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Drug Store News ran a 7 minute interview with me back in August. Here’s the audio: in a nutshell:

Pharmacists are likely to play an even greater role in patients’ health care than they do now, possibly branching into services like shots and checkups, Jim Carroll told DSN. Technology will play a greater role as well, as there is greater connectivity with home medical technology devices and the Internet that changes the relationship between patients, doctors and pharmacists. “I think we’re going to see this fascinatingly strange, very connected world appearing in every aspect of retail, and it’s all driven by mobile devices,” Carroll said.


I found this recently from a keynote two years back….

Future Trends: Futurist, Trends, and Innovation Expert to Keynote Multi-Unit Conference

Jim Carroll loves to predict where the world is going. As such, he has become one of the world’s leading international futurists, trends, and innovation experts. His analysis digs deep into topics such as technology, business model change, fast paced innovation, and global challenges and growth. He’s been in demand with such clients as Northrop Grumman, Visa, Rockwell Collins, Lincoln Financial, and the Walt Disney organization. He was featured as an innovation expert on the global CNBC show, the Business of Innovation, and was named one of four leading sources for insight into innovation by Business Week magazine.

Jim Carroll loves to predict where the world is going. As such, he has become one of the world’s leading international futurists, trends, and innovation experts. His analysis digs deep into topics such as technology, business model change, fast paced innovation, and global challenges and growth. He’s been in demand with such clients as Northrop Grumman, Visa, Rockwell Collins, Lincoln Financial, and the Walt Disney organization. He was featured as an innovation expert on the global CNBC show, the Business of Innovation, and was named one of four leading sources for insight into innovation by Business Week magazine.

He’ll be bringing his latest insight to the Multi-Unit Franchising Conference this April at the Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas where he’ll be a keynote speaker.

We had the opportunity to sit down with Carroll and posed some franchise-specific questions. Here’s what he shared with us.

In terms of the future, what do multi-unit franchisees have to fear?

Well, 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.

What kinds of things do multi-unit franchisees have to look forward to?

Oh, there are just so many opportunities to grow the business. We’ve got all kind 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!

What kinds of things do multi-unit franchisees need to be doing in their businesses right now?

Investing in experiential capital. Look, there’s so much new stuff happening out there, and markets are changing so quickly, that the only way to get ahead is to try out a lot of new ideas. In a world in which Apple generates 60 percent of its revenue from products that didn’t exist four years ago, it’s critically important that an organization constantly enhance the skill, capabilities, and insight of their people. They do this by constantly working on projects that might have an uncertain return and payback – but which will provide in-depth experience and insight into change. It’s by understanding change that opportunity is defined, and that’s what experiential capital happens to be. In the future, it will be one of the most important assets you can possess.

What kinds of things should multi-unit franchisees stop doing?

Making excuses. Look, it’s all too easy to avoid the future and not do the tough things. Stop using what I call the “innovation killers,” phrases like:

  • “We’ve always done it this way”
  • “It won’t work”
  • “That’s the dumbest thing I ever heard”
  • “That’s not my problem”
  • “You can’t do that”
  • “I don’t know how”
  • “I don’t think I can”
  • “I didn’t know that”
  • “The boss won’t go for it”
  • “Why should I care?”

What can multi-unit franchisees do better right now and how?

Change their attitude to try new things. Innovation is critical. Innovative companies act differently.

In these organizations ideas flow freely throughout, subversion is a virtue and success and failure are championed. There are many, many leaders who encourage innovative thinking, rather than managers who run a bureaucracy. There are creative champions throughout the organization – people who thrive on thinking about how to do things differently. Ideas get approval and endorsement rather than stating “it can’t be done,” people ask, “how could we do this?”

People know that in addition to R&D, innovation is also about ideas to “run the business better, grow the business, and transform the business.” The word “innovation” is found in most job descriptions as a primary area of responsibility, and a percentage of annual remuneration is based upon achievement of explicitly defined innovation goals The fact is, every organization should be able to develop innovation as a core virtue — if they aren’t, they certainly won’t survive the rapid rate of change that envelopes us today.


“I’m now building polls, live, in real time, while on stage in front of several hundred people. Talk about a deeply powerful method of providing for audience interaction.”

As my audiences become ever more engaged with their mobile devices, I’ve learned that I must continually step up my game and ensure that they remain engaged with me!

Attention spans in society are collapsing, and we who own and do our job on stage must ensure that we keep those attention spans on the message…. whether I’m in front of scientists, leadership and researchers at NASA’s Goddard Space Center or 2,000 ERA real estate professionals in Austin, Texas.

And so my most potent powerful weapon in that regard is my use of PollEverywhere on stage.

Yesterday during a keynote in Chicago, in a pattern that I’ve been using for about a year, I took things a step further than simply using several multiple choice text message based questions from the stage.

I’m now also worked interactively with my audiences to build a list of the most difficult challenges that they may face — and another list of the responses they think might help them deal with those challenges. After coming up with each list, everyone in the room gets to vote on the responses!

Live, in real time, in front of hundreds of people. This is fun stuff! Think about it — working with the audience, I’m now building part of my keynote on the fly to delve deeply into the real issues and opportunities my audience is thinking about.

I’m doing this more often as of late : here’s a post I did about one recent talk, “Highly interactive, highly insightful – a private strategy meeting for 50!”.

Here is what the room came up with yesterday in Chicago, n terms of their most significant challenges — and after I built the list in my Web browser, how they voted on the list. (Click on either image below for a larger image)


I then worked the room again, seeking answers on how they might respond to the challenge. Once again, I built poll in real time, and had the room vote on the results.


This is POWERFUL stuff for a keynote presentation.

If you are seeking someone to wow your audience, challenge them to think differently about innovation and the future, then you might find this to be a really fascinating way to take your meeting or event to the next level.

By the way, when you’re on stage, you’ve got to keep your cool — and have a tech partner who excels at customer service! So it is with PollEverywhere. Somehow during the process, just after voting and building the second poll, I lost the results to the first one! While on stage, I commented about this to the audience, looked up the customer support phone number for PollEverywhere, and phoned them.

They picked up the call in just under two minutes — and immediately showed me how to fix my problem.

Astounding, wonderful, stupendous customer service!



I’ve got a LOT of keynotes coming up out into 2014, with events in Athens, Greece; Cabo San Lucas, Mexico; Chicago; Anaheim; Orlando; Phoenix; New Orleans, Atlantic City, Marco Island, Naples and more!

If you are following my site and thinking of bringing me in for your next meeting, event or CEO session, you better contact me soon!

In any event, with all these talks lined up, various clients are making press announcements about my keynote.

