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On October 1, I’ll be keynoting the 2014 PLRExpo in Toronto. The organizers asked if I would do a quick little video teaser for the event; and so a few weeks ago, and I said “sure!”

The result was this clip, done in 1 take in my backyard. Fun stuff!

Awesome film work by Stan Emerson of The Drytech Group – great looking lighting! Just before the take, we had lawn mowers and garbage trucks rushing about the neighbourhood, and were lucky to get a moment of silence!

Here’s a fun little video clip from a keynote this February, when I opened the annual conference for the Association of Test Publishers. These are the folks who manage the LSAT, GMAT’s and other professional skill tests.

We are in a time that has us witnessing the rapid emergence of all kinds of new careers. I’ve been talking about careers such as “robotic pharmaceutical therapy monitors,” “water footprint analysts,” “vertical farming infrastructure managers,” “drone helicopter insurance crop risk managers”, and, of course, manure managers! You’ll find a link for the latter at the bottom of this post.

People don’t realize how quickly every industry is changing; how quickly new careers are evolving; how rapidly business models are changing. This keynote challenged the audience to think about they would have to do in the future to provide testing and certification for rapidly emerging new professions and skills.

The folks at SingleHop approached me; they are running a blog series related to the fact that that yesterday was “Embrace Your Geekness Day.”

They suggested I should do a post about it. So here it is!

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I’m featured in a cover story in 1989 on email. I’d been online for 7 years already by this point in time…. read the original article here

So here is why I’m a geek, and more geekier than most other folks who have posted a blog in honour this day.

  • I was online in 1982, via a TRS-80 Radio Shack computer, with a 300 baud modem that had acoustic couplers. When you read your email, it came in character-by-character; one per second. Long email messages were not tolerated. This was 25 years before Twitter.
  • I still have most of those emails, and every one since. We are talking about a 32 year old archive of email. I don’t make this stuff up.
  • my first portable computer weighed 25 pounds. It was a Hyperion; built in Canada. It had two 128k floppy drives ; and was the first big tech failure of Canada (after that, there was Nortel, and then there was RIM). This was also 1982.
  • I still have both those computers in my basement. They both still run. My kids are 19 and 21. When they were born, these computers were already ancient. Since then, we have gone to museums, and see the same computers. Outgeek that!
  • when Napster came around in 1999, it already seemed old. Before Napster, there was USENET and alt.music. Look it up.
  • geekness comes from being one of the first who hung around Bix. And Compuserve. And The Source. Oh, and who knew how to do email to someone with a .uucp address.

I’m not trying to suggest that I’m any sort of uber-geek.

I’m in awe of the fact that I got to see so much of the early architecture of what is now something so fundamental to the human race.

My message is this: take a snapshot for a moment of your geek-life. Remember it.

Because in 10 years, it won’t look *anything* like it does today. You will suddenly think that you lived in ancient times.

Contingecies2014

“Actuaries can expect that all of these technologies will continue to become more interconnected, said Carroll.” Read the article by clicking the image.

The American Academy of Actuaries has just released their July / August edition of Contingencies Magazine, with an article about the impact of technology on actuarial practice.

It’s a great article: with quotes such as this, you know its presenting some challenging ideas as to how insurance industry, and the actuarial profession that assesses risk, is in for wild ride:

From intelligent interfaces like Google’s Explorer glass to ingestible microsensors, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence, burgeoning technological advances stand poised to disrupt traditional practices within the actuarial profession and the insurance industry.”

I’m quoted liberally throughout the article.You can click the image to access the PDF.

From the intro to the article:

REMEMBER THE SLIDE RULE? For actuaries of a certain generation, slide rules were an invaluable accessory. Invaluable, that is, until the invention of the personal calculator. In the same way, many experts believe that Excel spreadsheets, the current workhorse of most actuarial departments, will soon be replaced by calculating in the cloud. Disruptive technology—the term of art for any technological advance that unexpectedly displaces an established process—is now expanding so quickly that one disrupter often is almost immediately superseded by another. (Consider the rapidity with which we’ve moved from using GPS devices in our cars to letting mobile apps on our smartphones do the job. By the end of the decade, it’s likely that automatic cars will not only navigate but also do the driving.)

