Wizzit is a South African based bank in which all transactions occur via text message

Home > Blog

Blog posts

"There are over 1,000 posts on innovation and future trends in Jim Carroll's blog. If you want to easily get your hands on the most useful blog posts, consider grabbing a copy of Jim's latest book, The Future Belongs To Those Who Are Fast! Click on the Books menu to get one!



CS1_83991-200x200

“Innovation is about much more than just new products. What is innovation? It is running your business better, growing your business and transforming your business.”

I just found this article, which ran on the ERA blog after my keynote on the future of real estate, for their 2013 conference. It’s a good read!

——

5 Things World Class Innovators Do that Others Do Not,
by Tara Reid, from Owning the Fence, ERA Real Estate Blog

Consider this: 65 percent of current preschoolers, kindergartners and first graders will work in a career that does not yet exist. And, if you are working on a degree based on science right now, it is estimated that half of what you learn in your first year will be obsolete by the time you graduate.

That is how fast things are changing in this world and according to Innovation and Trends Expert Jim Carroll; the future belongs to those who are fast. In fact perhaps media mogul Rupert Murdoch puts it best: “The world is changing very fast. Big will not beat small anymore. It will be the fast beating the slow.”

During the ERA 2013 International Business Conference Think Tank, Carroll explained that to keep up, you have to get ahead the way that today’s best thinkers and changers do. Here are 5 things world class innovators do that set them apart from the rest.

  1. Think big and bold. You can view a future trend as a threat or an opportunity. Take it as an opportunity, embrace it as change for the better and prepare to make the trend work for you by thinking beyond the now. How can you make the trend bigger and better? And, how can you help others navigate change? For example, in real estate, keep in mind, according to Carroll, people want a qualified advisor to help them get through the biggest investment of their lifetime. Figure out how to exceed their expectations and you have carved out your niche.
  2. Check your speed. You have to move quickly to stay in the game. World class innovators constantly up their speed while checking their quality. For example, it took Apple two years to sell two million iPhones; it took them two months to sell two million iPads. It then took them one month to sell one million iPhone 4’s but only one day to sell one million of the upgraded iPhone 4S model. They get faster while they get better.
  3. Reframe the concept of change. Innovation is about much more than just new products. What is innovation? It is running your business better, growing your business and transforming your business. If you want to be innovative think about how you can use technology to address those three actions.
  4. Ride generational acceleration. According to Carroll, the next generation thrives on moving things forward. Follow their lead and adapt to new ways of thinking and acting. Half of today’s global population is under the age of 25. Your role is to understand their ideas so that you can manage their capabilities.
  5. Challenge organizational sclerosis. Ever hear or say the words, “It won’t work,” or “I don’t think I can,” or “It’s too risky?” Such phrases are symptoms of organizational sclerosis, the fear of change. It is important to think big, be fast and transform how you do business so that you do not end up in an innovation rut. When change gets scary, keep this in mind: “Some people see a trend and see a threat. Innovators see the same trend, and see an opportunity.”

With these five actions in mind, turn your next “oh no!” moment into an “a ha!” moment. Take that threat and turn it into an opportunity to grow. The world is not going to stop changing and trends will pop up even more quickly so grab on, hold on tight, and go for it!

Trend: The Looming Corporate Governance Strategy Crisis
February 26th, 2015, by Jim Carroll

There was an interesting article in the New York Times on Feb 18: “Careers: ‘Board Doctors,’ to Supervise the Supervisors — More companies bring in experts to scrutinize effectiveness of directors, creating a growth business.” (read the article)

board_of_directors

Sadly, with all the current focus on “compliance,” I’ve come to believe that there is a critical lack of future planning on many other corporate boards around the world — Jim Carroll

The article opens with the observation: “Amid unprecedented pressure from investors, more boards are tapping outside experts so they can monitor management better and clean their own house. The legion of advisers — which some dub “board doctors” — scrutinize boards’ inner workings and prescribe cures for such ills as an entrenched chief executive, 800-page briefing books, or even a director who plays Sudoku during management presentations. The experts often enable board members to make tough choices they are too squeamish to do on their own.”

Essentially, the gist of the article boiled down to three key points:

  • boards are becoming less effective at making ‘hard decisions’
  • the result is a trend in which there is more outside (hired) scrutiny of the effectiveness of board performance
  • the scrutiny adds in assessment of the effectiveness of individual board members

In an amusing point, the article comments on one director who was known to regularly play Sudoku during board meetings.

The article is a good read, and a great outline of some of the problems facing the world of corporate governance today. But from my perspective, it missed a key point that I’ve been raising in many of my sessions with Boards through the years — most boards are not structured to deal with issues of future strategic direction.

If you understand how boards work, there are two key issues:

  • it’s a very insular club ; still, globally, very much an ‘old boys network’ (although gender diversity is a key issue that many national Director associations are working hard to solve)
  • the board ‘skills matrix’ — that is, the type of people that boards seek to recruit — generally consists of finance/accounting; legal; executive compensation; IT; human resources; and specific industry experience. Few seem to have expanded their matrix to include “future strategic insight.”

A few years ago, I thought it might be interesting to apply my skill of anticipating and outlining future trends by actively seeking involvement in a few boards. I took a director education course at the University of Rotman. It was a fascinating world to immerse myself in. Sadly, since then, I’ve had few opportunities (probably, to be honest, because I don’t network with the board world as most other folks do.)

What’s the looming crisis? I outlined this back in a post in 2007, “The Future of Governance.” Essentially, there are numerous boards who do not take on the responsibility of actively and regularly assessing trends for future threats and opportunities, and include this assessment in their evaluation of the effectivness of the CEO (which is one of their key responsibilities.)

I’ll repost the 2007 post in fulll below; it still makes what I believe is a useful and powerful read.

I’m not sure much has changed since I wrote it; consider, for example, the recent security/hacking issues with Sony. Should they not have had a high level Board member who would be asking tough questions as to what structure the CEO had in place to deal with an obvious looming security infrastructure challenge. You can lay the Sony debacle at the door of the CEO. You can also lay blame directly against the Board of Directors.

Have a look at the article, and then consider if the Board you participate on has a significant ‘future oriented challenge.’

—–

I was in Colorado Springs yesterday, as the opening keynote of the Leadership Institute for Directors for FCCServices — they’re the business services arm of the US federal Farm Credit System.

In attendance were members of the Boards of Directors for a wide variety of state and community farm credit co-ops; these folks are the backbone of the US farm lending infrastructure. The Directors are local farmers, community leaders and business executives, and hence, need to be aware of the trends impacting the local and global agricultural industries, so that they can plan accordingly, assess risk, and make sound business decisions with respect to their co-ops.

My keynote took a look at “what comes next in the agricultural sector” – it’s one of many talks I do within the industry. And agriculture is certainly subject to high velocity change: there’s rapid evolution in science (bio-crops); new markets (bio-fuel) ; rapidly changing skills; new direct to consumer market opportunities; globalization (current food production must double in the next 30 years to keep up with global population growth.) All of which could spell opportunity if approached correctly — or turmoil and challenge if ignored.

The intent of the talk — and the overall theme of the leadership conference — was to ensure that these folks have the insight to direct their organizations into the future. That’s an important and critical role for Boards; and FCC Services is an example of an organization that has made sure that the “future” is closely linked to the issue of “governance.”

I think there are too many organizations that don’t do this. Sadly, with all the current focus on “compliance,” I’ve come to believe that there is a critical lack of future planning on many other corporate boards around the world. The result is that potential risks are often ignored; then things go wrong; then the company gets sued for significant sums of money. Is this Board negligence? That’s an interesting question, isn’t it!

