The biggest challenges of our time won’t be solved in silos. To tackle complex problems, we’ll need ideas, perspectives, resilience and innovation rising from cross-sector collaboration and partnership.
SAS recently hosted the 2023 Concordia United States Summit, a collaborative dialogue among public, private and nonprofit organizations designed to spur activities and launch initiatives that achieve social impact. The event stood as a testament to the power of cross-sector collaboration in fostering resilience. Leaders, experts, and visionaries shared stories of collective efforts, revealing that the ability to adapt and grow resiliently hinges on a united front across public, private, and nonprofit organizations.
A handful of themes surfaced repeatedly during the conference, making a compelling case for the following 2024 predictions.
1. Organizational resiliency will depend heavily on workforce development and transformation
From building stronger technical and experiential programs at US colleges and universities to improving communication and other interpersonal skills, several Concordia Summit speakers revealed gaps persist between the skills they need most and the skills available in the current labor market. Speakers also repeatedly cited the affordability of both childcare and housing as frequent barriers to achieving workforce transformation goals.
Generational shifts and differences in what employees are seeking will continue to influence how leaders lead. Younger employees expect consistency and transparency from leadership, and they want to be invested in (training, mentoring, and career paths) while working remotely. Employee engagement matters more than ever, with videos easily outranking email as the preferred method of information delivery.
2. Public sector resiliency is on the rise, thanks to economic development programs in pioneering cities
As cities throughout the US embrace the promise of AI and other digital innovations amid continued fiscal turmoil, economic development programs will become increasingly important. More cities will follow in the footsteps of visionaries like Tulsa, OK, and its pioneering Tulsa Innovation Labs. This collaborative hub unites the public, private and social sectors with a focus on developing Tulsa’s most promising emerging tech clusters. The city’s strategy for inclusive, tech-led growth supports start-ups, trains diverse talent, expands job opportunities and even spurs academic innovation via connections with local universities.
With a proven track record of job creation and growth, and with national accolades piling up, Tulsa balances the need to prepare people for jobs that exist now as well as jobs that will exist in the future. States that diversify their economies the way Tulsa has will thrive in the coming years. They’ll recruit new businesses, maintain and grow their current workforce, and develop future opportunities.
3. Personal resiliency will remain a top priority, bolstered by bigger investments in mental health support and services
Nearly every session at the Concordia Summit noted the ongoing mental health crisis in the US and the critical importance of more affordable and more accessible care.
Young children, teenagers and adults of all ages continue to struggle with the effects of prolonged isolation, including loneliness, social anxiety and emotional distress. In 2024 and beyond, telehealth will further expand access to low-cost care, though technical and financial barriers will persist for those at or below poverty level. The Biden administration’s proposed Fiscal Year 2024 budget includes funding to increase the mental health workforce, expand crisis response, improve mental health parity and much more. AI will play a larger role in diagnoses as well as in personalizing assistance, responses and support.