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Each year, Consumer Goods & Technology Magazine puts together an issue that peers into the future. I’ve been named one of their esteemed visionaries in the past, and again this year for their 2020 Imperative issue.

Here’s the opening comment from the magazine: any my insight is shared below that.

“It’s no secret that consumer goods companies must drastically change the way they do business in order to compete — and the pace of change needs to happen faster than ever before.

CGT2014Gone are the days of executing large-scale technology implementations at a leisurely pace. In 2014, consumer goods executives must often jump head first into new initia-tives — like big data, digital marketing and omnichannel selling — without much of a safety net to protect their brands, businesses or investments. That’s the exciting, yet challenging, world we live and work in today.

But, what about five or 10 years from now? How can consumer goods companies best prepare themselves to stay in front of future trends, many of which are just educated
guesses at this point?

In the 2014 Review & Outlook Report, we asked 75 of
the industry’s brightest minds — each of whom is driving change in the consumer goods industry in his or her own right — to look into their crystal ball and tell us:
“What one initiative must consumer goods companies pursue now in order to compete and grow in the year 2020?”


Jim Carroll’s observations

Going forward, the biggest trend impacting the consumer goods and retail sector is that the pace of innovation has clearly shifted to the speed dictated by Silicon Valley — which means that the innovation will now occur at the speed of Moore’s law. 

(Remember, Moore’s law explains that roughly, the processing power of a computer chip doubles every 18 months while its cost cuts in half. It provides for the pretty extreme exponential growth curve we see with a lot of consumer and computer technology today.)

The checkout process? It’s now being driven at hyper-speed through the introduction of iPad-enabled checkout devices, which accelerates change.

The introduction of ever more intelligent, connected packaging technologies shifts control of innovation from traditional packaging companies to tech companies, the makers of bits and chips and RFID and tags.

In store interaction, with consumers more engaged with their iPhone than with a salesperson, now evolve at staggering speed as in-store promotion technologies no longer involve cool cardboard box end-cap displays, but hi-tech LED televisions wired to Facebook Like buttons.

And of course, there’s the Amazon helicopter drone delivery system. Science fiction? Maybe so — but if you think so, then I suggest you watch a few old episodes of The Jetson’s cartoon show. Watch carefully, and you’ll see that George was actually having FaceTime chats, read his news off the Internet, and has Internet-sensor, connected clothing. What was once sci- ence fiction now becomes reality faster than ever before.

This means that in the future, the consumer goods industry is going to have to learn to innovate at the speed of companies such Apple, Google, Twitter and Facebook, as opposed to a more leisure- ly pace of innovation found in the past. Clearly, Moore’s law rules! Hence, my catchphrase — the future belongs to those who are fast!

It was a bit of a whirlwind the last two weeks, with keynotes in Anaheim (medical device industry), Phonenix (top farming producers) and two in Orlando (the first being for Ameriquest; more on that to come.

The other event I opened in Orlando was for the 2013 Innovation Takes Root conference with  Natureworks; they’re the manufacturer of plant-based Ingeo biopolymer (polylactic acid) product, most often used in food packaging. (You’ll remember the infamous “noisy” Sun Chips bag launch a few years ago; that was their product. They age since fixed the sound issues.

itr2013_jimcarroll

“….packaging is increasingly becoming THE brand (think about the consumer experience of opening an Apple iPhone packaging)…..”

There’s a bit of coverage of my talk on the Pack Web Asia Web site which my news filter picked up, so I’ll run. You can read the full article here.

Innovation Takes Root 2014: NatureWorks Conference – Day One

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.”

I’m covered in the January / February issue of an Australian publication, Think and Grow Rich. It’s oriented toward franchise operations. Enjoy!

 The Power of One
from Think and Growth Rich
January/February 2014

TGR14_CurrentIssue

Notes Jim Carroll: ” look around and I just see a countless number of methods by which a franchisee can run the business better, grow and transform their business. And that’s what innovation is all about!”

Despite a small slump in figures during the Global Financial Crisis, franchising has come out of the mire relatively unscathed and in fact the numbers for franchisors and their franchisees are looking very healthy. TGR looks at what the franchise sector can expect as we embed ourselves in the 21st century.

Many top companies, from Disney to Visa, have hired futurist Jim Carroll to speak about his views on the future. So it is interesting to hear his views about franchising. He told Multi-unit Franchisee, “There’s nothing to fear really, if you view future trends as being full of opportunities rather than as a threat. I find that many of my clients think about future trends and think, ‘Oh, this can’t be good, it’s going to be pretty difficult to deal with.’ The first step with getting into an innovative frame of mind is to think of every trend as an opportunity, not a threat.

“So let’s think about a few of them. Consider social networks; there are huge impacts on how consumers perceive, interact and provide feedback on brands. Obviously, if you don’t pay attention to the trend, it can turn into a big negative for you. But if you get involved, engage the new consumer, and continually experiment with new ways of taking advantage of this new form of interaction, then you are doing the right thing.”

Carroll went on to say that to be successful you must keep up-to-date with current trends.

“There are just so many opportunities to grow the business. We’ve got all kinds of new location-intelligence oriented opportunities – people walking around with mobile devices that have GPS capabilities built in. Think about instant couponing apps that might encourage customers to drop in and purchase something. There are new methods of getting the brand image out there; we’ve seen so many franchise groups with successful viral videos. For restaurant franchisees, there’s the rapid emergence of the new health-conscious consumer and opportunities to reshape the menu to take advantage of that. I look around and I just see a countless number of methods by which a franchisee can run the business better, grow and transform their business. And that’s what innovation is all about!”

