Big changes are in the works, and it is important to take note and prepare for a somewhat altered existence. The last 12 months have been unlike anything most of us have ever experienced, and the new year has started off with numerous surprises.
Until recently, we talked of returning to a normal, more traditional way of life. But, that picture has changed and chances are great that many of the changes we initially resisted are now the future norm. To be successful, we will need to adjust as quickly as possible.
At Strategic Partnerships, Inc., we work with companies from every industry sector, and we deal with government at every jurisdictional level throughout the country. Our researchers provide information and customized business intelligence in all 50 states. We monitor what is happening in Congress daily. Because of this, we get a comprehensive overview of activity in government and business on a regular basis. Our unique vantage point provides insight that we share with clients. It seems fitting to share these perspectives occasionally with readers of our newsletters as well. The following remarks are based totally on the direction that data indicates we are moving.
America is emerging from a dark place where we experienced COVID, extreme partisan dissention, racial issues, business failures, massive unemployment, curtailed travel, the ravages of climate change, and far less family time. Citizens everywhere are feeling a bit of relief. But, as the chaos subsides and we step into a new year, change is evident.
Protocols have shifted, new patterns have emerged, risk is more critical, and business and government will be conducted in new ways.
As Americans, we are not out of the woods yet. The warm sunshine and comfort we crave is still a bit beyond our grasp. The federal government is carrying huge amounts of debt and will incur even more over the next few months. America’s global leadership is more fragile. Our public infrastructure is in critical decay. Thousands of businesses have suffered great losses, and many have failed. Unemployment is still high, and the number of homeless individuals is staggering. Families have suffered, and the public at large is skeptical and very concerned about the future of politics.
But, the foundation of America is strong, and citizens appear ready to engage in new frontiers, new types of commerce, new jobs, and new ways of governing. History will record the way the country rebounds, and chances are the results will be spectacular.
As we embrace 2021, strong trends are emerging that are worthy of consideration. The trends, if they continue, will impact how business is conducted, how government functions, and how citizen services are delivered. It seems prudent to recognize the trends and factor them into planning. Here are a few predictions of changes that, if trends prevail, will become the norm over the next several years.
- Technology will rule every aspect of our lives. That’s almost the case now, but the Internet will impact our lives even more. E-learning, telemedicine, digital government, artificial intelligence, apps on our phones, biometrics, data sharing, and software applications of every type will be front and center in our daily activities.
- Colleges and universities will be forced to prepare students for new types of jobs and careers because technology will displace many employment paths.
- Telework will be very common.
- Innovation will be highly valued and competition for emerging technology will be more aggressive than ever.
- Business risks will be top of mind, and companies will diversify in new marketplaces with new products and services to lessen risk factors.
- Government will provide incentives, funding, and grant programs linked to sustainability, renewable power, clean air, training, education, public transportation, and private-sector investment in underdeveloped regions.
- Video conferencing calls will continue to be the norm, and travel will no longer be a requirement for building relationships and doing business with any sector anywhere in the world.
- Citizens will expect and aggressively demand more from government: quicker responses, more efficiency and convenience in the delivery of citizen services, greater transparency, and enhanced security.
- Governmental agencies, cities, counties, universities, and school districts will be forced to modernize and upgrade old legacy technology systems to stave off cybersecurity breaches.
- Public officials will either find alternative funding sources or be forced to increase taxes for citizens. Politicians will be reluctant to increase taxes and fees. That will lead to a quicker acceptance of private-sector investment in government.
- Global competition will be more intense.
- Workforce development, research, skills training and education will receive increased attention and value recognition. Regional economic vitality will depend on a skilled and trained workforce.
- Economic development organizations will become more collaborative, and regional initiatives will be more common.
- Many smaller townships and small cities will consolidate operations and work together to benefit from privatization. Larger cities and counties also will privatize many specialized functions that have not been outsourced in the past.
- Diversity will become a requirement in both the public and private sectors. Government contracting will add even more leverage to prime contractors’ offerings when small and minority business are subcontractors.
- The state and local government marketplace will continue to be the largest marketplace in the world, and competition will increase. Benefits will flow to taxpayers.
America’s new normal may not incorporate all of these projected changes … but, unless business intelligence trending now is wrong, there will be significant leanings toward most of the predictions.