The folks at Edgell Publications have confirmed me for a fourth straight booking (!) — the 2014 Multi-Unit Restaurant Technology Conference held in Las Vegas in March 2014. (They previously had me open their 2011 Consumer Goods & Technology Conference, last years Value Added Reseller Conference in New York (cancelled and rescheduled due to a hurricane) and the 2013 Hotel Technology Forum in Las Vegas.

What I am up to this time? Read an extract from the press release below.

We’re well underway on planning HT’s 2014 spring conferences, the Multi-Unit Restaurant Technology Conference (MURTEC, March 18-20th) and Hotel Technology Forum (HTF, April 16-18). Both of these events owe their success to you, our readers, for your willingness to come together, share your stories, and collaborate on solving industry challenges. These are truly your industry events.


For MURTEC 2014, we’re thrilled to announce that global futurist and best-selling author Jim Carroll will be your Keynote speaker. Carroll has well over 20 years of experience in studying what makes companies relentlessly creative, and how they ride critical trends in order to achieve success. At MURTEC 2014, he tackles the future of food service, covering everything from consumer expectations, to changes in e-commerce, to greater innovation trends, and more.

Actually, we worked out a more indepth escription for the conference Web site, which follows below:

Restaurants 3.0: A Global Futurist’s Take on Consumer Trends, Food Service and Innovation
Speaker: Jim Carroll, Futurist

A decade has passed since O’Reilly Media coined the term Web 2.0 to identify the shift in online content from static to consumer-generated. For restaurants, the next evolution to 3.0 (or whatever it will be called) could mean the difference between a location-based search for the closest coffee shop, versus a customer saying to their mobile device, “Order me a large iced latte.” Location found, order sent, payment confirmed, pick- up in five minutes. In this opening keynote address, join leading global futurist Jim Carroll on an exploration of Restaurants 3.0. Carroll has well over 20 years of experience in studying what makes companies relentlessly creative, and how they ride critical trends in order to achieve success. At MURTEC 2014, he tackles the future of food service, covering everything from consumer expectations, to changes in e-commerce, to greater innovation trends, and more.

It should be fun!

A quick article from a quick interview over at Property Biz Canada, about a keynote that I did last week for the Building Owners and Managers Association.

Jim Carroll has seen the future of retail – and it will be vastly different from today’s environment.

The Mississauga-based futurist has just returned from a trip to the United States, where he spends much of his time consulting with clients and on speaking engagements. While south of the border, Carroll said he found out that retail giant Amazon.com is in the midst of setting up infrastructure that will allow the company to provide same-day delivery to 50 per cent of the U.S. population.

Walmart, Google and, closer to home, Canada Post are planning to provide the same kind of service. “That has pretty big and profound implications on the retail space,” Carroll said in a phone interview.

It’s these types of insights that Carroll will share in Halifax as part of BOMEX 2013, the annual conference and trade show of the Building Owners & Managers Association. Some 300 delegates from across Canada are expected to attend the Oct 1-3 conference.

Carroll is one of the world’s leading futurists on global trends and innovation. Business Week magazine cites him as a top source for creative insight, while Fortune frequently covers his observations.

The author, columnist and media commentator focuses on linking trends to innovation and creativity. He has a 20-year track record in providing direct, independence guidance to a diverse, global client base.

Keynote to cover retail and workplace trends

Carroll said he was recently with one client, a global retailer, who told him they believe fashion retail stores will evolve into showrooms where they don’t necessarily stock all the inventory. Instead, clothes will be ordered through sophisticated band-end logistics systems supporting their online shopping technology with consumers receiving same-day delivery.

“I’m going to get into stuff like that,” Carroll said of the upcoming conference, where he will discuss where the workforce is headed and how it might contract and expand, what happens when intelligent technology comes to the building space and other trends on what it means to the building managers and owners of the future.

Plastics Today, Chicago, September 9 —The competitor who could threaten your company’s livelihood or industry’s relevance 10 years from now might not even exist today.


A keynote on the trade show floor at PLASTEC Midwest, Design & Manufacturing Midwest, ATX Midwest, Pack Zone, Quality Expo, and MD&M Chicago ….a pretty diverse group!

That hard truth about the pace and scale of change in technology came from Jim Carroll, author and futurist. Carroll delivered the opening address at the Tech Theater presentation forum presented as part of UBM Canon’s collocated advanced technologies shows at Chicago’s McCormick Place, including PLASTEC Midwest, Design & Manufacturing Midwest, ATX Midwest, Pack Zone, Quality Expo, and MD&M Chicago.

Carroll polled attendees, who filled the allotted seating and spilled over into a standing crowd, in real time, having them text answers to questions. He noted that at conferences with CEOs, the older generation might be unaware of how to text or Tweet an answer. When he conducted the same experiment at a high school, however, 297 of of the 300 teenagers in attendance replied within 30 seconds, laying bare the generational technology gap.

Jim Carroll, futurist and author, described the best practices of world-class innovators. That demographic difference in how technology is embraced was one of the key points Carroll described between world class innovators and everyone else. “That’s the next generation,” Carroll said of the high schooler’s who always have a mobile device at the ready. “That’s the generation that’s going to change the manufacturing industry,” Carroll said, adding that fully one half of the global population is under 25. “The next generation thrives on change,” Carroll said. “They’re wired, collaborative.”

Will it be survive, thrive, or die?
The fact that industry is dealing with upheaval is not new, Carroll said, pointing at past economic crises ranging from the oil embargo to the dot-com bust. Those times of challenge have a way of winnowing the competitive field. Carroll said studies of those periods show that 60% of companies survive, albeit barely; 30% die off; and 10% become breakthrough performers. The 90% that just endure but don’t accelerate growth have a syndrome that has become prevalent in recent years, as the economy haltingly climbs out of the great recession. It’s a condition Carroll has dubbed “aggressive indecision.”

The companies that can overcome indecision will still be faced with a much faster decision making process. “World class innovators have adapted to the speed of Silicon Valley,” Carrol said, using the medical market, and advent of gene-based preventative medicine as an example. “10 years out, 20 years out, the world of healthcare will be turned upside down,” Carroll said. “Today, we fix you after you’re sick; 20 years from now, we’ll treat you for what you will have based on your genes.”

As Silicon Valley has taken over the formerly laborious and prohibitively expensive process of DNA sequencing, the speed of development has gone up while costs have gone down. Carroll noted how it cost $3 billion to sequence the first human genome, but by the end of this year, the cost is forecast to be less than $1000.

Find opportunity
Carroll called on attendees to alter their competitive viewpoint. “When world class innovators look out and see a new trend,” Carroll said, “they don’t see a threat; they see an opportunity.”

