The surprises of 2016—or any year—can be explained, we reckon. With hindsight, we can move from hazy forecasting to reflective, meticulous analysis. Regardless of the consequences, we feel better knowing that decisions produce quantifiable outcomes—voters have motivations we can discern, elections have real results, and policy leads to measurable change.
In a global, hyper-connected world, the ripple effects of public decision-making are not easy to track, let alone predict. But collectively we demand transparency around those decisions. Clarity is crucial to how we measure, respond, and prepare for the next set of questions.
Today, we employ hosts of public officials to represent disparate and varied interest groups. We still live by rules of international cooperation put in place when the idea of the nation-state was ascendant. But with voluminous international flows of capital, goods and information, it’s sometimes difficult to pinpoint where exactly the buck begins and where it stops. Our 21st century leadership is still grappling with just how to be effective and responsive to constituents and stakeholders that span across borders.
As anxieties worsen about our collective economic futures, we not only demand responsiveness from our elected leaders, we demand inclusive, forward-looking solutions. Healthy democracies thrive on transparency and leadership that is sensitive to the needs of its citizens. As you can see in the interactive map above, it turns out the kind of responsive and responsible leadership that values the humanity of its workforce is also necessary for economically competitive nations. That is why the World Economic Forum has made Responsive and Responsible Leadership the theme for its annual January meeting in Davos.
This year will be a test for leaders of all stripes: business, government, and society. They’ll need to restore faith in the mechanisms and institutions that can best represent our interests and our future, across the globe. And though that project will begin with our leaders, the project of restoring trust will continue with all of us. That much is clear.
Learn more about the human side of responsible growth and the key skills that foster global economic competitiveness.
This article was produced on behalf of Bank of America by Quartz Creative and not by the Quartz editorial staff.