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Awards2012-6
Are you in the right frame of mind to cope with the future? Are you really ready?

Here’s a few questions you can challenge yourself with:

  1. Are your prepared for hyper-innovation and rapid time to market?
  2. Do you actually know what major trends will affect your industry, profession and career in the next five years?
  3. Are you frustrated by the lack of decisiveness that surrounds you, and need to focus your team on the future with passion and purpose?
  4. Have you really come to accept that “volatility is the new normal,” and have you structured yourself to deal with this reality?
  5. Do you really understand how your quickly customers are changing as they take more control of your brand image through the online social networks in which they participate?
  6. Do you really know what will be expected in your job 10 years from now?
  7. Could you define the biggest threat to your company five years out?
  8. Have you thought about where you need to establish new partnerships in order that you can work smarter, better and faster?
  9. Are you ready for a smarter-type-of-thing?
  10. Are you someone who makes things happen — or do you sit back and wonder, “whoah, what happened?”

A good starting list to challenge yourself as the economy begins to move forward!

Back in June, I was invited to open The BigM, a major manufacturing conference held in Detroit; I followed President Obama’s Treasury Secretary, Penny Pritzker on stage.

There were about 1,000 folks in the room – this is a pretty significant conference that is focused on the renaissance that is North American manufacturing.

This is the 3rd clip from that talk — in which I talk about how world class innovators ‘focus on speed.’ The focus on generating revenue where revenue has not existed before; they reinvent their product lines faster; they plan for shorter product life cycles.

Give it a watch — this is the reality of business velocity today!

A week ago, I had the pleasure to open the FutureVision, “an invitation-only event designed for the industry’s retail leaders, is an exclusive relationship-building event packed with industry insights.” I shared the stage with some pretty impressive visionaries!

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It’s a small, intimate 50 CEO level event held in Sonoma County, California, with the focus being “the key trends coming over the next three years for retailers. This exclusive format allows retailers to listen and connect with industry visionaries and elite manufacturers — through exceptional networking, business meetings and strategic information sharing sessions. These featured speakers will address critical shifts that will impact your business over the coming years”

Here’s an excerpt from Technology Integrator Magazine on Day 1.


 

The inaugural FutureVision Conference’s first day in Sonoma Tuesday was a forum for three visionaries – futurist Jim Carroll , ShopRunner CEO and former Yahoo and PayPal executive Scott Thompson , and Twitter co-founder Biz Stone – to present their views of how technology has shaped and will continue to shape the retail industry, the consumer and the content that is delivered to that consumer. Some of the comments were colored by anecdotes from the speakers’ personal experiences.

Carroll spoke about consumer technology’s “furious rate of change.” He cited statistics to the effect that 65 percent of preschool children today will work in a career that does not exist today, and that half of what they learn in science will be obsolete by the time they graduate. These realities pose a challenge to CE product-production and marketing cycles as never before, he said. “Sixty percent of Apple’s revenue comes from products that didn’t exist four years ago,” he said, to drive home the point. Crucial to survival in this new normal, he said, is flexibility, and the ability to react to fast-paced change – to the “fast future,” as he phrased it.

Furthermore, he said, “the consumer is increasingly in control. The control of the speed of innovation is shifting from individual industries to technology companies. You need to turn those trends into opportunities and redefine the future.”

Three trends he identified were:

  • the rapid emergence of new business models and new competitors (warning listeners to be careful that what happened in the livery cab industry doesn’t happen to them: “don’t be Uber’ed”);
  • fast-changing media-consumption trends where consumers can get whatever they want, wherever they want, whenever they want;
  • and the shaping of innovation, which is increasingly occurring on the fringes rather than from established sources (“R&D is being changed by crowd-funding”).

He warned against clinging to routine, paraphrasing Steve Jobs, who never worried about cannibalizing his own business because “if you don’t do it, someone else will.”

He told the audience, “Think big, start small, scale fast. What to do? Observe, think, change, dare, banish (as in banish innovating-killing statements like, ‘That’ll never work’ – which create ‘organizational sclerosis’), try, question, grow, do – and enjoy.”

You can find the full article here.

