Learning is what most adults will do for a living in the 21st century

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!



My EdNet 2016 Keynote: The Future of Education!
September 25th, 2016, by Jim Carroll

I’m delighted to be the opening keynote speaker for EdNet 2016 in Dallas — what is arguably the most important conference for education content providers.

My keynote will take a look at the future of education, and what these folks — textbook publishers and others — must do to align themselves to an era of acceleration!

Here’s my keynote description — I’ll be sure to tweet and blog more about the event.


ednet2016-1

Jim’s client list is a veritable who’s who of global leaders from various Fortune 1000 companies and organizations. Jim has shared the stage at events with President George W. Bush, Carrie Fisher, Terry Bradshaw, Buzz Aldrin of Apollo 11, and Newt Gingrich, among many others. 

Sixty-five percent of the children who are in pre-school today will work in a job or career that doesn’t yet exist. Half of what students learn in their first year at college is obsolete or revised—by the time they graduate. Fifty percent of the U.S. gross domestic product will be taken up by training and knowledge activities within the decade.

With all of these changes at hand, futurist, trends, and innovation expert Jim Carroll succinctly puts into perspective both the challenges and opportunities that exist in the future for education. He will provide concise insight that links a wide variety of global social, demographic, scientific, technological, business, and other trends to the impact on education. He provides a an understanding on the velocity of change impacting the industry and why we need to rethink the context of “how we educate” in light of the realities that has knowledge growing exponentially, the foundation of knowledge generation forever changed, and global social networks challenging traditional education delivery models.

Carroll challenges audiences to think about innovation in the education sector that takes on bold goals to deal with a reality that has rapid knowledge obsolescence and emergence, the disappearance of existing careers and the emergence of new careers, an ongoing need for continuous knowledge replenishment, and the migration of knowledge generation further away from academia. There’s a massively increased challenge from overseas knowledge generation, the fast emergence of new micro-careers, an economy that succeeds through knowledge deployment, and a fundamental transformation in the role of educational institutions-and an increasing focus on “just-in-time” knowledge.

ednet2016

Insurance & Innovation: The Challenge of Change
September 19th, 2016, by Jim Carroll

Last week, I was the opening keynote speaker for a small insurance industry group — and had senior executives of quite a few major property & casualty and life insurance companies in the room.

As always, I undertook an extensive amount of detailed research on the latest status of innovation within the industry. In addition, I looked back on my research and interview notes for previous keynotes for CEOs and other executives for the largest insurance companies in the world.

(Last December, I was the opening keynote for the annual Insurance Executive Conference in New York City; in the room was the CEO for Transamerica Life, among others; this is typical of many talks I’ve done within the industry over the course of 20 years)

"Kicking off Executive Leadership Council meeting with our friends @GAMAIntl  & keynote @jimcarroll in Amelia Island"

@IntellectSEEC – “Kicking off Executive Leadership Council meeting with our friends @GAMAIntl & keynote @jimcarroll in Amelia Island”

Let’s face it: the trends are real. The industry will be disrupted by tech companies. Existing brokerage and distribution networks will be obliterated as more people buy insurance direct. Predictive analytics will shift the industry away from actuarial based historical assessment to real-time coverage. Policy niches, micro-insurance and just-in-time insurance will drive an increasing number of revenue models. The Internet of Things (iOt) and healthcare connectivity will provide for massive market and business model disruption. I could go on for hours!

To gauge the current thinking within the industry as to “how to deal with what comes next,” my session included some hands-on, live interactive text-message polling.

Right out of the bat, I asked the participants if they felt ready for the massive disruption now underway in the insurance sector.

And the fact is, they are not:

gama1

Having said that, they know that they are in the midst of some pretty significant change — the majority indicated that they believe that the insurance industry will not look anything in 10 years like it looks today.

gama2

The reaction in the room parallels that of a recent Accenture study that I referenced in my keynote:

  • CSO’s at global companies and 94% of CSO’s at insurance companies agree that tech will “rapidly change their industry in 5 years”
  • fewer than 1 in 5 CSOs in insurance believe their companies are prepared
  • fewer than 1 in 10 believe their companies are “high value achievers”

A similar observation was found in a recent PWC study on the insurance industry:

  • “Nine in 10 insurance executives polled by consultant PwC reckon at least part of their business is at risk over the next five years – a greater proportion than in any other area of finance”

Clearly, these executives know that something needs to be done to deal with the potential for business model disruption in the industry. Yet is the industry prepared to deal with it?

Not really:

  • “Fewer than 50 per cent of respondents in the life and general insurance sectors said they would increase IT spending to help them access new customers.” Fintech is booming – but where are 
the insurance tech startups? 
29 September 2015, City AM

Here’s the current problem: there is tremendous potential for complacency to seep into the industry, particularly as Google has pulled back from its’ Google Compare initiative. (This service let people use a Google tool to do comparison shopping for insurance policies from major carriers; the CEO of Google Compare also spoke at the New York event last December).