Here’s an example: years ago, I wrote an article indicating that one of the critical CEO/Board level issues that must be addressed had to do with network security; certainly, everyone knows that organizations should properly secure their information assets. Yet in the article, I suggested that I believe that many Boards aren’t dealing with the issue, and that it was an area ripe for future exposure, noting that: “If I were a tort lawyer, I’d be licking my lips in anticipation of the opportunities to come in the next few years.”

Boards and CEO’s should ensure — as they are required to do with financial controls — that the information assets of the organization are properly locked down. They must understand obvious future trends, and ensure that management has planned accordingly. I strongly believe this to be the next wave in Board responsibility.

Do many Boards of Directors ensure that the organization is properly preparing for the rapidity of trends? Not many. Witness the shenanigans with the TJX Group, which had its corporate network hacked and millions of credit card numbers stolen. (The company runs HomeGoods, Marshalls, A.J. Wright, Bob’s Stores and The Maxx stores; in Canada the chain consists of Winners and HomeSense.) Now comes news that a group of banks want to sue the company with respect to the issue.

I can only imagine the questions that the Board of TJX is now asking!

Currently, much of the focus of board governance has to do with “compliance” — how well are boards, and the companies they are responsible for, dealing with the new realities of the post-Enron era.

I believe that within the next decade, we will see Board responsibility quickly evolve into a new and much more complex era than simply making sure that “i’s are dotted and the t’s are crossed.’ All we need are a few savvy lawyers to launch a few negligence suits against a few public companies, alleging that a Board failed to develop a plan for and respond to obvious future trends.

It’s a trend worth watching.

Cayman

“Of particular interest to your editor were the words—and the AK-47 speed at which they were uttered—of Jim Carroll”

At this time back in 2007, I was the opening keynote speaker for the Cayman Business Forum.

I had about 700 people in the room; international financiers, wealth managers, bankers. At the timel, Cayman was one of the world’s leading offshore banking centers.

I write about this now, because I return there tomorrow with my family, for a personal vacation. No keynotes! But having visited Cayman, I always vowed to go back, and am thrilled to be doing so.

When I was preparing for my keynote, I had the delightful opportunity of speaking for about 1/2 hr the prior evening with the Governor of the Cayman, H.E. Stuart Jack, at his home, where he hosted a small party with the local elite.

Part of my discussion with the Governor revolved around my belief that with forthcoming growth in Asia, and other major trends involving high-end skills, Cayman was certainly in the position of losing its lustre and standing in the global money race.

My keynote was open, honest, aggressive, and blunt.

Later press coverage showed that I certainly caught some attention — and that my message resonated with the Governor.

To set the scene, the best and the brightest from both Cayman’s private and public sectors had gathered at the Ritz-Carlton to hear presenter after presenter look into their crystal balls to predict the future of the Cayman Islands. Each year Fidelity Bank sponsors this event, bringing in distinguished speakers from overseas.

Of particular interest to your editor were the words—and the AK-47 speed at which they were uttered—of Jim Carroll, a chartered accountant from Canada who now bills himself as a “futurist.” Carroll makes a tidy sum sharing his knowledge and insights with large corporations and audiences throughout the world.

Carroll believes—and certainly convinced many in the room — that the global velocity of change is affecting every area of our lives. He cautioned that if we don’t adapt to this super-synapsed new world, well, we all recall what happened to Tyrannosaurus Rex.

To illustrate the concept of velocity, Carroll projected on a large screen an image of a charging
cheetah in full pursuit of one thing or another—our guess is a gazelle (lunch) — but it makes no difference to our tale . . .

By chance, after Carroll finished his dissertation, it was time for a coffee break, and we approached our good Governor, H.E. Stuart Jack, with a smile on our face and a question on our lips: Do you see any irony between the cheetah on the screen and the fact that the national symbol of the Cayman Islands is a turtle?

Today, Singapore, Dubai and London have transitioned to take over the role as global economic powerhouses in terms of wealth, money and banking. And the Cayman still finds itself playing a powerful role as the world’s sixth largest international banking center — but lagging behind the growth rates of other financial centersas most global wealth concentrates in Asia and the Mid-East.

What’s the moral of the story? I’m not sure — but sometimes, I hope that in some small way, my thoughts on stage, and the opportunity to speak at such an event, can help to shape future outcomes! Maybe turtles can transform into cheetah’s!

I spend a LOT of time doing talks at corporate meetings; often, a CEO or CxO leadership event for a Fortune 1000 company.

hand pushing innovation button on a touch screen interfaceI’ve been invited in to give a keynote that will focus on future trends that might impact the organization, and outline some opportunities for innovation. I’ve been this for well over twenty years.

Yet often times, I’ll discover an organization that is stuck, like a deer in the headlights, because innovation remains a concept that is somehow totally foreign. And so I’ve seen this type of thing happen over and over…. why organizatons often fail at innovation:

  • everybody knows something needs to be done
  • there are an awful lot of ideas as to what to do
  • no one knows where to start
  • no one has the courage to make the first step
  • and in fact, no one has been charged with the responsibility to take over and manage a first step
  • there is a rampant fear that if we don’t do it, it just won’t end up well
  • everyone remembers the other time somebody tried to do something new, they ended up being recriminated
  • the result is that likely some other company – most likely a competitor — will end up doing exactly what should have been done

World class innovators don’t fall into this trap. They just do what needs to be done!

 

I did a keynote a few weeks back for a leading North American food company.

It was a highly customized keynote, built around the theme, “Being Agile: How Innovators Thrive in the High Velocity Economy.” I think it took about 5 or 6 conference calls with senior executives at the client as I worked to build my content and insight into their overall theme. They had about 200 of their top executives at the corporate offsite. (This is typical of about 50% of the events I do ; a lot of “corporate off-sites” for Fortune 1000 companies, often at the behest of a CEO).

Agility2015

A quick screen shot of one of my opening slides!

What is “corporate agility” or “business agility”? From my perspective, it involves an organization that has aligned itself so that it can “respond to fast external trends in order to spot opportunity, ward off challenge and align resources for fast success.”

Of course, a good part of my talk focused on the trends in this particular sector that are driving the need for agility; specifically, the rapid emergence of new forms of in-store promotion known as “shopper marketing,” which combines location intelligence, mobile technology and in-store display technology; massive changes to the in-store payment process, including mobile payment involving Apple Pay and the complete elimination of the concept of the cash-register; the emergence of same-day shipping from titans such as Google, Amazon and Walmart; the rapid installation of “click and collect” infrastructure (i.e. an online purchase, with same day pickup at a retail location); faster ‘store fashion’ with rapid evolution of in-store promotion, layout and interaction; the arrival of intelligent packaging and intelligent (“Internet of Things”) products; and collapsing product life-cycles, rapid product obsolescence and the implications on inventory and supply chain! (All of which is covered in depth in a previous retail trends post….). Not to mention all the fast changing consumer, taste, food and social networking trends influencing today’s food purchasing decisions…

How do achieve agility in a fast moving environment? I focused on these issues:

  • structure for execution
  • rebuild your competitive intelligence capabilities
  • watch the “edges”, particular crowdfunding initiaitves in your space
  • abandon tradition – get more projects on the leading edge
  • be decisive – avoid aggressive indecision
  • innovate with structure – form fast teams!
  • enourage entrepreneurial units – spin out units rather than reining them in
  • partner up in unique ways
  • redefine strategic planing – flex it to short term thinking
  • build a culture that supports new ideas
  • challenge decisions
  • rapidly ingest new technology
  • “test and learn”
  • spots trends quicker
  • risk failure faster
  • align different generations on social projects

I spent some time walking through each of these issues in a fair bit of depth; and there is a copious amount of insight on each elsewhere throughout my blog.

