Two years ago, I was the keynote speaker for an annual conference of Consumer Goods and Technology Magazine, and from that a great relationship was born, with a few repeat bookings into other conferences and events that they run.
“Pacesetters today can swiftly and suddenly change the pace and structure of an industry, and other competitors have to scramble to keep up” – Grab the full CGT report with the image above!
And for the second year in a row, I’m featured in their 2013 Review & Outlook: The best and brightest minds in consumer goods share predictions and guidance for the coming year ￼publication, with many other luminaries in the industry.
My contribution follows below. You can grab the entire PDF of the report by clicking on the image of the cover. Registration is required.
Jim Carroll, Futurist, Trends & Innovation Expert
The future belongs to those who are fast!
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 made 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 behaviour 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. com 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 to 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 toward constant interaction evolving? Consider the comments by Ron Boire, the new chief marketing officer for Sears in the United States (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 mobile devices and 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 promo- tion with a hefty discount. This type of scenario will be here faster than you think!
Fast format change, instant business model implementation, rapid-fire strategic moves — that’s the new reality for retail busi- ness, and it’s the innovators who will adapt.
Convenience Store Decisions gave me a call, and wanted to speak about some of the trends impacting the industry.
The intervivew was a piece of cake — I do a lot of keynotes in the retail space. And just last year, a leader in “forecourt marketing” (which is industry speak for c-store marketing…), featured me as the keynote speaker at their Digital Forecourt Marketing Summit
Here’s the extract of my observations from the article. (Small error in the article though – I’m not based in Dallas, but Toronto!)
Shift in Consumer Demands
Dallas-based futurist Jim Carroll sees healthier foods becoming a more fundamental offering at more convenience store down the road. “You wouldn’t think it, but there is a very seismic change going on in terms of what the stores are selling,” he said. “I think they’re realizing that what people are consuming—fried foods and fatty snacks—is changing. People are much more conscious of their food consumption.”
This is a trend that Carroll has been hearing about personally—directly from c-store operators. “Wellness—focusing on nutrition and an active lifestyle—is certainly a trend,” he said. “You think about the number of convenience stores that have undertaken a shift to fresh food. The focus is not on Doritos and Twinkies. Sure, some operators do focus on these items, but your industry leaders and top quartile chains are embracing change.”
Retailers, Carroll said, are trying to get away from the traditional popping chips paradigm. “If you play into the sort of ‘life to go’ issue and recognize that people want to get in and get a healthy meal quickly, why not have those items at the ready in convenience and gas stations? Even 7-Elevens now are selling sushi.”
Promotions, too, will gain impact, Carroll predicted. “It won’t be too long before I am able to fill up my car while my iPhone is communicating with the c-store,” he said. “By the time I walk into the store an LCD TV panel up on the wall is going to recognize me and greet me with a customized commercial.”
Once the store recognizes a particular customer there are endless possibilities to upsell merchandise via text messages and electronic coupons. The constant in the equation is change.
“I see c-stores undergoing relentless change in terms of what they do,” said Carroll, “because I think consumers change so quickly. That’s a major part of what’s going on—a very fast format shift. There is a South African chain that is converting its entire c-store strategy over to fresh food—a complete format shift, because even over there they are seeing that same kind of demand for fresh food served fast.”
Here’s some of the key trends that I see unfolding through 2013 and beyond.
My unique job allows me the opportunity to see and hear what a lot of CEO’s and senior executives in a lot of organizations are thinking about. The nature of my keynotes and small board / leadership meetings allows me to understand what folks are focused on. The research I do, whether for a major manufacturing conference in Las Vegas or a small corporate meeting with an ice cream company allows me to see the key trends that are unfolding right now.
And so given this unique perch, here’s some of the most important trends which will play out in the year to come.
1. Moore’s law – everywhere!
Going forward, every single industry, from health care to agriculture to insurance and banking, will find out that change will start to come at the speed of Moore’s law — a speed of change that is MUCH faster than they are used too. (Remember, Moore’s law explains that roughly, the processing power of a computer chip doubles every 18 months while its cost cuts in half. It provides for the pretty extreme exponential growth curve we see with a lot of consumer and computer technology today.)
Consider health care. Genomic medicine is moving us from a world in which we fix people after they are sick – to one where we know what they will likely become sick with as a result of DNA testing. And that’s where Moore’s law kicks in, as Silicon Valley takes over the pace of development of the genomic sequencing machines. It took $3 billion to sequence the first genome, which by 2009 had dropped to $100,000. It’s said that by mid-summer, the cost had dropped to under $10,000, and by the end of the year, $1,000. In just a few years, you’ll be able to go to a local Source by Circuit City and buy a little $5 genomic sequencer – and one day, such a device will cost just a few pennies.
The collapsing cost and increasing sophistication of these machines portends a revolution in the world of health care. Similar trends are occurring elsewhere – in every single industry, we know one thing: that Moore’s law rules! Hence, my catchphrase — the future belongs to those who are fast!
2. Loss of the control of the pace of innovation
What happens when Moore’s law appears in every industry? Accelerating change, and massive business model disruption as staid, slow moving organizations struggle to keep up with faster paced technology upstarts.
Consider the world of car insurance — where we soon will see a flood of GPS based driver monitoring technologies that will measure your speed, acceleration and whether you are stopping at all the stop signs. Show good driving behavior, and you’ll get a rebate on your insurance. It’s happening in banking, with the the imminent emergence of the digital wallet and the trend in which your cell phone becomes a credit card.
In both cases, large, stodgy, slow insurance companies and banks that move like molasses will have to struggle to fine tune their ability to innovate and keep up : they’re not used to working at the same fast pace as technology companies. Not only that, while they work to get their innovation agenda on track, they’ll realize with horror that its really hard to compete with companies like Google, PayPal, Facebook, and Apple — all of whom compete at the speed of light.
It should make for lots of fun!
3. ”Follow the leader” business methodologies
We’re also witnessing 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 checkout process. Given what they’ve done, it seems to be all of a sudden, cash registers seem to be obsolete. And if you take a look around, you’ll notice a trend in which a lot of other retailers are 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: 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!
Fast format change, instant business model implementation, rapid fire strategic moves. That’s the new reality for business, and it’s the innovators who will adapt.
4. All interaction — all the time!
If there is one other major trend that is defining the world of retail and shopping, take a look at all the big television screens scattered all over the store! 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 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!
5. Products reinvented
Smart entrepreneurs have long realized something that few others have clued into : the future of products is all about enhancement through intelligence and connectivity. Nail those two aspects, and you suddenly sell an old product at significantly higher new prices.
Consider the NEST Learning Thermostat. It’s design is uber-cutting edge, and was in fact dreamed up by one of the key designers of the iPad. It looks cool, it’s smart, connected, and there’s an App for that! Then there is a Phillips Hue Smart LED Lightbulb, a $69 light bulb that is uber-smart, connected, and can be controlled from your mobile device. Both are sold at the Apple store!
Or take a look at the Withings Wi-Fi Body Scale – I’ve got one at home. Splash a bit of design onto the concept of a home weigh scale, build it with connectivity, link it to some cool online graohis and you’ve got a device that will take your daily weight, BMI and body-fat-mass tracking into a real motivational tool. Where is it sold? Why, at the Apple store too!
Do you notice a trend here?
6. Careers reinvented
For those who think that the economy in North America sucks, here’s an open secret: there’s been an economic recovery underway for quite some time, as companies in every sector ranging from manufacturing to agriculture work hard to reinvent themselves. It just doesn’t involve a lot of new jobs, because the knowledge required to do a new job in today’s economy is pretty complex. We’ve moved quickly from the economy of menial, brute force jobs to new careers that require a lot of high level skill. The trend has been underway for a long, long time.
Consider the North American manufacturing sector, a true renaissance industry if there ever was one! Smart engineers at a wide variety of manufacturing organizations have transformed process to such a degree, and involved the use of such sophisticated robotic technology, that the economic recovery in this sector involves workers who have to master a lot of new knowledge. One client observed of their manufacturing staff: “The education level of our workforce has increased so much….The machinists in this industry do trigonometry in their heads.”
Similar skills transitions are underway in a wide variety of other industries….
7. The Rise of the Small over Incumbents
You’ve likely see the commercials for Square, the small little device that lets your iPhone become a credit card. Once again, small little upstarts are causing turmoil, disruption and competitive challenge in larger industries — and often times, the incumbents are too slow to react.
Anyone who has ever tried to get a Merchant Account from Visa, MasterCard or American Express in order to accept credit cards knows that it is likely trying to pull teeth from a pen – many folks just give up in exasperation. Square, on the other hand, will send you this little device for free (or you can pick one up at the Apple Store.) Link it to your bank account, and you’re in business.