  • “Google’s initial failure shows technology firms won’t necessarily have “an easy road” to success in the new sector.” Beating Silicon Valley to the Punch; Digitizing Insurance, 11 March 2016

Is the complacency warranted? Not in my view — I think most tech companies, when disrupting an industry and suffer an initial setback, come back in a bigger and more significant way. It’s most likely that when Google, Amazon, Apple and other tech companies  come back in to disrupt insurance, they won’t be working with major carriers to do it!

  • “Expect that when the megatechs enter the insurance space, they will insist on taking control of a much bigger portion of the sales journey, positioning themselves as an alternative end-to-end solution provider, not just a lead generator.” Life Insurance Disruption, Asia Insurance Review, June 2016

Does the insurance industry have the innovation culture necessary to deal with the potential for what comes next? My next poll gave me a pretty stark response — the industry continues to be bound up in some pretty significant organizational sclerosis.

gama3

Is there a way out of this mess? Can the industry fix the clear strategic mismatch which exists?

In my keynote,  I suggested that disruption in such a significant issue that it really needs to be dealt with at the level of the Board; strategy needs to be kicked up a notch; clear responses and actions are warranted.

Quite clearly, specific responsibility needs to be put in place to implement a  disruption-strategy. Back to the Accenture report:

  • “Companies that have put in place chief digital officers and chief innovation officers and who report directly to the CEO tend to have a dedicated focus on technology-focused initiatives …. That’s a sign that they and C-level peers are taking technology-disruption seriously.”

Industry insight also clearly shows that insurance companies must “partner-up” to deal with the fact they simply don’t have the technology expertise to compete with Google, Amazon and others.

  • “an overarching theme …. not least among them insurers .. is that they cannot face technology driven innovation by themselves” – “How to disrupt the high-tech disruptors”
National Underwriter & Health
September 2016

Are many insurance companies following the path to partner up? Sadly, no:

  • “Only 28% of the respondents said they explored partnerships with fintech companies and less than 14% actively participated in ventures or incubator programmes.” Insurance Companies Slow in 
Bridging Fintch Gap, Mint, July 2016

I’ve been providing strategic level guidance to senior executives in the global insurance industry for over 20 years.

The issues, challenges and opportunities are stark. They’re real. They’re not going away.

Will most companies survive? Maybe not. Stay tuned!

Keynotes: A Note on Customization
September 15th, 2016, by Jim Carroll

I’m about to head out the door to Amelia Island, Florida, where tomorrow morning I will do a talk for a small group of senior executives from the insurance industry — both property & casualty as well as life insurance companies.

I’m thinking its going to be a great talk — built around the theme, “10 Realities and Opportunities with Fintech Disruption.”

As with most talks, there’s been an extensive amount of research — conference calls with the client, not to forget 479 highly-specific articles on trends impacting the insurance industry.

fintech

What’s involved in building a great keynote? Detailed research, such as these articles on the future I’ve insurance that I’m reading through. If you want real insight on future trends and opportunities for innovation that are specific to your industry, give me a call.

On the flight down, I’ll fine tune my presentation, and wade through these articles once again.

I tweeted about this a week ago:

479 articles on the future of #fintech #insurance that I’m reading today – for my keynote in Florida next week for major insurance CEO’s/CxO’s. Some speakers offer pap. Others *customize*. ”Creating a great keynote” -> https://www.jimcarroll.com/keynotes-workshops/creating-a-great-keynote/

This type of research helps me build a keynote that has detailed, industry specific information, such as these nuggets:

  • 2/3 of insurance CEOs see tech as both opportunity & threat” -from a PWC study. (Of course, it makes me wonder — are the rest asleep?
  • nearly 70% of insurance CEOs see the speed of technological change as a threat to growth and more than 60% are concerned about shifts in consumer spending and behaviour

This ties in with other specific, detailed research I’ve undertaken, not to forget the fact that in the last few years, my keynotes have involved audiences that have included the CEO’s of most major North American and global insurance companies.

My keynote includes observations from a  session I did in Philadelphia that included a private one-on-one with the CEO’s of the top 10 P&C companies in North America. 10 years ago, I had the CIO’s for the top 15 P&C/life companies in for a private meeting that went on for two hours.

People book me because they want real insight .

And that’s the reputation I’ve built in the industry — specific, detailed, information and statistic rich presentations that don’t offer motivational pap — but real concrete guidance on strategies, opportunities, challenges and innovation.

If you want real insight on future trends and opportunities for innovation that are specific to your industry, give me a call.

We can talk about the specific ways in which I can help.

 

survivingtheinformationageBack in 1997, my wife and I worked on a book to which this day I am most proud of — Surviving the Information Age.

It’s a book that takes a look at the unique relationship that Baby Boomer have with computers and technology.

