riigikogu Andrei Korobeinik and Indrek Saar, and expatriate Estonian visiting professor of the University of Tartu Dr David Ilmar Beecher.

The discussion is moderated by Dr Lenno Uusküla, Head of Research of the Foresight Centre. The conference is moderated by the Head of the Foresight Centre Tea Danilov.

The 5th annual conference of the Foresight Centre will take place on 10 June 2021 at 10 a.m. in Worksup virtual platform.

The presentations of Professor Cass Sunstein, Tobias Schönberg and Øystein Berge can be viewed on the links below.

How social change happens? Can we nudge people towards better health and pension?
Prof Cass Sunstein (Harvard University Professor of Law and Behavioural Economics)


Smart mobility in German mobility scenarios
Tobias Schönberg (Senior Partner at Roland Berger’s Transportation Competence Center, Co-Head of the Berlin office)


Oslo urban mobility scenarios
Øystein Berge (COWI Department of Transport Analysis, Head of Section)