And of course, avoid the “innovation killers” — which can shut down opportunities in learning how to be agile!

It was a great keynote talk on agility, and the client was genuinely thrilled.

Agility is a critical issue that organizations need to think about in a world in which the future belongs to those fast….! Here’s a video clip to whet your appetite!

 

Book review: The Martian!
February 2nd, 2015, by Jim Carroll

The_Martian_2014I’ve never done a book review on this blog before, and I suspect I’m not really good at that.

But as someone who makes a living studying, analyzing, thinking and speaking about the future, I’m always busy keeping my mind ‘out there.’

Over the last week, with a whirlwind trip across North America for an event, I started reading The Martian by Andy Weir. I just finished.

And all I can say is, WOW! What a book! 

Quick summary:
Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first men to walk on the surface of Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first man to die there.

It started with the dust storm that holed his suit and nearly killed him, and that forced his crew to leave him behind, sure he was already dead. Now he’s stranded millions of miles from the nearest human being, with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive–and even if he could get word out, his food would be gone years before a rescue mission could arrive. Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to get him first.

But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills–and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit–he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. But will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

All I can is, WOW. What a book! You want to read this one!

 

The HAL Project: Historical Archiving in Action
January 28th, 2015, by Jim Carroll

Some weeks back, a post caught my attention, I clicked the link, and followed through.

I ended up buying The HAL Project screensaver, from The HAL Project.

HalProject

Essentially, the project recreates *every* screen of the computer that was HAL as seen in the movie from decades ago. (click for a larger image).

A few weeks back, I was in New York, about to go on stage, and my screensaver began running, with the HAL screens. Some folks caught what was going on, and the conversation was magical.

Just another random moment in the ongoing effort by folks around the world to archive the past, in a way that goes forward into the future!

25 Trends for 2025 – PDF
January 26th, 2015, by Jim Carroll

I’ve put together a full size PDF of my “25 Trends for 2025″ document – grab it by clicking the image below.

25Trends

Video: A Rollicking Good Bit of Fun!
January 21st, 2015, by Jim Carroll

For all the baby boomers out there — a bit of rollicking good fun, with a look at what we went through with computers in the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. Based on my book Surviving the Information Age!

Every industry is set to be transformed as an era of hyper connectivity becomes the new norm. The result? Massive business model disruption; the rapid emergence of new competitors; industries in which customers empowered with mobile devices control a wide variety of devices that are a part of their daily lives; unique opportunities for deep analytical insight into trends and opportunities emerging in industries; a reinvention of manufacturing, logistics, retail, healthcare and other industries because of consumers that are empowered, connected, and enabled with a new form of lifestyle management that we’ve never witnessed before.

The Internet of Things is happening everywhere.

The CEO of a major US energy company hired Jim Carroll to do a video that put into perspective the impact of the Internet of Things on the global energy. There are some pretty profound changes underway.

Think about the video in the context of literally any other industry, and you realize the scope of the potential disruption that is occurring.

The Internet of Things is real, and it is unfolding at a blistering pace. We’re in the era of connected thermostats that link to an intelligent energy grid; autonomous vehicle technology that is self-aware, and networked into sophisticated, intelligent highway flow control systems. A connected trucking fleet that is self-diagnostic, predictive, and built for zero down-time . Intelligent home appliances that link to packaged food products that automatically upload carb, sodium and other dietary information as part of an overall health and wellness program.

Jim Carroll has been talking on stage about the Internet of things since the late 1990’s, when he began using the phrase “hyper connectivity” to describe a world in which “every device that is a part of our daily lives is about to become plugged in.” Since then, he has delivered his insight on the topic to a wide variety of organizations: several global technology leaders with a keynote talk on the future of home automation; several of the world’s largest HVAC companies about what happens when a global, intelligent home and industrial energy infrastructure emerges through widespread connectivity; consumer, food and packaged goods conferences about the impact of intelligent packaging. He has been booked by many leading global health care organizations for keynotes that have focused on what happens when consumers start aligning their wellness strategies through their own personal healthcare infrastructure.

The Internet of Things is a substantive, transformative trend that will provide more change in every industry in the next ten years than they’ve seen in the last thirty.

Jim Carroll already over a dozen years of on-stage experience with the topic, and can help you understand the strategies, risks and opportunities that you need to be aware of you move into a hyperconnected future. Consider one of the world’s most widely recognized futurists, trends and innovation experts for your next association, CEO leadership meeting or other keynote!

More news from my keynote for Potato Expo 2015 …. this time from The Packer magazine, one of the leading agricultural publications with a focus on — everything packaging! Except the article goes beyond packaging into many of the other things I talked about, including genomics, autonomous vehicles, vertical farms and more!

"What is happening is that packaging is becoming part of the product"

“What is happening is that packaging is becoming part of the product”

ORLANDO, Fla. — Intelligent packaging for produce will become one of the most important trends in the industry in the next five years, agricultural futurist Jim Carroll said at the closing session of Potato Expo 2015.

The expression “Internet of things” refers to the fact that everything that is part of our daily lives will be plugged into the Web, and Carroll said that trend also applies to packaging.

“What is happening is that packaging is becoming part of the product,” he said at the Jan. 9 event.

For some pharmaceutical companies, the packing monitors whether the patient is taking the medicine and monitors whether it is working, he said.

Carroll predicted there will be packaging for potatoes that will monitor the health of the potato while it is transit, constantly monitoring and perhaps reporting that data to consumers.

In his presentation called “Big Trends in Agriculture: What Ag will look like in 2045,” Carroll said it is likely that driverless, autonomous tractor use will be commonplace in decades to come. Automated spraying and harvest technology also will be used, he said.

“We will see staggering rates of change with autonomous vehicle technology,” he said.

By 2045, he said changes in farming also will include a dramatic expansion of vertical, indoor farming methods as global cities become larger and urbanization increases. One acre of indoor farming can match the yields of four to six acres grown outside, he said.

Automated robots that monitor crop stress, disease, weeds, pests and soil status will become commonplace. Geospatial analysis will allow farmers to know exactly what nutrients and other inputs they need to apply on a specific acre.

The cost of to sequence DNA in crops is declining, he said, and that will lead to rapid advances in crop breeding. Carroll said the cost of sequencing human DNA has dropped from about $3 billion in 2009 to about $1,000 in 2015, he said.

“The cost to come up with perfect produce is collapsing,” he said. “We can’t deny that science will accelerate faster into the future.”

Already, Dupont can adjust the genetics of genetically modified corn to account for climate differences between western Iowa and eastern Iowa, he said.

In closing remarks, Carroll said urged growers to be bold and daring in how they adapt technology for their farms.

You can read the original article over at The Packer Web site.

Article: Going fast? The Future Will Be Faster
January 19th, 2015, by Jim Carroll

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.

2015 jan potato expo-2

“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.”

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.

Trend: Mobile is Eating Retail
January 16th, 2015, by Jim Carroll

“The next five years will bring more change to retail than the last 100 years” – Cyriac Roeding, CEO of Shopkick

I had the delight of leading a small, intimate talk to a group of leading retailers in New York City earlier this week, at an event sponsored by agile software development firm Thoughtworks. The focus of my talk was to put into perspective the reality of the high-velocity trends that are impacting every single aspect of the world of retail.