In Australia, the outlook is just as optimistic and there are many entrepreneurial franchisors taking this kind of innovative approach that would make Carroll proud. For instance, the Franchise Food Company led by Stan Gordon launched its Gives Back campaign in August 2013. The initiative hopes to help a number of local community groups and initiatives by donating a total of $10,000 to a variety of causes over the next 12 months.

Gordon says the program will provide much-needed support to charities and community initiatives, to help many Australians who have been met with adverse circumstances or might be doing it tough.

“Cold Rock is all about giving people a reason to smile. The campaign is for anyone and everyone who’s working hard to make a difference in their community; whether you’re supporting a local sporting team, raising money for serious illnesses or fighting to save a historic landmark, we want to hear from you so we can help you along the way.”

The unique and inclusive initiative, housed on the Official Cold Rock Ice Creamery Facebook page, offers charities and community groups four opportunities to receive a one-off donation of up to $2,500.

Community groups and individuals are asked to submit an application detailing why they need a helping hand via the Gives Back Facebook Application.

Running over the coming 12 months, Cold Rock hopes to assist a variety of organisations with meaningful donations and build on the strong history of giving that Stan Gordon and Cold Rock has developed through years of community involvement.

It’s a unique use of social media and a great marketing tool, as well as a community initiative.

Meanwhile, the FFC continues to acquire strong franchise brands. The company’s latest acquisition is the iconic Trampoline brand, which fits nicely into the treats niche along with Mr Whippy, Cold Rock, Nut Shack and Pretzel World. FFC is unique, but like any franchise business, systems are crucial and will remain so, no matter how many years we move forward.

Pacific Retail Management is one of the largest franchise companies in Australia, with ownership of Go Sushi, Wasabi Warriors and Kick Juice Bars.

Part of its success is its systems management. Julia Boyd is the project and marketing coordinator. She says, “Pacific Retail has implemented strong operational systems to assist their franchise partners at every stage of training. Travelling operational team members continue to visit all national stores throughout the year and stay for up to a week or more to assist the business. They help to improve sales and are heavily involved with the franchise partners and any issues they may have.

“Support can also come from fellow franchisees in the group who are experiencing the same things and working towards the same goals. When franchisees work together towards a common goal, you can achieve great success and a cohesive team.

“Being part of a franchise network also means assistance and guidance from industry experts with the set-up of the business. This can include help with site selection and brokering of the lease with the landlord; financing through franchisors relationship with lenders and major banks; expedited process from initiation of agreement to store opening; and ultimately the sale of the store including finding a buyer.”

Of course franchising won’t be for everyone. With the advent of social media and vast new ways to reach clientele, the model will become easier to manage and far more sustainable. However there remains a lack of independence.

“Some prospective business owners are put off franchise networks and prefer to remain independent to avoid such established systems with little room for individual creativity, having to adhere to the operating systems in place and the initial payouts including franchise fees and training and marketing launch costs,” Boyd says…


Excerpted from an article originally published in the February/March 2014 issue of Think & Grow Rich Inc. magazine. You can access the Web

 

Last autumn, I was the luncheon keynote speaker for the Electronics Representatives Association in Chicago. This is a group of folks who act as middlemen between a vast number of large and small electronic/equipment manufacturers and their eventual sales targets — other manufacturing companies.

The truth, according to Carroll, is that businesses tend to underestimate the rate of change that will occur. Many companies sit around discussing what their competitors may be doing 10 years from now. Instead, they need to think in terms of what doesn’t even yet exist.

On stage in Chicago. “The truth, according to Carroll, is that businesses tend to underestimate the rate of change that will occur. Many companies sit around discussing what their competitors may be doing 10 years from now. Instead, they need to think in terms of what doesn’t even yet exist.”

My focus : how a world of fast change in manufacturing, product design, innovation, and other issues will come to challenge their role — and what they must do to “step up to the plate.”

My keynote ended with an interactive workshop based on live text message polling — I built the polls live in real time, on stage, with direct audience interation. You can read about it here. If you want something different with your keynote, I’m the guy to talk to! (We have video…..)


The ‘fast future’ is here!
How innovators are driving emerging markets
by  Suzi Wirtz, CAE, on assignment for ERA.

Change is no longer an option. It’s not only happening at lightning speed, but it has become a necessary part of the world in which everyone lives today. The secret to success lies in how a company responds to this rapid change and plans to meet its inherent challenges. In a word, it’s about innovation. Will your company be ahead of change and create ways to survive and succeed? Or will it be left behind?

To help reps, manufacturers and distributors answer these questions, ERA called on Jim Carroll, an international futurist and authority on global trends, to deliver the keynote presentations at the association’s 46th Management and Marketing Conference this past October. Carroll spoke about what it takes to recognize emerging markets and to become part of what he calls the “fast future.”

Benchmarking Rep Firm Income and Expenses
He urged conference attendees to rethink the role of “electronics” in a world that is hyperconnected, always on and always interactive. He quoted Rupert Murdoch, saying, “It’s no longer the biggest organizations that will win and own and control the future. It’s the fastest.” And, Carroll explained to the ERA audience, this “truth” couldn’t be any more appropriate for them.

“You [in the electronics industry] are in the whirlwind of the change that is occurring today,” he said. “Change is occurring faster than ever before. It’s the same for NASA as it is for the Electronics Representatives Association.”