So while credit card companies have been trying to figure out the complexities of the future of their industry, a small little company comes along and just does something magical! No complexities, no challenges, no problems.
8. The Energy-Driven Economic Rebirth!
What is occurring in the US right now in terms of advanced energy discovery techniques – whether with shale gas, horizontal drilling, new subsea mapping technologies or other new discovery, exploration and production techniques — is probably one of the most significant trends of this decade. And in North America, the next economic recovery is happening now because of of this. We are going to witness a resurgence of industry in North America.
Consider this : PriceWaterhouseCoopers has suggested that high rates of shale gas recovery could result in a million new manufacturing jobs by 2025 in the US, and the fact that revived natural gas industry “has the potential to spark a manufacturing renaissance in the U.S., including billions in cost savings, a significant number of new jobs and a greater investment in U.S. plants.”
9. The revolution that is mobile health and fitness.
Every industry in the world today finds itself in the midst of dramatic change, as mobile smartphone technology comes to change business models, consumer behaviour, and entire professions. No where is this more evident today than what is happening in the world of health care, wellness and fitness, as a flood of new apps and technologies emerge that will forever change this world. There is an absolute revolution going on involving the “consumerization of fitness and wellness.” At this moment in time, we are witnessing the perfect confluence of several major trends:
the first signs of the reality of the massive scope of the health care crisis (both disease, lifestyle and funding related) as baby boomers begin to flood the health care system with requirements for extra care
a renewed and significant focus on “preventative” health care concepts” ;
structural change aimed at wellness programs so that people work harder to avoid or reduce the impact of lifestyle disease;
and the rapid emergence of new technologies — many involving the smart-phones that have become a ubiquitous part of our lifestyle – that can motivate consumers to do so much more with their personal fitness and wellness.
Companies are recognizing there is a big opportunity to be innovative with managing health care costs through a proactive approach that involves wellness. It’s a good example of the deep, transformative thinking that is occurring with many organizations in the health care system worldwide . Organizations are moving beyond the endless political debate, and are instead, putting in place practical, innovative programs that can help organizations manage health care costs, and employees can actively work at improving their overall health and fitness.
10. Thinking big means winning big!
“There are people who are making big bold bets, big bold decisions, we are going to change the world and we are going to do things differently.” That phrase was from my opening keynote for the 2012 Accenture International Utilities and Energy Conference last week in San Francisco. It’s a good sentiment, and a good video clip to close out this post!
Where do you stand? In a company that is focused on small, incremental nothingness, or one that is set out to change the world?
I spend a lot of time speaking to global financial organizations —some of the world’s largest institutions — helping them understand what they need to do from an innovation perspective to stay ahead offast paced change.
These talks are often aimed at the idea of “how do we need to transition our advisory services — as financial planners,investment advisors, wealth managers — to keep up with fast paced change?” No where is that question more important than when thinking about the impact of technology and social networks on investing. Think about the change that the investment industry faces. We are witnessing the early stages of a massive transition of wealth from one generation to another. The numbers are staggering: we’ll see $12 to $18 trillion in intergenerational wealth transfer In the next12 years (US GDP is $12 trillion) in North America; and by 2053, some $130 trillion will have moved from one generation to another.
When it comes to financial services, adopt change as a mantra and prepare yourself to reach, support and interact with Gen-Connect in new and different ways.
That’s a lot of money sloshing around — and much of it is going to a new, tech-savvy financial consumer.
This next generation — I call them Gen-Connect — continue to aggressively integrate technology into their lives; they’re busy researching health care, insurance, retirement planning and investment advice online, on Facebook and through other social channels.
So what do you do? Adopt change as a mantra and prepare yourself to reach, support and interact with Gen-Connect in new and different ways.
Here’s a list of innovation strategies I provided in a recent keynote for a major global financial institution
1. Focus on growth
With so much volatility in the financial sector, it’s all too easy to take your eye off of the “opportunity ball.”
Yet there are huge opportunities that surround us ; probably the biggest is that we are going to witness a massive intergenerational transfer of wealth from the baby boomer generation to their uber-wiredGen-Connect children. In every area of the world this is going to involve a requirement for a lot of financial advice. As I noted in my remarks for a recent keynote to a group of senior bankers: “Never before has the need for financial advice for Australians been greater;only 20% of Australians are currently getting professional advice.”The same holds true for North America.
That means there are tremendous opportunities for growth! For many, access to financial advice is still too hard and complicated – that’s why it’s a great time to innovate, in order to build market share!!!!
2. Structure for fast paced change
There are several certainties in the financial sector as a result of the impact of technology.
We will see more business model change as companies leverage technology to change relationships in the world of wealth management; we will see more sophisticated competition as a result, and continuous business model disruption with new, young upstarts that really know how to leverage technology and social network relationships. Combine this with continual shifts in consumer behaviour as we manage more of our money and investments using online tools — and speed things up with even faster technology-driven fast change, such as with the impact of mobile technologies.
What happens when ‘there’s an App for everything’in wealth management? That’s what you need to keep up with!
3. Reshape brand messages faster
Clearly there’s a lot of fast-paced change in financial services , and it’s critical that financial institutions continue to reshape their brand at the pace of rapidly changing consumer perception.
Part of this has to do with how quickly volatility comes and goes. Noted Jim Buchanan, Senior VP of Consumer Marketing at the Bank of America in an article in Advertising Age, October 2009: “Six months ago, we were trying to re-assure the market and consumers that we are safe and secure….now consumers are telling us they’re not worried about those things anymore…..What they are interested in is ‘How can you help me manage my finances?‘”
Innovative organizations ensure that the brand message evolves at the pace of a world in which volatility is the new normal. As a financial manager, you must make sure that your brand and image are seen to be modern, up to date, and in tune with the brand expectations of Gen-Connect. You can’t be “your grandfathers’ wealth manager” anymore.
4. Adapt to momentum of financial consumer change
Quite simply, the new financial client is online in a big way, and smart financial organizations will evolve their service and support message to these platforms.
The numbers are staggering; in the case one recent keynote I provided for a major financial institution, I emphasized that:
147 million people interact globally on social networks via their mobile phones – we can expect 1 billion within five years!
usage of Twitter continues to grow at a staggering pace — and people spend more time on Facebook each week than they do on watching television.
they spend far less time reading newspapers and magazines in paper fashion — and in fact, some don’t look at such products at all!
The result of this i that they are increasingly influenced by advertising, marketing and branding messages that they see online. Ifyou are still trying to reach out to them through traditional media,you might be missing them altogether.
It’s not just about marketing — it’s also about customer support. The entire world of customer support has gone online, and you need to be able to support them in the world to which they are accustomed.
The bottom line for financial and investment advisors is that social networks are an extremely effective tool to keep core clients in the loop; as an outreach tool, they’re fast, effective, unique, quirky,and certainly the story of the day. Financial advisors have to go where the client is going, and should be thinking about how to become socially-networked oriented advisers. Given regulatory issues, that can be a big challenge!
5. Adjust platforms to this changing behaviour
I continue to emphasize with my global financial clients that the impact of mobile technologies on financial services is absolutely massive. Think about Wizzit, a South African service that is essentially a text message based banking system.The reality is that the new financial consumer expects to be served on new platforms: as noted by Thomas Kunz, Senior VP at PNC Financial: “Gen-Y does not reconcile checkbooks, and they don’t believe in float. For them, their balance is their balance.”
That’s why PNC has released a “virtual wallet app” available for iPhones. They’re reaching out to this new financial consumer in a big way. That’s why every organization is scrambling to keep up with “Appworld” particularly considering that Apple sold 3 million iPad 3′ within the first 3 days of release.
Aggressive change with business platforms provides big opportunity for business model disruption. A key factor here has to do with new client acquisition: what’s happening is the point of origination of the relationship might change as people transition their banking to mobile devices. Opportunity can come from continuing to build the advisor and distribution channel into these new platforms.
And that’s not a threat – that’s a huge opportunity!
6. Leverage off of new peer-to-peer behaviour trends
The new financial consumer relies more than ever before for advice from their social networks. Peer-to-peer social driven advice through sites such as TradeKing is coming to the forefront: it’s a service that allows people to share stock tips and research through extended social networks.
Does this diminish the role of advisory services — not at all, if you drive in and become a part of the peer-to-peer conversation!
7. Re-orient distribution channels
Here’s another key point: I’ve emphasized to my insurance and other financial clients that the next-generation advisor/broker/agent expects ever more sophisticated technology platforms to help support their role.You’ve got to make sure you are keeping up with their needs.
In one survey in the insurance sector, 80% of brokers indicated that the sophistication of the technology platform of the provider would influence who they would choose to do business with.
