Figure A.14. 21st century power tools.



An entirely new infrastructure is emerging. This new infrastructure will need to accelerate knowledge exchange, networked markets, fast collaborative work, and workforce education. The building blocks of the next economy will be born from the convergent technologies. They represent the shift from the steel and oil of the past and point us towards a radical reshaping of the economy, now in an embryonic stage. The next economy's building blocks — bits, atoms, genes and neurons (Fig. A.15) — will be followed by photons and qubits, as well.

The nations that understand this and that support the growth and development of government and private sector collaboration will thrive. This will enable those economies prepared to pursue new economic growth horizons. The future wealth of nations will be based on the change-management readiness that we set in motion today by enabling the social adaptation to convergent technology.

How might we direct, encourage, and ultimately shape this desired future for the nation, given the emergence of convergent technologies? We can start by developing a plan and setting objectives committed to answering this question. How might we enhance human performance, as a national objective, given the emergence of these convergent technologies? A coordinated and strategic approach will be necessary to create effective long-term results. New thinking will be required that recognizes the necessity of building a collaborative and interdisciplinary strategy for integrating national policy and programs and private and public sector cooperation as never before.

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