Tw3

If you are a CEO of any type of retailer, and do not understand the scope of these trends, you need to get onboard — fast.

1. Mobile is eating retail

The future of retail is all about mobile and if any CEO  doesn’t understand that, they should be out of a job.

Already by 2013, statistics show that sales through mobile and tablet devices were up 138% in 2013 from the year before. That takes us to the point where sales through some type of mobile device is estimated to be at least at 30% of *all* retail sales.

If that doesn’t get your attention then consider that another group suggests that by the end of 2015, every single retail transaction in the US will have some type of mobile element. It doesn’t matter what type of element — it could involve the actual purchase transaction, or logistics tracking, or a payment process, or some type of loyalty transaction.

Think about that. Every single retail transaction will somehow involve a mobile device somewhere along the way. That’s significant, because it provides big opportunity for business transformation — but it also provides for the potential for massive business model disruption, new competition, loss of market control and dozens of other challenges.

It gets even bigger over time. In the UK, leading retailer John Lewis suggests that every category will migrate to online shopping in a big way — with their estimate that by 2023, 27% of all fashion sales will be through a mobile device.

2. Control of the speed of innovation has shifted to Silicon Valley

The retail industry, like every other industry, is caught in a trend that  control of the speed of innovation moving to the pace set by Silicon Valley speed? For a long time, the pace of innovation in retail has been relatively slow and deliberate; aside from some cool new cardboard layouts for end-cap displays, and sprucing up a store layout, there wasn’t a lot of need to do anything really fast.

Whoops! Now when you enter a store, you’ll use your iPhone to confirm the transaction, and you’ll get an instant receipt. Loyalty transactions will occur through mobile. Consumers will be influenced by something on their mobile (see below) …..

All of which means — new business models, disruptive competition, a shift in control, customer churn — everything is up for grabs once Silicon Valley seizes control and defines your future!

3. Mobile “influence” is going to completely redefine in-store interaction

We’re in the era of what is known as “shopper marketing,” a method of promotion involving mobile devices. Booz & Company research suggests that shopper marketing is already at $50 billion in the US.IMG_6376

What is it?  I’ll walk into a store, and behind the scenes, the store will recognize me through an interaction with my mobile device, either because of an App that I have with the retailer; a permissive social relationship; or maybe a loyalty relationship. The result is that I’ll either get a message on my phone with an e-coupon. Or perhaps an LCD TV in the store will put up a welcome message for me, with audio, and suggest I walk over to  aisle 7 for a customized special offer just for me!

Farfetched? I don’t think so. Creepy? To us maybe, but perhaps not to the next generation. When we think of the strangeness of the future and our likely negative reaction to some of what might come next, we have to remember this: it’s not bad, it’s just different.

How fast is shopper marketing moving forward? Research suggests that 56% of food wholesalers, 61.1% of manufacturers and 38.3% of sales agencies will likewise invest more in shopper marketing in the coming year. What’s popular? Mobile coupons (51%), personalized mobile offers (44.8%), store-specific mobile apps (40.6%), text messages (36.5%) and location-based services such as Foursquare and Facebook Places (35.4%).

And we’re only in the early stages. If you want to understand the future, grab the Apple Store app, and allow it to check your location. Then go visit your local Apple store, and watch what happens.

4. The change to the mobile wallet provides more potential for massive disruption

Two things are happening: if you think about it, Apple has eliminated the concept of the cash register in stores. And more importantly, they’ve rendered the plastic credit card obsolete with Apple Pay.

And the fascinating thing is that most of the retail and banking world was seemingly caught unawares, which is staggering since everyone knew this was coming for at least the last 20 years! The result is that organizations like Visa, MasterCard, American Express and Discover now find themselves in a heated competition with Apple, Google, PayPal and other high-velocity, innovative tech companies.

Who would you put your money on?

It’s not just that; the battle of the small vs. incumbents (Square vs Visa/MasterCard/Discovery/Amex) continues. It is still terrifically difficult for any small retailer to get a ‘merchant’ accountant from any of the dinosaurian incumbents. That’s why you see so many new business organizations using devices like Square and other industry disruptors.

svenvintges_2015-Jan-13

There’s another aspect too! The move to the mobile wallet involves a need for a rapid and massive infrastructure change. Most retailers can’t move that fast; they are still working to solve the big ERP problems they inherited in 2010! So while they are trying to fix the past, the future is unfolding in front of them way too fast.

4. Same day shipping everywhere destroys markets

Can you say “Amazon-Prime?” I am speaking to countless industries that are suddenly waking up to a world in which Amazon might suddenly be able to dominate their retail business model. Flooring products. Thermostats. You name it.

Anne Zybowski, an analyst at Kantar Retail said it best a few years ago: “A few years ago retailers spent a ton of time trying to make their online stores look and act like their physical stores. Now they’ve sort of reversed course, and the challenge is how to take that online shopping experience that’s so personalized, socially connected and heavily layered with data, and essentially bring it into a physical environment.” The model in which stores carry a lot of inventory is disappearing — the future is all about fulfilment.

We live in the era of “omni-channel retail,” and nothing will ever be the same. The future of retail is all about Google vs. Amazon vs. Wal-Mart, all of whom have promised to build an infrastructure that will support same day delivery to 50% of the US population within a few short years. With that, we are witnessing the rapid emergence of instant delivery startups. Amazon is hiring bicycle couriers  to put in place a business model that will offer up one-hour delivery in New York and San Francisco.

But wait! There’s more! ‘Click-and-collect’ infrastructure in major urban centres is happening at a furious pace; sit at your desk, order your groceries, and pick up your order in just one hour from your local grocery store.

Caught flat-footed are a whole bunch of retailers who find that they can’t compete on price, don’t have comparable infrastructure, and frankly, don’t know what to do other than recoil in fear!

5. The “Internet of things” also involves intelligent packaging, which changes everything.

The hype out of CES last week was fascinating. The Internet of things is real — I’ve been talking about it for 15 years.

But what isn’t being talked about in many circles is the impact of intelligent packaging — which completely defines the retail process, not to mention the product.

Intelligent packaging has huge implications.  We are talking about packaging that talks to you — maybe we will see Apple’s SIRI embedded in the package. We’ve already got pharmaceutical packaging that does “electronic event monitoring” for patient adherence. We’re going to see food packaging that automatically uploads calorie, carb, sodium and other data to a customer’s smartphone. We’ve already got packaging that comes with a unique code — and will automatically send a text through your mobile to verify that the product is not counterfeit.

We’ll have packaging that lights up when you pick it up with a small LCD screen, and runs a customized video, just for you, because it links to the app on your phone.

We’re talking about …..interactive packaging, intelligent and active packaging, multi-sensory packaging, edible packaging … packaging as mini-billboards…!

6. All this is happening in the context of collapsing product life-cycles

We are in the era of era of instant obsolescence and disappearing lifespans.

Think about this: 60% of Apple’s revenue came from products that didn’t exist three years prior to the earnings release, according to an analysis of Apple’s revenue by mobile app developer Asymco.

thoughtworks_2015-Jan-13

Think about that in the context of your operations. What if you had to replenish your product or service line every two or three years? It could become the new normal in many industries. The impact on retailers is staggering.