According to Kevin Murray, EVP and CIO at New York-based AXA Equitable: “The younger generation of financial professional will almost demand online self-service….they will want to text any questions they have into the service centre or self-service from their mobile device. We’re going to have to be able to provide that capability. It’s how they will operate.”
8. Build your own peer-to-peer collaborative knowledge networks
The new financial advisor is also thinking socially, and is actively looking for peer-to-peer collaborative knowledge. Imagine building a financial advisory team that is collaborative for ideas, share insight on market wins, constantly leverages insight from new branding campaigns that work in unique ways, and constantly shares great idea son new methods of converting leads into clients — that’s how this next generation works!
Back to Kevin Murray: “They will also want an online collaboration tool to …find answers concerning product or questions from their customers. The X and Ygenerations are going to demand a different way of selling and servicing their customers.”
What’s it really all about? Freeing up their time to build opportunity, make sales, close deals.
9. Reduce churn through electronic relationships
Here’s something else to think about according to Chief Marketer (October 2009), “The average brand saw one third of highly loyal consumers in 2007completely defect to another brand in 2008“.
People are far less loyal, and far more likely to jump ship at the drop of a hat. That’s why continuous innovation in terms of the relationship is critical — and that’s maybe why continually transitioning to new technology platforms such as an iPhone app might reduce that churn
10. Better, more focused niche marketing
We’re in the new era of analytics and analysis, which provides new opportunities for advisors to reach out to markets previously unattainable. As noted by Money Management Executive in October 2009: “Financial advisers generally prefer to manage a small number of high-net-worth clients rather than a large number of small accounts,but recent advances in automation technology could change this dynamic.”
11. Evolve the approach
Insurance and financial advisory services are products that are always sold based on fear — they aren’t bought.
This reality doesn’t go away because of new technologies. What does change is that technology is a powerful enabler that frees advisors forum having to focus on the mundane, routine, time wasting stuff, in order to focus on providing the advice & guidance that advisors can provide. Focus on the core role!
12. Enact change
Many advisors will be in comfortable, established routines. Change is not easy. That’s why organizations in the financial sector that are trying to be innovative need to help existing advisors focus on the opportunity and the benefits that come with rapid change, rather than being fearful of the change that technology is bringing to the industry.
Bottom line? As I sum up in many of my keynotes — “Innovative organizations make bold leaps, in order to keep up — and stay ahead —of a faster future.”
I’m honoured to be the opening keynote speaker for the 2012 Ontario Tourism Summit, the most significant tourism event in the province of Ontario, Canada.
They recently featured a short profile that provides a little bit of insight into my talk.
Global futurist Jim Carroll to speak at 2012 Ontario Tourism Summit
“The future belongs to those who are fast!” declares Jim Carroll, leading global futurist, trends and innovation expert and the kick-off speaker at the 2012 Ontario Tourism Summit. Carroll believes that fast response is a theme that fits well with the tourism industry in Ontario.
Carroll muses that 10 years ago there was no Facebook, YouTube or Twitter. Cell phones were used just for talking, until mobile devices were invented that allowed text messages. Apps and GPS based phones wouldn’t really make an appearance until about 2010.
“What a difference a decade makes. Yet, we’ve barely scratched the surface of how accelerating change will provide for opportunity to tourism organizations in the future,” says Carroll. He predicts that success will increasingly come from an organization’s ability to take advantage of rapid, dramatic shifts in the tourism promotions landscape.
From the process of branding tourism properties to evolving marketing methodologies, Carroll sees change in the future happening at lightening speed. “The nature of the interaction with the travel consumer will come to resemble a roller coaster ride,” he concludes. Carroll challenges tourism organizations to jump on board, full steam ahead, and take aggressive control of the future.
“The key is putting yourself in a frame of mind in which you want to embrace a fast changing future, rather than shying away from it,”he advises. “Some people see a trend and see a threat — real innovators see the same trend, and see massive opportunity,” says Carroll.
“There is so much that is right about tourism in Ontario,” emphasizes Carroll. “What we need to ensure we have is a tourism industry that continues to build upon what we have, and evolves at the speed of the future to ensure that we can continue to position to the world why Ontario is the best tourism destination in the world.”
I haven’t done of these posts in a while — it’s a semi-regular summary of 10 of the most recent search phrases that resulted in people discovering information in my blog through the last week.
It’s a useful way to see what people around the world might be thinking about, or some of the issues that are top of mind. It’s also a great way to discover some of the unique blog posts throughout my site — with well over 1,000, there’s a lot of useful content in here that you might not find.
I use some fabulous Web site tracking software — notably Woopra and OpenTracker — both of which give me *real time* insight into what people are discovering on my site, so it’s pretty easy to pull this information together. Here we go:
a search for “what trends are driving today’s consumer” led to the Consumer & food category of my blog; it leads to a whole series of blog posts that focus on these issues
from South Africa, a search for “futuristic trends in agriculture” led to “10 Big Trends for Agriculture” — a post I wrote many years ago but which continues to be one of the most popular pages on my Web site. And even though it was written in 2005, it still remains powerfully relevant today. I do a LOT of keynotes in the agricultural sector
from Cincinatti, a search for “latest trends in the property and casualty insurance industry” led to “The insurance industry in 2015” , a concise overview of how this industry is undergoing dramatic and fast paced change
If only I had a dollar for each search done where people from the US end up on my site for information on future healthcare trends. A search from a major US pharma company for “key trends business us healthcare market led to “10 major health care / pharmaceutical trends“, a really concise summary of the scientific, technological and other trends that are transforming the sector
and from the Philippines, a search for the phrase “Leaders are innovative and future – oriented. They focus on getting the job done” led to my blog post, “How future ready is your organization?” It provides some good insight on whether your organization is clearly aligned for what comes next — or is simply stuck in the here and now.
That’s 10 search phrases — and a simple summary of some great insight. Stayed tuned — more “What’s Hot” posts to come!
If you want to track analytics on your own Web site, I highly recommend both Woopra and OpenTracker. Fascinating insight!
A press release has gone out about an event I’ll be doing in Chicago later this month.
The essence of the issue is the extremely rapid change coming to the retail sector. I spoke about this years ago, in a video clip called “Cardboard People, Plasma People.” And indeed, this very theme became the opening chapter in my book, Ready, Set, Done: How to Innovate When Faster is the New Fast.
See below to watch the video and read the blog post — and read the chapter from the book!
Gilbarco announces Jim Carroll as Keynote at Upcoming Digital Forecourt Marketing Summit, Thu, 2012-05-31 World-leading futurist will help c-store retailers compete and win in rapidly evolving retail landscape
GREENSBORO, N.C. – May 31, 2012 – The world-leading international futurist, Jim Carroll, will deliver the keynote address at Gilbarco Veeder-Root’s Digital Forecourt Marketing Summit in Chicago, IL on June 26-27th, 2012. As a trends and innovation expert, Jim Carroll helps growth-oriented organizations transform into high-velocity innovation heroes. His clients range from Northrop Grumman to Johnson & Johnson, the Swiss Innovation Forum to the National Australia Bank; the Walt Disney Organization to NASA. Some of his recent speaking engagements include the 2012 Southwest Gas Association Conference, the 2011 Consumer Goods Technology Business & Technology Leadership Conference, and the 2011 Multi-Unit Franchise Conference Las Vegas.
Hosted by Gilbarco Veeder-Root and Outcast, this exclusive, invitation-only technology event will focus on the emergence of Digital Media and its implications on consumer marketing and behaviors. Industry expert led sessions will cover digital media outlook and trends, best practices from retailers, loyalty program integration and more.
“We are thrilled to announce Jim Carroll as keynote speaker for our Digital Forecourt Marketing Summit,” said Mike Schulte, President of Gilbarco Veeder-Root North America. “With his unique storytelling approach Jim will challenge our retailers to think about their business and industry in an unconventional way and help them link future trends to innovation.”
“I’m excited to participate in the Digital Forecourt Marketing Summit,” said Jim Carroll. “It’s a changing time for the convenience store industry and for retail more broadly. There is so much opportunity to innovate — be it in operations, partnership structures, forecourt merchandising or taking advantage of the rapid evolution of mobile payment technologies. I’ll challenge attendees to concentrate on the core activities that will help them focus on the opportunities of the future, rather than the challenges of the past.”
I recently found myself at 37,000 feet on a flight from San Francisco to Toronto, Skyping with my son who is at university. After a brief “can you hear me now” exchange, the call signal adjusted itself and the quality of the video call became crystal clear. Say goodbye to one of the last bastions of refuge from the interconnected world.
A typical day in the typical life of a typical cell phone customer!