Before finishing his presentation, Carroll called on those in attendance to take advantage of their time at the show. “Walk the show floor,” Carroll exhorted of his audience. “Find three ideas that you can implement to help get your company out of a rut.”

I’m doing a lot of insurance keynotes lately, in all sectors — property and casualty, life, employee benefit plans.2013Insurance

It’s catching some attention. The folks at ACORD, (Association for Cooperative Operations Research and Development),  a global, nonprofit organization serving the insurance and related industries, reached out to me during the summer for a quick interview on some of the ‘big trends and challenges impacting’ the industry.

What’s moving the industry forward?
Published: 9/4/2013, ACORD

In searching the internet, looking for current events in the insurance industry, I recently came across an article from 2009 discussing the next big thing in the insurance industry by 2015. At the time, futurist Jim Carroll had plenty to say about the unavailability of niche skills due to increased underwriting complexity; the likely emergence of “social financial widgets”; and the implications of pervasive connectivity upon the insurance marketplace.

I reached out to him for an interview and asked him just how much his views on the future of the insurance industry have changed. Below is his response.

What are the most important things the insurance industry should consider as we move into the future?
The pace of innovation for the insurance industry – and indeed, every industry – is shifting to Silicon Valley. Think about the impact of GPS based driver performance tracking technology. The innovation with this type of tech occurs with computer and hi-tech companies who know how to innovate faster.

That fact will yield more significant business model disruption. If Silicon Valley has more control over insurance industry innovation, then it will have more control over the development and implementation of new and different, disruptive business models. Don’t think that ‘disintermediation,’ which was a big perceived threat during the dot.com years, has gone away!

Add to that the fact that the next generation of insurance customers are unlike any we’ve known before. My sons are 18 and 20, and will soon be responsible for big insurance decisions. They’ll be influenced by social networks and peers, online collaboration and research, online video. Generation Next is going to be a completely different type of customer, and they’re choice as to carriers, policies and distributions will be influenced in fast and new and interesting ways!

How will those changes impact the industry and the way the insurance industry conducts business?
It means that if you are a carrier, distributor, broker agent or anyone else, you need to learn to change – and change faster! Look, folks who work in the tech space innovate at tech speed. 65% of Apple’s revenue comes from products that didn’t exist 4 years ago. With such things as GPS auto tracking, there’s the opportunity for emergence of all kinds of new and wonderful insurance products. Some folks are going to get those to market quicker than others. And consider the wired, intelligent home – it’s happening now at blinding speed, and there are all kinds of opportunities to challenge ourselves as to the types of policies we underwrite, because the very nature of risk can change. I’ve got 3 webcams in my ski chalet that instantly notify me of any unusual activity – I should have a carrier that jumps out at me with some kind of innovative new policy.

What advice would you give to those who are having a tough time bracing for the future of the insurance industry?
Some people look at a trend, and see a threat. Real innovators – and long term winners – see the same trend, and see an opportunity!

Last week, I keynoted the Medical Design & Manufacturing Show in Chicago, with a focus on both the future of health care and manufacturing technology.


The Scanadu Scout is a crowdfunded “medical tricorder”, as envisaged in science fiction. The medical device industry will now find that science is becoming truer faster, requiring ever faster change as innovation speeds up!

The folks over at DesignNews and other publications picked up my talk; here’s an article they ran which covered some of my remarks.

The trend toward “bio-connectivity” is gaining momentum, and medical device manufacturers need to be ready to bring that connectivity to next-generation products, a futurist at the Medical Design & Manufacturing Show said this week.

“The number of in-person visits to hospitals is decreasing and the number of bio-connective, virtual visits is increasing,” Jim Carroll, futurist and author, told a gathering of engineers at the show.

Carroll challenged engineers and device manufacturers there to examine those trends and to be ready use them to innovate their products. He cited statistics showing that there are now 17,000 healthcare software apps available for smartphones, and noted that 78 percent of consumers have expressed interest in such apps. Moreover, he predicted that 500 million smartphone users will be employing health and wellness apps in the next few years. ”The patient is changing; the consumer is changing,” he noted. “And we need to align ourselves to the changes that are occurring.”

Today’s doctors are more likely to do patient consultations over Skype, Carroll said, adding that 40 percent of physicians are now willing to track patients via text messaging, email, and Facebook. He cited examples of such companies as Withings Inc., which makes a blood pressure monitor for use with iPhones and iPads, and MedCottage, which sells one bedroom “granny pods” that can be placed in the backyards of families caring for elderly patients. The cottage incorporates cameras and sensors, enabling patients to be monitored and managed from afar.

Carroll also pointed to a growing number of diabetes management technologies that enable patients to monitor themselves at home and share their data with physicians.

Some high-level healthcare executives have gone as far as to say that the need for dedicated central facilities is changing, Carroll said. “One CEO said that the concept of a hospital as a physical place is disappearing,” he told the audience of engineers. “Eventually, it’s going to go virtual.”

Carroll warned engineers not to discount such trends. He described a technical conference a few years ago where manufacturing executives laughed aloud at the prospect of anyone using 3D printers. Now, he said, engineers routinely shop for such systems at technical conferences. ”World class innovators look out at the future and see a trend, not a threat,” he said. “They see an opportunity.”

Here’s an interview that was done after I keynoted a recent conference of automotive dealers. Key theme? As I wrote in a previous blog post, “quite simply, the pace, control and speed of innovation is shifting from auto companies in Detroit (and elsewhere) to the technology companies of Silicon Valley.

There are a couple of other blog posts that you might find relevant to the thoughts expressed in the video:

We know dramatic change is going to happen; the key question has to do with the speed with which it will occur!

(This is a long post. Trust me, it’s worth it, with lots of fascinating photos from magazines in the 1920′s and 1930′s. Credit needs to be given to my wife Christa and son Willie for doing all the scanning and Photoshop work that went on behind the scenes to make this work; it’s not easy to pull this stuff together. Check out my son’s photography company, wcfotography.com. Highly recommended!)

(And for those who ask, yes, I can send you high resolution scans of any of the articles referenced below, within reason).

For the last 20 years, I’ve been in the business of helping to shape how people think about the future. I’ve got some pretty unique clients; thrilling keynotes in front of 7,000 people in Las Vegas and a talk for 25 CEO’s in St. Andrews, Scotland.

But so far, nothing compares to the extraordinary bit of fun I had when I was invited to spend a day speaking and working with some of the top leadership, scientists and researchers at Nasa’s Goddard Space Center. What a day — I knew it would be special when my son Willie and I came through the security checkpoint for a big welcome on the main entrance signboard:

NASA's Goddard Space Center welcomes Jim Carroll, where he hosted a number of discussions around future trend and innovation in the context of the changing business models of the space industry.