Think about the graph in your marketing textbook from years or decades ago when you first learned about the concept of product life cycles. Remember how it showed a product coming to market: sales increase, reach market maturity and eventually begin to drop off. That’s been the model of product life cycles as taught in business schools for the past 100 years or so.The rule of thumb was that companies would innovate and introduce a new product. If it succeeded, the company would experience growth. At some point, sales would peak. The product would then become obsolete or overtaken by competitors and sales would decline.

That might involve a time period of 10, 15 or even 25 years.

What a quaint model. Too bad it bears no resemblance to today’s reality. The product life-cycle model today is being turned on its ear by instant obsolescence. In some industries, that product obsolescence now occurs during the growth stage; in the high-tech industry, the decline phase caused by instant obsolescence can occur during the introduction of a product or even before a product makes it to the marketplace.

And so in the context of all the change noted above, retailers have to support faster logistics, marketing, branding, sales training, promotions…….

It’s a lot of change. That’s why innovation in the high velocity economy is all about:

  • an accelerated innovation cycle
  • rapid ingestion of new technologies / methodologies
  • faster time to market
  • rapid re-focusing of resources for opportunity or threat
  • rabid focus on operational excellence
  • rapid response to volatility
  • re-orientation to fast paced consumer and brand perception

Are retailers ready? I did two quick text message polls of my audience in New York City, and here’s what I got!

First, they don’t think their ready!

TW1

And second, they think they have a lot of mismatches that they need to fill;

Tw2

Retail?

The future belongs to those who are fast — particularly as mobile eats retails!

 

"Who is going to fix the education system so that it works for me in the future?"

“Who is going to fix the education system so that it works for me in the future?” Think about this kid – he’s going into a world of rapid knowledge obsolescence, the rapid emergence of new careers, and an era of hyper-knowledge. I’ll cover that and more when I keynote the Association of Private Colleges and Universities annual conference in June, 2015.

University Business Magazine has run an article, “Higher ed thought leaders forecast 2015 trends: Presidents and other thought leaders look ahead on cost, technology and learning.”

They called me for my thoughts which I offered up in a concise way:

Trend: When it comes to the future of education, it’s all about “just-in-time knowledge.” Increasingly specialized careers and skills, and accelerating technological change, mean more organizations will need people who can deliver the right skills, at the right time, for the right purpose. Knowledge development and deployment will accelerate to keep up with trend.

The article offers up a good variety of opinions on the future of education; it’s an industry that is ripe for and in the middle of some pretty significant disruption. I’ve done a lot of keynotes in this space, as seen on my Education Trends page.

As I noted in one of the posts there, “In essence, we’re living in a period of time that is witnessing these trends unfold at blinding speed, all related to the evolution of knowledge.

  1. Rapid knowledge obsolescence
  2. Rapid knowledge emergence
  3. Disappearance of existing careers due to 1)
  4. Rapid emergence of new careers due to 2)
  5. An ongoing need for continuous knowledge replenishment because of 1-4
  6. The migration of knowledge generation further away from academia (i.e. community colleges, high end manufacturing skills) because of the need for faster new knowledge deployment
  7. A massively increased challenge from overseas knowledge generation
  8. The fast emergence of new micro-careers because of specialized knowledge
  9. An economy that succeeds through knowledge deployment
  10. A fundamental transformation in knowledge delivery

I’m thrilled to announce that my efforts to help people understand the massive transformation that is occurring in what is known as “education” continues; I’ve been confirmed as the opening keynote speaker for the 2015 Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities annual conference in Denver in June.

There are more thoughts that can be found in my PDF, “21st Century Skills”, below. Read it here or by clicking on the image.

21stcenturyskills

“Skills are Experiential. Skills are Generational. One of the most important assets that a company can invest in is “experiential capital”—that is, the cumulative knowledge the company has generated through innovation, risk, failure and success. Boost that skills capability and you’ve done something that flows onto the bottom line.”

 

25 Trends for 2025
December 28th, 2014, by Jim Carroll

At this time of year, most of the news media are busy contacting futurists, trends-forecasters and guys like me to bang together their year end articles about “what comes next in 2015.”

4281ea4a56232c81ac4618d3db1149f1

In 2025, the fastest growing profession involves people known as ‘personal health concierges’ — who more than likely will have in-depth, just-in-time medical knowledge and will be located in one of the new, Asian/African mega-cities. They’ll guide and counsel patients in the new world of advanced, predictive intelligent healthcare though a variety of sub-dermal bioconnectivity devices.

From my perspective, it’s easy to guess what we’ll see in 2015, since much of it will be an extrapolation of trends that are already well underway in 2014.

The real art is predicting what might happen, say, 10 years out, in the year 2025.

Bill Gates once made the observation that “most people tend to overestimate the rate of change that will occur on a 2 year basis, and underestimate the rate of change that will occur over 10 years.”

So try this for an exercise – go back just 10 years, and cast your mind back to 2005. Back then, Facebook was mostly used by college kids; Google Maps was relatively new; Twitter would not even come into existence until 2 years later (and when it arrived in 2007, most people didn’t even understand what it was for!). In 2005, most people weren’t really talking about autonomous vehicles or drone technology; the concept of the Hero GoPro was still a few years in the future; it was 2 years before the arrival of the Amazon Kindle.

And as always, most people weren’t really thinking about the future back in 2005, and thinking about how different 2015 might be. After all, thinking about the future is not the job of most people. The result is that most predictions about the future are often treated as ridiculous, comical, or viewed as being based too much on science fiction.

And in that context, there have always been a popular cultural mysticism about the future, such as this fabulous song from the early 70’s. It’s a duo called Zagar and Evans, singing about the year 2525 and beyond ….. the lyrics are eerie, somewhat full of doom, and just not positive…..

In the year 2525
If man is still alive
If woman can survive
They may find
In the year 3535
Ain’t gonna need to tell the truth, tell no lies
Everything you think, do, and say
Is in the pill you took today

(They could have probably fast-forwarded by 500 years when it came to the pill part….)

The reality about the future is this: a lot can happen in 10 years, and much of it can be positive. Can you imagine how different the future might be ten years from now, in the year 2025? What will the world be like? How different will things be? What will be the big trends that will cause economic, political, social and global upheaval? What trends will reshape the world of business?

Here are a few of my thoughts, based upon simple extrapolation of trends from today.