Internet access on flights isn’t new; several carriers have featured the service for a number of years and I’ve been using the Internet “up in the air” for some time. What became evident to me on that recent flight, however, is the continuing improvement in the quality and speed of the connection. And that’s a trend for bandwidth overall, whether by satellite (as is the case on planes), cable/phone lines or wireless devices.
According to research firm IDC, Internet traffic will grow 32% per year from 2010 to 2015. We currently send about 46 terabits per second, and that should grow to more than 200 terabits per second by 2015. Cisco suggests total annual Internet traffic will grow to 966 exabytes by 2015.
Of course, such numbers can become meaningless without interpretation, so let’s just say we will be able to send the equivalent of a million four-drawer filing cabinets filled with 20 million pages — every second. Each year, we’ll send information equivalent to twice the number of words spoken by all humankind since the beginning of time. Whoa.
As our demands on the system grow, technologies behind the scenes will emerge to support huge transmissions of capacity. A recent IBM press release, for example, noted the company has developed “the first parallel optical transceiver to transfer one trillion bits — one terabit — of information per second, the equivalent of downloading 500 high-definition movies.”
Someday, we’ll have this type of bandwidth in our homes and on our mobile devices. Which brings me to accountants and wireless companies. Given the reality of these trends, why do wireless companies use a business model that deploys thousands of accountants at a cost of millions of dollars to track individual bits of information and charge customers every time they go over a usage cap? I seem to be in a perpetual state of war with my wireless/Internet service provider. Our family has four iPhones — and we spend a substantial sum of money to support our data-driven lifestyle as well as a high-speed Internet connection. Every time we make some small change that involves an incremental adjustment in bandwidth, the fee goes up.
The approach of these companies seems to be that in a world of continuous bandwidth growth, they should track each and every byte. Couldn’t they save a ton of money if they just offered a simple flat-fee service that recognizes the reality of our times? They’d eliminate a bunch of sophisticated IT systems, the staff who supports them, the marketing staff who dreams up complex campaigns that revolve around bit-tracking, and the support staff who has to clean up the mess after the inevitable showdown with the customer when things (usually) go wrong.
Here’s the conundrum in a nutshell: Internet usage and capacity will continue to grow at an exponential pace. But the industry that handles the flow of data sees tracking individual bits as a critical part of the business plan. I’d say this is one of those industries where you really question the value of the accounting mind-set, don’t you think?
I haven’t done of these posts in a while — it’s an observation of 10 of the most recent search phrases that resulted in people discovering information in my blog through the last week.
It’s a useful way to see what people around the world might be thinking about, or some of the issues that are top of mind. You can see some other What’s Hot entries here.
I’ve got some fabulous new Web site tracking software — notably Woopra and OpenTracker — both of which give me *real time* insight into what people are discovering on my site, so it’s pretty easy to pull this information together.
Here we go:
a search for “food product trends marketing” from Ireland resulted in someone hitting what is currently one of the most heavily visited pages on my Web site — “Food industry trends 2011 – Report from a keynote“. Literally a few hundred hits a day!
from Bangalore, India, a search for “healthcare industry trends presentation” led to the page “Healthcare 2020: The Transformative Trends That Will REALLY Define Our Future“, also one of the most popular pages on my site. What is evident is that people find a tremendous amount of value in the detailed trends outlines as found in this type of post and the previous food industry post — there are a lot of these scattered throughout my blog covering a wide range of industries. Try the Trends link for a list by industry.
another popular search concerns the future of the meetings and events industry. From San Diego this morning, a search for “event industry 2012 trends” led to the post “Future of the meetings / events industry“
from Malaysia, someone searching for “future ready organization” hit the post, “How future ready is your organization?”. I wrote that in 2009 – and write about the velocity ratio, the rate of ‘rising tides’ and other factors that might give you a sense of whether your organization is keeping up with the speed of innovation occurring in your industry.
from North Carolina in the US, a search for “bioengineered body parts” odd to the post from 2006, “Bio-engineered body parts, the Cold Store and personalized medicine…” Consider what I wrote in 2006! “The pill bottle linked into my home network grid in order to interact with the prescription drug company. They had specifically engineered this medicine the day before for my own bio-code, based on a quick sampling of my blood and sinus condition that was done at the local Cold Store.”
last but not least, someone in Las Vegas did a search this morning for the phrase “things you have to do in vegas during the recession.” That took them to a great post that still works with the current and ongoing volatility in the global economy, “10 Things You Need to Do to Innovate in a Recession“
That’s 10 search phrases — and a simple summary of some great insight. Stayed tuned — more “What’s Hot” posts to come!
If you want to track analytics on your own Web site, I highly recommend both Woopra and OpenTracker. Fascinating insight!
Fresh from my keynote in Orlando this week, I’ve come across a blog post from someone who attended, and saw my early-Monday keynote – “‘Breakthrough performers’ and ‘pervasive connectivity’: Notes from the CGT Business & Technology Leadership Conference.”
"Leading international author and “futurist,” Jim Carroll, delivered the keynote address, capturing the audience’s attention with some mind-blowing stats on the rapid pace of change and innovation in the technology space."
You can read the full post by Sean Rollings, Vice President, Product Marketing over at the E2open blog, or read an extract below.
In the room were senior executives from many of the largest consumer product and food companies in the world; indeed, I was dazzled from the presentation of a senior executive from PepsiCo who took to the stage right after me with his observations on what is happening in the consumer space.
The essence of my message in Orlando was modelled on the themes found in these two blog posts:
“What do world class innovators do that others don’t do?”
“Food industry trends 2011: Report from a keynote”
I can tell you that these two pages are among the top-10 most heavily trafficked on my Web site, and so obviously there are a lot of senior executives in the food and consumer products sector who realize that when it comes to innovation, one of their key goals must be, how do we speed things up to deal with the reality of fast-paced consumer, technological, market, product, and global change.
“Breakthrough performers” and “pervasive connectivity”: Notes from the CGT Business & Technology Leadership Conference
Sean Rollings, Vice President, Product Marketing, E2open
I made my way to the Sunshine State this week for the Consumer Goods Business & Technology Leadership Conference in Orlando. The turnout is impressive, with technology and supply chain professionals from all the major players in the CPG space (plus a number of up-and-comers). And while the keynote sessions and panel discussions cover a gamut of topics, everyone is really here for the same thing: learning and collaborating on the “what’s next” for technology and the consumer goods business.
Leading international author and “futurist,” Jim Carroll, delivered the keynote address, capturing the audience’s attention with some mind-blowing stats on the rapid pace of change and innovation in the technology space. According to Carroll, recent research indicates that 65 percent of current preschool students will work in a job that does not yet exist. Along the same lines, 50 percent of the information taught to first-year Science undergraduates will be obsolete by the time they graduate.
The business-related statistics were no less shocking. For example, roughly 60 percent of Apple’s revenue is currently generated by products that are less than four years old. The rate of innovation is accelerating, big time. And from Carroll’s perspective (and the evidence is convincing), the only way to stay competitive in today’s marketplace is to embrace the current onslaught of change and innovation—and run with it!
In keeping with this theme, Carroll shared a compelling piece of research from GE innovation consultants: Of those companies in existence during the economic recessions of the 70s, 80s, 90s, and our most recent “Great Recession”—on average—60 percent survived, 30 percent died, and 10 percent became breakthrough performers. How did this top-10 percent do it? According to Carroll, these companies succeeded because they invested in world-class innovation while everyone else was retrenching. For the “breakthrough performers” of our most recent recession, this innovation has been largely focused on pervasive connectivity—everyone connected to everyone, regardless of geographic location or technical sophistication.
The GE study that I refer is a theme that I use in many presentations — you can catch a glimpse of how I put the reality of innovating despite economic uncertainty in this video clip from a keynote in San Antonio, Texas, earlier this year.
This article was released in my CAMagazine column in March 2009. shortly after the great economic collapse of 2008.
Inertia — real or implied — establishes a culture of inaction, and that can lead to another slippery slope
Given the new economic volatility, shrieking stock market headlines, and the reappearance of a sense of dread in the corporate world in September 2010, it’s probably a good time to re-read the article.
There are countless examples where history has shown us that it is those organizations who focused on ensuring that they were still actively pursuing innovation — whether through product development, the exploration of new business models, external partnerships, the pursuit of new markets and customer groups — were those who managed to achieve the greatest success in the long run.
Catch the key line at the end: “The greatest mistake any organization can make right now is to do nothing.”
Keep Those Ideas Coming
Jim Carroll, March 2009
I have started to think about the events of the past few months in the context of economic grief — an emotional process closely related to the stages of bereavement. The economy unraveled so quickly that many organizations still find themselves in the early phases of economic grief, marked by shock and denial. Corporate idea factories have come to a standstill and innovation paralysis is settling in.
