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All of us are immersed in a data cloud that envelopes us, where-ever we go and whatever we do. Rapid business model change, hyper-innovation, instant obsolesence: these are the new rules by which we must innovate.

The world's leading media and technology companies have engaged Jim as a keynote speaker for an internal or client-oriented event or meeting, including • Consumer Electronic Association CEO Summit • Transcontinental Media • British Broadcasting Corporation • CBC • CBS Radio / Infinity Broadcasting • Walt Disney Corporation • Pearson plc • Microsoft • Accpac • Ameritech • Fiber to the Home Council • Hewlett Packard • IBM • Ingram Micro • Electronics Representatives Association • Motorola • Oracle • SAP • Society of Information Management • Society of Cable Telecom Engineers • Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company • Toshiba Australia • Verizon Broadband Solutions • Verizon Wireless • Ameritech • Women in Cable & Telecommunications • Telecom Risk Management Association • National Rural Telephone Cooperative • Nortel • Texas Rural Telephone Cooperative • Utility Telecom Providers Association • Building Industry Consulting Service International (BICSI)


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!

For years, I’ve spoken throughout my client base as a keynote speaker as to how the essence of global research and development is changing.This includes keynote presentations to some of the world’s leading educational associations and corporations; industry and professional conference associations; and even two events for NASA, with a number of astronauts, astrophysicists and other deep thinkers in the room!

WCGatineau

Watch a true piece of art – this time-lapse video by my 22 year old son, using a ‘time-lapse slider’ running on a Raspberry Pi, that he built by drawing upon ‘the global colloborative mind.’

My emphasis has always been that the Internet has led us to a new world of ‘crowd-thinking’ in which anyone can look at any idea, and figure out how to pursue the idea, and develop a new skill, capability, form of insight or simply a new “thing.” The foundation for crowdthinking includes crowdfunding initiatives; vast knowledge and information archives; the sharing economy, global collaborative communities and other fascinating developments. It’s a trend that is shaking up R&D efforts worldwide, because it accelerates knowledge. Ultimately, crowd-thinking is leading to some very significant change in every industry. More on that later….

No trend is complete without it ‘hitting home’ in a personal way. That’s why you need to watch this this fabulous time-lapse video, which my 22 year old son Willie Carroll painstakingly filmed, edited and pulled together over a period of over a month. Watch it here, or view his blog post about the project WcFotography.

It’s a ‘time-lapse’ video — in which Willie’s 35mm camera takes a picture using a time-lapse slider ‘machine’ that he built. The slider makes the camera moves a fraction of an inch, then waits, and then takes another picture. Repeat, several times over an hour. Stitch together multiple photos into video clips; link those together, layer on some fabulous music, and you’ve got a true piece of art. Willie built the hardware and figured out the software, by tapping into the global creative mind. You can get a basic sense of how it works below. When he first got it working — which, even though I was away at a keynote — was a truly inspiring and fabulous moment!


As an avid part-time professional photographer (see WcFotography.com) involved in corporate, wedding and other photographic shoots, Willie is always eager to push his skills to the limit.

Willie spotted the idea for a time-lapse slider when it was floated as  a KickStarter project — but at $1,000, it was a bit out of his range. He decided that he could build one on his own; he researched the project and found both the hardware and software solutions online. Through a sometimes excruciating process through the summer, he saw the project through to success. The slider was built using a Raspberry Pi computer; rails, a motor and timing belt that he sourced through eBay; and software that was developed by a fellow named David Hunt in Ireland, who ultimately provided Willie with the inspiration for his project.

Once it was finished, Willie took the rig back to university, and on weekends and during time off, visited his beloved Gatineau Park to capture a wide variety of fabulous photographic-video sequences.

As a dad, I couldn’t be prouder.

I’d encourage you to share the video — it’s posted above on Vimeo. I’d also encourage you to check out his  photography Web site. If you’re based in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, you might consider engaging him for your next photography project!

Learn more over at http://www.wcfotography.com.

1654978_10152997805681039_4147622231242512386_oI had the honor last week of being the opening keynote speaker for the Sporting & Fitness Industry Association Leadership Summit, held in New Orleans. In attendance were CEO’s of several major sporting/fitness companies, as well as retailers in the industry; overall, about 200 very senior level executives representing a vast cross section of a major US industry.

My keynote focused on 5 key themes:

  • The BIG MISS : how companies miss out on market and business model transformation, particularly when fast moving digital technologies completely change customer interaction and the very concept of a ‘product,’ as well as the rapid emergence of new competitors
  • Interaction : embedded technology changes everything!
  • Acceleration: the result is that the pace of innovation in the sporting and fitness industry is rapidly shifting to the speed of innovation of Silicon Valley
  • Reinvention: this results in a need to continually reinvent new products, new sources of revenue, and to generation “chameleon revenue” where revenue has not previously existed
  • Generations: 10 to 15 years out, in changes in even more major ways ; at some point in our lifetime, we’ll see the last kid ever use a baseball bat that doesn’t have some sort of computer chip embedded in it

Much of what I had to cover was the massive impact that digital technologies are having on all apsects of the sports and fitness industries. It ties into an observation by one analyst that “in the next 10 years, it is estimated that 40% of the S&P 500 will no longer exist if these companies fail to keep up with these technology trends.”