NASA’s Goddard Space Center welcomes Jim Carroll, where he hosted a number of discussions around future trend and innovation in the context of the changing business models of the space industry.

When NASA first approached me to come in and talk about future trends and innovation, I was kind of ‘gobsmacked” to say the least. As I noted in a pre-planning conference call with the group arranging to bring me in, “how could I possibly help them? These are really smart people!” (This was not my first talk for NASA though; I previously spoke to a group of astronauts, mission directors, launch controllers and other folks down in Texas a few years back…)

The answer came to me quickly, however, and provided the context for my talk: the business of space is changing. And it’s changing faster that we or they might think. 5, 10, 15 or 20 years out, it is quite likely that the buisness of space will look nothing like it does today. And so folks at NASA Goddard — and every other legacy space organization, need to innovate, change, and adapt to the new world we find ourselves in.

That would be over-arching theme throughout my keynote. I spent a lot of time going down that path during my talk and subsequent discussion with their team.

But enough of that for now! Let’s talk about how I opened my talk about the future for a group of people who spend their time conceiving, designing, building and hurling very complex objects into deep interplanetary space and near-earth orbit.

How could I grab their attention in the first five minutes? By taking them back to 1920, and the dawn of the space age — and the story of a real innovator in his own time!

I pride myself on the research and customization that I do with my talks. And so unfolds the story of how I opened my talk this June, in front of an absolutely extraordinary group of people. Why not start with where it all began — at the dawn of the era of spaceflight, and the innovation voyage of Robert Goddard himself! And so I took my audience back to the 1920′s and 1930′s. The era in which it seemed that science fiction was just that – science fiction.

And so I began with some relevant stories about the future — by digging out some coverage about the future from magazines such as Popular Mechanix and Popular Science from the 1920′s and 1930′s. (How’s that for research!) (Click on any picture for a full sized image. They are quite extraordinary.)

The storyline I then followed with my audience at NASA took them on a voyage at what people were thinking about at that time. In the 1920′s and 1930′s, the world was automating at a fast pace. Science fiction was everywhere. And with this rapid change came concern that technology and science just might go too far — as found in this particular piece:


But at the same time, there was a belief that the future, enabled by fascinating scientific and technological developments, would lead to a new era of leisure! We wouldn’t have to work, because machines would do the work on our behalf!(This theme emerged again in the 1960′s with the arrival of computers …… “computers would do all the work for us, leaving us with a 2-day work week!” was the sentiment of that time!)


There were fantastic predictions — sometimes wrong, or perhaps not yet realized — such as ‘pulling power from the skies.”


But these magazines about the future were quite often correct; consider their predictions from 80 years ago that foresaw today’s LCD projection screens (“television shown in theatres“), fax machines (“newspapers by radio“) and DVD’s (“home movies from phonograph records.”)

Heck, one of the magazines even predicted the ban on the use of cellphones during flight — “do wild radio waves cause air disasters?”. Check the caption on the picture below at the bottom of the page:


Of course, at the same time that the folks who wrote these glorious publications dreamed big about the future, they quite often veered into the implausible. Perhaps one day “monster insects might rule the world!” At the same that mankind was in awe of the future, there was fear and concern about where it might take us. (Heck is it any different today, 80 years later?)


Indeed, there was quite often a thread by skeptics — one article making the proposition that most of what people were talking about in terms of future trends simply would not come true! This particular article focused on the concept of rocketry, and noted a wide variety of  ”….scientific objections to fantastic projects such as transporting a human being to Mars….”


Why the skepticism? Because back in the 1920′s, there were a few lonely visionaries proposing that mankind would be able to leave the bounds of earth and explore beyond. We would see “Daring Rocket Men!” flinging themselves to the heavens!



There was belief that this could happen! At one time, Popular Science ran the cover story with humans travelling to space in a rocket-ship! Have a look at the cover again.


In this issue, a particularly lonely visionary made his case for space exploration based upon rocketry. None other than Robert H. Goddard himself!


The artwork with the article imagined a future space capsule — with ‘liquid oxygen’, ‘thermos bottle insulation’, ‘rocket openings in the side to steer the car!”


My opening message to NASA Goddard? Robert H. Goddard, the rocketeer for whom the Center is named, was an incredible innovator. He was ahead of his time. As the father of rocketry in the US (with a Russian counterpart Konstantin Tsiolkovskii and German rocketeer Hermann Oberth both pursuing similar ideas at the same time), he was shunned, ridiculed, and portrayed, quite simply, as someone “not of their right mind.

After all, on January 13, 1920, the New York Times editorialized, in a reaction to a research paper published by Robert Goddard, that  ”a rocket will never be able to leave the Earth’s atmosphere.”

My key point? Innovators are often treated with suspicion, derision, taunting. Their role, contribution and value is often misunderstood. It is often not till later that their accomplishments are fully recognized.

In that context, Robert H. Goddard often had to confront these demons, and would often challenge his own thinking; perhaps he was daring too much? In the Rocketing to the Moon article seen above, he commented that “I must confess I should have dismissed the thought of reaching the moon as merely another figment of the imagination of Jules Verne.” Yet as an innovator, he pursued his dreams and passions, as discouraging as it might have been.

On July 17, 1969, the day after the launch of Apollo 11, the New York Times published a “correction:”

Further investigation and experimentation have confirmed the findings of Isaac Newton in the 17th Century and it is now definitely established that a rocket can function in a vacuum as well as in an atmosphere. The Times regrets the error.

Innovators focus. They challenge people. They stick to their belief. They know the value of their work. They dare not fall prey to the pounding drumbeat of negativity from skeptics who often know too little that of which they talk about.

That’s what innovators do!

My keynote continued from there. It was wonderful fun as I began to cover a wide range of trends that might shape the future of space exploration and commercialization. Along the way, I snuck in a few great pictures into my keynote. A key quote from Robert Goddard. A picture of Spock! Canada’s Legoman! Einstein!

Following my talk and discussion around lunch, my son Willie and I were privileged to receive an inside tour of some of the most fascinating research and projects underway at Goddard.

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

I am blessed to have such a wonderful job!

Last week, I was the keynote speaker for the Medical Device and Manufacturing event in Philadelphia. I’ll be doing two more in the fall — one in Chicago and the other in San Francisco.

I was featured on the main show floor — given there were a number of packaging and other manufacturing going on at the same in the cavernous space that is the Philadelphia Convention Center, we had a pretty varied attendance.

The live text polling results from my audience, after I asked them if they were ready for a "faster future." This is a great way to build an interactive keynote with an audience!

The live text polling results from my audience, after I asked them if they were ready for a “faster future.” This is a great way to build an interactive keynote with an audience!