He provided three rather mind-boggling statistics to put into perspective the rate of change:

  1. Sixty-five percent of the children who are now in preschool will work in jobs that do not exist today.
  2. For any scientific degree today (e.g., agriculture, architecture, medical), it is estimated that half of what students learn in their freshman year is obsolete by the time they graduate.
  3. In the technology industry, companies have three to six months to sell their product before it becomes obsolete.

With these facts in mind, Carroll stated emphatically that companies need to talk about the trends that are happening now so they make it a habit to think about their next set of opportunities and to challenge themselves to do things differently. The big question, he stressed, is, “What do world-class innovators do that others don’t do?” Furthermore, how can ERA members learn from these innovators in order to be well-positioned for success and to ensure they are maximizing the opportunities for the future?

Six things world-class innovators do

1. They are relentless in the face of uncertainty.

As far back as 2002, according to Carroll, this phenomenon was happening with respect to the dot-com bust. People were driven by indecision, and they simply didn’t want to explore or invest in new ideas because the economy was uncertain. He referred to this as “aggressive indecision.”

Interestingly, Carroll has been asking audiences for the past seven years when they feel the economy will recover. Consistently, they have responded that it’s between six months and two years. However, one industry felt it was happening “right now,” and that was the American manufacturing industry.

The lesson is that optimism can go a long way, and it’s a necessary function for not only survival, but success. In fact, as Carroll related, the Head of Innovation at General Electric (yes, that is an actual title!) decided it would be interesting to examine trends in economic recovery over the years. He found that 60 percent of companies performed typical things in the same situation. That is, they cut back on costs and didn’t make any bold moves. The result? Thirty percent didn’t survive while 60 percent just barely made it. However, 10 percent actually became break-through performers because they decided that, despite lingering economic uncertainty, they would make big moves.

2. They realign with the longer term.

World-class innovators think big picture and devise big ideas, Carroll described. They challenge their industries to do things in new and different ways.

He referenced Star Trek and The Jetsons, saying, “Some of what they envisioned is now being challenged to become reality today. The period of time in which we talk about science fiction and when it actually happens is compressing. That is part of the accelerating change today.”

The truth, according to Carroll, is that businesses tend to underestimate the rate of change that will occur. Many companies sit around discussing what their competitors may be doing 10 years from now. Instead, they need to think in terms of what doesn’t even yet exist.

As an example, he cited the auto industry and the notion of Google Maps back in 2003. Google Maps was just beginning, but Carroll suggested that cars would soon provide a way, within the car itself, for the driver to locate directions, destinations and so on. In fact, he predicted Google could also be responsible for delivering cars via FedEx.
The downfall, he suggested, was the response, “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.” Fast forward to 2013 and Tesla Motors. Tesla has transformed the auto industry with its distribution of cars.

Another emerging idea Carroll discussed was that cellphones will actually become credit cards in the near future. And he challenged the ERA audience with, “Will you be one of the representatives out there pounding the pavement discovering all the opportunity that lies in these emerging marketplaces?”

3. They watch the innovation at the edges.

Carroll urged the conference attendees to constantly monitor research and development and assess what is happening there. He recently talked with a home automation group about Ninja Blocks, which began as a crowdfunding initiative. Immediately, $100,000 was invested and, within a matter of weeks, a million dollars was raised via angel funding. Ninja Blocks are “cool,” Carroll noted, and “coolness” is very important with products going forward.

Consider the Ninja Blocks’ website address itself: ANinjaIsBorn.com. It’s not just cool, Carroll commented, but people then talk about how cool it is and spread the word to everyone they know. That kind of viral marketing serves to expand that market. Think about robotics and 3D printing, cloud computing and the ability to build something entirely unique. He believes, as do others, that these advances will bring in a new phase of luxuriant and wired home living that is highly personal and customized.

4. They align to Silicon Valley innovation velocity.

One of the most fascinating trends unfolding today, Carroll related, is pervasive connectivity. In other words, it’s the Internet and the fact that everything that is a part of everyone’s daily lives is about to become plugged into the Internet. Entire industries are being built around this soon-to-be reality.

He referenced a scale now being sold by Apple, whereby a person’s body mass is measured, charted and shared with other devices for an overall picture of the individual’s health and well-being. Chips and electronic sensors will plug into everything, and this is “massive” for the electronics industry’s future opportunity.

Think about healthcare and genetic-based medicine, Carroll encouraged. “It’s gone from a system that can fix you after you are sick into a system that can predict what you are going to become sick with, based on DNA and so forth, and then design solutions based upon that.”

Consider the notion of velocity in these terms: It took $3 billion to sequence the first genome. In 2009, the cost dropped to $100,000. It is now under $10,000, and Carroll feels it will likely go down to even $1,000.

He also cited the thermostat and how it now has programmable capabilities. In the not-too-distant future, there will likely be a facial recognition component built in so that the device can remember who you are when you enter a room and adjust to your preferences.

And as a final reference in this category of what world-class innovators do, Carroll discussed wearable technology, as in clothing with sensors in it. This should be another near-future opportunity for electronics industry companies.

5. They check their speed.

Carroll explained that Apple is in a position in which 60 percent of its revenue comes from sources that didn’t exist four years ago. It’s called “chameleon revenue,” and he urged every company to think about this fact because this is the type of future for which companies should be positioning themselves.

“Change your market, change your capability, change your products so that you are continually generating new sources of revenue,” he advocated.