The Next 90 in HealthCare
October 7th, 2014

The Ontario Hospital Association — based in Canada — is celebrating it’s 90th year. As part of that, it arranged for a number of experts to comment on the future of healthcare, and is running this in a site that “looks at the next 90 years.

Health care is the most complex issue that our society faces in our time. We really need some big and bold and very innovative thinking to deal with the scope of the challenges.

Health care is the most complex issue that our society faces in our time. We really need some big and bold and very innovative thinking to deal with the scope of the challenges.

They asked me to contribute a piece.

I’m still doing a *tremendous* number of talks in the health care sector; it is one of the most high velocity industries around. For more insight, check out the ‘health care trends‘ section of my web site.


The Next 90
by Jim Carroll

Everyone in a leadership position in the health care system worldwide knows that the challenges facing the system are substantial and immense. That’s why innovation has quickly come to be one of the top issues that senior healthcare executives and medical professionals are thinking about.

Everyone in a leadership position in the health care system worldwide knows that the challenges facing the system are substantial and immense. That’s why innovation has quickly come to be one of the top issues that senior healthcare executives and medical professionals are thinking about.

Yet many in the system are stuck in sort of a Groundhog Day-like existence — they get up every morning, and everyone around them keeps talking about the same old thing as the day before — in the US, healthcare reform. In Canada, the discussion is all about “hospital wait times.” In other countries, the issue of the future of healthcare often swirls around a single issue.

The result is that real healthcare innovation is stifled, smothered, and never given a chance to flourish. Yet there is so much other opportunity if we link ourselves to the major trends that are going to unfold in the future at a furious, blinding velocity!

We need big thinking, because the health care cliff in the Western world is massive. In many countries, we’ve got a ratio of workers to retirees of 4 to 1. By 2030, that will decline to 2 to 1. Most of those workers support the health care expenditures of those who place the greatest demands on the health care system. In Canada it’s suggested that as a result, by 2030, Old Age Security and health care is likely to suffer a $71.2 billion shortfall that will require a GST of 19% and a top tax rate of 71%. In the US, the numbers are even more mind-boggling.

The fact is, we need big, bold thinking, Grand ideas. Dramatic change. Champions with courage to challenge the status quo. The need is desperate.

There is a realization that there is an urgent need to challenge the very philosophies upon which the system is built. That’s why, when we look back from the future, everyone will know that it was the major scientific, technological, consumer and social trends that allowed for some very dramatic change in the concept of health care delivery. Preventative concepts are part of this big transition. I suspect by 2020 or 2025, we will have had successfully transitioned the health care system from one which “fixed people after they were sick” to one of preventative, diagnostic medicine. Treating them for the conditions we know they were likely to develop.

GE is running an article, A Fresh Perspective from Many Minds, that explores the impact of crowdfunding on the world of R&D. I’ve long been pointing out that such efforts are accelerating R&D in countless industries, and in many cases, are challenging incumbent ‘owners of the industry.’

Greenbox

Carroll says that interest in crowdsourcing is spreading, thanks to the inherent desire of small independent firms to make a big hit. “They can get a prototype out in about a month. Big companies can’t do that. If you’re a small startup competing for ideas you can do it and get it to market a lot faster.”

For example, I recently spent time with a company in the lawn irrigation business. It’s been a pretty simple industry: some sprinkler heads, pipes, control systems. But now, what is coming to the industry — hyper connectivity, individually accessible sprinkler heads that are linked to an ethernet network. Not just that, but sophisticated control panels from iPads that provide for individually controllable water application, and sensors that feed moisture and other soil data on a square meter by square meter basis.

A good part of this innovation is occurring out on KIckstarter; there are dozens of examples, but perhaps the best is the Greenbox project, which goes with the tagline, “Your Garden, Connected.”

What this is leading to is an acceleration of change and innovation in many industries, and startups challenging incumbents in new and different ways. It continues to lead us to the future in which the future belongs to those who are fast!