  1. Cash will have all but disappeared. We already have a generation that has been weaned on PayPal, online transactions and the Web. With the arrival of ApplePay and other initiatives that transform mobile devices into credit cards, the trend towards the decline of the use of cash will only accelerate. We’ll see the trend pick up speed as we drop payment technology into our cars, bicycles, clothing and everything else around us (as part of the trend involving “the Internet of Things.”) It’s clear that by 2025, if cash is not pretty well gone, it’s clearly well on it’s way out.
  2. Africa will have ceased to be a rural continent. Worldwide, there is a massive migration of urban populations to cities; the majority of the world’s population will live in less than 30 mega-cities by 2025. With that trend comes fascinating challenges with water, waste treatment, energy and other infrastructure. We can expect accelerating R&D in each of these fields as global society steps up to the challenge presented by ‘hyper-urbanization,’ and the birth of entire new lines of business involving “mega-city’ infrastructure support services.”
  3. Much of the world has ‘gone up.’ One consequence of mass urbanization is that you only have so much space to place people and the infrastructure that goes with it. Two solutions: dig down, or build up. We’ll see more of the latter as various groups figure out how to capitalize on new, innovative thinking with ‘skyscraper’ technology. For example, we’re already seeing rapid advances in both the concept and practice of vertical farming — and we will see the emergence of a new profession of people known as ‘vertical farming infrastructure managers.’ Big, tall buildings involving innovative new ideas will be one of the business growth stories in the years before 2025.
  4. We’ll see the first human live to the age of 150. Rapid advances in medical science, the impact of lifestyle changes, and new forms of a “super-health” diet will lead to global celebration of the birthday of the first human to live to the age of 150. Yet at the same time, society will be grappling with a fascinating new dichotomy. There will be a growing sector of the population living into their 120’s and 130’s — yet at the same time that we see an increasing decline in life expectancy in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Why? Because by 2015, the sale of statin (cholesterol lowering drugs) was already on an upswing in India as the countries succumbed to the diet and sedentary lifestyle of Western society.
  5. A constant stream of bio-connectivity data drives healthcare decisions.  By 2025, most people in the developed world will have 3 or 4 bio-connectivity medical devices linked to them on a 24/7 basis. Some will be small, intrusive chips buried under the skin that constantly monitor medical vital signs such as blood pressure, glucose levels, temperature, oxygenation level and heartbeat. This data will be beamed and streamed on a continuous basis to a massive, anonymous health care grid that will constantly analyze the data for patterns, variances and trends. Such data will routinely help the medical industry discover the outbreak of disease and flu, and predict the emergence of potentially, previously unidentified global or regional health risks. Worldwide, a new medical infrastructure will have emerged that will guide political  decisions on the best spending patterns to ensure overall societal health in an era of ever-more-scare health care support dollars.
  6. The fastest growing profession involves people known as ‘personal health concierges.’ At the same time that the bio-connectivity data-flood is fed into the health-grid, it will be sent to the personal health coach – or concierge — of individual patients. The concierge — who more than likely will have in-depth medical knowledge, generated on a just-in-time basis, will be located in one of the new, Asian/African mega-cities. They’ll work with the patients traditional family doctor to help guide the patient through both routine and complex health care decisions, activities and motivations.
  7. Plants will ‘talk’ to us. And by doing so, they will help to continue to drive a furious rate of innovation in the agricultural sector. Through the same type of small-chip technology embedded in humans, plants will be able to analyze themselves and “report in” if they need a nitrogen boost or a drink of water. Farmers will have instant, predictive analytical dashboards that allow them to continually monitor the health, growth rate, and maturity of massive areas of cropland with a single view. At the same time, most cattle and other farm animals will have their own Internet address, and also be part of large connected monitoring grid.
  8. The concept of TV as a ‘physical device’ has disappeared. By 2025, it will seem to be a quaint idea that many of us had physical devices known as ‘televisions’ – we might see a few in museums. Instead, most of us will carry around a variety of small ‘beaming’ technologies, embedded in our watches, mobile devices, glasses, car dashboards, clothing and just about everywhere else. The technology will let us instantly place a high-definition video and audio stream anywhere, at any time, on demand. YouTube, by this point, was a video delivery system that was something from the “olden days.”
  9. Micro nationals dominate global markets. The most successful, disruptive business organizations will consist of a small nucleus of people, focused on goals, ideas, innovation and strategy. They’ll instantly decide to enter a new market, engineer a new product, or transform a concept into a radical new business model. They’ll do so by having mastered the skill of going out and assembling the right skills at the right time, for the right purpose, at the most optimal cost. They will have obliterated the slumbering, slow-moving multinational organizational structure that seemed to serve its purpose so well up to the early part of the 21st century.
  10. Re-generative energy technology is everywhere; it’s transformative, storable, re-usable. Most energy use is no longer based on a ‘one-time’ use; instead, most of the energy consumption in the world comes from re-generative devices. We will have seen a gradual but steady decline in the use of carbon and other energy sources (in which the energy source can only be used once, and then disappears.). There will be lots of bicycles with hydraulics that store energy while going downhill; homes that create energy from static generated from people walking on a new type of intelligent floor covering; lights that use special reflectors to re-send the beam back to an in-bulb mirror that makes just a little bit more energy. Every photon counts!
  11. Poll-democracy takes flight. The mobile generation, weaned on the technology of text messaging and social networks, finally convinces a few brave countries to consider the idea of real time citizen-voting. Wary at first, these brave new democratic pioneers will discover that this new form of massively participatory democracy changes everything — in terms not only of the ideas that are proposed to solve some of the biggest challenges faced by the country, but also accelerating the speed by which solutions are accepted and implemented. Other countries begin to jump on board, eager to explore this fast changing world of ‘big ideas and big concepts with big momentum.’
  12. Paper is really something ‘from the olden days’. It disappeared in about 2019, in most traditional forms, as most media organizations gave up on the idea of a business model from the 20th century that was ecologically unsound, physically impracticable and ridiculously expensive. The one bright spot? Getting a paper book via a drone from Amazon became really, really boring. The other bright spot? Opportunities for other paper use within intelligent packaging, hygiene markets, 3D printing and other opportunities grew over time.
  13. Grown up! The first 12-generation family is part of earth society. In 2015, the the most number of generations that were alive in a single family was seven. But in 2025, due to longevity, advances with health care and lifestyle changes, society saw the first great-great-great-greet-great-great-great-great-great-grandparent. Try and do the math. It will boggle your mind. Try and make a little kid say it, and new words like “grandmaseven” were invented.
  14. Crowd thinking has replaced most forms of peer research. Most long established medical and science journals have transitioned – big time — accepting a new form of instant crowd thinking as the best way to evaluate the new world hyper-science. On an instant, a researcher can summon a crowd of vetted, quality specialists who have niche knowledge in a  rapidly changing field. The result? A further acceleration of knowledge and in the pace of the the discovery of new ideas and concepts. The impact? Massive velocity in the development of new technologies, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and forms of treatment, agricultural concepts and methodologies — every industry and profession has seen a profound shift bigger than the once amazing  macro-knowledge burst of the Manhattan project.
  15. Regenerative DNA farms will abound. Many people will have registered their DNA with a variety of medical companies that will guarantee to provide a personalized body implant on demand. Knee replacements made of bio-tissue that is based on your DNA. Hip replacements customized to your particular weight and balance profile — based on information from last week. By 2025, some 30% of the typical body mass was artificially grown….
  16. The package is the product. In 2025, food consumption was an entirely different thing because the packaging participated with you in the process! Packaging had long ago become intelligent, but now integrated with tiny bio-sensors within the food, pharmaceutical product or drink. You instantly knew about your consumption, calories, digestion rate….
  17. What we did for heart health in the 20th century, we did for brain health in 2025. Cholesterol, heart disease and blood pressure became phrases from a bygone era as global scientists attacked the challenge of an aging population. Alzheimers, dementia, muscle shutdown and other diseases that came with an aging brain took over the agenda. The global health community threw themselves at the challenge, and came up with numerous innovative ideas involving therapy, gene-specific drugs, exercise and other methods of achieving one of the greatest health transformations of the early 21st century.
  18. Most industries have gone upside down. Entire industries were flipped on their back by some pretty big trends. Genomic, or DNA based medicine, led us into a world in which we could more easily understand what health conditions you were susceptible or at risk for throughout your life. It moved us from a world in which we fix you after you are sick — to one in which we know what you are likely to become sick with, and come up with a course of action before things go wrong.  Similarly, most industries “went upside down.”
  19. The concept of an education degree has come to an end; “just-in-time knowledge factories” dominate the educational landscape. University degrees disappeared; tenure was out the window. The concept of a resume was gone; you simply beamed your personal-knowledge-genome to interested skills partners. The rule of the economy became just-in-time knowledge: it was your ability to get the right knowledge, at the right time, for the right purpose, that accelerated you into opportunity.
  20. The electrical grid of the early 21st century is gone; micro-grids dominate energy supply and use. The Napster and PirateBay generation grew up, bought homes, installed backyard solar and wind — and figured out how to share the new magic they had in their neighbourhood. They built new, small, technologically driven backyard micro-grids, sharing their energy and insight, and gradually worked away from their connection to their local utility. Consumers were in control, and nothing would ever be the same.
  21. Sub-Saharan Africa emerged as the world’s new China. Water was the big potential problem of the 21st century, and science attacked the challenge with a vengeance. The result? Fast paced advancements with water-osmosis, de-salinization and micr0-weather control led to the opportunity to bring a once desolate area back into opportunity. Efforts by the global community to educate, enhance and enlighten a transient population saw an economic miracle that made the transition of Vietnam — from the Saigon of 1972 to the world’s factory of 2015 — pale in comparison.
  22. Light has been stopped in its tracks. Within the confines of an innovative new network router technology, light has been slowed down from approximately 186,000 miles per second to – literally nothing. Zero. 0. Dead stop. The impact? Network routing technology that allowed for the instant evaluation of each individual light photon, and instant determination of destination and origin. The result was an immeasurable and staggering increase in broadband speed; so much so that “yottabit-to-the-home” became the new, established buzzword for the world of telecom.
  23. Domain names disappeared. Instead, people now purchase individual light spectrums (or wavelength’s) for personal and business use. It was no longer necessary to have a cumbersome bit of software to figure out how to route yourself to global knowledge. Instead, with your own individual bank of light spectrum (of which there are an infinite number), people invite you to visit their personal information spaces, holographic memory decks and visual worlds by linking to their particular spectrum. Light-on!
  24. Apple is delisted. Once one of the world’s most innovative, cash-rich, highly valued company, Apple enters a new phase in 2025 when it is delisted from most global stock markets. Why? Most industry leaders never survive; there is always someone with a better idea. It’s the age old world of business.
  25. Jim Carroll shoots his age! In golf. His friends and family thrill at the moment!

