But issues matter, too. And the agencies that master them will find themselves better able to advise clients on complex communications, issues management and public affairs challenges in this new age. At GolinHarris Public Affairs, we've identified seven “issue waves” we believe will test clients and agencies alike in the coming decades:
Economic Realignment: It's been coming and now it's arriving. During this decade, the United States will no longer stand alone as the single largest global economic powerhouse. This has profound implications for how the world will view America, its culture and values;
Energy: Quite simply, worldwide energy demand and costs are rising at unsustainable rates. Those who lead us into a new, efficient, low-carbon future will dominate global energy markets for the next hundred years;
Food: While nothing unites us more than a meal, we face global divides around food production, nutrition, cost, safety and security. It's also been observed that the world will need to produce as much food in the next 40 years as it has in the last 8,000;
Health: Access, cost, chronic disease, technology and pandemics will drive global approaches to meeting the interconnected health needs of populations. We are at an inflection point where global factors and determinants have overtaken the local aspects of health with regard to policy and business decisions;
Infrastructure: By mid-century, nearly 10 billion people will make extraordinary demands on global infrastructure, mostly in expanding cities in the developing world;
Longevity: is global population aging a potential catastrophe or an important opportunity?
i-Advocacy: Today, it begins with the individual—a hyper powered, connected, informed, real time, 24/7, every day person – changing public policy and the world;
The threads of these issue waves connect us all, in Parliaments, Central Committees, Congress and in the streets. They reach C-Suites, boardrooms, and trading floors. Their impact on government and businesses will be central to the success or failures of industries and nations. Today 51 0f the top 100 economies on the planet are multinational corporations. Every successful global business will align its bottom line to these issues and challenges. Smart corporate leadership understands that global change drives opportunity.
R. Lane Bailey is president of GolinHarris Public Affairs. Lane served as a Chief of Staff in the United States Senate for 13 years and left Capitol Hill to launch GolinHarris Public Affairs (GHPA) in 1999, helping position GHPA as one of Washington's most effective public affairs shops. Follow him on Twitter: @rlanebailey.