The result is that we’re not just in an economic recession; we’re entering an idea recession, similar to that of the last downturn starting in 2001. Yet, in allowing innovation to dry up, businesses are missing out on great opportunities for success. After all, companies such as Burger King, Microsoft, CNN and FedEx were all started up during recessions.
The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania released a provocative article in November 2008 suggesting a recession is the perfect time for disruptive innovation — that is, rewriting an industry’s business model to achieve significant growth. Think of Steve Jobs and the iPod, which he first released during a less-than-rosy economy in 2001.
So what do companies need to do to make the most of this recession? First, accept the economic reality. Those unable to move past shock, denial and anger through to acceptance will be innovation laggards and will only be ready to innovate once the market and industry recovery is underway. Unfortunately, that may be too late.
Innovation leaders, however, are prepared to keep their idea factories running (perhaps not at full tilt, but running nevertheless) in the face of uncertainty. They know there is still a place for innovative thinking despite the vast sections of the economy under stress. They know there are growth markets and opportunities for marketplace, distribution-channel and operational innovation. These leaders are aware ongoing change in consumer behaviour means there are still new ways to brand, grab customer mind share and forge unique and distinct relationships.
It is critical that organizations begin to undertake a series of bold actions that reorients them to face future challenges. These actions should include several integrated elements.
Boost the experiential capital of the organization. Get your teams working on projects and ideas that build up their experience. For example, they might explore new methods of branding and marketing (particularly to the next generation); investigate technologies that can stream-line business processes; or work with distribution models that expand market potential.
Identify weaknesses or areas for improvement. Consider what elements of the organization’s product line, skills or structure could benefit from specific innovation efforts. For example, are competitive threats emerging that you haven’t really thought about? What should you be doing to innovate your way around those challenges?
Explore key opportunities through a variety of risk-oriented initiatives. If, for example, you focus on a customer-retention strategy (such as visiting every customer in the next three months to see if you are meeting their needs) can you put a stop to future revenue leakage?
The greatest mistake any organization can make right now is to do nothing. Inertia — real or implied — establishes a culture of inaction, and that can lead to another slippery slope. Today, innovation isn’t simply an option — it’s critical because it is the best way to gain traction.
Here’s a video clip from my opening keynote for the 94th Annual General Meeting of the PGA of America, in which I talk about the necessity of “thinking big, starting small, and scaling fast,” and of the importance of the concept of experiential capital as a foundation for innovation.
I’ve written and spoken about the concept of experiential capital quite a bit through the years – I think in a fast paced economy its one of the most important innovation strategies that we can undertake.
Experiential Capital. In a world in which Apple generates 60% 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.
I also write about the idea in my book Ready, Set, Done: How to Innovate When Faster is the New Fast, where I made this observation:
“Innovation comes from risk, and risk comes from experience. The most important asset today isn’t found on your balance sheet – it is found in the accumulated wisdom from the many risks that you’ve taken. The more experiential capital you have, the more you’ll succeed.”
I close with the observation: “Investing in experiential capital is one of the most important things you can do.”
When people ask me about the “secrets” of innovative organizations, this is one of the key attributes I outline. They realize they are immersed in a world of fast-paced ideas — and they take on many different projects, some of which are doomed to fail, in order to build the overall experience of the organization.
Which begs the question: how many experiential oriented projects do you have underway that involves new technological platforms, social network and branding or marketing projects; business model innovation or any other number of ideas?
It’s been a whirlwind of activity over the last two months, with about 20 major keynotes under my belt.
One of these was a corporate event for a food company with $7 billion in revenue and 24,000 employees ; my talk was on the key food industry trends of today that should be driving innovation from a marketing, product development and branding perspective.
Jim Carroll on stage at the Readers Digest Food and Entertainment Group Summit, in front of several hundred food and consumer product executives, advertising agencies, grocery and retail organizations and publishers of the world's most popular food magazines, speaking to the trends driving the food industry today, .
This is one of many events I do for food and consumer product clients – my global client list includes high profile keynotes or leadership meetings for the Readers Digest Food & Entertainment Division (the publisher of such innovative magazines as Everyday with Rachel Ray), the Produce Marketing Association Annual Fresh Summit, HJ Heinz, Nestle , FMC FoodTechnologies, Burger King, Yum! Brands and many more.
I was the keynote speaker for a meeting of their top 250 marketing executives; my mandate was to focus on how to innovate around the trends that are today impacting the food industry today, with a particular focus on consumer behaviour.
Below are a few of the many trends that I spoke about. I took on an extensive amount of research for this keynote, which is typical of how I approach these events.
In effect, I built my keynote around the theme “….these are the trends that will drive your brands……”, and from that, they could best learn how to change and innovate with their branding and marketing message.
1. Biggest trend: We are witnessing a changing relationship with food
My main observation is that we live in a period of time that sees consumers interacting with food, the purchasing of food, and the consumption of food in new and different ways.
An article, Observer Food Monthly in the Guardian Newspaper, 15 May 2011 caught this sentiment perfectly:
“… never before has our culture been so engaged in discussing and experimenting with and agonizing over and fantasizing about and plain enjoying what is on the end of our forks”
Consider what is happening:
we have a new form of interaction when purchasing food. Consider the number of iPhone apps by which we can research calorie counts, nutrition facts and other information while in the grocery store.
we have new influencers in how we make these in-store food decisions. Think about the Monterrey Aquarium Seafood Watch iPhone app, which will give you background that can help you with your ethical food decisions.
a change in how we manage our food intake. iPhone and Web sites apps such as Lose It, which allow us to track our food consumption on a calorie-by-calorie, product by product basis.
a change in food packaging: ““…..interactive packaging, intelligent and active packaging, multi-sensory packaging, edible packaging … packaging as mini-billboards…” as noted by the research firm Reportlinker. Paackaging is going from passive to active, and is becoming more than just the vehicle for branding – increasingly, it is defining our relationship with the food.
a change in our food relationships. Consider the impact of food traceability based on DNA. “Tonning’s restaurant is among more than 11,000 that Richmond-based food distributor Performance Food Group is supplying with DNA-traceable beef as an added value for customers of its premium Braveheart brand. The company, which has annual revenues of about $11 billion, said it is among the first distributors to use the technology.” Where’s the beef, Iowa Press Citizen, May 2011
A more direct involvement with the ethics of food. “Wal-Mart, which sells more than 20 per cent of all US groceries, is developing an eco-labelling program that will give a green rating to all items sold in its 7500 stores worldwide.” Unlikely alliance, Sydney Morning Herald, February 2011
and very significant transitional trends. “Whole grains are the hottest trend in sliced bread, with whole wheat edging out soft white bread in total sales for the first time……… The whole-grain craze has, after all, raised the bar on what consumers are willing to pay for bread that’s perceived as healthy…..” Grains gain ground; Focus on healthy eating helps wheat surpass white in sliced bread sales 1 August 2010, Chicago Tribune
All in all, these are pretty significant, systemic, long term transformative trends that will have a major impact through the next 5-10 years. Smart food companies will recognize that the very nature of our relationship with food is changing and will innovative around that reality. Massive opportunities for innovative thinking exist here!
2. A need to respond to faster consumer preference/taste change
I’ve long been pointing out that consumer preference is changing faster when it comes to food, and that leads to the rapid emergence of new opportunity, or the rapid decline of existing product lines. A few of my observations:
behavioural change and food as fashion! Fresh-cut snack food grew from $6.8 billion in to $10.5 billion in one year. Notes one publication: “Snacks are like a fashion category…..People want a change. it’s going to be short-lived–maybe a quarter, maybe six months, then changed out” Private Label Buyer, May 2010.
We spend more of our day with our food – it’s not just breakfast, lunch and dinner anymore. Canadian consumers are snacking more frequently. Snacks were 24% of all “meals” consumed by 2010. Fruit leads in the category, and healthy snacks are driving growth – the top 7 snacks include yogurt and granola bars.
Food categories can explode in growth over night. US Greek Yogurt sales grew from $33million in 2007 to $469 million today!
The key point with all of these trends is that it reflects our busy, compressed lives — smart food companies will continue to learn how to innovate within that reality with new products, aligning themselves to health concerns, and other trends.
3. The impact of business model change and social networks on food and taste trends
Business model change with pop-up restaurants drives the more rapid emergence of new exotic tastes and flavors!
Clearly, massive connectivity is coming to influence the growth of new foods, brands, tastes, patterns.
I spoke, for example, how bacon has quickly become so trendy as something used to enhance countless recipes. It can be traced right back to an effective social networking campaign.