Using the manufacturing industry as an example again, Carroll noted that it is focused on continually changing the manufacturing process. The business model has been one in which companies build to inventory. Here, Carroll referenced the auto industry and Henry Ford’s once-novel idea of the assembly line. Honda, on the other hand, is building to demand. The company watches the trends, sees what is selling one week and then changes to meet that demand. In today’s world, this type of almost-instant response is not only possible – thanks to rapid concept generation and rapid prototyping – but it is becoming necessary.

6. They know everything changes with the next generation.

To reinforce this fact, Carroll pointed out that about 90 percent of the ERA conference attendees (and those in their similar generations) are the only ones to have ever met the computer punch card, and no one else since even knows what Cobol and Fortan are. They are that obsolete.

Children who are now 18 to 20 years old have never known a world without the Internet. The older generation often feels battered and bruised by the rapid change and may likely just wish all the progress would just stop.

Carroll quoted Ogden Nash, “Progress is great, but it’s gone on far too long.” However, Carroll said, “It’s not going to go away, and one reason it will continue to accelerate is because of the next generation.”

Think about all the times older generations have had to look to their children to help with installing software or working on a computer. Then consider these statistics:
Half of the global population is under the age of 25.

Younger generations are globally wired, entrepreneurial, collaborative and change oriented.

Younger generations are also now driving rapid business model change and industry transformation as they move into managerial and executive positions.

To wrap up his presentation, Carroll delivered some succinct advice: Watch the emerging markets. Stop clinging to that which is familiar. Begin to thrive on innovation. Think big in terms of the scope of opportunities. Start small and get familiar with the technology today. Then, finally, scale fast.

The closing segment of the conference keynote program consisted of round table workshop discussions by attendees. For the first time at an ERA event, interactive polling was used so the entire audience could rank the various responses that were reported by table leaders from their discussions. (Carroll had employed the text message polling several times during his presentation, so attendees were famiiar with the method.). The attendees discussed and then ranked the responses to three questions. A summary of the feedback follows.

Workshop questions and discussions

Mark Motsinger, CPMR, of Wallace Electronic Sales, the conference workshop coordinator, and Carroll first asked the attendees, What is the most significant challenge facing your industry today?

There were many varied responses, and once those were all posted on the ballroom screens, Carroll asked the full audience to rank them. He felt there were four dominant answers (shown below with the percentage of the audience that gave a number one ranking to each answer). The top challenges cited were:

  • Relationship development (26 percent);
  • Attracting the next generation (17 percent);
  • Ability to innovate (16 percent);
  • Alignment of resources and picking a winner (15 percent).

The second question for attendees was, How will you respond to that challenge?

  • After using the same process of reporting as many responses as possible and then polling all attendees to determine their number one choices, the top vote-getters were:
  • Get young (17 percent);
  • Social media (14 percent); (Carroll noted this goes hand-in-hand with “get young.”)
  • Deeper CRM usage and analysis (13 percent); (Carroll commented that one of his leading agricultural clients knows which 87 customers, out of 12,000 farmers, generate 93 percent of the company’s profit.)
  • More flexible relationships (13 percent); (Carroll added that this could be at the core for ERA members. “You’ve built your relationships,” he said, “but are you challenging and changing your relationships?”)
  • Customer centricity/collaboration (9 percent). (“The opportunity here is great,” according to Carroll.)

The third and last question conference attendees answered was, When it comes to a “fast future,” how well positioned are you? The responses were perhaps more reassuring than some might expect. The majority of attendees felt that they are at least somewhat positioned or extremely well positioned for success. Here’s the percentage breakdown:

  • Extremely well positioned for success (19 percent)
  • Somewhat positioned for success (59 percent);
  • Behind in our ability to keep up (20 percent);
  • “We’re toast! It’s way too fast!” (2 percent).

On a final note, Carroll highlighted the fact that 297 out of 300 customers in the next generation are using smartphones, and “they are seeking your support on a mobile device!” He urged everyone to use interactive polling on smartphones with their own customers.

This article was written by Suzi Wirtz, CAE, on assignment for ERA.

I’m interviewed in this months “Pulse Magazine” — it’s the official publication of the International SPA Association.

Click the image for the PDF — you might find it a useful read!

Screen Shot 2014-01-10 at 2.24.37 PM

“I’ve got this theme I’ve been talking about for a few years: What do world-class innovators do that others don’t do? I wrote a little list of 10 things, and it keeps getting longer. I keep discovering things that I think world-class inno- vators do, such as focus on their speed and ability to change. They focus on understanding how their customers are chang- ing or changing their business model before they change it themselves.”


Running in the Ottawa Citzen, Vancouver Province and other papers today is this article, which offers more food for thought about what the future will be like for babies born in 2014.


Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.
“– American author and cultural critic Neil Postman

2014Baby

Carroll admits he’s only guessing, but says the child who is raised thinking, ‘Mom, dad, get off that device and talk to me,’ could conceivably grow up rejecting personally intrusive types of technology

Almost 400,000 Canadian babies will be born in 2014, a small portion of 140 million who will join the human race next year.

In Canada, those babies will be born to the first generation of parents totally consumed by devices with glowing screens — the chronic tweeters, the obsessive email users, the web surfers, the social media addicts.

And when it comes to predicting and imagining what life has in store for the babies of 2014, it is there we should begin, says Canadian futurist Jim Carroll.

“The kids today aren’t getting the attention that I gave my kids or the attention my parents gave me,” says the 54-year-old Carroll. “Their parents are completely wound up in their mobile devices and social networks. They have no attention span. Those first two or three years are formative, so somehow what they learn during that time is going to help shape their view of the world.”

