During times of intense change, there is tremendous opportunities.
When I was working with Karl Racine as a candidate for Attorney General, we talked about discussing his plans for the AG’s office in the frame of “challenges and opportunities.”
What is often missed by most organizations is that change is an inherent part of our lives. We don’t exist without change.
The challenge that many of us are dealing with today is that change seems to be less widely distributed than before.
That’s likely untrue.
Change is always ready to be found by the people that are prepared for it.
In the United States, we are struggling to deal with the impacts of the changes to our economy such as:
Changing nature of work
- Growing income inequality
- A government sector that is sickly and acting as a drag on economic performance
- A stunting of our economic growth due to a lack of innovation in our businesses largely brought upon by a tax code that rewards lower innovation and rewards investment over innovation.
The list here could be much longer, but it doesn’t have to be to prove the point that these are all drags on our economy.
On the flip side, what do the opportunities look like.
While this isn’t a comprehensive list of opportunities, here are several ways that we can tackle each of the issues above:
- Changing nature of work can be helped by:
- Retraining people in complimentary skills
- Rebuilding American infrastructure to utilize talented people that aren’t fully committed to the economy in its current state.
- Working to change the education system to reflect more accurately the need for stronger problem solving skills and technology skills while taking the emphasis off of so much of the current school system that still relies on testing and compliance as tools to measure success because compliance was a big part of the industrial revolution economy that created the American middle class.
- Growing income inequality can be helped by:
- Incentivizing entrepreneurship through the tax code and social programs.
- Investing in education and programs that will give people the skills to operate in the modern economy.
- Reforming the tax code to incentivize the types of actions that will lead to increase investment in innovation.
- A sick government sector can be helped by:
- Public financing of elections that would help divorce running for office from raising money constantly.
- Increasing voter participation so that there is better representation. This could be managed by changing election days to weekends since the current systems were set up to benefit our agricultural economy, making Election Day a holiday, and having mail-in ballots or some other flexible form of voting.
- Nonpartisan redistricting. Candidates and elected officials shouldn’t be picking their voters.
- Solve for lack of innovation by:
- Creating more opportunities for immigrants to come to the United States. Study after study shows that the most entrepreneurial among American citizens are immigrants. On top of that, despite all of the challenges of recent years, America is still considered a global powerhouse in education, attracting the best minds from around the world to our schools. We need to encourage them to stay and build and grow businesses.
- Investing in science,education, and manufacturing at all levels. The Internet was funded by government research. GPS was funded through government contracts. On and on this goes.
- Develop new policies that encourage entrepreneurship. Start-ups and small businesses provide most of the new job growth in the United States and are also more likely to do true innovation because they don’t have any legacy programs or services to fall back on.
That’s just a little thought experiment to show you how easily you can come up with a number of opportunities to deal with the challenges of the modern economy.
The bigger point is that one of the biggest sources of opportunity is in our challenges. Not to look backwards, as seems to be the knee jerk reaction currently in Washington. But by looking forward and asking what has already happened and how can I take advantage of that?
The other way is just fighting change!
Is that what you are doing?