But I concentrated my message on the rapid changes that are and will occur with the future of medical devices — particularly consumer-Internet-connected devices, the virtualization of the hospital, and what happens when Silicon Valley takes over the pace of medical device R&D.

The Medical Device & Diagnostic Industry publication picked up on my talk with this short article, in particular focusing on the text message poll I ran asking the audience if they felt they were ready for a “fast future.”

Are You Ready for a ‘Fast Future?’ A Snapshot of Audience Reaction at MD&M East

The future belongs to a company that can move fast and adapt quickly to changes.

In 2010, it took Apple 28 days to sell 1-million iPads.

In November 2012, when Apple launched the iPad Mini, the iconic technology company sold three-million fourth-generation iPads and iPad minis in three days.

Global futurist and trend-spotter Jim Carroll shared similar statistics with an audience gathered at the MD&M East Conference and Exposition on Wednesday all in an effort to stress one thing: The future belongs to a company that can move fast and adapt quickly to changes.

A poll at MD&M East gauged how ready audience members feel their companies are to compete in the “fast future.”

To solicit audience input in how ready they were in playing in this so-called fast future, he did a quick poll. Carroll used a texting, Twitter, and cloud-based service to show live results as people entered their reactions. Here’s a snapshot of the results.

It’s interesting that some people in the audience have seemed to already concede the future.

But Carroll reminded audiences that size doesn’t matter when it comes to future success. What matters is the ability to act quickly, make decisions during uncertain times, and remain relentlessly focused on the job at hand.

Carroll said that he has seen many company executives wait to make decisions because the economic recovery was not strong enough or because the uncertainty is too great and the risk too high.

Those companies are guilty of one cardinal sin—“aggressive indecision”—Carroll said, using a term he coined a few years ago.

And that sitting with folded hands awaiting a better time will make them obsolete in the fast future.

Earlier this week spoke at the Atlantic Design and Manufacturing show in Philadelphia (it was also combined with several other conferences including the annual Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry annual conference.

The event combines seven events in one, and features 1,000 additional suppliers of materials, equipment, systems, and services used in product design and development.

Here, ThomasNet News speaks me about how manufacturers can be more innovative and adapt more readily to technology and society trends.

UBM without textThis coming Wednesday, I’ll be in Philadelphia, where I will be speaking at UBM Canon’s Eastern Advanced Manufacturing Expo and Conference on the theme, “What Do World Class Innovators Do That Others Don’t Do?”

This will be a wonderfully fun keynote. It will touch on many of the different topics I have been speaking about lately: intelligent, inter-connected packaging, smart medical packaging that monitors whether patients are properly taking their medicine, and the emergence of intelligent medical device connectivity.

There’s a common belief in the US among average folk that US manufacturing is still in a state of decline. Nothing could be further from the truth; there is a massive renaissance in thinking underway, with new design methodologies, rapid prototyping, fast implementation of new manufacturing methodologies, the concept of 3D printing which has gone from ‘science fiction’ to readily available implementation in just a short period of time.

In the world of manufacturing, the future belongs to those who are fast. This should be a great event!

Here’s the press release which has done out far and wide announcing my participation.

SANTA MONICA, Calif., June 13, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — UBM Canon’s Eastern Advanced Manufacturing Expo and Conference returns to Philadelphia June 18-20, 2013, at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA.  With nearly 1,200 exhibiting companies, this event co-locates six tradeshows, along with seminars, industry speakers, industry awards and product teardowns to provide the most comprehensive manufacturing event for visitors and exhibitors on the Atlantic seaboard.

The expositions include the 30th annual MD&M East (Medical Design & Manufacturing East), EastPack (packaging), PLASTEC East (plastics), ATX East (Automation Technology Expo East), Atlantic Design & Manufacturing and Pharmapack North America (pharmaceutical packaging & drug delivery).

Get ready for interactive packaging! The illustration on this bottle of Bombay Sapphire Gin was produced in electroluminescent ink, and a battery is hidden in the bottom of the packaging. When you pick it up off the shelf, a hidden mechanical switch triggers the electric current. This runs through different paths at different times to create the visual effect, which lasts for 18 seconds before stopping until its activated again.

Get ready for interactive packaging! The illustration on this bottle of Bombay Sapphire Gin was produced in electroluminescent ink, and a battery is hidden in the bottom of the packaging. When you pick it up off the shelf, a hidden mechanical switch triggers the electric current. This runs through different paths at different times to create the visual effect, which lasts for 18 seconds before stopping until its activated again.

Pennsylvania is a centrally located hub for U.S. manufacturing, with more than 14,500 establishments, employing 560,000 workers. Manufacturer visitors can see a wide range of product and service offerings under one roof. They will see innovative ideas and meet suppliers with cutting-edge manufacturing technology such as 3D printing, track-and-trace medical packaging.

The event provides extensive educational programming that is highly relevant and timely to manufacturers.
Keynote: Jim Carroll, Futurist: What Do World Class Innovators Do That Others Don’t Do?

A sampling of free education sessions includes:
A future pill to swallow – Prescribing iPhone apps instead of medicine
Aligned Partnerships: A Better Way to Design and Develop
Considerations in Selecting a System Integrator
Product teardowns include the iPad mini versus the Nexus 7 tablet.

Paid seminars and workshops include topics such as Lean Manufacturing, Robotics, Motion Control, Manufacturing Plant Security, Medical Design & Prototyping, Regulatory, Risk Control and Validation, Wireless Medical Devices, Implantable Medical Devices, Augmented Reality Packaging.

I am honoured that on Monday, I will be able to share some of my insight with the folks at NASA’s Goddard Space Center.


This is the first picture of Earth taken from a planet beyond the moon, taken by the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit, one hour before sunrise on the 63rd Martian day, or sol, of its mission. (March 8, 2004).

10 years ago, I wrote a blog post about “10 things that my kids think are from the olden days.” It’s still a great read — grab it here.

Bullet number 10 on that list? This is what I wrote at that time:

My kids will never know a sky without the Space Station.

Ever since they can remember, they’ve gone into our backyard at dusk on clear evenings, watching for the International Space Station and various satellites. They know that mommy and daddy will tell them precisely where to look, at what time, and in what direction the station or satellite will be traversing overhead.

That’s because they’ve grown up with a Web site called Heavens-Above, which will tell you the exact details, for any particular point on earth, where you can easily observe such orbiting wonders.

To them, this is a normal and expected part of life—to me, it is fascinating that a system has evolved that lets me discover such magic.

When my kids were 3 and 5 years old, I would take them out in the backyard, and using the data from the Heavens-Above.com Web site, would teach them how to spot the ISS, the Hubble, various Russian rocket boosters, communication satellites — and Iridium Flares!

