Top insights from the 2024 Edelman Trust Barometer Report: A collision of trust, innovation, and politics

Renee Leon

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IPAA Queensland shares the latest insights from the 2024 Edelman Trust Barometer report for Australia, highlighting public trust in relation to innovation and politics.

A key source of intelligence regarding the state of the global community’s trust in various institutions, from government to media, the Edelman Trust Barometer is seen as a pulse check on the current state of public trust and is a vital piece of information for anyone working in public purpose work.

For those of us who look to Edelman for the latest about trust – what insights does the latest report include?

For the most part, the figures are looking deficient for governments around Australia with trust in government dropping from last year (see the global report here, the Australia report here, or the IPAA QLD blog article here).

The recurring themes discussed throughout the report for 2024 centres on innovation, trust in innovation and those bodies that people trust in developing and executing innovation.

The four forces colliding trust, innovation, science and politics…

The four forces highlighted in the current report seek to share an interesting landscape in the space of trust, particularly with how it relates to innovation and government:

  1. The decline of authority: Trust in companies from global powers is in decline, worry over societal threats and establishment leaders misleading us is growing, while peers are trusted as scientists for information on new innovations.
  2. Innovation is on the ballot: Respondents see science as under political pressure, but feel government lacks the competence to regulate innovation effectively, so strong leadership is needed to move society towards acceptance.
  3. A reset for science in society: Science has a communications problem that can be improved with better messaging, more transparency, and an explanation of its impact on regular people.
  4. Restoring trust the promise of innovation: Respondents are more likely to embrace an innovation if they are confident that it will lead to a better future.

What then are the insights to take forward?

Based on the latest Edelman Report, there are four ways that trust can be restored in the promise of innovation:

  1. Implementation is as important as invention: Mismanaged innovations are as likely to ignite backlash as advance society. With breakthroughs like AI, vaccines, and green energy on the line, explaining the science and managing impacts is essential.
  2. Business must partner for change: Business is most trusted to introduce innovation into society, with an emphasis on partnering with government. CEOs need to safeguard jobs and take a stand on emerging ethical concerns.
  3. Science must integrate with society: Scientists are still trusted—but increasingly subject to public scrutiny. To build trust in expert recommendations, explain the research, engage in dialogue, and harness peer voices as advocates.
  4. Give me control over my future: When people feel in control over how innovations affect their lives, they are more likely to embrace them, not resist them. Listen for concerns, be open to questions.

What are your thoughts on the latest Edelman Trust Barometer insights?

Keep informed and take a look at our summaries of previous years:

About the Edelman Trust Barometer:

Edelman is a global communications firm that partners with businesses and organisations to evolve, promote and protect their brands and reputations. They have 6,000 people in more than 60 offices delivering communications strategies that give their clients the confidence to lead and act with certainty, earning the trust of their stakeholders.

Since their founding in 1952 by Dan Edelman, they have remained an independent, family-run company. They use their profits to strengthen their business, provide their employees with opportunities to grow, advance their industry, and serve as a responsible citizen of the world. Every day, they strive to live and work by a long-held set of core values: the pursuit of excellence, the freedom to be curious, the courage to do the right thing, and a commitment to improving society.