Problems to Solve

Education

What will is take to upgrade our education system?

The fact that so many young people go into debt to get a decent education is troublesome. It is also discouraging to know how many well educated young adults are living at home with few prospects for find good jobs. The future belongs to those who develop unique skills needed to empower businesses. Anticipating the kind of skills that business demands is vital for preparing future generations for growth opportunities. One thing is certain; we must do a better job integrating business with education systems to create better opportunities for students to engage with business mentors.

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Energy & Resources

When and where will the next big breakthrough in energy take place?

For decades, US energy strategy has focused on developing foreign resources to meet domestic needs of consumers. This strategy made sense when foreign resources were cheap and plentiful. Today, foreign development costs are out of balance with consumer ability to absorb these costs. Unfortunately, the US reached this apex years ago. This is one of the reasons why trade imbalances and budget deficits are so high.

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Healthcare Transformation

The impact of inefficiencies in healthcare systems is appauling, will is take to change?

America has the best healthcare system that money can buy – this is the problem. We can’t afford it. The fact that the healthcare system is so inefficient should be of great concern to all Americas. Something is wrong when $1 out of every $4 is being spent on healthcare. Medicare currently represents 9.5% of the federal budget.

New healthcare provisions require primary care physicians to administer 1,773 hours of preventative care screenings – about 7.4 hours of a physician’s working day. Matters will only worsen as growth of Medicare recipients increase over the next two decades. The world needs more doctors and PA’s that can administer healthcare. Much of the problems come down to structure, incentive practices, poor networking and inefficient work flow throughout the system.

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Job Creation

Need to retrain and prepare people for future opportunities is growing.

To be considered part of the civilian labor force, a person must be working or actively seeking employment. In the past (during the 40s), the labor force participation rate ranged between 58% and 59% - today it has reached an all-time low of 65.3%. This means that more people have dropped out of the workforce than any other time in modern day history.

To put it bluntly, this is a real problem. Job creation is a function of a productive and vibrant economy. As businesses respond to consumer needs for goods and services they must employ workers to perform different activities. Over time, activities change in response to need for different goods and services. Ability to anticipate change goes a long way to determining future demands that dictate what kinds of activities that will need to get done.

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Leadership Requirements

What kind of vision and skill is needed today to evolve businesses?

Ability to overcome great adversity takes guts and perseverance. The world needs effective leaders who can think “outside-the-box” are willing to break the status quo. These leaders should have the wisdom and fortitude to challenge bureaucratic thinking to achieve new states of excellence. America is in serious trouble. The quicker people realize this fact the sooner we can focus on finding new solutions. Leaders with vision, know-how and strong turnaround experience must make the hard choices to usher in change before it is too late.

Opportunity to create an environment where highly productive people can collaborate and focus on solving problems is upon us. We need leaders who are open to new ways of working and thinking, but also have the good sense to draw upon our ingenuity, cultural diversity and traditions. History tells us that when Americans come together and focus efforts we can do almost anything. The challenge is in finding selfless leaders who are willing and able to lead.

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Enhancing Quality of Life

Need to evolve the way we think, work and improve our way of life is vital.

Juggling life between work and home can be challenging. The way we live and work often defines our quality of life. When work becomes burdensome and we are overwhelm with personal and professional challenges this is when it is important to reflect on our lives. In some cases, it makes sense to change practices and patterns of behavior. This is when it may be useful to see how other people work through similar situations. Given advancements in communication and transportation systems it is possible to reach outside local communities to learn more about other people, cultures and traditions. Opportunity to reach out instantaneously with other people in different parts of the world allows us to consider new perspectives about our own lives.

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Role of Government

It is time to instill government by the people for the sake of human kind.

Challenge is in knowing optimum levels of performance versus when interventions become burdensome on conducting business. The best solution is somewhere between trade-offs and benefits. The fact that government cannot keep up with the pace of change is a serious problem. Large bureaucracies were needed to create economies of scale during the industrial era. Today, these bureaucracies are a detriment to business and American way of life.

Solutions must be driven by need to adopt to change. The labyrinth of regulatory systems combined with irrational liability laws and a corrupt tax code make it increasing difficult for American businesses to compete. The reality that there is political controversy over “who built what” is evidence of the problems we face. Fracturing society weakens the foundation of America life. We are at our best when we are at our worse. The solution is to find common ground, recognizing that we are all interconnected – one element of society cannot co-exist without another.

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Taxes & Spending

World of finance is out of balance and headed for the cliff.