GE Survey: Canadian companies are turning to crowdsourcing to solve R&D challenges

” Essentially, crowdsourcing is distributed problem-solving. It is also called “open innovation” for its collaborative approach to finding new solutions to technical challenges. Canadian futurist, trendspotter and innovation expert Jim Carroll says: “It’s changing the classical approach to research and development. A lot of R&D is being done through crowdsourcing. I call it innovation occurring on the edges.”

—-

Carroll says that interest in crowdsourcing is spreading, thanks to the inherent desire of small independent firms to make a big hit. “They can get a prototype out in about a month. Big companies can’t do that. If you’re a small startup competing for ideas you can do it and get it to market a lot faster.”

—-

Then there’s the issue of compensation and ownership of crowdsourced innovations. Large corporations may pay little more than a few thousand dollars for a bright idea that may make them far more money. This risks alienating the crowdsourcing ecosphere. However, leveraging the resources and ability to scale of a large organization may be worth the risks for some. Carroll says that the phenomenon will “play out in different ways. People will come to realize the currency of their ideas.” Conversely, he says, a lot of promising ideas touted by crowdsource participants may not deliver on time or on spec. “It’s very hard work to get the bloody thing built and tested, and that’s a risk with crowdsourcing.”

The economics of crowdsourcing is only one aspect, however, and the compelling attraction of a thousand independent minds finding ways to solve your innovation challenge is undeniable. A fresh perspective is always welcome.

You can read the full article here.

The CEO of a major US energy company hired me to do a video that he would use on stage as part of the opening of a big energy conference. Here’s the result — could the energy industry be MP3’d?

It’s a provocative little film clip that I filmed with TAG Productions in San Francisco in August — we took a half day to shoot and get some basic material down, and then they worked their magic to make a magical video!

But the video does pose some tough questions. Every industry today is subject to dramatic transformation, disruption and significant change.

Could your industry me Mp3’d as well? It’s a valid question!

I recently spoke at the Cattle Feeders Business Summit in Denver. Turns out the folks at Beef Magazine were in the audience, and here’s their report on my keynote!

—–

Will You Be Ranching Like The Jetsons In 10 Years? – Beef Magazine (link to article)

What will the beef industry look like in 10 years?” A simple question, that. But, in the same breath, one of profound depth and profound significance.

That’s the question Jim Carroll asked cattle feeders attending the recent Cattle Feeders Business Summit, sponsored by Merck Animal Health. The Toronto-based futurist then gave them a glimpse into a future that will, in some ways, be completely different from our current experience.

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““Imagine a future in which we’ve got remote herd management monitoring technology in which we have instant insight into the health of our herd, the health of particular animals, that goes way beyond simple GPS tracking,” he says.”

Remember George Jetson? The popular cartoon from the ‘60s was, in many ways, prophetic, Carroll told cattle feeders. So was Star Trek. In one episode of “The Jetsons,” George uses a flat-screen device to FacedTime with his family and his boss. In “Star Trek,” medical conditions were instantly analyzed with a hand-held tricorder.

Welcome to your future. FaceTime is already a reality. So is a device much like Bones’ medical tricorder. And the technology behind both will forever change how you manage your cattle, Carroll says.

Consider these facts:

An Australian study determined, given the rate of technological change we’re presently enduring, that the majority of kids entering grade school now will work at jobs that do not yet exist. Another study determined that half of what college students learn in the first year of school will either be obsolete or revised by the time they graduate. 60% of Apple’s revenue comes from products that didn’t exist four years ago.

One of those newly emerging careers that will have profound influence on how you manage cattle, Carroll says, are location intelligence professionals. That’s an emerging technology that is exploding in its capability.

We’ve got a GPS in our pocket with our smartphone,” he says. But that’s just the beginning.

Imagine a future in which we’ve got remote herd management monitoring technology in which we have instant insight into the health of our herd, the health of particular animals, that goes way beyond simple GPS tracking,” he says.

While you’re trying to bend your mind around the implications of that thought, consider this: “In 2017, if not sooner, we could be in a situation where minimally invasive surgery for large animals is common,” he predicts. “Remote monitoring of the effectiveness of animal pharmaceutical treatment (will be common) because the pharmaceuticals we give our animals are connected to the Internet.”