Although it’s a bit dated, I still think it’s a great read! That’s because of the unique stories it shares of a generation that was often terrorized — by COBOL, punch cards and computer mainframes.

Christa and I spent *a lot* of time on research for the book, digging out articles from libraries with articles featured in Readers Digest, Time Magazine and other publications from 1960 to 1975. Unique stories on a period of time that no other generation in the history of mankind will every have to go through.

With that in mind, I just brought the book back into print, and it’s available today for the low cost of $15 – shipping included.

If you want a great read, you might consider grabbing a copy. You can order it below.

Here’s the back jacket copy:

Whether it’s HAL the murderous computer from 2001: A Space Odyssey or billing systems demanding payment for $0.00, baby boomers have grown up with a simple message — computers are not to be trusted! We are skeptics, but let’s face it, we know our discomfort with technology is leaving us behind as the world of work and leisure changes. It’s no longer something we can afford to ignore — quite simply, we must adapt to survive the dramatic economic change arising from an increasingly wired planet.

Originally published in 1997, Jim Carroll’s Surviving the Information Age is an engaging, humorous and non-technical account of the challenges that baby- boomers faced in the early days of the computer revolution. With today’s hyper-connected world of Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook, it’s all too easy to forget just how strange the early days of the computer revolution happened to be. The book takes a fascinating look back at what happened when technology first began to invade our lives – and the challenges and opportunities that it presented along the way!

Order directly from Jim – shipping included!

Payment processing fully secured using SSL and Stripe.com. We never see your credit card details!

You will be charged $15.00 for the book, shipping is included.

 

Trend: Self-Driving Cars and Economic Success
September 8th, 2016, by Jim Carroll

Is your community positioned for success in the era of autonomous vehicle technology? Are you thinking about this from an economic development perspective?

intelligenthighway

“Towns withered and died on whether they were on the mainline of a railroad – Do you want to be a community that wants to be on the forefront of this shared technology…or are you going to sit back and wait? It’s going to be a big economic driver.” – Futurist Jim Carroll

It’s a valid question, and one that I’ve been addressing for a number of years. I covered this issue in a keynote for 2,000 mayors and elected officials when I was the opening keynote the Texas Municipal League, as well as the Colorado Department of Transportation Summit. There have been many other similar situations. But I think that perhaps now, the opportunities that come from community that supports advanced, intelligent and hyperconnected transportation infrastructure is only just beginning to hit the radar of those responsible for economic development.

At least, because I’m finding an increasing number of people reaching out to me to talk about the issue. For example, BisNow recently ran an article, The Future Intersection of Driverless Cars and CRE (Commercial Real Estate); read it here.

Jim Carroll, a noted futurist who has spoken to a number of automotive companies as well as such organizations as NASA and the PGA, says autonomous vehicles will have the same economic impact railways did in the 19th century and highways did in the 20th century. And those cities that quickly adopt and build “intelligent infrastructure” to accommodate driverless technology will be the ones to thrive in this new world. “Towns withered and died on whether they were on the mainline of a railroad,” Jim says. “The same went for highways: Cities that were connected directly by major interstates thrived. And now cities are facing a similar paradigm shift, “and really that becomes an economic decision,” Jim continues. “Do we want to be a community that wants to be on the forefront of this shared technology…or are we going to sit back and wait? It’s going to be a big economic driver.”

And Ian Frisch (who sometimes writes for : The New Yorker, WIRED, Bloomberg and Playboy), notes in his article, So, Do Self-Driving Cars Mean We’ll Work During Our Commutes? – read it here.

We will see situations where some cities will want to be at the forefront of this trend and encourage the infrastructure needed to support self-driving cars,” says Jim Carroll, a futurist, trends, and innovation expert. “That will have bigger implications because companies will want to relocate to where this technology is emerging first.”

If your company does relocate, and your commute gets bumped up a few hours, being able to work while your car drives you to the office would dramatically increase efficiency.

Right now, there are buses in the Bay Area with wi-fi,” Carroll says. “If you have a three-hour commute to San Jose, you’re fully equipped to jump in on a meeting on that bus. This will be a more personalized extension of that trend. People are already shifting how they work, but autonomous vehicles will push them to shift work in new and different ways. But, before that’s a reality, we will see organizations investing in communities that are open to the intelligent infrastructure that encourages things like auto vehicles. That’s the key to all of this.