How might that happen?

Carroll admits he’s only guessing, but says the child who is raised thinking, ‘Mom, dad, get off that device and talk to me,’ could conceivably grow up rejecting personally intrusive types of technology — despite the absolute certainty they’ll grow up in a world with more technology than their parents and grandparents living today can only dream of.

There are already many hints of what technology will bring Canada’s 2014 babies. Just a few weeks ago, Sony applied for a patent for the SmartWig, still a concept but an innovation in wearable computing devices that would capture and broadcast sophisticated images and contain minute sensors capable of monitoring bodily functions such as blood pressure and temperature.

Aside from galloping technological advances, today’s Canadian babies will have to grapple with a deteriorating natural environment and increasing social and economic inequity in one of the world’s richest and most desirable countries.

Carroll and fellow futurists in the United States and Europe have plenty of theories on what life will be like for 2014’s children, at least those born in Canada and other affluent nations. The Citizen gathered some of their thoughts and attempts to imagine the lives of next year’s babies.

TECHNOLOGY

In the early 1990s, when British futurist Ian Pearson predicted a method of communication now known as texting, his idea was dismissed as ridiculous. Why would people write on mobile devices when they could just punch in a number and talk?

With Sony now flagging its SmartWig, Pearson has pondered the notion of computerized contact lenses that would flash images to our eyes — maps, road closures on a usual commute, people whose names we forget at parties. But it’s difficult to know where this might lead.

Even technology futurists admit that ideas that seem ridiculous can become massively popular in the wink of an eye. Just consider the rapid ubiquity of Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Are driverless cars just around the corner? Will plastic soon become redundant as direct payment options move to fingerprints or eyeballs?

THE ENVIRONMENT

By the time children born in 2014 are 50, futurologist Raymond Hammond figures they could be living in a world virtually unrecognizable to those living today, a world in which climate change has been by replaced by climate control (and thereby eliminating TV and radio weather predictors as a career choice).

Less fanciful is the United Nations prediction that by the middle of the century, at least two billion people will face severe water scarcity and/or the contamination of drinking water, a condition already faced by millions in developing countries. Heat trapping gases will cause radical climate change and extreme weather conditions that will equal or exceed the power of Hurricane Katrina that devastated New Orleans in 2005.

In his acclaimed 2003 book The Weather Makers, Tim Flannery wrote: “We must be under no illusions as to what is at stake. If humans pursue a business-as-usual course for the first half of this century, I believe the collapse of civilization due to climate change becomes inevitable.”

WORK

After education that will be increasingly impacted by e-learning, some futurists believe the concept of a career as we know it today will be replaced by constant change.

Learning is what most adults will do for a living,” says Carroll. It’s already underway. As robots continue to eat away at much of our traditional labour, jobs that people once saw as career paths will continue to disappear and be replaced by jobs that are as unimaginable now as the high-tech industry was at the dawn of the last century.

Babies born in 2014 will be members of a workforce that will be increasingly untied to their employers’ office desk. With 3D holographic conferencing and 3D contact lenses presenting pertinent information before your eyes, the office will be wherever the worker is.

HEALTH

Many futurists confidently predict that health care will be tipped on its head during the 90 or 100 years our 2014ers can expect to live.

Along with health gadgets such as smart toilets to monitor waste for early stages of disease and health sensors embedded in our bodies, clothing or homes to monitor well-being, doctors will conduct back-to-the-future-style home consultations without leaving their office or the patient leaving home.

But the biggest overall change, predicts Carroll, will be the perfected ability of people to know with certainty what might ail them before it actually happens.

I can look at a couple of strands of your DNA and know what you will have, or what you’re likely to have,” says Carroll. “We won’t be talking wait times in a system where we fix people after they get sick. The entire system will be based on prevention and deciding what a person has to do to avoid specific illnesses.”

ENTERTAINMENT

This remains one of the more complicated, unpredictable areas of future human activity to forecast.

On one hand, it’s clear that the screens we use for entertainment will become more sophisticated. British futurologist Frank Shaw imagines a future where walls, floors and ceilings will be interactive screens for video games, movies and TV. On the other hand, the 2014er is being born at a time when vinyl records and the turntables needed to play them are making a comeback.

Just consider the confident predictions of the early 1950s that television would kill radio and you have the conundrum of being reasonably sure that technology will offer options but unsure as to whether people will actually embrace it.

FUTURE TENSE

Futurists admit that most predictions are subject to change, but some aspects of human behaviour are predictable enough for them to be relatively confident about some things. Wars, for example. Our 2014ers and their children will face wars, but drones will be ubiquitous both as weapons and quite possibly as (unarmed) toys for the more affluent.

In his 2006 book, Mind Set! Reset Your Thinking and See The Future, American futurist John Naisbitt took a plus ça change, plus c’est la même, relatively optimistic view of what’s to come.

Whether cellphones can display television and calls are made via the Internet, your bathtub filled by taking off your clothes, or your refrigerator opened by a rumble in your stomach, these are just other ways of doing what we do — easier faster, further, more and longer — and not the substance of our lives. We go to school, get married, and have kids and send them to school. Home, family, and work are the great constants.

What My 2013 Means for YOUR 2020!
December 20th, 2013

It’s been an incredible run! 2013 proved to be another fun year with a number of keynote presentations and workshops, once again in a vast number of different industries.

