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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From the intro to the article:

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displaces an established process—is now expanding so quickly that one disrupter often is almost immediately superseded by another.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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A couple of key points:

The article observes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

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

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

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

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

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

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


 

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


 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Brand Authenticity is the New Benchmark

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

Reinventing brand relevance

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

How Fresh is Your Brand?

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

The future of customers and branding

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

Is Your Brand From the Olden Days

- Is Your Brand From the Olden Days

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

I’m headlining both the dinner, and am part of the opening events for “The Big M: Manufacturing Conference” in Detroit.
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On Monday night, I will be speaking to a packed audience of manufacturing executives and engineers at the SME Gala Dinner.

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

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

The Big M is a BIG event.

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

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

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

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

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

And it’s even more real today.

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

Check out the event Facebook page for more information….

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

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

 

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

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