I’ve covered this issue in numerous keynotes: here’s a clip from my Texas Municipal League keynote:

The key issues are this:

  • self driving cars, tractors and trucks – there’s a lot going on, but it’s not going to happen all at once
  • this new era isn’t just about the vehicle — it’s about the infrastructure that surrounds and supports them
  • in other words, there is a lot going on with intelligent highway infrastructure ….
  • there are going to be different levels of intelligence when it comes to the roads and highways that support such vehicles
  • communities will discover that they have an opportunity to get in front of others if they support advanced intelligent highway and road infrastructure
  • some will upgrade existing transportation corridors that accelerate the adoption and use of intelligent autonomous vehicles
  • others will put in place entirely new transportation corridors – self-driving dedicated roads
  • an increasing number of companies will begin to make relocation decisions to those communities who have advanced intelligent transportation plans in place

If you are involved at a political or economic delveopment level, the big issue for you is : where do you want to position your community?

Or will you go the way of communities that died when railroads and the interstate highway system came along?

Article: Want to Future Proof Your Degree?
September 6th, 2016, by Jim Carroll
"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?”

I was recently interviewed about the future of knowledge and careers. It was timely; my oldest son has just completed a college degree but is immediately pursuing another educational path at a community college.

Does this make sense? Most certainly.

Here’s an extract from the article.


Want to future-proof your career?
The Globe and Mail, By LEAH EICHLER,
Saturday, 03 September 2016
Life-long education and training are increasingly becoming a key part of staying relevant in the employment world

For many, this week marks a new chapter in their lives: the first week of university. Like countless students before them, those first few weeks are a flurry of experiences and opportunities that sets out the road to independence. However, that expectation that in four short years their education will be complete is rapidly becoming a relic of the past. Rather, they will be entering a professional world where in order to compete, they must embrace the ethos of life-long student.

Jim Carroll, a futurist and speaker based in Mississauga, describes the work force that students can expect to graduate into as one of “rapid knowledge obsolescence.”

To adapt, professionals will need to possess “just-in-time knowledge” and continue learning in order to have the relevant information at the right time to suit a specific purpose.

“We are never going to have the right skills and knowledge to do what needs to be done. The only way we will is to continue to reinvent ourselves, by updating our skills in order to maintain our relevance. We need to accept that as our reality,” Mr. Carroll said.

That’s why it made perfect sense to him when his son, who graduated in June from Carleton University in Ottawa with a bachelor of arts in physical geography with a minor in geomatics, immediately enrolled in a certificate program in geographic information systems at Ottawa’s Algonquin College.

Yet, it’s not only employees that need to adapt; universities, colleges and employers need to change their approaches to in order to stay competitive.

“Everything is going to change,” Mr. Carroll said. “Universities and colleges aren’t really prepared to give us what we need. Employers aren’t really in the right frame of mind either since they rely on old outdated hiring models and recruitment. Also, if you are a graduate, and you don’t have the right frame of mind that you need to continually maintain your skills, then you are wrong as well,” he said.

The key, suggested Mr. Carroll, is to emphasize skill sets rather than degrees, but how? It’s a problem that New York-based Markle Foundation has been trying to solve.

The Unites States, they observed, has a critical need for a skill-based labour market. There are currently 5.5 million job openings, but 6.5 million people are unemployed. They attribute part of this disconnect to the outdated methods employers use to vet candidates and discern skills.

 

…. In other words, just-in-time knowledge, or as one of Mr. Carroll’s favourite quotes from a well-known educator named Lewis Perelman put it, “learning is what most adults will do for a living in the 21st century.”

 

Video: The Future of Manufacturing
September 5th, 2016, by Jim Carroll

The other day, my son and I visited Agnora, a world class innovator in the architectural glass industry. They produce the glass you see in Apple Stores, at the TKTS ticket booth in Times Square, and many more!

We filmed a video promo clip for my upcoming keynote for the 2016 Greater Philadelphia Manufacturing Summit – details here.

Video: The Future of Packaging
August 31st, 2016, by Jim Carroll

Another clip from my keynote in Prague – this time around trends involving the future of packaging.

Smart packaging. Intelligent packaging. The packaging is the brand. The Apple-ization of packaging!

There’s tremendous opportunities unfolding in this space — packaging is no longer an inert container that simply holds the product — it’s becoming an integral part of what the the product is!

What’s coming fast? Packaging that talks to you. Pharma packaging that does “electronic event monitoring” for patient adherence. Food packaging that automatically uploads calorie, carb, sodium and other data to a customer’s smartphone. Packaging with a unique code — you can send a text to very the product is not counterfeit. Packaging that links to your phone and builds a relationship with you. Packaging that lights up when you pick it up!

And even packaging with mini-LCD TV’s built in!

I’ve been speaking to packaging companies since 2003 !

Video : High Velocity Change in the World of Retail
August 30th, 2016, by Jim Carroll

I keynoted a global packaging company in Prague, and took a look at the future of packaging, retail,and consumer behaviour.

Here’s a clip in which I take a look at how quickly change is coming to impact every aspect of retail.

MakeItHappen

 

What are the big issues that organizations need to be focused on?

Think about three simple words: transformation, acceleration and collaboration.