Usually, at the end of every year, I write a ‘trend report’ related to key trends that will impact you in the future. You’ll find some of them in the 2014 and beyond section to the right.

This year, I thought I would do something different though — why not outline for you what you should thinking about in terms of the trends that will affect you between now and 2020, based on what I’ve been speaking to my clients about in the last year.

A typical working day at the office for me during 2013!

A typical working day at the office for me during 2013!

Here’s a list of just a few clients where I’ve had the privilege of speaking, with a message focused on one or several key trends that we need to think about as we head towards 2020:

  • NASA Goddard Space Center — a keynote and a half day working session with senior leaders, research scientists and project managers – including those who are building the James Webb telescope, the replacement for the Hubble! Perhaps one of the most extraordinary working days of my life, and it was a thrill to bring my 20 year old son along with me – I have long been a space exploration junkie! The focus of my talk? Broadly, putting some context on the theme “the business of space is changing.” NASA is faced with dramatic trends that define new challenges but vast opportunity, from the increasing commercialization of space, rapid advancement of national space programs (think Iran and China) and the impact of the distribution of global R&D. That’s a key trend to 2020 for every single organization and every single industry: there are vast changes underway in terms of business models in every industry, and they are bigger than you think. Transformation is a key word going forward: no industry or company will look anything in 2020 like it does today. Innovators will make sure they are part of it, not blindsided by it.
  • Sandia National Laboratories – a keynote and a half day working session with a room full of, literally, nuclear scientists. I must tell you, when I walk into one of these situations, I often ask myself as to how I ended up in this very strange job. Then I focus on the task at hand: in this case, the broad theme being the fact that there is a fundamental, deep and substantive change in terms of how global R&D is carried out : the knowledge tentacles of an organization into the global collective mind will define its future success. Every organization must align to this new reality, and understand how to realign its knowledge acquisition and development process.
  • Private wealth managers, Athens, Greece – a keynote for a group of “family office managers.” In the room, I had folks who represent and manage the wealth of a vast swathe of some of the wealthiest families on the planet. Key message: on a long term basis, growth abounds in the global economy, and world class innovators focus on opportunity despite economic volatility. Perhaps that’s why it was held in Athens — read my blog post on the “Miracle that is Greece.”
  • American Medical Group, Phoenix, Arizona – a keynote for this group, which represents a vast cross-spectrum of the US healtcare system. Key message? The real future of health care isn’t found in the ridiculousness of the politics, but in that the rapid acceleration of science will provide more opportunity for innovation in the next 5 years than we have seen in the last 100. Looking out to 2020, we are going to see massive change in everything we think about healthcare. Genomic medicine is undergoing a cost curve that equates to what happened with computer chips – in 5 years, you’ll go into Radio Shack and buy your own genomic sequencing machine for $2. That’s but one trend of many – check out the health care section of my blog under the trends area, and dig deeper.
  • Lender Processing Group - a keynote built on the theme of my book of 15 years ago, Surviving the Information Age. The client was celebrating a 25th anniversary of a customer event, and wanted to look back at trends from the past and cast them into the future. What turned out was a talk that was a huge amount of fun – you can find the full video online as well as a number of clips! Key theme? Baby boomers are a very unique generation because of their relationship with the earliest days of the computer revolution. Key trend? We are in the midst of an absolute massive generational transformation  that relates to attitudes towards innovation and change, as baby boomers retire and Gen-Connect takes over positions of power and influence. Looking out to 2020, this is probably one of the deepest, most profound and sweeping trends to impact us. Right now, half of the global population is under the age of 25. What do you think happens next? It’s going to be different!
  • ERA 2013, Austin, Texas - this keynote and many others involved a dramatic look at some future trends sweeping our world, such as the “car of 2017″ Key trend? Increasing acceleration of change means that we are living, for the first period of time, in which modern technologies come into our life,  become a part of our life, and then disappear. Do you think your car will even have a GPS 5 years from now? Probably not — GPS will disappear as the car begins to drive itself. Things are becoming “things from the olden days” literally before our very eyes.
  • FMC Agriculture, Los Cabos, Mexico  - a lot of talks this year in the agriculture and related industries. Think about what is coming soon: driverless, autonomous tractors! Drone aerial technology for monitoring of crop health. Pinpoint targeted seed varietals that are designed for a particular acre of ground that meets certain, key characteristics. Global Acceleration of change. And above all, growth opportunities. Key message: don’t presume that the way your industry works today will be how it works tomorrow: everything around you is going to be very, very different.
  • Black & Veatch , Aspen, Colorado – a keynote for their annual Utility Executive Leadership Institute Conference. My focus? The future of infrastructure, energy, utilities — and what happens when everything around us becomes intelligent, connected, aware, and location oriented. Key message? From now to 2020, industries will be redefined by those who dare to go with big, bold thinking as to solve some of the leading challenges of our time
  • Pella Doors & Windows, Pella, Iowa – and so I found myself in Idaho in the middle of Febraury for a talk to this long established manufacturing company on the key trends that are redefing the manufacturing sector — and every industry, into the future. One of my key messages: out to 2020, a world of rapid concept generationr, rapid concept development and rapid prototyping are the new normal. This requires a new type of skill set and new ways of bringing products to market — as we’ve seen with Tesla Motors and many other new startup manufacturing organizations. Key message – as we head to 2020, we’re witnessing organizations toss away the 20th century mass production methodologies in favour of highly customized, uniquely designed, fast developed new ways of getting things done. It involves flexibility, agilgiy, and the ability to innovate in ways that previously have not been possible, using technologies that were barely conceived of just five years ago.
  • Surge Accelerator, Houston, Texas – an opening keynote for this event involving pitches by young, growth oriented startup companies focused on opportunity in the energy sector. I must admit, it’s the only event at which I’ve seen the audience drinking Bloody Mary’s first thing in the morning (they were served as part of the event)  - this is Texas after all! One of my main points was that we can expect a lot of ongoing, unexpected change over the long term in the energy sector and other industries. By way of examine, I showed multiple headlines from 2008 about the forthcoming “boom” in nuclear power. (i.e. it was on June 29, 2008, that the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a breathless headline : “Nuclear Renaissance: Nuclear Power is Safer Than Ever And We Need it To Reduce Pollution and Our Dependence on Foreign Oil.“) Of course, they weren’t thinking or aware or cognizant of what was bubbling below the surface, so to speak, in the revolution  is shale-gas, horizontal drilling and other leading edge exploration and production techniques. Key message? Between now and 2020, be prepared for a lot of surprises that might challenge everything you know, and ensure you’ve got the innovation capability to adapt to short, sharp shocks of change.