In the year 2025? Is all of this silly? Conjecture? Scientifically ridiculous? Perhaps, and probable.

On the other hand, maybe not. Most people tend to overestimate the rate of change that occurs in 2 years — they underestimate the rate of change that occurs in 10 years.

The most important thing about the future is to know that it is there, and it’s going to come at you faster than ever before….

We’ll see you in 2025!

Speed and agility in the retail sector
December 8th, 2014, by Jim Carroll

The rate of change in the retail sector is going from ‘fast to furious’ if you pardon the cliche. I’ll be outlining this issue when I speak to a small group of folks in the retail sector in New York in early January at an invitation only event. The problem? Most retailers are too focused at a strategy level on social marketing — and aren’t thinking about the big, substantive transformative trends which will completely reshape the sector. It’s a perfect strategy mismatch!

What’s going on? Here’s a clip from a talk last fall in Naples, Florida, in which I cover a few of the trends occurring in the world of retail

It is a time in which a lot of trends are unfolding all at once, and everyone in the world of retail, large or small, needs to ensure that they can keep up. That’s why we keep on hearing about the need for ‘agility’ and ‘flexibility’ in the sector.

Consider what’s happening:

  • the rapid emergence of new forms of in-store promotion known as “shopper marketing,” which combines location intelligence, mobile technology and in-store display technology
  • massive changes to the in-store payment process, including mobile payment involving Apple Pay and the complete elimination of the concept of the cash-register
  • the rapid emergence of mobile loyalty programs
  • the emergence of same-day shipping from titans such as Google, Amazon and Walmart
  • the rapid installation of “click and collect” infrastructure (i.e. an online purchase, with same day pickup at a retail location)
  • faster ‘store fashion’ with rapid evolution of in-store promotion, layout and interaction
  • the arrival of intelligent packaging and intelligent (“Internet of Things”) products
  • the battle of the small vs. the incumbents (think Square vs. Visa/Mastercard/Amex)
  • collapsing product life-cycles, rapid product obsolescence and the implications on inventory and supply chain

There’s a lot more going on. In essence, so much change that the word ‘agility’ is becoming more than a word – it’s a capability that increasingly will define success in the future for every retailer.

Augmented Reality and the World of Retail…
December 2nd, 2014, by Jim Carroll

Earlier this year, I was featured in the UK’s Retail NewsAgent 125th anniversary publication, with a variety of comments on trends that will impact the retail space, such as this quick quote which commented on the integration of Siri, automobiles and the shopping experience.

CarCreditCard

I just came across this additional quote in one of the articles, about the future of in-store interaction and payment.

The pace of change in the world of retail right now is simply staggering!

Two things will be consistently present in nearly every type of retail business, according to Jim Carroll – mobile phones that influence our purchasing decisions and LCD TVs – and there is going to be a distinct link between the two.

“I played out a scenario for the leadership team of Gap in which I had ‘liked’ them on Facebook so had a relationship with them,” he says. “I walk into one of their stores and it will recognise me and run a customised commercial on an in-store TV saying ‘welcome back Jim. We’re giving you a $20-off coupon today and in aisle seven there is something you might like.’”

Mr Carroll believes that the technology currently used by Oakley in snowboarders’ sunglasses – which gives wearers access to Facebook, hill conditions and statistics from their run – will also influence retail in the near future.

“Apple is cutting deals with all the car manufacturers to get Siri in them. By 2017 we will be driving along and you will ask Siri in the augmented reality dashboard which store has X product. She will put five stores on the map and you will pick one, which the car’s autonomous driving technology will take you to. What’s more, you will have payment technology embedded in your car so that will be your credit card too.”

It might sound like a goofy scenario, but it isn’t really. Right now, we’re seeing major cell companies working to cut deals with automotive companies to get SIM-cards into automobiles — partly to support in-vehicle WiFi, but also to support the potential for future payment transactions. And while we see a well publicized failure with augmented reality with the pullback of Google Glass technology, there’s no doubt that there are rapid advances occurring with augmented reality technology.

The other big part of this trend is known as ‘shopper marketing’, an intersection of mobile, location intelligence and social networking technology — the idea being that there are methods of providing for in-store promotional opportunities.

You can read the full version of the Retail Newsagent 125th anniversary article with a variety of observations from various futurists on the future of retail here.

There can’t be a more exciting industry in the world today than what is happening with the marriage of automotive/transport technology to Silicon Valley. And it’s a a trend I’ve previously reported on here ; there are a few blog references at the end of this blog post.

Jim at Summit

On stage, Jim Carroll makes the comment: “Today is the slowest day of technological change for the rest of your life — it is only going to get quicker.”

That’s why I was thrilled to be the opening keynote for the 2014 Colorado Transportation Department “Transportation Matters” summit last month. It was a get together of state politicians, civic and municipal officials, economic development folk who have a vested interest in the evolution of the overall transit infrastructure in the state.  (The co-sponsor was the Denver Chamber of Commerce.) These are a group of people who spend their time thinking about what they need to do to ensure that the state can stay competitive in a fast changing future.

It’s a hot topic — there was a sellout crowd of over 500 people in the room; original plans called for an audience of about 325!

My goal was to give the audience of view of what’s coming — and more importantly, how quickly it is coming — with all kinds of autonomous vehicle technology. And of course, there’s a lot going on — drone helicopters, Google’s self-driving car, Audi’s and Volvo’s own efforts with autonomous vehicle technology. Everywhere you look, there are new announcements, which is why this will be one of the hottest areas for innovation, business model disruption, new thinking, and big infrastructure investments in the decade to come.