Innovations that qualify as disruptive technology are actual ly both disruptive and connective, said futurist Jim Carroll. Not only is the way that people and devices are getting connected “unprecedented,” Carroll said, so is the manner in which all the interconnected data are being analyzed and used.

This goes to one of the main points that I raise with clients: control of innovation in every single industry is shifting to technology companies, and the pace of innovation is accelerating to that of Silicon Valley as a result.  Every industry is coming to be ruled by the reality of Moore’s Law! This is providing for a lot of fascinating change and disruption!

I also offer some comments on might happen with life insurance policies as we go forward

Using more personalized information will lead to what Carroll calls “performance-oriented insurance,” which he defined as coverage in which the risk will be accurately understood. “And if your measurable activities reduce or eliminate any risk, you will be rewarded through a rebate or reduction in insurance cost,” Carroll explained—something that is already happening with one of Progressive’s auto-insurance products.

There will be an emergence of insurance companies forthose who are willing to give up their privacy, while other insurers might write coverage for those who want to maintain their privacy,” Carroll said. “It is going to change business models.” The connectivity goes further when real-time vitals are sent not just to the doctor but also to an insurance com- pany that’s considering pricing, Carroll said.

It’s a good read, and worth your time. Read the article here.

Back at the end of March, I worked on a custom video project with the Wall Street Journal Custom Digital Studios Team on behalf of CapitolOne; it involved  a small, invitation only panel discussion with a follow up custom video production. The latter is now running through out the WSJ.Com digital network.

It took place at the Modern, the restaurant area of the Museum of Modern Art in Manhattan. Sharing duties on stage with me was Soraya Darabi, a digital strategist and social media entrepreneur,  Charles Devaney, senior director of investments, Capital One Commercial Bank, and David Brinker, Senior Vice President of Operations and business development and Operations at The Daily. Our general discussion was around the opportunity for organizations to make bold, innovation moves through the leveraging of technology. Click the PDF to read the entire “Special Advertising Feature.”

WSJ-TBSMSFThumb

Click the image to read the PDF. “Of the companies in existence during the economic recessions of the 70s, 80s, 90s and the recent “Great Recession” of 2007-2009, on average, 60 percent survived, 30 percent died and 10 percent became breakthrough performers. How did the top 10 percent do it? They specifically decided to make bold moves, to invest in world-class innovation, despite economic uncertainty.” – Jim Carroll, Futurist, Trends & Innovation Expert

It was a fun event to participate in, with a very lively discussion around the theme. I certainly emphasized that technology will continue to drive rapid business model, competitive and structural industry change:

Rapid changes in technology and an ever—shifing media stage have leveled the playing field such that big truly doesn’t beat small anymore — an exciting and intimidating space for any organization. ‘‘If you think your industry is going to look anything like it does now in 10 years, you’re wrong,” he said. “You’ve got to keep up with the change that’s occurring because today’s 20—year—olds are going to be your customers and your employees.”

Here are two teaser clips from the production, 15 seconds in length:

The custom production  is now running throughout the entire WSJ network, including Barron’s and other properties. I caught the thumbnail yesterday in a news story. From there, you can hit the video clips from the panel. (Note: It’s a targeted campaign, so it’s only hitting the US market.)

WSJ-June23

All in all, a great project, and an opportunity to make some key points about innovation!

CNBC interviewed me a few weeks ago on the question of “trends that could shake up the financial industry.” Over the years, I’ve done thousands of such interviews.

They just ran the resulting article, “4 Trends Changing the Way You Manage Money.09MonarchBanking1.jpg

A couple of key points:

The article observes:

Last year Accenture, a global consulting firm, released a report that peered into the banking sector’s future. It concluded that by 2020, banks could lose 15 percent of their market share to technology companies.

“Who gains in this market share?” asked the authors of the Accenture report. “Digitally oriented disruptors that are far more agile and innovative—the equivalent of speedboats competing against schooners.”

That certainly fits the key theme I’ve been explaining to many of my clients  since 2009 — that the pace of innovation in every industry is shifting to Silicon Valley.

My part in the interview? Cash is disappearing. As with any trend, I explained my thoughts on the future by viewing the world through the eyes of my sons:

On a recent kayak trip, Jim Carroll asked his 19- and 20-year-old sons if they had any cash that he could use at the store. Instead of handing over a few bills to the Mississauga, Ontario-based futurist and author, they gave him a blank stare. “They told me they don’t use cash, and that’s huge,” he said. “The next generation doesn’t use money at all.”