There’s one more item that should be on the list – eye surgery! Three days ago, I had two intraocular lenses implanted, in what is known as Lens Replacement Surgery. It’s the same surgery as cataract surgery – before you get the cataracts. The benefit? For the first time in 34 years, I’m not wearing contact lenses or eyeglasses. I joke to my wife that I’ve become a bionic man! Whatever the case may be, I’ve got better vision — and hopefully, even more insight into what the future might hold.

 

It’s that time of year when all kinds of media are running their ‘looking into the future’ articles. I took a quick call for an interview yesterday with The Sun UK newspaper, and this was the article that ran today.
UKBaby

“A baby born today faces life in a world riddled with debt. But this will be an entrepreneurial generation” says Jim in an interview with the UK Sun.

The Sun sits behind a pay wall, and the article isn’t available online, but I managed to dig out a copy. Click for the Pdf!

100 not out; HOW YOUR BABY WILL REACH ITS CENTURY
by Dulcie Pearce,14 December 2013

Around a third of children born today will reach the ripe old age of 100.

The Office for National Statistics has revealed that 39 per cent of girls born in 2013 will celebrate their centenary — and the boys are not far behind at 30 per cent. So if all goes well, they should be receiving their telegram from our future King George in 2113.

There are now 14,000 people in the UK who are 100 or over, compared with just 600 in 1961.

Deputy Sun Woman Editor Dulcie Pearce – with the help of futurist and trends expert Jim Carroll - looks at what our newborns face in their long lifetime.

HEALTH AND LIFESTYLE

11 – by this age our newborns are likely to have smoked

THE average life expectancy for a boy born today is 80 and 83 for a girl. They are very likely to try a cigarette by the age of 11 and have a one-in-six chance of becoming a smoker.  The most common birth weight is 7lb 8oz for a boy and 7lb 2oz for a girl.

Only 34 per cent of boys and 39 per cent of girls born in 2013 will be a healthy size in adult life.

The most common male cancer will be prostate, which now has a one-in-eight chance of developing. One in eight girls born today will be at risk of breast cancer.

Boys will have a one-in-four chance of breaking a bone from osteoporosis when they reach 50, and a girl will have a one-in-two chance. By the time they are between 40 and 70, more than half of the boys will have erectile dysfunction.

Jim says: “In the future, we will be able to work with DNA-based medicine, which does exist today. It will have a huge impact on the healthcare of the next generation.  They will be able to look at the DNA of a baby born today and deal with the medical condition they have even before it is even making them ill.”

LOVE AND MARRIAGE

31 – when they are likely to have their first child

ON average, the babies of 2013 will have their first child at 31. That is two years later than their parents and five years later than their grandparents. They are most likely to get married at 33 – and the 2046 wedding will set them back an eye-watering £39,000.

Jim says: “Only one in four now live in heterosexual, two-parent families. As we know, the ‘conventional’ family no longer exists.” A baby born today is more likely to live with ” a partner for much longer in a relationship.”

£39,000.- cost of their wedding at age 33

DEBT

52 – age today’s tots will clear their student loans

THIS generation will be paying their student loan until they are 52 and their mortgage until 61.

Jim says: “A baby born today faces life in a world riddled with debt. But this will be an entrepreneurial generation. They are coming into a world where their parents are internet savvy. So they will be seeing job opportunities and work through fresh eyes. They will acclimatise to the debt and – sad as it might be – they will see it as part of life.”

61 – when the mortgage is finally paid off

JOB

70 – when their first pension payment is received

THESE babies will not pick up their first pension payment until the age of 70 – and go on to enjoy 30 years of retirement. Jim says: “They will almost definitely work in a job that we have never heard of or has yet to be created. I predict that 65 per cent of children born today will work in a job that does not even exist yet.”

“It is not far-fetched to say that they could  be flying a plane from inside their house. We are living in an incredibly fast world and it will be an even faster one with the technology becoming even more advanced. ”

They are most likely to be self-employed. “Permanent jobs for companies are quickly becoming a thing of the past and they will soon become extinct. These children born today will either be working for themselves or working on short-term employment contracts.”

65 per cent – will be working in job that does not yet exist

Payback of longer lives

SUN Doctor Carol Cooper says: “Around half of today’s babies could live to 100 and beyond if the trend carries on. “Longer lives may mean more opportunities, but there are more challenges. Obesity and type 2 diabetes rates are skyrocketing.