All kinds of marvels, built and launched from the wonder that is the human mind.

Extraordinary stuff. Extraordinary times. Extraordinary innovation.

By the way, read this post.


Trend: The Car of 2017!
June 3rd, 2013

Here’s a video clip from my opening keynote for ERA Connect 2013. In the audience were a thousand or so real estate brokers and agents — I’m working to encourage them to think as to how quickly their industry might change, by framing what might happen in the not too distant future with the cars that we drive.

Back in April, I was the closing keynote speaker for the annual Delta Dental of Missouri FutureFocus 2013 event.

It’s an event put together for HR executives, benefits managers and other executives responsible for managing their corporate health plans.

Delta Dental has put together a great highlight reel which you can watch here. It’s kind of cool how they weaved my trends issues, and innovation challenges, throughout the video.

Some months back, the folks at DeVry University interviewed me as part of a series of articles they were doing to focus on the new careers of tomorrow.

The future of long-distance trucking might look more like these “road trains,” as Carroll calls them. These are autonomous vehicles that can navigate long distances without direct operation, with a team of skilled technicians operating them from afar

The future of long-distance trucking might look more like these “road trains,” as Carroll calls them. These are autonomous vehicles that can navigate long distances without direct operation, with a team of skilled technicians operating them from afar

Their article arrived online today; you can read the original article here, or below.

Fueling America’s Future: New Energy Solutions, New Careers

As U.S. energy independence looms on the horizon, Americans need to start rethinking and transitioning our own energy usage.

Big changes are afoot for U.S. energy. And when energy changes, we all change with it.

American manufacturing, transportation, and technological infrastructures are all deeply affected by, and entangled with, how smartly we produce and consume energy.

According to the International Energy Association, we’re entering an energy renaissance: Its 2012 World Energy Report concludes that the United States will become self-sustaining, in terms of net energy produced, by 2035.[1] Part of that will mean an emergence of new career opportunities for people in the energy sector.

When we try to imagine what U.S. energy may look like in 2035, Jim Carroll, a futurist and energy expert, points to a few clues from very real energy trends emerging right now, changes which include new ways of transporting goods around the country, and new ways in which we think about energy infrastructure and workforces.

Whether we’re talking about renewable or natural energy, efficiency of use is approaching faster because of the acceleration of science, says Carroll, whose many books on innovation include “The Future Belongs to Those Who Are Fast.”

“Scientific knowledge happens and emerges faster than ever before because all of these scientists are plugged together,” he says. “Which means the new scientific discoveries in all these fields are faster, which again leads to higher levels of production in renewables, natural gas and oils.”

On the Road

The American long haul trucking industry has been dependent on traditional and diesel gasoline for decades. But not for much longer, according to Carroll.

“Energy companies are working to retrofit long-distance trucks for natural gas,” Carroll says. But that might be just an interim step toward a brand new paradigm for this industry. Carroll says that technologists are already asking questions like: “How do we use robotics, radar and GPS to link together seven or 10 trucks in a unit that can self drive down the road in a way that is energy efficient?”

The future of long-distance trucking might look more like these “road trains,” as Carroll calls them. These are autonomous vehicles that can navigate long distances without direct operation, with a team of skilled technicians operating them from afar.

A change like this requires us to think about reskilling the American workforce. Truck-driving jobs could potentially disappear, but the need for skilled technicians is growing considerably.

These emerging jobs will be in the management of what Jim Carroll calls “highly sophisticated highway control infrastructure systems,” which will arise from the need to redesign highways for smarter fueled vehicles with better efficiency.

And with smarter infrastructure for highways, there will be greater opportunities for innovating how personal cars are fueled. Many analysts have decried that the electric car is dead, but perhaps it just needs to be rethought. According to Carroll, the renewable battery model, which could take up to eight hours to charge, is outdated.

“Instead, let’s build a battery station that you drive your car into,” Carroll says. “A hydraulic arm reaches in and opens the underneath of your car, takes your battery and places in a brand new fresh one. Thirty seconds and you’re completely refueled and ready to go.”

Reshaping American Infrastructure

The same development is already occurring in many American industries: Think about how manufacturing jobs have shifted from assembly lines to technologically advanced robotics. Or how advanced oil drilling methodologies—hydraulic fracturing or horizontal drilling—have increased domestic oil production due to the efficiency of the processes. These process shifts require rethinking whole infrastructures, and with that, a need for a workforce with new skills.

These are major shifts, but small changes in energy consumption can also showcase how Americans are rethinking their energy consumption. Carroll mentions the Nest Learning Thermostat—a smart thermostat that adjusts the temperature in your house depending on whether you’re home, the time of day, and the outside weather.

A smart thermostat would just be part of the future of smart and energy-efficient homes, where frozen smoke—an expensive but very efficient form of matter—could be used in home insulation. Or, in a concept by the New York architects Cook + Fox, the walls of the home may be biomorphic—practically lizard-like—and able to better absorb sunlight and retain energy depending on the weather.

But, again, the future of energy depends as much on such refinements as bigger innovations that are already being conceived. Some analysts predict that homes will be equipped with hydrogen fuel cells that will create low-emission electricity via a chemical process that combines hydrogen and oxygen.

While there are many different views on when the United States may achieve energy independence, the prevailing opinion is that it will happen—and soon. But independence depends not only from producing more and consuming less energy: The next round of American energy innovation is also linked to scientific and technological advances as well as perhaps the most important feature—a highly skilled workforce.

The RVCF – Retail Value Chain Federation — represents a membership of some of the largest and most sophisticated retailers in the world. Organizations such as Wal-Mart, Neiman Marcus, Costco, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Saks Ffth Avenue.

Screen Shot 2013-04-25 at 1.39.45 PMAnd so I’m thrilled to announce their announcement that I’ll be the opening keynote for their upcoming annual conference — speaking the rapid trends that are rapidly reshaping every aspect of the world of retail.

The conference will be held in November in Scottsdale, Arizona.

I am sure there will be an opportunity to golf!

Here’s the press release.

RVCF Announces Keynote Jim Carroll for the Upcoming 2013 Annual Fall Conference in Scottsdale, Arizona

“The future belongs to those who are fast!” by Jim Carroll, Futurist, Trends & Innovation Expert. In the world of retail in 2013 and beyond, we will be seeing the more rapid emergence of new ways of doing business, and it’s leading us to a time in which companies have to instantly be able to copy any move by their competition – or risk falling behind.

South Plainfield, NJ (PRWEB) April 18, 2013

In the world of retail in 2013 and beyond, we will be seeing the more rapid emergence of new ways of doing business, and it’s leading us to a time in which companies have to instantly be able to copy any move by their competition – or risk falling behind.