“If there’s one food trend that illustrates how top-down and grassroots phenomena combine it might be bacon….. in southern California about six years ago, Rocco Loosbrock paired peppered bacon with Syrah wine at a tasting….”swine and wine…..!” The mysteries of food trends: How bacon got its sizzle, Associated Press Newswires, March 2011
Social networks are also lining up with a change in business models in the restaurant sector, which helps to drive faster change in consumer taste trends…..
In the last few years, we’ve seen an explosion in the number of pop-up restaurants and “Eat St” food – street food!
what is happening here is a lower barrier to entry in terms of new restaurant start up cost — more people can get out and start out a restaurant as “street food”, and experiment with new, bold, and exotic tastes and flavors
there’s also a very big trend underway that links restaurants and markets together in one location. Go to the restaurant, like the food and want to cook it at home next time? Visit the market in the same building, and buy the exact ingredients for that exact recipe. We call these Resto 2.0′s : for example, Murray’s Market in Ottawa, based on locally farmed food, “….sells cheeses, meats, produce and house-made foodstuffs, providing customers with many of the same raw ingredients they use as their restaurant next door.” Globe & Mail, June 1, 2011
all of these trends involve a new breed of restaurateur / entrepreneur; they’ve learned to link these efforts with very effective social network campaigns. The result is that we now have even faster emergence of new taste trends. Smart food companies will learn how to innovate around the sheer velocity of what is occurring here – ‘faster is the new fast!’
My key point? Innovation is all about time to market … and the brand message needs to match the new speed metric…
4. A new consumer volatility
Back in 2009, I keynote global events for both Burger King and Yum! Brands. One of the major points in both keynotes was the consumer and public health concerns would come to drive more of a focus on a healthier diet; hence, the need for more aggressive innovation around a balanced menu that offered up more healthier choices.
Since then, looking back, it looks like one chain took the message to heart, and the other didn’t. Can you guess which ones?
What’s happened since then? Restaurant chains — and by extension, food companies — are discovering that consumer activity has become very volatile. They might talk of the need to go out and eat healthier, but then go out and continue to buy big, fat juicy cheeseburgers.
But then the news continues to hammer home the cold realities of North American food lifestyles, and the impact of childhood obesity.
over the past 30 years, childhood obesity rates in North America have tripled
1 in 3 children are overweight or obese
1/3 of all children born in 2000 or later will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives
many others will face chronic obesity-related health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and asthma
Add to that new messages from Michelle Obama, Jamie Kennedy and other influencers around this debate — and all of a sudden, behaviour begins to change faster than people expect. Consider comments in the article Dining chains shape up menus ;Customers place low-cal orders now, 13 April 2011, USA Today
:Something odd is afoot in restaurants where Americans have typically gone to gorge: healthier grub. This nutritional U-turn is taking place at some of the unlikeliest of eateries, including Denny’s, IHOP, Friendly’s, Sizzler and even at the nation’s biggest casual dining chain, Applebee’s, where the numbers are eye-popping.“
“For the first two months of 2011, the top-selling entree at Applebee’s wasn’t a gloppy burger or flashy fajita plate. It was a sirloin and shrimp entree from the chain’s diet menu. This marks the first time that a low-calorie item ever ranked as the chain’s best seller for a single month — let alone two in a row.“
“I’ve been in the restaurant business for 30 years, and I’ve never seen anything like this,” says Mike Archer, president of Applebee’s.
“When Applebee’s launched the under-550-calorie menu in 2010, it didn’t immediately take off, says Archer. But after some tweaks, it caught fire early this year. It now accounts for up to 8% of sales”
8 percent of sales! For healthy options! The key innovation opportunity is to keep innovating with food and taste trends around trends such as health, local, regional. The consumer is volatile, and will change faster than ever before.
Key marketing and branding innovation points?
consumer behaviour is now more unpredictable than ever before!
sudden, dramatic shifts driven by sudden external influences or other pressures are the new reality
it’s easy to abandon marketing momentum / commitment due to slowness of trend (i.e. healthy lifestyle – consumers say one thing, and do another!)
yet success from ability to quickly rejig marketing message based on trend spikes – speed matters!
And so branding innovation is … sticking to the message behind the key trends, even if the trends unfold at a curious and unpredictable pace….
I spoke about many other trends within the keynote, particularly the impact of mobile marketing and moving into hyper-nice marketing. I’ll cover more of that later.
This is typical of the type of unique research I often do for a keynote. If you are interested in bringing me in to a leadership meeting at your corporate organization, feel free to give me a call!
Here’s an article from my September 2010 CAMagazine column:
Jim Carroll was the opening keynote for the 2010 Consumer Electronic Association CEO Summit, speaking to the theme of "Brand Innovation At the Speed of Twitter: How to Innovate in the Era of Hyperconnectivity." Click the image for more on this keynote topic.
It’s no secret that social networks are booming. But let’s put into perspective how quickly they are growing. It took radio 38 years to hit 50 million users. Television took 13 years, the Internet four years and the iPhone three years. In that context, now consider that Facebook is adding 20 million users a month and Twitter reports more than 300,000 people are signing up every day. These statistics are mind-boggling, even to someone like me who has been online since 1981.
Much of this rapid growth is driven by the younger generation: 50% of the global population is less than 25 — and in North America, 96% of them use Facebook. That’s a pretty astonishing percentage. Social networking is also increasing as people use their mobile devices to continually share their thoughts, access social media content and see what their friends are up to. Software such as Tweetdeck lets people access and filter the flood of information that flows through Twitter, whether it is related to the friends and people they follow or to track information posted about breaking news.
But social networks aren’t just inane thoughts people post to their Facebook and Twitter accounts; it’s the flood of video and pictures that people place online. YouTube reports that some 24 hours of video are uploaded to the service every minute — and when the iPhone was released, YouTube traffic rose by 1,700%.
What is perhaps most significant is that social networks are changing the very nature of how people search for information. At this point, Facebook is used for more searches than Google. And at 600 million queries a day, Twitter is now the largest search engine in the world.
What does it all mean? The key point here is that when people search for information on goods and services, they turn to other people on social networks for advice and guidance more often than they consult producers of the product or service itself. At this point, one out of four online searches for the top 20 global brands end up with user generated content, such as information on blogs, as well as what people post to Twitter and Facebook.
The result is that organizations are having to think about advertising and branding in completely different ways. In the olden days a company could figure out an advertising and marketing strategy, build a campaign and put it out to the public. Today, lots of people are having lots of “conversations” about many topics, including the products and services that they use on a daily basis. They’re placing online both positive and negative insight. And increasingly, when we search for information about a product or service, we’re accessing that insight, in addition to — or sometimes in place of — a company’s carefully crafted message.
That’s why organizations are scrambling to change their approach to marketing and advertising.
Last year, I had the opportunity to speak at the annual Consumer Electronics Association CEO Summit in California. It was a pretty fascinating crowd, with senior executives from a variety of global entertainment and technology companies, as well as major global retailers that sell their products. The rapid pace of change in the online world, particularly with respect to social networks, is coming to influence these markets. It’s been reported, for example, that IBM has combined some of its marketing and PR staff to deal with the impact of social networking. And Pepsi now devotes one-third of its advertising budget to interactive and social media.
The bottom line? Companies must think about how to reach their customers in new and different ways.
Many of the major associations that book me for a keynote run a pre-event interview or article to stir up interest in their event, or provide post-event coverage of my keynote. This is a wonderful way to build interest and attendance at the conference, as well as enhancing and re-enforcing the key message of the conference, and the role of my keynote in helping to hammer home that message.
Here are three good examples from recent events from the National Recreation and Parks Association, the PGA (Professional Golfer Association) of America, and the Produce Marketing Association.
All of the articles can be accessed below in PDF format.
Through the years I’ve developed a great reputation for working with my clients to do everything I can to help make the most out of my keynote, and for the conference or event itself.
We are in the era of big thinking, yet a lot of people have a small outlook.