“Over 65, around one in 20 will have dementia, but numbers may treble. There has been a seachange in cancer treatments and there’ll be many advances. More people live alone … life might not only be long, but lonely too.”

Wow! I’m gonna get a telegram from King George

What a fun way to end the year!
December 13th, 2013

With about 125,000 air miles, and about 50 events, my 2013 speaking year has drawn to a close. It was a wild one — clients like NASA’s Goddard Space Center, where I spoke to an audience of astrophysicists and other scientists; Sandia Nuclear Laboratories, where I literally had a room full of nuclear engineers, to a private wealth management conference held in Athens, which I figured had folks in the audience representing several trillions of dollars of wealth.

I wrapped it up this week with a keynote for the New Jersey Real Estate Association Triple Play conference held in Atlantic City — and drew an audience close to 1,500 for a luncheon talk.

New Jersey Triple Play

An audience member grabs a fishbowl shot for Twitter from about 1/2 way up the room for my keynote in Atlantic City this week…..

Let’s face it, real estate hasn’t exactly been the hottest industry through the last few years — so I went out and did a barnburner of a speech around a variety of future trends, and the need for relentless innovation.

I guess it worked – here’s a bit of the Twitter stream!

2014 is already heavily booked right out into June 2014, so it looks like another spectacular year!


Adrian Tridel @kickinREALTOR
Keynote speaker Jim Carroll….#headspinning (@ Realtors Triple Play Convention w/ 4 others) 4sq.com/18UHxg0

Keynote speaker Jim Carroll speaking to a packed house. @PARealtors @AdvancedREALTOR #remax #TP13 pic.twitter.com/dv30yRjSY7

Molly Cutting Werner @MolWerner
@jimcarroll ..thanks for your message today…’Innovate and align yourself with the future”….. I am committed!!!!

Tom Elmer @tomelmer
@jimcarroll So much to take in after keynote at Triple Play. Trying to keep up nothing compared to whats needed to succeed in future.

Jennifer Kinsman @JenniferKinsman
The World is changing and changing fast! Great talk by Jim Carroll!

Tom Elmer @tomelmer
@jimcarroll Incredible address today in AC. Nucky T of Boardwalk Empire didn’t see prohibition destroying his empire. #proofinnovationamust

Stephanie Mallios @smallios
Great presentation “What do world class innovators do that others don’t do?” @jimcarroll [pic]: 4sq.com/1gpuV2K

John Tice @homeinHersheyPa
@jimcarroll is speaking about what’s next during #TP13 in Atlantic City today. Are you prepared? Are you keeping up?

Kim Skumanick @KimSkumanick
Fascinating presentation on future trends in real estate and life by @jimcarroll at @TriplePlayExpo #TP13

REALTORS Triple Play @TriplePlayExpo
Sci-fi as seen in the Jetson predicted the future, according to @jimcarroll. George Skyped and read his news online! #TP13

A few weeks ago, I was interviewed by the Membership Management Report about some of the trends and issues that association executives should be thinking about. This came about after their online search discovered the Associations category of my blog. I’ve written a tremendous number of articles about the trends and issues that associations should be addressing as the professions, industries or people they represent under very fast paced changes in terms of skills, knowledge requirements and change. Here’s the article….

MemberManagementReport2013

How Associations Can Keep Up with Change, Change … And More Change By Dawn Wolfe While even the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus knew the only thing that is ever constant is change, the fact is, in today’s world, the changes are coming faster and more radically than ever before. What can membership associations do to stay alive and thrive in the midst of these challenges? “If I’m in a career that’s being impacted by huge rates of change, whether through technology or learning how to work with the new generation, I want to know how my association can help me deal with that,” says futurist, author and consultant Jim Carroll. According to Carroll, there are three main things associations need to think about to help their memberships professionally — and thus, stay alive:

  1. “Associations frequently do annual meetings and focus major efforts on them, but what about helping members cope with the changes that occur between meetings? To borrow from the Pink Floyd song, we need ‘short, sharp, shock(s)’ of knowledge,” Carroll advises. He adds it’s a good idea to create smaller, issue- focused events throughout the year. “We still need to do the annual events — for a lot of associations, that’s their bread and butter — but you also have to fill a smaller, more strategic role.”
  2. “The second thing,” Carroll continues, “is the speed at which the knowledge in different industries is changing. If you’re in health care — or think of banking: people’s cell phones are becoming their credit cards. I should be able to look to my professional association or chamber of commerce to help me deal with this new technology. Increasingly, your job should be supporting the generation of knowledge.”
  3. Finally, Carroll says associations should be actively looking at their relevance. “I’ve spoken to conference attendees and asked if their profession will even exist 10 years from now. This is really important — are you evolving to meet what’s coming?”

To stay relevant, Carroll advises his clients to, “Challenge yourself to do something different. I go to a lot of association events, and they’re just doing the usual. Are you really thinking through the strategic purpose of your events?” It’s also necessary for associations to rethink everything from the length and frequency of blog posts to how to structure their newsletters. “Everyone is blogging, so associations are blogging. They generally are blogging weekly, but changes are coming on a daily basis. Everything is happening faster, so you have to do things faster,” he says. In addition, Carroll cites the example of his 20-year-old son who “gets his news from Twitter. If you’re thinking the next generation is going to have the attention span to read a 500 to 1,000 word New York Times piece, or even your two-page association newsletter, that just isn’t going to happen.”