When it comes to doing business in America, there is overwhelming evidence that “complexity” of the tax code has become a huge burden. Simply put, the current tax code makes the US business uncompetitive. The solution is to broaden the tax base while lowering rates for all Americans. This means getting rid of special breaks – deductions, credits, exclusions and other complexities. Special breaks distort economic incentives and draw money away from other activities. These breaks allow some to pay less which means others have to pay more. By broadening the tax base and eliminating special breaks it is possible to expose more taxpayers to the same rates which can then be lowered for everyone while bringing in the same amount of revenue. The objective is to simplify and balance code structure while being careful not to distort fairness.

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Uncertainty & Indecision

One Liner

National debt, wasteful spending and political gridlock impact economic conditions. Business does not function well when faced with all kinds of uncertainties. We live in challenging times and face significant numbers of unknowns that make it difficult to make strategic investments. Erratic market conditions and poor fiscal policies are impacting wiliness to take unnecessary risks. The fact that trillions of dollars of capital is not being invested to grow business is a clear indicator that something is wrong. Business is simply not willing to take risks when political leaders act irresponsibly.

Uncontrolled government spending threatens ability to grow markets and create new jobs. The fact that government productivity rates are so atrocious means that a significant portion of taxpayer money is being squandered. Wasteful spending and irresponsible thinking is changing America’s ability to compete effectively. The only cure is radical realignment of policies and bureaucratic practices that impact ability to grow business.

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Agility & Innovation

It is time to shift growth models to focus on renewal.

Operational inefficiencies, redundancies and bottlenecks impact productivity. Examine enough product development systems and workflow processes, and it becomes evident why inefficient practices are bad for business. Challenges arise when actions fail to meet demands. Ongoing assessment of organizational infrastructures, practices and decision making reveal that business is not keeping up with the pace of change. Most organizations are overburdened by inefficiencies that affect ability to respond to needs. This equates to lost opportunity.

Organizations with high concentrations of knowledge workers are most susceptible to cost burdens and inefficiencies created by systems we use to run business. As a rule, the greater the number of knowledge workers in an organization, the more an organization will spend on information and technology. Our research indicates that most organizations fail to recognize subtle instances of change that impact productivity. Most systems and practices in use today evolved through ad hoc development and integration efforts. As a result, inherent inefficiencies are built into practices and outdated code. MS Windows is a classic example of this phenomenon. Each time code gets rewritten it must be bound by conditions in older code (must be backwards compatible). This reality creates a huge drain on resources. At some point, technology and information reach a point of diminishing return. The question is how to break this vicious cycle without disrupting flow of business.

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Impact of Big Data

We are no longer capable of keeping up with the growth of information.

Insight is valuable when it helps to guide decision making. We create opportunity when we shift thinking and open to new ideas. We weaken ability when we become subservient to fear and uncertainty. Desire to overcome great diversity and complexity is often rooted in willingness to change situations. Paradox lies in our perceptions. What we see on the surface is usually dramatically different than what lies beneath. Gaining new source of insight creates opportunity to change the way we see things. Our mission is to exam how cause and effect impact the way we live and work. Our intent is to create new insight to change thinking about work practices and capabilities to find new ways to direct efforts and use of resources more efficiently.

Opportunity to change outcomes is often influenced by technology and information. Little is known about social media and how overwhelming amounts of information are changing the human experience. We do know that when technology and ability to create, manage and use information becomes burdensome, it impacts productivity. Gaining better understanding of how knowledge workers engage in particular activities is vital to learning how to improve productivity rates. Technology can enable or inhibit the way we live and work. Opportunity to learn how to make the best decisions helps us avoid becoming victims to forces of change. Taking the steps to root out issues that impact flow of commerce and ability to improve value creation introduces opportunity to drive global transformation of business and government.

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Ability to Solve Problems

We have little time to waste on finding new solutions to big problems.

Change happens one step at a time. Most organizations have no formal process for managing change. As a result, valuable resources, time and effort are often wasted solving the “wrong” problems. Step change is an organized process designed to guide business transformation. Deep understanding about who we are and what we do reveals powerful insight we need to focus thinking and effort on solving the most important problems. Step change is driven by need to identify, quantify, prioritize and overcome abnormalities, inefficiencies, bottlenecks and redundancies that impact operational performance. Once revealed, it is possible to develop an effective strategy to guide transformation efforts.

We learn through our experiences. Trial and error teaches us valuable lessons. The challenge is how we turn learning experiences into new areas of opportunity. Opening to new ways of thinking helps to shift perceptions creating new realities and opportunity to “see what others don’t see or choose not to see”. Need to generate new forms of insight is growing. What we see impacts what we do. Ability to reveal new sources of insight creates opportunity to change thinking about what can be done to improve value creation.

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