Consider what leading edge innovation organizations are doing today; they’re prepared to:
make big transformations: I’m dealing with several organizations who realize that structured operational activities that are based on a centuries old style of thinking no longer can take them into a future that will demand more agility, flexibility and ability to react in real time to shifting demand. They’re pursuing such strategies as building to demand, rather than building to inventory; or pursuing mass customization projects so that they don’t have to compete in markets based on price.
undertake big brand reinforcement: one client, realizing the vast scope and impact of social networking on their brand image, made an across the board decision to boost their overall advertising and marketing spend by 20%, with much of the increase going to online advertising. In addition, a good chunk of existing spending is being diverted as well. Clearly, the organization believes that they need to make bi broad, sweeping moves to keep up to date with the big branding and marketing change that is now underway worldwide.
anticipate big changes: there’s a lot of innovative thinking going on with energy, the environment and health care. Most of the organizations that have had me in for a keynote on the trends that are providing for growth opportunities have a razor sharp focus on these three areas, anticipating the rapid emergence of big opportunities at a very rapid pace.
pursue big math: quite a few financial clients are looking at the opportunities for innovation that come from “competing with analytics,” which offers new ways of examining risk, understanding markets, and drilling down into customer opportunity in new and different ways.
focus on big loyalty: one client stated their key strategic goal during the downturn this way: “we’re going to nail the issue of customer retention, by visiting every single one in the next three months to make sure that they are happy and that their needs are being met.” Being big on loyalty means working hard to ensure that existing revenue streams stay intact, and are continually enhanced.
focus on big innovation: one client stated their innovation plan in a simple yet highly motivating phrase: “think big, start small, scale fast.” Their key goal is to build up their experiential capital in new areas by working on more innovation projects than ever before. They want to identify big business opportunities, test their potential, and then learn how to roll out new solutions on a tighter, more compact schedule than ever before.
thinking big change in scope. One client became obsessed with the innovation strategy of going “upside down” when it came to product development. Rather than pursuing all ideas in house, they opened up their innovation engine to outsiders, looking for more partnership oriented innovation (with suppliers and retailers, for example); open innovation opportunities, and customer-sourced innovation. This lit a fuse under both their speed for innovation as well as their creativity engine
innovate in a big way locally: we’re in a big, global world, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t innovate locally. One client in the retail space pursues an innovation strategy that allows for national, coordinated efforts in terms of logistics, merchandising and operations, yet also allows a big degree of freedom when it comes to local advertising, marketing and branding.
share big ideas. One association client pursued an innovation that was relentless on community knowledge sharing. They knew if they could build an association culture in which people shared and swapped insight on a regular basis on how to deal with fast changing markets and customers, that they could ensure their members had a leg up and could stay ahead of trends. Collaborative knowledge is a key asset going forward into the future, and there’s a lot of opportunity for creative, innovative thinking here.
be big on solving customers problems. Several clients have adopted an innovation strategy that is based on the theme, “we’re busy solving customers problems before they know they have a problem,” or conversely, “we’re providing the customer with a key solution, before the customer knows that they need such a solution.” That’s anticipatory innovation, and it’s a great strategy to pursue.
align strategies to the big bets. There’s a lot of organizations out there who are making “big bets” and link innovation strategies to those bets. WalMart has bold goals for the elimination of all packaging by a certain date; this is forcing a stunning amount of innovation within the packaging sector. Some restaurants aim to reduce food and packaging waste by a factor of dozens; this is requiring stunning levels of creativity in the kitchen
I just came from giving a keynote for the annual conference of a major customer loyalty organization, with the talk focused on some of key trends impacting the world of retail today.
There’s certainly a lot going on and a lot to think about. Extremely rapid business model change, the emergence of new competitors, ongoing consumer confidence volatility, rapid product turnover and faster product life-cycles.
So what are they really, really worried about? Let’s put in context the people I had in the room — senior VP’s and managers in major retailers representing several billions in revenue in a wide variety of markets, including pharmaceutical, grocery, consumer goods and electronics. Not to mention quite a few bankers, responsible for credit card portfolio’s, loyalty programs and other customer oriented programs and infrastructure.
Given all that, the top of mind issue is — new methods of customer interaction.
Look at the poll results below. The issue stands out far and away as the most important concern of the day!
Hence, my keynote was bang-on. I didn’t touch too much on the social networking phenomena, as this type of crowd has been drowning in social-networking Powerpoints.
My focus was on interactivity, location, and intelligence,, and the extremely rapid emergence of new forms of in-store interaction and product sales uplift. Things like digital signage, in-store electronic promotional displays, iPod based coups. A flood of new stuff and new ideas that promote new ways of
Listen folks, I know I’ve said it here before, but I’ll say it again.
2010 is the year of location, combined with mobility, and it’s happening faster than you think.
I’m pumped about this topic and the reaction, so I’ve rolled this into a new keynote description:
Location is the New Intelligence: Customer Interaction in the Era of Pervasive Mobile
We’re at the leading edge of the merger of three perfect trends: the rapid and massive emergence of a massive mobile infrastructure with increasingly intelligent devices. Pervasive location awareness as a results of GPS and location intelligence/mapping trends in those very same tools. And a consumer mindset that is increasingly open to new forms of interaction. The result is massive business model disruption, absolutely transformative market change, and complete obliteration of old assumptions as to the nature of the customer relationship. Smart, innovative super-heroes know that this is an unprecedented time to jump on the emergence of location as the new intelligence, in order to provide for new ways of product uplift in the retail space, changing the very nature of customer loyalty through new forms of interaction, and enhancing existing one-to-0ne conversations through a more direct, distinct and fascinating new form of location based relationships. Futurist, Trends & Innovation Expert Jim Carroll is setting the retail, marketing and advertising world on fire with his fast paced insight into one of the most important trends to shape the customer-business relationship in the last few decades. Move over social networking — location is the new intelligence!
At many of my keynotes, I focus on some of the most successful creativity and innovation attributes that I see within organizations. Here’s a list of guidance from a recent keynote for a group of executives in the consumer goods sector:
Adapt to more challenging customers: customers expectations and needs are changing rapidly, and yet they are more demanding than ever before. Loyalty disappears….at the same time they expect creative perfection from you, they are more fickle, and far less loyal …. I’m not even sure the concept of loyalty exists any more for many brands!
Costs increase: all this is happening in a world in which producers and retailers are faced with a rapid increase in uncontrollable costs…energy, plastics, you name it! Margins are being squeezed and pressured as a result. Operational excellence is no longer optional!
Focus on collaborative relationships: The key to innovation in retail today can be found in collaborative relationships and partnerships between packaging companies, consumer products and brands, and retailers. ! Noted Paul Moss, British Bakeries Divisional Marketing Director, “We have more to talk about than price.” No one wants to fight in a brand sector that is involved in a race to the bottom, but that’s what happens when everyone focuses on price. Shift the equation with your partners, and you’ll find a way out.
Remember — the package is the brand: Heinz, StarKist and other industry leaders have learned that packaging innovation, driven by new methodologies, ideas and technologies, has become the secret to brand image in many sectors, because it permits a shift of value and customer perception in ways that haven’t previously been seen. Think upside-down-Ketchup. If you aren’t innovating with packaging, you aren’t in the game
Hyper-innovation is key: Throughout the consumer products world, we are witnessing faster time to market in every single sector. The concept of a product lifecycle is disappearing as products come to market and thrive for but short micro-bursts of time. Make sure you’ve got the agility on your team you need to cope with this reality, and you might survive
Get used to rapid change. Consumer desires, needs and demands will continue change at an ever more furious pace, often in ways that won’t make sense, particularly with the impact of social networks. Don’t despair from it: learn from it. Take the recent race to value-oriented products as a result of the recession. Did you act fast enough? What organizations sclerosis blocked your ability for quick change? And what should you do to fix it?
Capture the insight of creatively new competitors – constantly: Admit this: there are likely going to be a lot of folks out there who are a lot more creative than you are. They’ll beat the pants off you all the time with quick short bursts of tactical success, while you are still busy marshalling your forces. Rather than losing sleep over their success, study them! Learn from them! And then capitalize by doing what they do – and do it better. Rapid creativity in a time of constant change is the name of the game, and you’d do best to work to obtain the same skills and insight that your best competitors have developed.
Ride the wave of continuous business model innovation: If someone is reinventing your business model, reinvent it faster! In retail, we are seeing constant experimentation with store formats, brand partnering, in-store displays, logistics and tracking studies, and countless other new ways of doing things. Get on board the tornado of change in retail and ride it for all it is worth. You should develop a team that has a finely-tuned radar for unique trends, experiments, success stories and innovations. They’re swirling around you continuously, they are constantly reinventing the world of retail on a minute by minute basis – and you’ve got to understand them and capitalize upon them.
I’ve got quite a few keynotes coming up with the consumer, food, packaged goods and retail sectors in the next several months, one of them being the Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association in Orlando, Florida next month.
The topic for that keynote will be: Where Do We Go From Here? Why Innovators Will Rule in the Post-Recession Economy – And How You Can Join Them.
Here’s an extract from the keynote description:
Jim Carroll has carefully studied what it is that organizations are doing to position themselves for post-recession growth.
