Technology associations – and by extension their member companies – have a tremendous opportunity to engage with federal policymakers to inform the development of legislation, regulation and policies that enable the sector to thrive and lead in the American and global economies.
Our 2018 TradeMarks Study results reveal federal policy influencers consider the seven associations in our study that collectively comprise the technology sector to be doing a good job achieving the public policy priorities of their members. This sentiment and the positioning of the sector on the characteristics that matter in delivering on policy objectives suggest three opportunities for technology trade associations to make a difference as:
- Educators and explainers – Policymakers expect technology associations – and their member companies – to be engaged in Washington. But they do not understand very well what technology companies do, how their businesses operate or what to expect in the future; this makes it challenging to develop regulations that don’t harm the innovative nature of the industry. It is important for technology associations and companies to identify and build relationships with policymakers and their staff, and then share information and data to help inform their work.
- Conveners – Technology associations and companies are generally well-regarded and recognized as important to the U.S. economy and American leadership on innovation and the new economy. They can bring attention to and add substantive dialogue to political discourse by bringing together experts and policymakers in forums to discuss policy and implications. Addressing topical issues such as fake news, privacy protection and access to high speed networks will resonate with Washington.
- Connectors – Through the relationships they build and nurture, and the associations and coalitions through which they work, technology companies can serve as conduits to insights from experts in the field, including executives, engineers, academics and others, who can further add to policymakers’ knowledge base and become resources for future initiatives and policy conversations,
While our work in Washington indicates that technology companies and their associations may have a tougher road in DC than others due to a lower level of fundamental understanding of their business and perceived liberal leanings, there are clear opportunities for these entities to effectively participate as educators and explainers, conveners and connectors to inform the development of legislation and policies that enable the sector to thrive and lead the American economy.