Advancing America’s Future
in a Networked World

Opportunity Rising
Reimagining the American Dream

In today’s networked economy, we need to unleash opportunities for Americans to learn and train in innovative ways and seize the growth potential of world markets and shared data. How might we shape new models of learning and work? Markle Initiative members share their vision of a new and hopeful future for America.

Message from our Co-chairs

Zoë Baird and Howard Schultz

"The America we want our children to inherit—a country that is strong and inspires opportunity for all—is at risk. There is nothing more important than finding ways to advance Americans at all income levels to successfully transition to the economy of the future."
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Markle Economic Future Initiative

Opportunity Rising: Empowering Americans to Flourish in a Global Networked Economy

Globalization and technology are changing our way of life more than anyone could have imagined. While enriching us in many ways, these forces also have eliminated secure jobs and eroded economic security for millions. Now, we face an urgent national challenge: finding new strategies that help all Americans flourish in today’s economy.

Zoë Baird

President, Markle Foundation
genConnect talked with Zoë Baird at the Aspen Ideas Festival about the evolution of the American dream and the opportunities presented by globalization and technology.

Matthew Slaughter

Associate Dean for Faculty, Dartmouth Tuck School of Business
Former Member, President’s Council of Economic Advisers
The main economic anxiety that a lot of Americans have right now is can I find a job, and is it going to be at a decent wage that rises over time, so I can take care of myself and my children, parents, and those different dimensions of the American Dream.

Cheryl Mills

CEO, BlackIvy Group
Former Counselor and Chief of Staff, U.S. Department of State
Disruptions are always the place where we leverage the greatest change and we leverage the greatest opportunity to unleash new and different ways of living, of being and of thinking and of operating. And, I want us to think about how we can unleash the opportunity of globalization and technology, not just experience the challenges.

“ What Americans have always been good at is innovation, seizing a challenge and making it work for us, and not being daunted by it. ”

‐ Madeleine Albright, Chair, Albright Stonebridge Group
   Former U.S. Secretary of State

“ We have to find a way in which we enable a rethinking of human capital development so that we can find a way in which people are not left out of access to opportunity. ”

‐ Michael Crow, President, Arizona State University

“ The traditional ways to create jobs, which require heavy, expensive infrastructure, can be circumvented through a new type of work—digital work. ”

‐ Leila Janah, Founder and CEO, Samasource

“ Markle Connecting for Health has consistently worked to make sure that electronic health records and personal health records advance in the public interest. ”

‐ Alison Rein, Senior Director, AcademyHealth

“ The Markle Task Force has highlighted technologies that will improve information sharing and enhance security, while facilitating greater accountability and higher levels of privacy protections. ”

‐ Jeff Jonas, IBM Fellow and Chief Scientist, IBM Entity Analytics Group

“ What big gear could we find that we could grab and move one way or another and make all the little ones spin? ”

‐ Michael Leavitt, Chairman, Leavitt Partners
   Former Governor, State of Utah

Other Areas of Work

Health in a Connected World

Anticipating the digital transformation of health care, Markle Connecting for Health identified how information technology can improve the quality of health care, and released the Markle Common Framework—a set of best practices for securely sharing personal health information while preserving privacy. These recommendations shaped policy across the country, including landmark provisions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Markle’s Work Group on Consumer Engagement conceptualized the Blue Button, which would enable Americans to easily download and transmit their personal health information. The Blue Button is now used by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and major insurers and pharmacies nationwide.

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National Security

Markle identified global terrorism as a national security threat long before 9/11, but the events of that terrible day prompted us to create a bipartisan Task Force to develop the policy and technology plan for protecting America against the threats of the modern era while protecting traditional civil liberties.  The Markle Task Force comprised national security experts, information technology executives, and privacy and civil liberties advocates who created a collaborative environment for information sharing. The Task Force’s recommendations are highly regarded and formed the basis for intelligence reform and information sharing in the 9/11 Commission Report, the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act 2004, and the Protect America Act of 2007, and a wide range of actions at the federal, state and local level as well as in the private sector.

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Featured Resources


Aspen Ideas Festival
Techonomy Detroit
September 16, 2014

At Techonomy Detroit, Markle joins other leaders and thinkers from business, technology, and government to share views on how to move the U.S. and the world into an urbanized, technologized, inclusive future. The conversations focus on how technology can boost U.S. economic growth, job creation and urban revival.

Aspen Ideas Festival
Aspen Ideas Festival 2014
June 23, 2014 - July 3, 2014

Tectonic shifts in globalization and technology are transforming the nature of work long considered the bedrock of economic stability in the United States. At the Aspen Ideas Festival Markle introduces key game changers to better prepare Americans for today's global networked world.

What We’re Reading

July 29, 2014

A few large, concentrated players will provide infrastructure, platforms, and services that support many fragmented, niche players.

July 29, 2014

Inflation-adjusted median wealth is about 20 percent lower today than it was in 1984.

July 28, 2014

The Export-Import Bank plays an instrumental role in supporting U.S. manufacturing and services exports.

July 28, 2014

In July 1944, 730 delegates gathered to create institutions to govern the global economy for the future in which the Axis powers had been defeated.

July 28, 2014

What can we do better than smart machines? How can more of us make sure that we are able to compete against them?

July 25, 2014

Parents are tapping the most brilliant chess brains in India, Bulgaria and Moscow to deliver online tutorials for their offspring via Skype.

July 25, 2014

It turns out all anyone needs to invade a friend’s apartment is an off switch for their conscience and an iPhone.