That’s been the focus of a number of CEO-level keynotes I’ve recently done. A good example was a dinner keynote I did for key clients of BASF, a global chemicals company, in San Antonio, Texas.

How do these three words help senior executives reframe the idea of innovation? Like this:

  • transformation: nothing will ever be the same, and complacency with strategy is not a great idea for going forward. What worked in the past surely won’t work in the future!  Everything is changing at a furious pace: business models, customers, products and services, new competitors, organizational structure. Give me a minute with your company or association, and I can give you deep insight into how your world will look entirely different five to ten years out.
  • acceleration. Companies need to relentlessly reinvent themselves, particularly in terms of the products or services they offer, the markets they operate in, the business proposition at their core. In this world of hyper-connected global business models, speed is the new metric for success going forward. Give me a minute with your company, and I’ll give you innovation heroes who are busy reinventing themselves at the velocity that is demanded today.
  • collaboration. To transform and accelerate, be relentless with structure. Constantly rethink you skills they employ, the partnerships you pursue and the insight you glean from shared ideas. We’re in the era of the global idea machine as witnessed with crowd-thinking and crowdfunding — align yourself to the new insight that comes from the connected organization. Give me a minute with your company, and I’ll give you insight into the new hive-mind of success that is a 21st century innovation hero.

Does it work? One fellow at the dinner came up to me after, observing: “I’ve seen a lot of speakers, but your crystallized todays’ world in a really unique hard-hitting way. Oh, and it was great fun too!

It was an awesome event, in an intimate setting, with senior executives of some of the largest energy and infrastructure companies in the world!

Arrow
Arrow
ArrowArrow
Slider

 

The last several months have involved a tremendous number of unique, and exhilarating keynote presentations.

Jim Carroll on stage in Dallas, Texas -- with a pink elephant! (He's still not quite sure what it was doing there, but hey, every stage is a different stage!)

Jim Carroll on stage in Dallas, Texas — with a pink elephant! (He’s still not quite sure what it was doing there, but hey, every stage is a different stage!)

Every once in a while I offer up a summary of what I’ve been doing, as it proves to be useful to potential clients who are exploring my services. It also will give you a sense of the tremendous range of talks and topics that I undertake.

Quite simply, I seem to stand out in the industry of futurists and speakers for the really extensive work and customization I put into my talks, as well as the breadth of the unique topics that I take on.

Here’s a sample of just a bit of what I’ve been up to:

  • an opening keynote for the 2016 PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, with a focus on the role of technology in helping to grow the game, attract younger players, and improve the player experience. I was on stage after Lee Trevino, and followed later by Bubba Watson. It was a real thrill, and the 2nd time the PGA has brought me in for a major event! You can read more simply by hitting the PGA tag in my Web site.
  • I opened the Sporting and Fitness Industry Association with a talk on trends impacting the future of sports and fitness. It was kind of fascinating to be followed on stage by Roger Goodall, Commissioner of the NFL! There’s on extensive post I wrote post-event – Avoiding the BIG MISS – Will Your Company Be the Same in 10 Years? as well as Trend: The Future of Sports? All Interaction All the Time. And there’s lots more on the future of sports and fitness in that section of my Web site.
  • a keynote for the 2016 Manufacturing in America Summit in Detroit, with a good, hard look at what is a real renaissance in the sector in North America. There were several other manufacturing keynotes along the way, including for QAD (ERP software for manufacturing companies) and the PowderMetal Manufacturing Association. Everyone knows there is a lot of political rhetoric around manufacturing right now (most of it dishonest) and so I am getting a significant number of bookings in this space from people looking for real insight into the challenges and opportunities in the sector. What’s really going on? Read my blog post, Trends: Why Manufacturing Needs to Reinvent Itself – Fast for more, or hit the Manufacturing Trends section for extensive blog posts, video clips from the stage and more on the reality of manufacturing today.
  • Cruise Line International Association, which represents most if not all of the major and minor cruise line organizations in the world, brought me into their annual leaders summit for a talk on innovation and future trends.
  • Johnson and Johnson, Whirlpool/AON Hewitt and other Fortune 1000 organizations had me in to speak at major leadership events on specific industry trends and broad trends involving business model disruption and other issues, built around  the theme, What Do World Class Innovators Do That Others Don’t Do?  The comments back? “We received great feedback about your session.  Attendees found it valuable, insightful, interesting and somewhat terrifying J.  Thank you for being such a great contributor to the event’s success!”
  • three events for key customers of CDW, a major distributor and infrastructure company in the hi-tech space. My talk focused around the future of IT, particularly as a foundation for innovation for high velocity companies. There’s a good synopsis of the topic here — Think Big, Start Small, Scale Fast: Aligning Yourself for the Era of Acceleration
  • the future of agriculture with Reinke Manufacturing ; this is the company that manufactures those giant irrigation wheels you see on farms across North America. In the room were approximately 500 representatives of their dealer network, who were seeking insight on where agriculture goes next. For more, check the agriculture trends section of my Web site, as well as the 10 Trends for Agriculture post, which is undeniably the most popular page on my Web site, as well, it seems, one of the most popular pages on the Internet with respect to the future of agriculture!
  • an invitation-only keynote for leaders of major national and regional veterinary associations, held at the massive National Association of Veterinary Medicine conference in Orlando. My talk took at look at the issues of business model disruption, the impact of social networking on pet care, the rapid evolution of veterinary science and more. I still  have to blog about this one — it was fascinating!
  • a look at the future of automotive, trucking and transportation for the North American leadership team of Volvo/Mac Trucks. This was a repeat performance for the group – it’s always great when they invite you back again! This was a talk around the future of the sector — autonomous vehicles, intelligent highway infrastructure, the end of car ownership and more. I’ve been doing quite a few talks around these topic areas — it’s a hot topic. For more, read my post , Accelerating the Auto Industry — and the Challenge of Change, as well as the Automotive and Transportation section of my Web site — lots of video.
  • APICS — the Association of Professional Inventory Control Specialists, featured me for their annual conference in Las Vegas, with about 3,000 in the room, where I shared the event stage with the legendary Jack Welch, ex-CEO of GE. Read the press release here. I took at a wide ranging look at the future of retail and wholesale, consumer behaviour, shortened product lifecycle, the new state of manufacturing and more!
  • a talk for the senior leadership and legal team for Kiewit. Who are they? One of the largest organizations involved in massive infrastructure and constructions projects, including energy, highways and more. Check the Energy & Infrastructure section for a bit of insight into the topic areas I covered for these folks.
  • PracticeMatch, which is involved in physician recruitment, had me in for a talk that looked at the challenges and opportunities in recruiting the next generation of doctors. Read the blog post I wrote around my keynote – Trend Report: Physician Recruitment in the Era of Digital Intimacy. this is indicative of the type of massive, customized research that I often put into my talks.