According to Carroll, in the future every payment, including credit card purchases, money transfers and business bill payments, will likely be done virtually. “We won’t have credit cards in our pockets,” he said. “Every payment will be done through our mobile devices.”

The global mobile wallet market is expected to grow by 35 percent a year between 2012 and 2017, and mobile payment transactions topped $235 billion by the end of last year, according to Gartner Research.

This has implications for credit card companies, banks and other financial institutions that lend money, issue credit cards and wire cash between countries.

I know everyone is talking about mobile payment, but do folks realize where it is really taking us.

I often challenge my clients to think about the long term, substantive trends that are forever changing every industry. I truly believe one day in the future, cash simply won’t exist in the form that we know it today — bills and coins. The question is when; it’s simply a matter of timing.

And as that comes about, there is going to be a tremendous amount of change and disruption occurring. Fianncial organizations have to be relentlessly focused on innovation and the ingestion of new ideas and technologies if they have any hope of coming out the other side in acceptable shape.

 

 

Whoah! Dude! What Happened?
June 18th, 2014

Ask yourself this question: do you work in an organization that just simply doesn’t get it?

Stressed businessman

In almost every industry, there are situations where the blindness of current market leaders will eventually lead them to their own own “whoah, dude” moment.

Who is oblivious, blind, completely unaware of just how much business model change is occurring out there?

Who you know that one day, wake up and discover that the business model it operated under is forever gone; that new competitors have emerged where there was no competition before; that the pace of change and the speed of innovation has been forever changed as a massive acceleration of new ideas took hold?

Sadly, I see it happen all the time. And here’s what I have learned when it comes to trends and the future: — there are three types of people in the world — and indeed, three types of leaders.

  • those who make things happen
  • those who watch things happen
  • and those who say, “what happened?”

I’ve often pointed this out on stage, and have emphasized the point, by suggesting that the folks who find themselves last on the list sit back and say, “whoah, dude, what happened? Where’d that come from?”

In other words, they’ve been completely blind to the trends which would cause massive upheaval within their industry, or refuse to accept the significant business model disruptions which are already occurring.

Guess what — it’s happening right now in countless industries as technology comes to drive the pace of innovation. In banking, the speed of innovation is shifting from banks to companies like Apple, PayPal and Facebook. In the auto industry, as technology takes over the dashboard, it is companies like Tesla Motors and Google that are defining the future — not auto companies. In the retail sector, the speed of innovation is being set by Amazon and others with their emphasis on massive logistics systems that provide for same day delivery.

I could go on — and the fact is, in almost every industry, there are situations where the blindness of current market leaders will eventually lead them to their own own “whoah, dude” moment.

So let’s make it simple: when it comes to innovation, make sure that you are in the first camp! Make things happen!

What should you do if you make that conscious decision, and are trying to steer your organization into the future?

  • turn forward! establish an overall organizational culture in which everyone is firmly focused on the future while managing the present.
  • change the focus: make sure that you link the corporate mission of today to the major trends and developments that will influence the organization through the coming years;
  • pursue speed: use a leadership style that encourages a culture of agility and allows for a rapid response to sudden change in products, markets, competitive challenges and other business, technological and workplace trends;
  • watch more stuff: establish and encourage an organization-wide “trends radar” in which all staff keep a keen eye on the developments that will affect the organization in the future;
  • share more: make sure that you’ve got a culture of collaboration in which everyone is prepared to share their insight, observations and recommendations with respect to future trends, threats and opportunities;
  • change responsibilities: ensure that staff are regularly encouraged to not only deal with the unique and ongoing challenges of today, but are open and responsive to the new challenges yet to come;
  • take risks: you won’t get anywhere if you don’t make sure that are encouraged to turn future challenges into opportunities, rather than viewing change as a threat to be feared.

I continue to be stunned by how many organizations today continue to be caught flat-footed by the pace of rapid trends that impact them.

It seems like it should be so simple to avoid this.

Yet there likely still lots of “whoah, dude” dudes out there.
Here’s a quick little video hit that fits the theme.

I was in Detroit last week, for an opening talk for the TheBigM – Manufacturing conference.