For example, think about what is going on in retail, with one major trend defining the future: the Apple Store checkout process, which involves the elimination of the cash register. Apple has such an impact on retail design and consumer behavior today that many other retailers are now scrambling to duplicate the process, trying to link themselves to the cool Apple cachet.

That’s the new reality in the world of business — pacesetters today can swiftly and suddenly change the pace and structure of an industry, and other competitors have to scramble to keep up. Consider this scenario, which recently unfolded: Amazon announces a same day delivery in some major centers. Google and Walmart almost immediately jump on board. And in just a short time, retailers in every major city are going to have be able to play the same game!

Then there is in-store promotion. We’re entering the era of constant video bombardment in the retail space. How fast is the trend towards constant interaction evolving? Consider the comments by Ron Boire, the new Chief Marketing Officer for Sears in the US (and former chief executive of Brookstone Inc.): “My focus will really be on creating more and better theater in the stores”.

We are going to see a linking of this ‘in-store theater’ with our mobile devices and our social networking relationships. Our Facebook app for a store brand (or the fact we’ve ‘liked’ the brand) will know we’re in the store, causing a customized commercial to run, offering us a personalized product promotion with a hefty discount. This type of scenario will be here faster than you think.

Fast format change, instant business model implementation and rapid-fire strategic moves. That’s the new reality for retail business, and it’s the innovators who will adapt. Join RVCF as international futurist, innovation and trends expert Jim Carroll challenges us about a world in which the future belongs to those who are fast. Jim’s clients include The GAP, the Walt Disney Corporation, ESPN, Johnson & Johnson, the PGA of America, and many, many more.

The RVCF 2013 Annual Fall Conference will take place at the Westin Kierland in Scottsdale, AZ from Sunday, November 3 through Wednesday, November 6. For more information and to register, please visit us on the web athttp://bit.ly/RVCF2013Fall.

About Jim Carroll

Jim Carroll, Futurist, Trends and Innovation Expert.
Jim Carroll is one of the world’s leading futurists, trends & innovation experts. And it’s his inspirational, transformative thinking that will help you discover opportunity in an era of high-velocity change. And in his most recent keynotes and leadership sessions, he has been helping his clients meet the challenges of the economic contraction by focusing on innovation, and by aligning their strategy to fast-paced future trends.

He speaks on a wide variety of topics, including technology, business model change, innovation, and global challenges and growth.

He is the author of several books, including “The Future Belongs To Those Who Are Fast”, “Ready, Set, Done: How to Innovate When Faster is the New Fast” and “What I Learned from Frogs in Texas: Saving Your Skin with Forward Thinking Innovation.”

About Retail Value Chain Federation.

Driving Continuous Innovation, Collaboration and Perfect Execution
RVCF promotes best practices, trading partner alignment, collaboration, and technology solutions to streamline operations, lower costs and speed goods to market throughout the retail value chain. For more information, visit http://www.rvcf.com.

Media Contact:

Sheri Kurdakul

I had the honor of being a keynote speaker for the recent Canadian Automotive Dealers Association Summit 2013, sharing the agenda with the legendary Bob Lutz, former Vice Chairman of GM, and Steve Rattner (Obama’s “Car Czar” and the main architect of the 2009 North American auto industry restructuring).

Think forward to how quickly technology and automobiles are going to evolve, particularly with autonomous driving technology. Who will win at this race? Google or Ford? Apple or GM?

Think forward to how quickly technology and automobiles are going to evolve, particularly with autonomous driving technology. Who will win at this race? Google or Ford? Apple or GM?

It’s a fascinating time for the auto industry — in many regions of the world, signs of significant recovery abound, sales are up, and happy days are here again!

On the other hand, there’s still the rest of the future to contend with.

And that was the focus on my keynote. There’s certainly a lot that’s happening, and some pretty big changes. For auto dealers, it will be their ability to innovate in the context of these trends that will define their future success.

So what did I concentrate on? I framed my keynote around 4 major trends, which I called:

  • transformation
  • acceleration
  • interaction
  • generations

Let’s take a look.

1. Transformation

The most significant change to the auto industry is already well underway, and is easily summarized by one of the slides from my deck:


Quite simply, the pace, control and speed of innovation is shifting from auto companies in Detroit (and elsewhere) to the technology companies of Silicon Valley. This was the focus an article run in an industry publication before my talk, Detroit isn’t keep pace with innovation, says futurist Jim Carroll.

“Shifting customer expectations are driving part of that change as drivers will now expect their vehicles to be as advanced, easy to use and even as “replaceable” as their smartphones and tablet devices that are so central to their lives.

He says dealers need to ensure their staff is ready to adapt to the change. “A car you sell today might be out of date two years from now,” he says. “How do you keep your salesforce and service force up to date with that speed of change?”

“Some people see a trend and see a threat. Real innovative people see the same trend and they see opportunity. That’s what dealers need to ensure they do when they think about this very fast paced future,” says Carroll.

Mobile will also forever change the retail experience and dealers will need to adjust to provide better customer experiences. “I will talk about the changes going on in retail,” says Carroll. “Mobile is the big story.”

He says social media and mobile shopping is having a huge impact on purchasing decisions. “There is a lot of technology that is coming that will link to mobile.” These new technologies will forever change the customer interaction with retailers. “It’s happening very, very quickly,” says Carroll.

In my keynote, I played into this theme. To start out, I asked the audience how many people in the audience used all the features of their new “Smart TV’s.” Very few hands went up.

Why? Because many people are coming to the conclusion that most smart TV’s are actually pretty dumb! What we’ve seen in the last several years, with most so-called smart TV’s, is a situation in which television manufacturers, who have never been really part of the Silicon Valley technology and design culture, suddenly began throwing all kinds of features onto televisions, such as Facebook, Twitter, Netflix.

The result is, if you pardon the expression, a real barf-bag of clumsy screen navigation, confusing remotes, ill-designed apps, and, well, just a bit of a major FAIL.

Smart TV’s? No one uses smart TV’s because they’re dumb. And that seems to be a message that is resonating on the Internet; such as this article recently featured on Wired.


“People aren’t using their internet-connected smart TVs for anything beyond, well, watching TV. It turns out, nobody wants to tweet from their TV. Or read books. Or do whatever it is people do on LinkedIn. Worse, more than 40 percent of the people who buy a connected TV aren’t even using it for its ostensible primary purpose: getting online video onto the biggest screen in your home. “

Contrast the Smart TV experience to the Apple TV. The latter has a crisp design, clean, simple and intuitive interface. Quite simply, it just works.