That’s scratching the surface!

Going forward, September onwards looks like a lot of fun, with a similar broad range of topics, keynotes for major events, as well as private leadership meetings. Stay tuned!

Future of Manufacturing – Promo Video Clip Sample!
August 19th, 2016, by Jim Carroll

A few months ago, I was the opening keynote speaker for QAD Explore, a major manufacturing conference. Prior to the event, I cut a little promo video for them.

It’s a good summary of trends in manufacturing — and is an example of the type of promo video I can cut for you when you book me for an event! (-;

 

Videos on Disruption
August 18th, 2016, by Jim Carroll

If you think the industry you operate in will look the same in 10 years, you’re wrong!

Here’s a variety of video clips in which I put in perspective how various industries are being subjected to transformative change and disruption. Rethink your assumptions going forward into the future!

<centre>
Arrow
Arrow
ArrowArrow
Slider
</centre>
Video – The Acceleration of Food Trends
August 17th, 2016, by Jim Carroll

I had an inquiry to see if I might be able to do a keynote on the future of food and food trends. Of course I can! Here’s a clip from when I was the opening keynote speaker for the International Dairy, Deli & Bakery conference – it’s a big event in the industry, with about 2,500 people in the room.

Key issues? The nature of our relationship with food is changing faster. Social media drives taste trends. New taste sensations move faster. Even food trucks are having a big impact on what we choose to eat. The Mad Men TV series had a huge impact on trends within the beverage industry! Have a look.

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.

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.

Do one thing today – get out of your innovation rut!
August 16th, 2016, by Jim Carroll

Innovation is a mindset. Do you have what it takes?

BabyEinstein

“Don’t expect them to subscribe to the same old beliefs as to structure and rules, working hours, and corporate culture, or business models. You won’t survive in their future if you don’t take the time to understand what they are doing, talking about, and thinking.”

Here’s a few simple thoughts on how to get out of your innovation rut!

Reward failure, and tone down the “I told-you-so’s”

Too many people think when times are volatile, that it’s not a good time to focus on big ideas. Not true! Consider history: many people stuck their neck out in the 1990’s and tried out new ways of doing business, new technologies, and innovative methods of dealing with markets and customers. Yet many of those efforts collapsed in spectacular fashion due to the dot.com/technology meltdown, and a dangerous sense of complacency set in. Back then, innovators had to hang their head in shame, and the nervous nellies who dared not innovate reigned supreme! Yet those who took risk excelled — they invented Facebook, Youtube, Twitter, Instagram…. When times are volatile and fear reigns, that’s the best time to make big bold moves.

Listen up!

We live in a time of unprecedented feedback and communication – and yet few organizations are prepared to listen! Customers are telling you, loudly, what they want. Young people are defining a future that is different from anything we’ve dealt with before. Competitive intelligence capabilities abound. And yet most or- ganizations ignore these signals, or don’t know how to listen – or even where to look. Organizations should reconsider the many effective ways of building effective digital feedback systems, in order that they can stay on top of fast-changing events, rediscover markets, and define opportunity – which will help them understand how and where they need to innovate.

