7 October, 2020

In this episode we explored how smaller countries can become centers of innovation, with a particular emphasis on Estonia. Our guide was be Taavi Rõivas, member of the Estonian parliament and prime minister from 2014-2016.

Amid the pandemic and technology disruption, large countries and political blocks are struggling to adapt. Brussels takes a central planning approach to innovation. The Chinese government is growing more oppressive, and is increasing its control over Chinese businesses. The United States struggles with political division and increasing government interference.

In contrast, Estonia has embraced free markets, digital disruption, and open trade. In just two decades, it has gone from a former Soviet Republic to ranking #10 on the Index of Economic Freedom, higher than the United States. Estonian startups like Skype, Transferwise, Jobbatical, and Pipedrive have caught the attention of investors around the world. The government’s own operations are as modern as you will find them anywhere. Voting takes place over the Internet. Foreigners can register as digital residents and use Estonia as a business platform.

How did Estonia’s amazing transformation happen, and what can other countries learn from it? What opportunities does Estonia offer founders, corporations, and investors?

We discussed:

  • Estonia’s history and culture
  • Her embrace of economic freedom
  • Digitalization of government operations
  • Estonia’s pioneering e-residencies
  • How Digital Estonia handled the pandemic
  • Estonia as a platform for innovation
  • What other countries can learn from Estonia
  • Opportunities for investors and corporates
  • Estonia in the future

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Frode Odegard is a thought leader in post-industrial management science. His major focus is on how corporates, investors and policymakers can best navigate humanity’s transition to a post-industrial civilization and economy.

A serial entrepreneur since his high school years, Frode’s multi-disciplinary background stretches from theoretical computer science to the boardroom. He has a deep background in organizational design and a passion for history, linguistics, disruptive technologies, and philosophy. When not at work on post-industrial management tools, he is in the dojo practicing traditional Iwama style Aikido.

Taavi Rõivas is a member of the Parliament of the Republic of Estonia. He also served a Prime Minister from 2014 to 2016, and Minister of Social Affairs from 2012 to 2014.  Mr. Rõivas was a member of the 11th and 12th Parliament, has chaired the European Union Affairs Committee, and been a member of the Social Affairs Committee as well as the Finance Committee. He also also the leader of the Reform Party from 6 April 2014 to 7 January 2017.

Mr. Rõivas has also worked as a Corporate Customer Account Manager at an IT company, and as an adviser to Märt Rask, Minister of Justice; Paul-Eerik Rummo, Minister of Population; and to Prime Minister Andrus Ansip, as well as the Elder of the Haabersti city district of Tallinn.

Taavi Rõivas’ wife is singer Luisa Rõivas, with whom he has a daughter, Miina, and a son, Herman. He was educated at Tallinna Reaalkool (Tallinn Secondary School of Science), and the University of Tartu, School of Economics and Business Administration, where he obtained a degree in Foreign Trade and Marketing.

About the Post-Industrial Forum

Brought to you by the Post-Lean Institute in collaboration with industry partners, the Post-Industrial Forum is a unique global community with the purpose of developing and promoting a better understanding of the post-industrial transition and how to navigate it. Members include corporate executives, board members, investors, entrepreneurs, policymakers, and experts in various fields.