To put these trends into perspective, I broke my keynote down into five key sections:

  • bold thinking
  • the velocity of change
  • the hype vs. reality
  • elements of progress
  • the impact of generations

1. Bold thinking

One thing I try to get across to every audience is that in every industry today, we live in a period of transformative change — whether it is Tesla Motors disrupting the auto industry, personalized healthcare based on DNA, or the impact of precision farming in agriculture — we live in a period of very dramatic change.

To emphasize the concept of ‘transformation,’ I found this brilliant quote during my research

“It’s amazing: If you were an archeologist and you dug up a 1900 vintage car and you dug up a 2000 vintage car, you’d look at it, you’d say they have the same DNA, the same fundamental design DNA. Mechanically driven energy from oil, powered by combustion, controlled mechanically and hydraulically, driven by a person, operated pretty much independently.”

And what’s exciting right now is that we see a new DNA, a new design DNA for the automobile beginning to mature, electrically driven in addition to mechanically driven. Using diverse sources of energy, which can be in the form of electricity or hydrogen on board the vehicle as well as fossil fuels. Having the vehicle operate with electric motors. Very importantly, being able to control it digitally or electronically. And literally having cars that can drive themselves.

Future Car: Accelerating the Future
10 Nov 2014, IEEE Spectrum

 Think about the context of that observation. Essentially, when it comes to vehicle technology – cars, trucks, you name it — we’ve essentially had the same architecture for 100 years. But all that is now changing, and it is changing at a furious speed.

 2. Silicon Valley velocity

My second point is perhaps the most significant trend impacting transportation today – and that is that there is a very real shift in the innovation driver from traditional auto companies in Detroit, Germany, Japan — to Silicon Valley.

Vehicles are essentially becoming large, sophisticated computers on wheels. The challenge is that Ford, Mercedes and Honda have never been in the computer industry, and know very little about computer interface design issues. The result is that we end up with these dashboards with clunky interfaces, disgraceful methods of interaction, and design that is simply a dog’s breakfast of something thrown together at the last moment. Contrast that to the dashboard and interactive user experience of a Tesla Motors vehicle — a car essentially designed by a computer company….

I reported on this at length in a post from 2013, “Trend: The Future of Automotive and Automotive Retail”, which you can read here. I don’t see much has changed since then.

What does this shift to Silicon Valley mean? New dashboard technologies, power sources and power storage tech, intelligent highway technologies — all the stuff that goes into autonomous and 21st century vehicle technology — will increasingly emerge ‘in the Valley.’ And anyone in tech knows that hi-tech companies innovate a lot faster than any other industry. This is a pretty profound and significant shift — automotive companies are going to find that increasingly they are in a  world in which ‘the future belongs to those who are fast.’ If they can’t keep up, then their product lines will become increasingly obsolete, out of date, and uncompetitive.

With this shift comes a major change to the concept of road and highway infrastructure — as all matter of sophisticated intelligent infrastructure takes over.

And my challenge to the folks in the room was this — as people responsible for economic development, are you placing yourself at the nexus of the ‘transformers’ (incubators, startup hubs, etc…) in terms of the transport revolution? Because that’s where you will find job growth, economic growth, infrastructure growth….

3. The discordance of hype vs. reality

Having said that, I challenged my audience to think about to carefully manage the difference between the hype that can come from a fast future – and the reality of what is occurring.

Autonomous vehicle technology from 1939! Is such a future too far-fetched? Probably not...

Autonomous vehicle technology from 1939! Is such a future too far-fetched? Probably not…

I spoke, for example, of Elon Musk (found of Tesla, Space-X) and his much-discussed Hyperloop ….. and I ran through a variety of headlines such as “Morgan Stanley predicts the death of the automotive industry as we know it” (BusinessInsider, October 2014, read it here). Maybe things can be hyped a little bit too much, I cautioned…….. the challenge with anything having to do with the technology industry quickly becomes, as everyone has learned, subjected to the hyper-building-hype echo chamber that is Silicon Valley.

I pointed this out, because with the hype can easily come suspicion that perhaps the trend is too over-hyped, and won’t become real any time soon.

To solve that dilemma, I ran through a series of slides I originally used when I spoke to a senior leadership team at NASA, in a talk that focused on the transformation of the business of space — by taking them back to the 1920’s and 1930’s when people were discounting the idea that mankind would ever venture into the heavens. To do that, I used a whole series of slides from Popular Mechanix and other magazines of the time.

I bloggged extensively on that talk for NASA — you can see the original magazine photos and articles here.

The point? The future always happens — the rest is just timing.

4. Elements of progress

By this point, I was working with the audience to help them realize that we live in transformative times, that the pace of change is accelerating because the technology industry is now driving the speed of change in the auto industry, but as the future unfolds, we should carefully manage the hype that comes with that.

With that as a solid foundation, I began to cover the very real advancements that are occurring with the concept of autonomous vehicle technology. These include such things as:

  • collision avoidance
  • pedestrian and object detection
  • spatial awareness and GPS
  • V2V (Vehicle to Vehicle) communications for lane, distance, time compression
  • remote vehicle control
  • predictive fuel efficiency routing
  • intelligent highway technology – adaptive traffic light, connective flow control, etc.

The thing is — all of this is happening really fast. I used a quote from Google’s UK Automotive Chief, Hugh Dickerson: 

Today is the slowest day of technological change for the rest of your life — it is only going to get quicker

How fast are things changing? I then noted this great  great statistic:

Connected cars are expected to generate $131.9 billion by 2019 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 34.7% from 2013 to 2019.”
Connected Cars: Legal Hurdles and Issues Monitor Worldwide. Oct 2014

Here’s something to think about: it is said that today the typical pilot, whether for an airline or flying privately, spends just about 14 minutes actually flying the plane. The rest of the time is autonomous — autopilot technology. That’s the reality of what we are headed for, one day, with ground based vehicle transportation. Remember — the future happens. The rest is just timing.

5. Generations

Finally, I closed out with the observation that the biggest trend to impact the auto industry is the arrival of the next, connected generation of drivers. My sons are now 19 and 21; they have never known a world without the Internet. Like everyone in their generation, their entire view into the world is through data and their mobile devices. As transportation changes, they will drive the change and acceptance of that generation faster than any generation before them.


It was a fun talk, and drew a great response, with this comment back from one of the key organizers:

People were really excited and energetic. I got comments about your presentation and the day as a whole like “home run” and “perfect.” One person said they had seen a futurist speak before and it was “blah blah technical and boring” and wasn’t particularly looking forward to your presentation- and they were “blown away.”…..I think many people walked in thinking they were going to get boring policy, and while we gave them a few doses of that for good measure, your presentation was policy in a thought provoking way- and with the focus on the future and technology, the Denver Chamber of Commerce will surely see this as a great “jumping off point” to their broader transportation conversation.

Nomadic workers and the future of careers
December 1st, 2014, by Jim Carroll

Here’s a video clip from a recent keynote — during the Q&A, I was asked by one member of the audience about what happens to careers in a world in which ‘the future belongs to those who are fast.’ Here’s my response!

There’s more on this topic in the Human Capital section of my website, over on the left….

Are you suffering from ‘Aggressive Indecision?’
November 24th, 2014, by Jim Carroll

Here’s one from the vaults — from a keynote for SAP way back in 2003!

Lots of organizations still suffering from this dread disease 11 years later!

C’mon folks – make a decision! You might find you like it!