New Horizons

What Future is in Store for America in 2026?

A.T. Kearney and Smithsonian Convene National Leaders to Discuss Long-Range Vision

WASHINGTON, Sept. 22, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — In an event co-hosted by A.T. Kearney and the Smithsonian Institution, along with honored guest and speaker Vice President Joe Biden, American business, government and civil society leaders gathered Wednesday, September 14 in Flag Hall at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History to consider what America might be like when it reaches its 250th anniversary on July 4, 2026.

The evening marked a high-point in A.T. Kearney’s multi-year America@250 initiative. America@250 is designed to inspire US leaders to think beyond the next fiscal year or election cycle. Challenging them to rise above the cynicism of the moment, the evening offered thought-provoking discussions with the goal of identifying the necessary choices that would put the country on a path towards the brightest possible future a decade from now.

An inflection point

In his address, Vice President Biden provided an optimistic outlook for the future of the United States, citing business investment and engagement as critical components of long-run growth.

Reflecting on the approach of the 250th anniversary, Vice President Biden commented that, “This is an inflection point. Our social and economic future depends on the actions of leaders today. I am optimistic that we will prevail and the next generation will have a better standard of living than ever before.” He added, however, that “the future is not our automatic destiny; we need to build it.”

Following comments from Vice President Biden, NPR/ABC News’s Cokie Roberts moderated a discussion between Steve Case, Founder and Partner of Revolution Growth; Sarah Rosen Wartell, President of the Urban Institute; and Peter Hart, Chairman of Hart Research. The panelists outlined key opportunities and challenges facing the country, from the diffusion of technology and innovation to gridlocked politics, the globalization of entrepreneurism, and a shrinking middle class.

The future is not our automatic destiny; we need to build it.

Paul Laudicina, chairman of A.T. Kearney’s Global Business Policy Council (GBPC), said, “Meeting here in Flag Hall, with the Star-Spangled Banner that exactly 202 years to the day was the inspiration for our country’s national anthem as it flew over Fort McHenry, we have reached another turning point in our nation’s history. Are we today witness to twilight’s last gleaming? Or can we again look to crisis moments in our nation’s past when leaders showed they had what it takes to restore vision and ensure we are on course for a better future? I believe that this group of leaders and the majority of Americans are prepared to rise to the challenge.”

Looking forward

A.T. Kearney released a report on its initial America@250 findings earlier this year. The report includes data from a nationwide series of focus groups and polls on how they perceive the future of the country. It also includes four possible future scenarios, reflecting various degrees of economic growth and national spirit. The America@250 interactive web site features essays from a growing range of the nation’s most prominent leaders tackling the big questions of the America of 2026. Recently featured authors include Muhtar Kent, Chairman of the Board and CEO of the Coca-Cola Company; Mark Tercek, CEO of The Nature Conservancy; and Sheila Lirio Marcelo, CEO of

“As we look towards the 250th anniversary and beyond, I hope at minimum this report will generate public and private debate among business leaders, and critical analysis on where we go from here,” said Vice President Biden.




About A.T. Kearney
T. Kearney is a leading global management consulting firm with offices in more than 40 countries. Since 1926, we have been trusted advisors to the world’s foremost organizations. A.T. Kearney is a partner-owned firm, committed to helping clients achieve immediate impact and growing advantage on their most mission-critical issues.