I had two roles to play : I was a speaker for the evening Gala Celebration, and was scheduled for an opening keynote the next morning to open the conference.

Of course, when you live and work in the conference industry, there are always fun surprises. In this case, I found out a few days before the event that I would have the honour of sharing with the stage with President Obama’s Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker!

This was a huge win for the Big M conference and for SME; it shows that the administration, and indeed many people throughout the US, understand that American manufacturing is truly in the midst of a significant rebirth. The conference site soon heralded her participation (and I’m a tweet below. (-; )

TheBigMBanner

I’ve been commenting, since the “Great Downturn” of 2008, that vast sectors of the North American manufacturing sector have been in the midst of a transformation in how they design, build, manufacture … and I presume that’s why I was invited to inspire those who would be at the Gala Awards dinner the evening before. Check out some of the posts related to my 2010 keynote for a similar conference, IMX – Interactive Manufacturing Exchange, held in Las Vegas. (In particular, read “The Paradox of Optimism, Manufacturing & The New “Build America” Mindset.”

My approach for the Gala was to celebrate the rapid transformations that sectors of the manufacturing industry have achieved. We’ve seen big steps in :

  • realigning the manufacturing process for greater agility and flexibility to better respond to market demand and fast changing consumers;
  • organizations that has transformed their operations so that they are following a ‘build-to-demand’ model rather than one that involves ‘build-to-inventory;’
  • organizations that refuse to compete based on price in ‘a world gone flat,’ but instead go premium, upscale, and compete on their own terms;
  • others who have transformed their capabilities with a major focus on ‘time to market’;
  • and many more who have enhanced their capabilities through focusing on rapid concept generation, rapid concept development and rapid prototyping
  • still more who have fundamentally changed what they do and how they can do it through advanced robotic technology

What a dinner it was! I was on pretty late for a crowd that was busy celebrating with some wine — but was literally faced with a room full of cheers as I poured on my message that the industry needed to celebrate its success so far. (Read my post, “The Importance of Innovation Awards Shows“.)

I really like it when organizations run Gala Celebrations - to celebrate innovation and success. The BIGM Conference certainly did theirs up right!

I really like it when organizations run Gala Celebrations – to celebrate innovation and success. The BIGM Conference certainly did theirs up right!

The next morning, after sound check, I had the opportunity to meet Secretary of Commerce Pritzker, and we had a great chat, and meeting of minds, on the future of manufacturing.

Jim Carroll and US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, backstage at the TheBigM - Manufacturing Convergence conference in Detroit.

Jim Carroll and US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, backstage at the TheBigM – Manufacturing Convergence conference in Detroit.

After her talk, I took to the stage, and spoke about many of the trends that will affect manufacturing into the future. Advanced methodologies, continued acceleration in the development of robotic technologies,, and the impacting of crowd funding models on the rapid development of new ideas and markets. Judging by the Twitter feedback it hit the mark!

My closing comment? Some people see a trend and see a threat. Real innovators see the same trend and see opportunity.

TheBigM-Stage1

 

I’m featured, this month, in an article in Medical Products Outsourcing Magazine, entitled “Artful Adaptation: Packaging and sterilization providers must keep pace with rapid change to innovate, grow and improve product safety.”

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“The medtech industry—perhaps more so than other industrial sectors—has long subscribed to the Carroll Testament. Medical device manufacturers with an “adapt or die” core philosophy, for instance, have higher survival rates than those resistant to changing market forces”

You can read the full article here — it’s well worth a read! Very much focused on several of my major themes, include that organizations must continually seek and hunt new revenue opportunities where those opportunities have not existed before.

It’s kind of funny, though — while the author (the Managing Editor) quotes me and some my video clips at length, he does seem to be a little disparaging at times. I’m called an “Innovation Whisperer”) (that’s a first for me) and a preacher with disciples! Interesting stuff!

Whatever! It’s all fun — here’s some choice quotes from the article. I really recommend you read the entire article.


 

Artful Adaptation: Packaging and sterilization providers must keep pace with rapid change to innovate, grow and improve product safety”
Medical Products Outsourcing Magazine, June 2014

Jim Carroll, a.k.a. the “Innovation Whisperer,” is a preacher of sorts.

The internationally-renowned futurist and social trends expert has crisscrossed the globe, extolling the virtues of change and creative thinking to thousands of business owners searching for the secret to entrepreneurial immortality.

