A few weeks ago, I was the closing keynote speaker for Potato Expo 2015 in Orlando, with a talk titled “Big Trends in Agriculture: What Ag Will Look Like in 2045.” It was quite a bit of fun, and drew a SRO audience.
Prior to the event, I was interviewed by Spudman Magazine; they ran an article in the daily show newspaper on day 2. It’s a good summary of my thoughts on the agricultural sector. I did cover a lot in terms of trends for agriculture in the future; I’m working to get a video of my keynote. But for now, you might enjoy reading the article.
Article: Going fast? The Future Will Be Faster
By Bill Schaefer, SpudMan Magazine
You have to be fast to succeed in today’s business climate, and you’re going to have to be even faster to succeed in the future.
That’s the message Jim Carroll is bringing to his presentation at today’s POTATO EXPO.
“My message for the folks in the room is, ‘look there is still a lot more change yet to come and your success is going to come from your ability to ingest that change,’” Carroll said.
“The key thing is the rate of change is accelerating, it’s getting faster, so you’re going to have to innovate faster. You’re going to have to pursue those new ideas faster. You’re going to have to try things faster. You’re going to have to keep an open mind faster,” he said in a rapid, staccato beat.
Carroll is an author, columnist and consultant, with a focus on linking future trends to innovation and creativity. He is based in Toronto,
He is the author of, “The Future Belongs to Those Who are Fast”, “Ready, Set Done: How to Innovate When Faster is the New Fast” and “What I Learned from Frogs in Texas: Saving Your Skin With Forward Thinking Innovation.”
Carroll considers agricultural people to be some of the most innovative, tech savvy, people in the world.
Carroll said that the general public remains uninformed about current agricultural practices. He said that many people continue to view farming from the sepia-toned photos of the 1940s and 1950s.
“They don’t realize how many technological and scientific advances have occurred,” Carroll said.
With world population currently estimated at 7.3 billion and projected to be 9.6 billion in 2050 and the increasing demand for better diets in China and India, there’s huge opportunities for those willing to pursue them, Carroll said.
“Global food production has to double to keep up with population, that’s a given. There’s little new arable land,” he said.
He emphasized that while the farming community has readily incorporated advances such as GPS steering and mobile apps to control irrigation pivots and storage sheds, the changes are coming at an ever faster pace and farmers are going to have to keep up.
“I know I’m talking to a very sophisticated, very innovative audience,” Carroll said in anticipation of his appearance at the POTATO EXPO. “But the key message is ‘look, you think you’ve dealt with change so far? Wait until you see what’s coming.’”
Carroll maintains that part of the formula for success is to maintain a degree of agility when it comes to making decisions at a time of transition in consumer demand.
“New consumer food trends now emerge faster than ever before,” he said. “If you’re anywhere in the food market, you’ve got to be able to respond very quickly.”
The days of having two or three years to roll out a new product can be found in the pay-phone booth in front of the video rental store.
“You have to have a team that is nimble and can react fast and understand and predict those trends as they’re unfolding,” Carroll said.
Carroll said that there’s a quote he often uses at conferences to distill his message . “Some people see a trend and see a threat. Innovators see the same trend and see an opportunity and that’s where you’ve got to be as a producer,” he said.