Now think about the new car that you might own. It’s got a new, cool GPS navigation system. Perhaps an interface to your iPhone. Some entertainment options. And most likely, it’s probably clunky as heck. Slow. Cumbersome to use. Just difficult to navigate. Noted the New York Times in an article in June 2012: “‘See, you spin this knob here, which moves you through these selections up here. Then you press down on the knob to select something, but don’t forget about the other menus under this button…”

And that where we are in the auto industry today: we have a lot of car companies working to try to figure out how to make technology work. And the fact is, in a world in which the future belongs to those who are fast, they are having a difficult time doing so. They don’t get great, clean design. And they have horrifically long development lead times: PCMagazine observed that “a 2012 car could have a system originally designed in 2006 and put into production in 2008 when that model first hit the streets.”

Maybe what is happening is that car companies are making the same mistakes that TV companies made. They’re making a lot of cars with a lot of cool technology that few people will use, because, well, the interface and design sucks!

Contrast any auto company and their dashboard experience to that of Tesla Motors, the “Silicon Valley” car company! This is a technology company that is figuring out how to make cars, a completely different paradigm. And most people would conclude that they’ve nailed the part of in-car design. The reviews of the in-car dash, with it’s crisp 17″ screen, show a passion and delight within the customer base. It’s like the Mac or OS/X design for automobiles!

Tesla isn’t a car company. It’s a tech company, headquartered in a hive of innovation that helped lure the sharp minds who conceptualized the car from an outsider’s perspective……If Tesla is a technology company, the evidence starts with the car’s innovative infotainment system. The 17-inch touch screen controls nearly everything — including navigation, stereo, climate control and driving settings. As clear and touch-sensitive as an Apple iPad, the huge screen can easily accommodate multiple functions at once.
Although Tesla’s future remains uncertain, its Model S delivers on the firm’s grand ambitions, 9 February 2013, Los Angeles Times

Think forward to how quickly technology and automobiles are going to evolve, particularly with autonomous driving technology. Who will win at this race? Google or Ford? Apple or GM?

I think my answer is probably pretty clear!

2. Acceleration

The second trend I spoke too was the fact that the problem above was coming about because the auto industry was now finding itself subject to the dramatic change that is wrought by Silicon Valley when it starts to take over the rate of innovation in an industry. This is a topic I frequently cover — take a look at my post, “Silicon Valley Innovation Set to Dominate Every Industry.”

Consider the auto industry just over 5 to 6 ago:

  • cars were starting to arrive with built-in GPS!
  • a multi-disc CD changer was a REALLY COOL accessory!
  • auto companies were putting “MP3 plugs” into cars!
  • Bill Gates announced Ford Sync at the Detroit Auto Show!

Now consider what could be really big in the auto industry just five years from now; I suggested that the pace of innovation is such that we could see:

  • autonomous vehicles everywhere
  • a SIRI button in every car
  • augmented reality screens with heads up display in most cars
  • glasses-free 3D dashboards
  • interactive in-car billboards (i.e. a store interacts with you via your social network relationship, and alerts you there’s one nearby. You simply say, “take me there!”)
  • open-platforms for extensibility and customization of the in-board dash!

Of course, many people in the room probably sat back and reacted “that’s the dumbest thing I ever heard!” — which I pointed out, observing that this is one of the key attitudes that holds people back from trying to pursue new ideas!

I suspect we are going to see a tremendous amount of technologiical innovation occuring in the automobile space in the next five years, and most people will simply be floored by the velocity of what occurs.

3. Interaction

The third trend I spoke on was the change that would quickly come to automotive dealers, around the theme of the ‘future of retail.’ I’ve done quite a bit in this space; most recnetly, for example, I spoke at a senior leadership meeting with senior executives of The GAP, the global fashion/clothing brand.

There’s a key quote I found that I think summarizes the reality facing us: ”The next five years will bring more change to retail than the last 100 years” (from Cyriac Roeding, the CEO of Shopkick, a location- based shopping app available at Macy’s, Target and other top retailers)

There is much happening here — I’ve recently been speaking at a variety of retail conferences — and will summarize that into a different post.

4. Generations

The fourth topic on the list? As automobiles become more technologically advanced, there is an increasing amount of generational discomfort with some dealers, particularly with some who are struggling to deal with all this change!

The UK Birmingham Post, reporting on a Ford dealership training session, noted  that….35% of sales staff had little confidence in their own ability to demonstrate hi-tech in-car equipment such as Bluetooth devices and voice control systems”

That’s a pretty staggering observation if true!  And that is happening in the context in which more young people are visiting the same dealers, and participating in the practive of “showrooming.” In an article from the Dow Jones News Service  Dealers Take Notice as More People Use Phones to Buy Cars9 February 2013,, it was said that 

  • “...more than a third used their mobile phone to help research pricing and other factors while on dealer lots. That’s compared to 19% for other age categories.”

And so clearly, we have a really unique generational dynamic happening in auto-showrooms!


Put it all together, and it is clear that the automotive industry, and the dealers who support it, are in a particularly unique period of time that involves a lot of change, transition and tranformation!


Late last year, KOA (Kampgrounds of America) brought me in to keynote the annual franchisee conference in Orlando, Florida.

There’s a lot of change in the world of camping, and KOA is in the midst of a re -branding exercise. They liked me because I promised, as part of my preparation, to do a lot of original research on a wide variety of trends impacting the ‘outdoor hospitality’ industry. And I did!

Here’s a little gem on why there’s a decrease in the amount of camping that you people do. Kind of fun to watch!

Was it a good talk?

The feedback has just come in, and the clients comments are just absolutely thrilling:

Jim Carroll’s session with our franchisees was extremely timely and exactly what we were looking for.  Based on where we are in our system and the changes and innovations we are implementing, we could not have selected a better speaker.   One of the things that made Jim’s message so powerful for our franchisees was the amazing detail and customization Jim included in his session.  We’ve gotten a great reaction from our franchisees and I’d highly recommend Jim to any franchisee system looking for a message of change and innovation delivered with a lot of great energy and humor.  He was great!” Mike Booth, Assistant VP, Franchising, KOA Franchise Services


Jim Carroll was fantastic!  He was funny, well organized, and communicative.  The effort and detail he put into finding out about our industry and our franchise system made it possible for him to connect immediately with our franchisees.  He was by far the easiest speaker we have ever worked with and anticipated our needs every step of the way.  I’d recommend Jim to anyone looking for a futurist who delivers an outstanding presentation – in both relevant content and a dynamic and fun delivery style.  We loved him!” Jenny McCullough, Director of Training and Events,KOA Franchise Services

I think the thing which really makes me stand out in the market is the effort, research and customization I put into my keynotes. You can read about this: I wrote a blog post some time back, “What Goes Into Building a Great Keynote?

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