Carroll, however, spreads his gospel in a most paradoxical and unoriginal way—usually by repeating the same tag line in keynote speeches: “the future belongs to those who are fast.

While it’s not the catchiest aphorism, it effectively conveys Carroll’s professional doctrine to his faithful disciples: Embracing innovation and keeping pace with a rapidly changing world will ensure future business growth and survival. “The world is changing very fast. Things are evolving at lightning speed,” Carroll told an audience of business executives several years ago in Las Vegas, Nev. “The reality going forward at this point in time is that it isn’t necessarily the big organizations who will own, win and control the future. It will be the fast, the agile…it will be those who can keep up with very rapid change and ingest that change. The high-velocity economy demands that we do, demands that we think, demands that we collaborate, demands that we share, and demands that we innovate in different ways.”

The medtech industry—perhaps more so than other industrial sectors—has long subscribed to the Carroll Testament. Medical device manufacturers with an “adapt or die” core philosophy, for instance, have higher survival rates than those resistant to changing market forces. Medtronic Inc. is a classic example: The Minneapolis, Minn., firm ascended to Fortune 500 heaven by catering its products to physicians, once the sole agents of purchasing decisions. Now, however, innovation revolves around cost containment and clinical efficacy to satisfy penny-pinching hospital administrators and insurers.


 

“The world demands that we look at the future and constantly ask ourselves, ‘Given the rapid rate of change coming at us, how do we ingest that future?’ “Carroll said during one of his countless public sermons. “How do we do things differently in order to deal with the future in which the future is happening faster than ever before? We have to completely rethink what we are doing and focus on innovation. Because the same rules of the past do not apply in the future.”


 

All companies innovate but few, if any, live up to Jim Carroll’s definition of the word. In his eyes, innovators are not the quintessential “cool” people developing “cool” products but rather the ordinary minions who have learned how to grow and transform their business. “Innovation is a funny word. We hear the word ‘innovation’ and who do we think of? We think of Steve Jobs,” Carroll once mused to CEOs and senior executives. “But innovation is about much more than people who innovate new products. To a degree the ability to innovate hinges on how quickly you can ingest all of the new ideas, capabilities and methodologies that are emerging. We’re in a world in which it can no longer take five years to plan and release something new. Innovative organizations know we’re in a world where volatility is the new normal. Everything is changing faster than ever before. Innovative organizations concentrate on how to build global scale. Innovative organizations know that things are going to evolve and change and twist and turn, particularly with the global economy.”

The most innovative organizations perfectly fit all those curves and evolve just as quickly as the hypercompetitive world in which they exist. They are the ones to first invest in emerging markets, or support new, unproven yet potentially disruptive technologies. Innovative organizations can anticipate trends before they happen, enabling them to avoid the “tyranny of success” trap that has led to the demise of countless corporations.

It was a year ago today that my son Willie and I travelled to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, outside of  Washington, where I was to deliver a keynote for a senior leadership team.

The Innovative Technologies Partnerships Office (ITPO) hosts meeting with Jim Carroll

“Change is happening, and it is happening quickly. The key for research based science centres such as Goddard is that they must reach outside of their world in terms of innovation and opportunity; collaborate and partner in new and different ways; respect the acceleration of science that is emerging on crwowfunding networks”

The theme of my talk? In the grand scheme of things, over the long term, “the business of space is changing,” and organizations such as NASA need to evolve with the new business models that are emerging.

Of course they know that; but the challenge is working the message through the organization, encouraging people to think differently about the future. That was my job in speaking to several hundred of their top research scientists, innovation partnership directors and others.

This was my second keynote for NASA: a few years earlier I spoke outside of Houston to a group of astronauts, launch directors, mission controllers and other folks with fascinating careers!

Consider the reality faced by any science-drive, government funded organization such as NASA today, particularly with ongoing debate over the size and scope over government spending. It’s a reality that involves:

  • funding and budget cuts on an ongoing basis
  • cancellation and gutting of programs
  • greater pressure on remaining initiatives
  • a growing public weariness with all levels of government, with resultant policy debate on the purpose and benefit of programs such as those carried out at Goddard

Contrast that to the rapid emergence of what some call the “NewSpace” industry, as a series of bold thinkers, iconic entrepreneurs, crowdfunded teams and others look to opportunities in the heavens as the “next big thing.”