One thing they are certainly doing is positioning themselves for innovative solutions to complex problems. When it comes to retail store maintenance there is no doubt that we are in the era of fast-paced solutions, whether its related to intelligent building management solutions, the rapid evolution of in-store layout and design principles; innovative environmental and green technology solutions; or new in-store
customer engagement methodologies, all of which impact in-store maintenance professionals in new and dramatic ways.
In his keynote, Jim will share his insight into the key trends impacting the retail sector, and how maintenance professionals can take a seat at the “strategy table,” providing unique solutions and guidance to the management team by adapting to fast paced trends.
Here’s an article that I wrote forFood Manufacturing on trends in the consumer, food and packaging sector.
I spend a huge amount of my time as a keynote speaker at countless conferences and events, many of them within and to the food, packaging, retail and restaurant sector. I also spend quite a bit of time with smaller, strategy-oriented leadership session designed around the theme of ‘how to innovate in a high velocity economy.’
And I do know that while volatility rocks the economy, some fundamental truths about that velocity remain: the food, packaging and retail industries continue to be subject to dramatic rates of change–and innovative organizations succeed by mastering the pace of this new high-velocity economy.
Think about what is going on out there: customer mindset has become increasingly difficult to capture as we become a society with massive attention deficits–the Twitter era is having a profound impact on brand image. Marketing and advertising dollars are fleeing traditional media and moving online at a pace that surprises even the more hard-core technology-evangelists. Faster innovation means faster in-store format change. New digital signage technologies and other innovations march forward at a furious pace, providing yet another new influencer in the retail space.
And in the midst of all this change, business models are subject to upheaval due to economic turmoil, commoditization of product and the rapid emergence of new competitors.
It’s a fast paced world–and that’s why cutting-edge organizations are focused on key leadership strategies that provide for a fast-paced future. So what should you do to confront the “big trends” that have so much velocity–and what you should be doing right now?
I approached this very question as the opening keynote speaker for an audience of 5,000 at a recent Las Vegas event. The client organization certainly finds itself in the midst of high-velocity change. There are fast paced trends in terms of new branding challenges and marketing methodologies (think Web 2.0), consumer behavior, and many other issues. Yet, there are tremendous opportunities for growth through innovation.
My keynote addressed a variety of trends that impact every aspect of the food, packaging and retail sector today. For example, to be a leading edge innovator, you must confront and have a strategy that deals with a variety of fast-paced trends:
Rapid emergence of new methods of customer interaction. For example, in the next few years, we will likely see the emergence of contact-less payment technology, as our credit card infrastructure migrates to Blackberry, iPhone, and smart phones. This presents new opportunities in terms of customer contact.
New methods of brand and product promotion. Organizations must be able to scale to meet the demands of new intelligent infrastructure, and that will require a tremendous amount of innovation. Consider text messaging: technologies that provide for the remote retrieval of mobile coupon offers will define the future of brand interaction. With 147 million people already interacting globally on social networks via their mobile phone–and up to 1 billion in but five years–there are tremendous opportunities for new methods of achieving brand and product awareness.
Rapid change in consumer choice. Take the issue of health concerns and balanced diet. Fresh-cut snack foods grew from $6.8 billion in to $10.5 billion in a short time, according to the International Fresh-Cut Produce Association. Innovation comes from changing product mix to keep up with fast-changing consumers.
Rapidly emerging new menus and taste trends. It’s estimated that new flavors now move from upscale kitchens to chain restaurants in 12 months, compared to 36 months 5 years ago. This means that faster innovation is not a luxury–it’s a necessity. Change faster, and you’ll yeild new growth-based products.
Fast emerging issues involving green strategies. The Grille Zone, a restaurant chain in Boston, generates about 15 pounds of waste per restaurant, compared to an industry average of 275 pounds. The Green Restaurant Association took 14 years to go to 90 restaurants; it’s now at close to 1,000, with thousands more going through the certification program. Growth can come from evolving a brand so that it matches the social desires of the customer base.
What I stress at events like this is that organizations need to realize that innovation isn’t just about “big innovation”–the launch of new products and services. There’s also the issue of “fast innovation”–in which success is defined by the ability of the organization to respond to rapidly changing products, markets, business models, economic trends, competitive moves, consumer trends and just about everything else.
Innovation today is moving from more than just “products” to process, structure, capability, and speed.
Here’s the thing: in my keynotes, I focus on growth opportunities. There are enough people out there who are so focused on the doom and gloom of the economy, that they lose sight of the fact that if they focus on fast innovation–and keeping up with rapid trends–they can discover all kinds of new ways to grow the business.
Faster is the new fast. Think growth. Think innovation.
"An outstanding presentation for an industry and association that falls on its traditions so often. We learned that our tradition should not be something that holds us back, but rather the launching pad for innovation for the future. Thanks Jim for your thought provoking presentation!"
- 94th PGA of America Annual General Meeting
"We were extremely pleased with Jim’s presentation... the content was bang-on and would hopefully prompt people to think about the rapidity of change going on in our world!. Jim’s storytelling approach really helps to get his points across! He did a great job!"
- Walt Disney Company
"We thought Jim was amazing - just the positive message we wanted to leave folks with.
- T. Rowe Price
"Jim Carroll recently presented at Lockheed Martin’s Executive HR Leadership conference. His content was very provocative, fascinating, and relevant. I’ve embedded a couple of his nuggets into my operating model
- Lockheed Martin
"Many thanks for your presentation, “7 Things You Need to Do Right Now: Aligning the Fast Future to Your Current Strategy” It couldn't have been more energy filled and dynamic to start the conference out on the right foot. It was exactly what the audience wanted and needed to hear. The feedback from all attendees was excellent."
- VIBE Conference 2010, Las Vegas
"Bringing Jim into our MLC Sales Conference in Sydney through a fibre optic line was truly incredible. The key note session Jim delivered was on the money, he exceeded my expectations."
- MLC National Australia Bank
"Jim is one of the best speakers we had. He had excellent information that our attendees could take home and incorporate it into their plans immediately. He also incorporated our messages into his presentation that helped localize the information for our group. Highly recommended!"
- Illinois Bureau of Tourism.
"After seeing Jim speak at another conference, I was so motivated by his presentation, I invited Jim to speak at a conference for my organization. Another home run! Powerful, articulate, thought provoking and energetic! Jim's delivery on the importance of staying abreast of rapidly changing trends truly can assist in changing the way we do business!"
- US Navy, Air Force, Marine Child Youth Program Conference
"... your talk hit just the right note.....I did have several people ask me if they could get a copy of your presentation as well as many who noted that the programming was fantastic and gave them a lot to think about."
-Consumer Electronics Association 2010 CEO Summit
"Thank you for an outstanding opening keynote for the 10th Anniversary Opportunities Conference: you received a 100% approval rating which has only been achieved 2 other times in our 10 year history!"
-Opportunities 2009 Conference Organizer
“We were extremely pleased with Jim’s presentation….. the content was great and would hopefully prompt people to think about the rapidity of change going on in our world!”
You were superb! As we make changes your message could not have come at a better time. This group likes tradition but unfortunately that often gets in the way of moving forward. Thank you again for reminding us that our greater responsibility is to the future!"
- US National Recreation and Parks Association
“I have been working with Jim for the past four years, and, without question, he is one of the most dynamic speakers and professional partners I’ve ever come across. Our audiences (internal and external) love him, and he works wonderfully with our customers. ….I’m willing to bet your first experience will lead to many, many more, as it has with SAP. I wish you the best with him….book him before someone else does!”
Great presentation by Jim! Key words and explanations were enlightening and relevant to us all!
- International Society of Medical Publication Professionals
Healthcare in 2021? What will we be doing in 10 years time? Well, according to Jim Carroll, keynote speaker for the opening session, definitely not what we're doing today! He presented an invigorating view of what our healthcare systems could be looking like and it's up to us to decide how we get there. We'll be accepting his challenge to take three scary ideas away and think about how we can make them work, rather than the reasons why they won't. The poll4 system was fun and it was definitely the first time we'd been asked to turn our phones on during a presentation!
- International Society of Medical Publication Professionals
Sample of recent and upcoming speaking engagements
PGA - Professional Golf Association
94th Annual General Meeting
Goddard Space Flight Center
Innovation Thought Leadership Event
Computer Science Corporation
CSC Executive Exchange
St Andrews, Scotland
Computer Science Corporation
CSC Executive Exchange
St Andrews, Scotland
Southern Gas Association
Annual Executive Conference
ERA Real Estate
ERA Connect 2013
T. Rowe Price
Client Investment Symposium
International Dairy, Deli & Bakery Association
New Orleans, Louisiana
Global Payments Conference
Texas Municipal League
100th Annual Conference and Exhibition
Genesis Systems Group
Robotic Automation Conference
NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration
5th Annual Program / Project Leadership Kickoff