Wednesday, March 23, 2016

A Strategic Planning Nightmare - 2016 to 2050

From the macro political/economic/demographic nexus - - between 2016 and 2050 is going to be a strategic planning/vision nightmare.  Trump could be the start (and frankly mildest version) of the road ahead around the globe - - global Trumpism marked by nationalism and populism.

Four huge forces that are problematic for the United States and many parts of Europe - - (1.) The exponential rise and expansion of automation and the Era of Robotics that will create huge pressure on traditional middle class jobs and communities, (2.) The disruptive and transitional shift from Majority White to Minority White between 2040 and 2050, (3.) The highly anticipated generational battles over paying for the past (i.e., public pensions, Medicare, Social Security) versus investing in the future (i.e., education and infrastructure), and (4.) Global inequality with a widening separation between haves and have nots.

 The good news for our industry is the broad consensus among policy makers and economists (Larry Summers is the leader of this school of thought) regarding the need and power of investing in public infrastructure.  In some form or fashion - - increasing infrastructure investing (and probably more and more embedded with the P3 delivery system) helps to mitigate parts of the four disruptive trends from above.  The way forward is rather clear - - the collective will and leadership is not.  Increasing infrastructure investment is no gimme putt given the uncertainty associated with the disruptive nature of the political/economic/demographic nexus.

There are no perfect models for strategic optimization in this new world.  Increasing uncertainty regarding the political/economic/demographic nexus will place a premium on flexibility, agility, and resiliency.  Being organizationally good at weighting the merits of various choices with potentially risky outcomes will separate the winners from the losers.  A new world that trades in terms of risks and probabilities is the only way forward regarding managing increasing uncertainty.

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