  • it’s estimated that today, there are 350 companies worldwide in the “NewSpace” industry
  • 75% are privately held
  • opportunities being examined not just space tourism, but in-space manufacturing, pharmaceutical development, and asteroid mining
  • investors include such folks as Eric Schmidt (ex of Sun Microsystems), Charles Simonyi (ex of Microsoft), James Cameron (Titanic and Avatar), and Larry Page (of Google), among others

There is a quote from Bill Gates that I use in every presentation I do: “Most people tend to overestimate the rate of change that will occur on a two year basis, and underestimate the rate of change that will occur in ten years. Don’t let yourself be lulled into inaction.”

So it is with NASA and similar industries — the industry you are in today will look nothing in 10 years, like it does today.

My message: change is happening, and it is happening quickly. The key for research based science centres such as Goddard is that they must reach outside of their world in terms of innovation and opportunity; collaborate and partner in new and different ways; respect the acceleration of science that is emerging on crwowfunding networks.

It was a wonderful day; particularly with the post-event tour and discussions, once of the most exciting events I have participated in. And I think they enjoyed it — the feedback that came in right after the stated, “On behalf of the entire Innovative Technology Partnerships Office, thank you for your engaging and thought-provoking presentation at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. From the feedback we have received, the event was a great success. Thank you for sharing your insight and expertise with us!”

 

Interesting article in the Globe and Mail today. (“Losing Loyalty: Our Affinity for Brands is Fading Fast – and Marketers Need to Adapt“)

Apparently brands are starting to figure out that it’s becoming awfully tough to sustain brand image in today’s world. Who would have thought!

Here’s some clips from 2009, when I’m on stage in Las Vegas, talking about the future of branding.

They’re still pretty useful and powerful today — worth watching.

Is your brand from at risk at becoming something from the “olden days?”

Brand Authenticity is the New Benchmark

- How is social networking imapacting brands? Jim Carroll takes a look!

Reinventing brand relevance

- Jim speaks as the opening keynote speaker for a global restaurant chain, and talks to the issue of brand relevance : and how difficult it has become for organizations to keep brands "fresh" in the face of social networking technologies. Key point: "a brand is no longer what you say it is - it's what they say it is."

How Fresh is Your Brand?

- Brands can get stuck, become irrelevant, and out of date, if they don't recognize the new social network impact on brand image.

The future of customers and branding

- What should brand leaders be thinking about in terms of the velocity of change with customers and branding. Futurist Jim Carroll talks about this issue on stage at an event in Las Vegas.

Is Your Brand From the Olden Days

- Is Your Brand From the Olden Days

Final preparation in the home office here for what will prove to be a fun event next week!

I’m headlining both the dinner, and am part of the opening events for “The Big M: Manufacturing Conference” in Detroit.
TheBigM

On Monday night, I will be speaking to a packed audience of manufacturing executives and engineers at the SME Gala Dinner.

And on Tuesday morning, I’ll be part of the opening of this massive Detroit based manufacturing with a talk focused on future trends and opportunities in the renaissance that is North American manufacturing. I will be on stage immediately following President Obama’s Secretary of Commerce, Penny Pritzker. It’s a delight that the conference is getting the attention it receives with such a senior Cabinet member in attendance — and I’m thrilled to be on stage with her.

This is a wonderful gig, and is a repeat booking from the SME, who had me play a headlining role at their 2010 IMX (Interactive Manufacturing Exchange) event in Las Vegas. That was a huge amount of fun — I had dinner with Peter Schutz,  recently retired CEO of Porsche.

The Big M is a BIG event.

As noted on the Web site for the conference, “THE BIG M is more than an event. It is an unprecedented gathering of stakeholders that will drive a movement toward building a strong future for manufacturing.  THE BIG M is groundbreaking in that it brings together individuals, companies and policy-makers from all areas of manufacturing to mindshare and tackle the challenges of the industry head-on. This isn’t about just starting a discussion. It’s about making connections, jumpstarting the conversation and forging ahead toward real results, real solutions. It’s about making things happen and improving the future of the Great Lakes region through a reimagined manufacturing industry.”

