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Article Article December 21st, 2016

What's next? Predictions for 2017

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As another year draws to a close, it is often a time to reflect on past events and map out what might lie ahead. Certainly, few predicted the tumultuous shifts of 2016 but can we expect calmer waters over the next 12 months? Here, we ask some friends and colleagues what might lie over the horizon…


Sir Michael Barber, Co-Chairman of the Centre for Public Impact and Managing Partner of Delivery Associates

A prediction of what should happen but probably won't - unions begin to campaign for the mid-21st century economy instead of for last century's. This would lead them to make access to high-quality lifelong learning at the top of their priorities. Why don't they?

Larry Kamener, Co-Chairman of the Centre for Public Impact

Trump's victory looks likely to been the high water mark for populist candidates. The convincing defeat of Marie la Pen and the strong victory for Angela Merkel will show that the tide of populism may have peaked.

Beth Blauer, Executive Director of Johns Hopkins University Center for Government Excellence

My prediction for 2017 is that there will be a tremendous amount of reality but not enough perspective. This will lead to passions flaring on all sides. We'll see heated debate and protest that's hasn't been part of our global narrative in generations, maybe ever. 

Mike Bracken, former head of the UK's Government Digital Service

I predict that governments will mostly miss the opportunities to modernise and remain relevant in a changing digital world. This is largely because it requires structural changes in the institutions of power, and technocratic, delivery experience in ministers and in policymaking more generally. I also predict stasis in the machinery of governments, with Brexit being used as the reason in the UK, while outside of government machines the world accelerates and becomes more unstable.

Vincent Chin, Global Public Sector Leader, The Boston Consulting Group

It's been said that the best way to predict the future is to create it. The headlines from Europe to US notwithstanding, I believe the world is generally going to move towards, and not away from, governments who can deliver. For too many years, the space for governments to have legitimacy, and then the space to execute has been narrowing. This will change. Governments know they have to deliver. And often this means they have to be delivering more with less to their citizens. The consequences of not doing so is too clear. I think this time, many will deliver!

Charlotte Petri Gornitzka,Chair of the OECD's Development Assistance Committee

In 2017, a new world leadership will show its way of tackling global challenges - from Trump to Guterres. And all who agreed on global goals and COP21 in 2015 will have to roll up their sleeves and get to work!

Ian Ball, Chairman of CIPFA International

My headline prediction for 2017 is that we will see constant and escalating drama out of the US, as well as the more muffled sound of fiscal chickens coming home to roost in Europe.

Sir David Bell, Vice-Chancellor, University of Reading

If 2016 is anything to go by, then making predictions for 2017 is a rather risky business. My hope is that the case for countries to remain outward looking, welcoming, inclusive and engaged with the wider world will continue to be made positively and confidently. Success on this front might then mean that predictions for 2018 can be more hopeful and optimistic.

Adrian Brown, Executive Director of the Centre for Public Impact

While many governments around the world have adopted digital technologies to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their services, few, if any, have really been disrupted by digital in the way that many other industries have been. My prediction for 2017 is that we will start to see the beginnings of this disruption as governments like Singapore fully embrace the potential of big data, advanced algorithms and digital communications to radically rethink what good government looks like.

Miki Tsusaka, Senior Partner and Managing Director, Chief Marketing Officer, The Boston Consulting Group

About this time last year I wrote a piece identifying three ways for companies to succeed. 12 months on (and what a 12 months!) I stand by it - and then some. With turbulence and the unexpected fast becoming the norm, in 2017 we need businesses to be constantly reinventing, leaders focused on the future and the "right" type of diversity more than ever before. Buckle up - next year's going to be just as bumpy.

Daniel Madhavan, Chief Executive, Impact Investing Australia

Having recommended The Black Swan as a stocking filler, I can't possibly make a prediction about what the next year holds so I will leave you with the question I want to keep asking myself through 2017.  Am I sitting in a little circle talking to people that already agree with me? 

Danny Werfel, Director, The Boston Consulting Group, Washington, DC

My prediction for 2017 is that we will see higher than anticipated progress in the use of driverless cars across the planet.


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