The Business Horizon Quarterly (BHQ) is the Emerging Issues team's signature publication. Its purpose is to share informed insights on emerging issues facing the American business community. By asking questions like “what is growth?” and “what is innovation?”, we aim to inform and to spur debate.
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Information technology is elevating and disrupting most of the economy, and its potential to transform public sector services and lagging portions of the private sector is obvious and important. When governments do deploy IT, however, they often spend too much and increase complexity without improving service. Witness the botched launch of Healthcare.gov – perhaps the largest IT failure in history. In other cases, public policy discourages private firms and industries from investing in IT and using it to innovate.
Healthcare and education, in particular, lag behind the rest of the economy in productivity growth and innovation and have, to date, made poor use of information technology. Yet, each is on the cusp of major IT breakthroughs. Beyond traditional IT, the new tools we call Big Data seem perfectly suited to help revolutionize these large American industries. (Big Data refers to the new technologies and methods we use to capture, store, search, and analyze vast and diverse collections and streams of structured and unstructured information.) Getting policy right could thus help these sectors catch up and, because they are so large, boost overall economic growth.
“Made in Michigan” means something. Across the nation and around the world, that label has long meant strength, durability, and quality. To Michiganders, it also reflects the pride of a resilient people who helped build this country and now are at the center of a reinvention that will restore our state to greatness.
Michigan is emerging from a “lost decade” marked by job losses and economic decline. In 2010, Michigan ranked 50th in many major national rankings. Those days are behind us, and now we’re moving up in those rankings by working together and building a rock-solid foundation for the future.
The reinvention of Michigan requires us to do things differently. We’re not looking to simply fix the old system—we’re aiming to reinvent our state. With Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, our partners in the legislature, and supporters from across the state, our mission is to focus on creating more and better jobs, building a better future for our children, improving the quality of life for the state’s 10 million residents, and developing a business environment where job providers can thrive and grow.
The “American Dream” is referred to routinely—almost casually—in our national discourse, so much so that we have blurred our understanding of its meaning and the strategic priorities necessary to make it a reality. Among these priorities is ensuring an ample supply of productive and satisfying work for our young people.
Youth joblessness surged in the United States and around the world following the global financial crisis—a trend that shows little sign of easing. The result is an economic, social, and security time bomb that threatens not only the quality of life for the millennial generation but for us all.
Today, more than 16% of America’s youth are jobless, a rate double that of adults. For many of them, unemployment is chronic, and the ill-effects are long lasting. Jobless young people lose out on critical skills and social network development, earn significantly less over their careers than their employed peers, and strain public welfare programs.
In an increasingly flat world, the competition for markets, business, and human capital has never been greater. Although we have made enormous strides in technology and business, there is one area where we have remained stagnant over the years: education. Our competitors overseas, however, committed themselves to making education a priority—and it is paying off.
According to the recently release PISA education rankings administered by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the United States ranks 17th in reading literacy, 21st in science, and 26th in math.[i] Furthermore, young Americans ages 25 through 34 rank 16th in college attainment globally—whereas we used to be number one.[ii] Public education systems in countries like South Korea, Canada, Norway, and Finland have all passed us by.
In 1958, the Disney Company made a short film titled Magic Highway USA, which made several accurate predictions about what transportation and transportation infrastructure of the future would look like, including the existence of Global Positioning Satellite technology and digital highway traffic signs. If Disney were to remake Magic Highway today, what would it say about the future of transportation?
There are numerous infrastructure innovations already in development. Over the next 25 years, the nation’s transportation system will need to carry a diverse economy, changing demographics, and demanding customers. Unfortunately, our transportation infrastructure has not kept pace with some current demands, let alone received the upgrades necessary to satisfy future needs.