When I spoke in Las Vegas years ago, my key theme was against the prevailing wisdom of the time that North American manufacturing was dead, kaput, gone. Just before I was to go on stage, the Huffington Post was running yet another article about the ‘death of manufacturing.’

"The Spirit of Detroit" -- a 3D printed mini-model of the original. Read more on the BIG M conference Web site on Facebook!

“The Spirit of Detroit” — a 3D printed mini-model of the original. Read more on the BIG M conference Web site on Facebook!

My message? Most certainly not. Robotics, advanced manufacturing technologies, realignment of manufacturing-to-inventory to manufacturing-to-demand business models, agility — everything was there to provide a resurgence in the sector.

And it’s even more real today.

As the Web site for the conference also notes, “This event will bring together all things advanced manufacturing, covering innovation, digital factory, cybersecurity, new technology, talent, 3D printing, globalization, modeling, simulation and sustainability. This can’t be done solely through exhibits and panel discussions so THE BIG M will have dynamic experiences covering these core manufacturing topics.”

Check out the event Facebook page for more information….

There is so much innovation going on in the world of manufacturing that it is difficult to know where to start!

But that’s my job and my challenge at the Gala dinner Monday night and Tuesday morning as I participate in the opening events for this massively wonderful conference.

 

The future belongs to those who are fast — Jim Carroll, from the opening to a keynote to an audience of thousands in Las Vegas!

The folks at the UK’s Retail News publication recently interviewed me on the future of retail; I’ll be featured in their upcoming 125th anniversary edition coming out in mid-July.

eplThey’ve just run a teaser for the article on their Web site.

I promise to put up a full version of the article when it appears; for now, here’s the tease!


Step into the future with RN as we celebrate 125 years
by BetterRetailing.com / Retail News, May 1, 2014

Picture this: you are driving along and ask Siri in your dashboard where you can buy a dozen eggs.

She will put up five stores on the map and you will pick one. The car’s autonomous driving technology will take you there and the embedded payment technology will pay for your purchase.

This may seem like science fiction, but it is likely to happen by 2017, according to Canadian futurist Jim Carroll, and was just one of the topics discussed when I interviewed him last week.

If you are thinking about the future of your business and how to make it profitable you won’t want to miss RN’s 125th anniversary issue on 18 July He has run sessions for the leadership teams of NASA, the PGA and global retail brands like Gap on preparing for the future. He agreed to talk to RN when I pitched him to appear in our 125th anniversary issue coming up on 18 July.

It’s a project the whole team is working on. Rather than looking back at our history of helping retailers run successful businesses, we will look forward to the future of local shops.

Our aim is to get the most proactive retailers to think about the things they need to do now to be successful next year and long into the future. Our main article will look at the future of convenience retail in 125 objects.

We are also interviewing retail industry leaders and celebrities like Sainsbury’s head of convenience Simon Twigger, Glamour and Private Eye editors Jo Elvin and Ian Hislop and JTI managing director Daniel Torras, as well as many others in the run up to 18 July throughout June and July.

RN has produced nearly 6,500 issues over the past 125 years, including four days after D-Day and the day before England won the World Cup.

But if you are thinking about the future of your business and how you can make it profitable, you won’t want to miss RN this summer.


 

I’ve been saying at many of the retail conferences I’ve had the opportunity to keynote, that we will see more change in retail in the next 5 years than we have seen in the last 100. These folks have been around for 125 years. This promises to be a fun article!

Here’s a clip from a recent keynote for an insurance association at their annual conference in New Orleans; I’m speaking about the challenges that emerge in the industry as the pace of innovation in the world of insurance shifts to Siilcon Valley, and a new generation of mobile-enabled customers demand different methods of interaction.

Caught your attention, didn’t I, and you obviously want to point something out to me!

Farmer

“Here’s a good question: when it comes to you, or the organization that work for, what type of farmer are you?”

But now that I have your attention, think about the honourable profession of farming — it’s been around almost since the beginning of time.

And it’s a profession that has involved a lot of trial and error; failure and success; and a heck of a lot of innovation.

Often, during a keynote, I will tell the story that there are really two different types of farmers in the agricultural industry. And I make the point to the audience that their attitude towards innovation should be considered in the light of the attitudes carried by each type of farmer.

