The debate on the governance reform in Estonia is lacking diversity and offers only a limited spectrum of alternatives. As such, this has led to a massive polarisation of the public opinion, and has made it difficult to find compromises.

The Foresight Centre is suggesting five scenarios for governance and e-Estonia to broaden public the debate and identify important decision making opportunities when directing the future of Estonia. The scenarios highlight the pros and cons of different choices and focus on the crucial dilemmas, ie:

  • how inclusive and engaging for citizens is governance;
  • to which extent the state intervenes in and guides people’s lives;
  • how decentralised or centralized is administration;
  • how important is the speed of decision-making, or whether the priority is calculating and analytical approaches and comprehensive engagement;
  • how extensive is the legitimacy of governance;
  • how individualised or universal are the services and solutions offered by the public sector?

Our current understanding may indicate that some of these scenarios are more or less likely depending on specific economic, social, and political contexts. However, these scenarios do allow breaking-up linear logic in thinking about future and widening the view of potential futures of governance digitalisation.

Five scenarios allow us to understand the interplay of different approaches to public sector governance and potential routes to the realisation of different scenarios. The scenarios are specifically meant for policy-makers to broaden their horizons and generate useable, concrete policy solutions for advancing digital governance as well public governance in general. The scenarios serve as a risk assessment tool, as they identify potential bottlenecks in the implementation of policy. Hence, one of the central questions concern the conditions which facilitate certain breakthroughs in governance reforms.

Research Materials:


* The Janus-Faced Approach to Governance: Mismatch between Public Sector Reforms and Digital Government in Estonia. In: Adegboyega Ojo, Atreyi Kankanhalli, and Delfina Soares (Ed.). Proceedings of the 11th International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance (ICEGOV ’18), April 4–6, 2018, Galway, Ireland. ACM. 10.1145/3209415.3209453
** Internet Banking as a Platform for E-Government. Annual International Conference Proceedings: 7th Annual International Conference on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Ed. Geibel, Richard C. Singapore: GSTF, 99−107.
*** Kitsing, Meelis (2020). Scenarios as Thought Experiments for Governance. In: Bouckaert, Geert; Jann, Werner (Ed.). European Perspectives for Public Administration.The Way Forward (103−125). Leuven, Belgium: Leuven University Press.

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