Let your customers in the building

Don’t just listen to your customers – lead them in through the front door! The vir-tual building, that is. Global connectivity now provides an unprecedented opportunity for interactive design and innovation. Customer-oriented innovation should be your guiding phrase — les customers become intimately involved in the overall design and evolution of your products and services.

Encourage frivolous education

Learning is what most adults will do for a living in the 21st century” – that’s a phrase that neatly captures the reality of the fast pace of change that envelopes us. Yet, how can employees innovate if they are restricted to formal education programs? Why not establish some “playtime” where staff can try out a multitude of new technologies, go shopping in a mall, or surf social networks – and then share what they’ve learned? Set them out onto frivolous activities with a goal in mind – to measure customer service, examine competitive activities, take a look at new products, or simply come up with some cool new ideas. Maybe you’ll get some unique insight that doesn’t come from traditional, boring, staid educational programs!

Promote offbeat time

Don’t stop at sending them to the mall – send them to the beach! Don’t restrict innovation into the organizational structure. Some years back, a mobile device company developed rainbow-colored cell phones, popular with young people, after some executives decided to hang out at the beach one day. It’s by promoting “whacky time” that organizations can come up with great ideas.

Destroy organizational sclerosis

It’s been said before, but needs to be said again – hierarchy is the enemy of inno-vation. Everyone knows that the big challenge in many organizations are silos, uncommunicative departments, and a culture that doesn‘t promote openness. To improve the ability of an organization to innovate, communication barriers need to be broken down.Today, there are countless methods to  destroy “organizational sclerosis,” particularly through frivolous employee communications. Establish informal innovation idea channels, and magic will flow!

Get young.

Throughout the next year, take the time to listen to young people — anyone 10 years younger than yourself, or even more. They’re building the future right now, and you’d do well to understand it. Their future is hyper-active, interactive and multi-tasking – this generation gets bored quickly, and they are beginning to dominate your workplace. They are also becoming your new competitors. Don’t expect them to subscribe to the same old beliefs as to structure and rules, working hours, and corporate culture, or business models. You won’t survive in their future if you don’t take the time to understand what they are doing, talking about, and thinking.

As an optimistic futurist, I’m always looking for the upside — I believe that the only way to move forward is to have an upbeat attitude on what you can do to shape the future in a positive way, rather than the easy way out of denigrating the potential of what comes next. It goes to one of my main points on stage: “Some people see a trend and see a threat. Real innovators see the same trend — and see an opportunity!”

wip-larisa-yurkiw-jan-22-2016-downhill-training-run

Larisa Yurkiw is one of the top 3 downhill ski racers in the world, an accomplished entrepreneur — and the first global athlete to combine these two skills in what has become known around the world as “Team Larisa.”

Which brings me to skiing!

At the age of  age of 39, some years ago, I somehow thought it could be an important cornerstone in my life and that of my family — that of becoming active, healthy and involved. If I was to live through my 40’s and beyond in good health — well, we should embrace winter!

So we took up skiing and my family became a family of skiers and snowboarders. I am so proud! (I could barely get down the baby hill the first few days – but in five short years, found myself skiing the Swiss Alps after I was the closing keynote speaker for the Swiss Innovation Forum.)

Little did I know that just about the same time, at my home ski club — a little bump of a hill in eastern North America known as Georgian Peaks — a young girl who was about 12 years old, was setting her own goals, determined to reach the podiums in her own life.

And did she ever succeed. Earlier this year, Larisa Yurkiw finished her career as one of the top-3 downhill racers in the world, racing with and sharing the podium with the likes of Lindsay Vonn, Julie Mancuso and others, on some of the most challenging courses in Switzerland, Italy and Austria, not to mention the Sochi Olympics. She challenged herself, dreamed big dreams, and established big goals — starting out a small little ski hill in Southern Ontario. During her racing career, she would hit speed of up to 140 miles per hour — and have to turn and balance on an instant.

Larisa

Looking for a unique keynote that focuses on the issue of growth, speed, and innovation? Larisa and I have talked about the idea of combining our story on stage into two powerful, back to back keynote presentations. My focus with organizations has always been that “the future belongs to those who are fast!” Larisa has demonstrated, through her racing career and her determination, that a “relentless focus on speed” is a powerful motivator for success! And on her own, she provides a powerful and compelling keynote: learn more at her site, www.larisaspeaks.com

Yet here’s the thing: Larisa’s story is not only personally motivating, but it also offers everyone fabulous unique business insight, and what happens when one if totally focused on a goal. For her, the racing career was a gruelling but ultimately rewarding trek. One that involved stunning disappointments, injuries and crashes that would  condemn most mere mortals to a life of stagnation — not to mention a national ski association that turned its back on her at a critical time.

