“A simple fact: those who invest in the future, get to the future!” – Futurist Jim Carroll
Let’s talk infrastructure! After all, it seems a lot of people are!
The world seems to be broken down into two groups of people: those who believe it’s a good idea to invest in the reality and opportunities of the 21st century, and the “professional whiner” class who would prefer to subjugate a nation to the primitive future of the previous century, if perhaps not the 19th.
On stage, I would often refer to this schism with a simple screenshot:
Guess who’s who! That’s the debate captured in a nutshell right there!
Here’s the thing – while there is certainly a lot of politics involved right now, there’s also the reality that these types of investments can leapfrog a nation into playing a role in the future that is yet to come, yet which is actively emerging all around them.
You can’t deny the future. We know that the era of the internal combustion engine is over, and that electric vehicles will be dominant, perhaps in as little as ten years. Oil is a sunset industry, in permanent decline, as renewable energy becomes dominant. The future of vehicles is to e found in batteries, and roads are bridges are becoming smart, connected, aware. One day, you’ll drive your car down the road and the battery will be charged both through the solar panels that make up its exterior as well as through the charging technology embedded in the road beneath you.
This is not your grandfather’s infrastructure.
The implications are pretty profound. The new jobs and careers of tomorrow are already emerging in all of these disruptive trends – and these are advanced high-tech skills. To build a nation that has the economic growth that these careers will bring, you need to be a part of the trend. And if you aren’t, you can be darned sure that other nations are. You can’t be great again if you remain mired in a world that is based upon the quaint values of Ward Cleaver.
In a video a few weeks back, I thought I would put it in the context of the 19th-century railroad system, the Eisenhower Interstate Highway system, and our 21st-century realities of renewables, electric vehicles, and hyper-connectivity.
Some related thinking for you?
Read “20 Big Rules for Economic Development in the Era of Acceleration” or What Nevada Learned from the Jetsons and the Flintstones and the Future of Economic Development.
Or even Self Driving Cars and Economic Success.
All of these are blog posts in which I’ve focused on the link between infrastructure investment and the future.
Because the link is clear. You either choose to a part of the future. Or not.
Simple fact -> those who invest in the future, get to the future!
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