The first type of farmer is what we might call the ‘apathetic minority’, who share these attributes:

  • they are not optimistic about the future
  • they tend to seek the “same old advice” from the “same old sources”
  • they have a high intolerance for risk
  • they’re not convinced they can continue to make a comfortable living despite all the contrary evidence
  • they’re skeptical of their potential since they feel they’ve seen too many ups and downs in the industry

Then there is the second group we might call the ‘future positive‘ type of farmer. They share these attributes :

  • they’re quite optimistic about the future
  • they’re very business minded, using all the latest tools and ideas at their disposal
  • they are very innovation oriented, willing to approach everything in a new way with new ideas
  • they are very collaborative for advice, seeking ideas from anyone and everyone
  • they’re often focused on planning, profit, growth, with clear objectives in mind

So here’s a good question: when it comes to you, or the organization that work for, what type of farmer are you?

Here’s a good video clip where I go into this storyline on stage. Enjoy!

It’s Mother’s Day in North America, a tradition that has extended back in some time. It’s a wonderful day to remember and treasure your mom as a special person, and also celebrate and be in awe of the love you have for your wife, the mother of your children.

Oma

“Oma” hated having her picture taken, and did everything she could to avoid one. But every once in a while, with quick timing and rapid reaction, I’d get a great shot!

But all too rarely does anyone seem to acknowledge the “other mother” who has played a major role in your family life.

That would be your mother-in-law.

In my case, that was Susanna Steube — or someone we simply knew as “Oma.” She took me under her wing when I started getting serious about her daughter, Christa, in 1997.

She took it as her mission that I should be fed — and well. She always welcomed us into our home with a big smile, a big meal, and the German afternoon tradition of “coffee and cake”. She took delight in the arrival of our sons, and each and every visit over 23 years was just a very, very special time.

So on Mother’s Day, it’s also probably just a great day to also recognize and treasure the moments that we also got to spend with our spouse’s mom! To Oma!

 

Back in February, I was the opening keynote speaker for the Innovation Takes Root conference, organized by NatureWorks.

I’ve often spoken around the theme that ‘the package is the brand’, and this is becoming even more so the case with intelligent packaging technology!

PackWebAsia.com

jim-carroll

USA – Orlando, Fla, The Innovation Takes Root conference, organized by NatureWorks, brings together Ingeo users from across the product’s different global vertical market segments to share the innovative solutions being created using the PLA (polylactic acid) biopolymer, reports Trina Tan.

In the spirit of the conference theme, the program kicked off with a keynote presentation by Jim Carroll, a futurist, trends and innovations guru, who challenged the audience to reconsider their attitude towards innovation, and their willingness to adapt to change in our economic, social and environmental global ecosystem.

One of the interesting points raised by Carroll was about how packaging is increasingly becoming THE brand (think about the consumer experience of opening an Apple iPhone packaging), which in turn makes it even more vital for brand owners to make use of the Package to market themselves, and push the packaging supply chain to innovate.

Bearing in mind the constant shifts in the market, Carroll said, “We need to learn to look at the market trends, and see the opportunities that lie behind them.”

A quick clip focused on ‘the velocity of change …. based on one of the best phrases that I think frames the mindset of those who are relentlessly focused on the opportunity for innovation by riding future trends!

We celebrated the arrival of the BASIC computing language yesterday. I lived through that era, and have been involved with computer technology one way or another since 1968!

In the 1990′s, I wrote a book, Surviving the Information Age, that explored the unique relationship that people with technology in those “olden days”.

I just dug out one of the original book reviews from that time, and my observations of the future were rather prescient, when I observed:

Mac1997

“Logizomechanophbia, otherwise known as the fear of computers, is so much a part of our society that it has provided Jim Carroll with the basis for a book.” (1997 Book Review.) Click the image for the full size PDF.

Some of Carroll’s assertions deserve examination. Consider his praise of Apple Computer as being “undoubtedly the most brilliant computer company that ever exists, because the entire goal of that corporation has been to try to make computing easy. 

Much of the chagrin of people who share Carroll’s love for the Mac, brilliance and user friendliness hasn’t been enough for Apple to proposer, or perhaps to even survive in its current form.

That comment for the author of the revew looks rather silly today!

In any event, if you want to enjoy your time thinking about your years with Cobol, Basic and Fortran, then check out the Surviving the Information Ages video clip in which I speak about the challenges of tech in the ‘olden days’!

 

 

 

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