With that, she persevered, and won on her own terms. Consider these simple facts, which Larisa now uses on stage in her own keynote presentations:

  • the average downhill racer hits forces of  3-5 G’s in a turn. Bode Miller  has been clocked at 12 G’s in a turn!! That’s more than the 3.5 G’s that astronauts experience in a rocket launch.
  • during her racing career, Larisa had 5 knee surgeries and 5000 hours of rehab — and yet still made it to the Sochi Olympics, and ranked in the top 3 in the world in subsequent World Cup racing season events
  • she raised $750,000 over the last 3 years in her ‘free time’ in order to ski for Canada – because the Canadian ski team felt like distributing the financial support elsewhere, and chose not to support her after a crash just before the 2010 Whistler Olympics. No funding? No problem. She set out to build her own racing team, and raised the funds through crowdfunding and constant, relentless and innovative approaches to potential sponsors

The rest of us would do very well to learn from her example, because it it a story of stunning courage, determination, focus, and passion!

In my own case, I’m honoured to have witnessed this singularly spectacular journey from the sidelines, and am in awe of the opportunity to call her a friend. These days, I’m providing her guidance as she takes on the new and challenging role of sharing her motivational story on stage. Learn more at her Web site, www.larisaspeaks.com

Which brings me to the movie Streiff: One Hell of a Ride.

If you want to discover a great movie, watch this one. It documents the gruelling training, preparation and mastery of the mind that is downhill skiing. If you crave for a movie with depth, this is the one that you want to watch. Do it now!

What struck me about the movie, when I watched it for the first time, was that the training for this most demanding of athletic competitions was beyond intense. The start of the movie focuses on 3 different downhill racing athletes and their approach to preparing for “one hell of a ride”.

To me, it seemed that each had an essentially different approach, that involved a focus on

  • agility: a racer that focused on a lot of exercise that involved the ability to quickly turn, change angles, and shift weight from one foot to another
  • balance : another racer seemed to build his training around the idea of balance and gymnastics
  • strength: one fellow training for the downhill is doing lunges UPHILL with heavy weights. Now that’s strong!

And while watching this, that jumped out to me as a powerful business mindset.

Given fast paced change with markets, customers, technology, business models and competitors, organizations today need to focus more on what they must do to respond. And that implies:

  • they need to have the agility to change quickly — before its too late
  • they must have the ability to balance their action against the reality of current demands — it’s a careful juggling act to keep one foot firmly focused on the future while the other provides a solid foundation for today
  • and they require a lot of core strength — whether it is skills and talent, determination to get ahead, or a leadership team that puts in place a solid foundation for growth

As you take your organization forward into the future, do you have the agility, balance and strength that is required? It’s a good question to ask.

Do you really want to challenge yourself in this regard? Larisa and I have talked about the idea that it would be great to combine our story on stage into two powerful, back to back keynote presentations. My focus with organizations has always been that “the future belongs to those who are fast!” Larisa has demonstrated, through her racing career and her determination, that a “relentless focus on speed” works out at the end of the day — in a pretty powerful way!

We live in interesting times, where an inane political debate makes it seem that with a wave of a magic wand, an entire industry can be transformed overnight.

It won’t happen like that, folks.

It will happen through constant innovation, big bold moves, skill set reinvention and challenging thinking that will – and already is — providing for significant transformation.

I speak at quite a few major manufacturing events. Here’s a clip where I’m in front of 2,000 manufacturing executives and engineers in Chicago a few months ago, speaking to the reality of what is occurring on the ground.

The Globe & Mail in Toronto ran a great article last week, which included some key statistics on the reality of manufacturing in America. Those in the sector should keep these in mind, in light of the stupidity of the political debate, and the reality of the real opportunity:

  • in 1960, 24% of the US labor force was involved in manufacturing, while today, that number is 8% (yes, 5 million jobs have vanished)
  • robotics and intelligent manufacturing technology has replace far more US workers than have Mexican or Chinese faciltiies
  • today US factories produce twice as much stuff as they did in 1984 but with 1/3 fewer workers
  • manufacturing as a % of GDP is virtually unchanged since 1960
  • much of US manufacturing has shifted from the rustbelt states of Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan to Southern states, much of which has involved significant new intelligent facilities

It’s kind of sad and tragic that a sector which has been so busy innovating finds itself in the midst of what really is a dishonest debate.

The key going forward? Manufacturing needs to continue to focus on what it has done so well in the past — innovate, focus on the future, reinvent!

World class innovators *obsess* over speed!
August 9th, 2016, by Jim Carroll

Enough said.

Learn more.

Video: Redefining Innovation
August 8th, 2016, by Jim Carroll

A short, quick clip that will help you to rethink the idea of innovation!

“You have the opportunity to innovate with your business model to do great things!”