Science fiction? Not at all. “This is real stuff. Virtual understanding of every single aspect of your herd is coming sooner than you think,” Carroll told cattle feeders.

How will this change the cattle business? Carroll says we will quickly transition from a management approach where we deal with issues in the herd after they are diagnosed to an industry where we understand, with a high degree of accuracy, what conditions they will be susceptible to.

Not all of us, particularly those who can remember watching “The Jetsons” and “Star Trek” when they weren’t reruns, are comfortable with technology, and particularly aren’t comfortable with how quickly it is changing our world. My wife just bought a new car, and thank goodness it still has a steering wheel, because just about everything else on the dashboard is beyond my ability to operate.

We’re going to have to get over that. Carroll says one of his ag clients framed it perfectly. They have customers they call the apathetic minority—they tend to seek the same advice from the same places; they have a low tolerance for risk; they’re skeptical about the future.

Then they have clients who are future positive. These are farmers and ranchers who are optimistic; they’re business-minded; they’re innovation-oriented; they’re collaborative for advice; they seek input from other generations; they thrive on ideas that come from technology; they’re focused on profit and growth; they’re willing to approach everything in new ways.

That, Carroll says, is your future and that’s who you need to be.

So what do you think your ranch or feedyard will look like in 10 years? Will you still saddle a horse, heat up the branding irons, rope calves, turn the bulls out and do the many other things that have traditionally have defined both you and your livelihood? Or will you, as Carroll predicts, manage your ranch or feedyard completely differently?

Honey, let’s go get some ice cream. We’ll take the new car. Now, show me again how you start this darn thing.

Some months back, the folks at Retail NewsAgent in the UK sent me a series of questions asking about the future of retail. They were busy preparing for their 125th anniversary issue, and were interviewing a number of fellow futurists for insight into the trends that might shape and impact the sector in the future.

RN_125-SmartphoneThey’ve run a pretty lengthy article which I’ll post later this week, but here’s a short little article that they also ran in which two of us talk about the impact of the smartphone on the overall shopping experience.

The entire PDF is available on the right, but here are two quick extracts:

Canadian futurologist Jim Carroll, adds that the relationship between consumers and their smartphones introduces new shopper marketing opportunities too.

“I did a session with the leadership team at Gap. I played out a scenario where I had a Facebook relationship with Gap and ‘liked’ them. I walk into one of their stores and they recognise me and run a customised commercial on an in-store TV, saying ‘Welcome back Jim. We’re giving you a $20-off coupon today and in aisle seven there is something you might like’.

“Every 15-year-old is already giving away all their private life and they are not going to care about privacy when they get 20% off by linking their mobile to a screen in store.”

Mobile innovation is also changing payment technology at rapid pace.

“Control of the speed of innovation in every industry is shifting to Silicon Valley and the likes of Apple and Amazon are innovating a lot quicker than traditional retail companies,” says Jim Carroll. “As soon as Apple puts a chip in the iPhone that supports credit card transactions the industry will change at lightning speed.”

Over the years, I’ve done a tremendous number of presentations into the retail sector — check here for a glimpse! On the page, I use one of my favourite observations about the world of retail in a world of fast paced change: “The average consumer scans some 12 feet of shelf space per second. Mobile interactions in the retail space are about to become common. You’ve got but multi-seconds to grab their attention.

Obviously, if everyone is carrying around a smartphone, then that becomes a primary window in which to try to grab their attention!

 

I spent the day in San Francisco yesterday with a fabulous video production team!

A Fortune 500 organization engaged me to work with them on custom video product involving future trends in the energy sector. We filmed on location at Vista Point in San Francisco, and then two other locations around the city.

Here’s a few little pictures from ‘around the set.’

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Early morning filming , 8am, Vista Point overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge.

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My view of the film shoot!

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Downtown for some urban action....

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Moscone Center for the final shoot!

SFO5

My Executive Producer!

This is one of several custom video productions I’ve done through the years — more details can be found on my ‘Custom Video Production” page. I’m particularly proud of the work I did on behalf of Deloitte South Africa for the “Best Companies to Work For” awards show — you can watch the full clip here.

 

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!

OA1989

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!”

 

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