I reached out to Derek Sprague, the President of the PGA of America, prior to my talk, for his thoughts on how the game of golf has been transformed by digital technologies in just the last 5 years. He had two brilliant observations:

  • “In the last five years, video software, launch monitors and game tracking devices (like Game Golf) have brought the technology tools of elite professional players to the masses. Understanding how to integrate volumes of performance data into traditional teaching methods has become “commonplace for PGA Professionals.”
  • “Not only that, but yield management and mobile-oriented buying platforms aren’t just for hotels and airlines anymore.  As consumer expectations for technology driven experiences increase exponentially, answering the phone and handwriting tee times onto a paper tee sheet are no longer the norms. ”

It was a great talk with great feedback, with one tweet noting, “@jimcarroll: One of the most fascinating conference speakers I’ve ever heard. #sfialeads”

 

 

I was thrilled to have been invited to address the 2015 Graduating Class at the University of North Carolina School of Government -CGCIO program in Chapel Hill the other day!

IMG_7102It was part of a full day program which led to their graduation ceremony; I was invited in to challenge them to think of the opportunities and challenges they face as they go forward into the future at the start of their day.

Attendees were from a broad spectrum of local and municipal governments, as well as school boards and legal bodies; particularly responsible for information technology and infrastructure.  I’ve previously spoken to many such groups, including a keynote for 3,000 folks at the annual Government Finance Officers Association annual conference in Austin, Texas; 2,000 mayors and civic officials for the Texas Municipal League annual conference in Dallas, Texas; and 500 at the Utah League of Cities and Towns annual event in Salt Lake City (among many other events.)

Certainly the challenge for government today is pretty big;I opened with this quote:

“Increasingly, citizens are demanding that governments provide the same level personalized service that they receive from business organizations.” International Innovations in Public Sector External Service Delivery, 
Brock University, March 2010″

That certainly became evident with the rollout of the Web site for the Health Care Reform Act (aka “Obamacare”); with a failed implementation, it became clear that the expectations of society are that any government should provide the same degree of online service as Amazon, FedEx or others. I spoke of what people expect in terms of online interaction today, using the example of pension benefits:

  • extreme personalization
  • extreme simplification
  • complete interaction history
  • pro-active delivery by new platforms (i.e. instant text messages when pension plan changes occur)
  • Web interaction > call center (i.e. chat / video / Skype/ Google Hangout?)
  • and mobile!

Yet the problem for many government organizations is that they have to try to provide this service within the reality of the existence of a creaky, lumbering, complex back-end information technology platform. I use a simple picture to illustrate the problem (which brought down the house with laughter; they know all too well that the problem is very, very real.)

YourApp

But then I continued : that’s not the biggest challenge; it’s the fact that they very definition of technology and infrastructure — their area of responsibility — will be subject to rapid change.

My intent was to put into perspective that as CIO’s for government organizations, they had better be ready to assume responsibility for a lot more than just citizen facing service systems and other existing infrastructure. It’s the new, rapidly evolving technology and trends which will see them becoming responsible for even more technology — and it could all happen pretty quickly.

There were several themes:

  • Big, disruptive ideas: we all know big change is happening in every industry. How quickly will we see online voting; text message based democracy, and other new forms of technology based citizen democracy? I wrote about this in my “25 Trends for 2025” document — take a look at the trend, “Poll-democracy takes flight“, in which I suggest that “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.” It’s not a question of if it will happen; it’s a question of when it will happen.
  • Infrastructure of 2025: it’s emerging now, and its happening fast. In cities and towns, we’ll see  local business and citizen groups using mobile energy shared insight apps to actively monitor and manage local lighting usage; global community vs. community challenges become common as gaming generation comes to manage their ‘personal energy infrastructure usage’ ; deep analysis capabilities move cities to prognostic maintenance of traffic, electrical, lighting, wastewater and water infrastructure systems. Wow!
  • Moore’s Law everywhere: Of course, the Internet of Things. Opportunities involving the virtualization of health care; seniors community care networks that allow seniors to live in their homes instead of seniors care facilities, supported through vast, interconnected medical devices ; intelligent LED networked streetlights with proximity sensors that indicate open parking spots; payment technology embedded into cars that will link and pay through smart meters.
  • Grand challenges: there are big challenges with civic infrastructure today. 16% of the water supply in the US is lost due to leaky pipes, and goes back in the ground!Put it another way: utilities lose enough water every six days to supply the nation for a day! Only 7% of the communities in the US recycle wastewater. Compare that to Israel: more than 80% of household wastewater is recycled, 1/2 going to irrigation. Of course, someone will solve this challenge with technology — perhaps this company. “Nexus eWater, maker of the world’s first home water and energy recycler, today announced that it is the first company ever to receive certification to the NSF/ANSI 350 global standard for residential grey water treatment for its ‘NEXtreater’ home water recycler. (Nexus eWater is World’s First Company to 
Obtain Certification for Residential Grey Water Treatment 13 March 2015, Business Wire). Their goals? reducing city water into the home by up to 40%; reducing sewage from the home by 70%; reducing water heating energy by 75% ; reducing home energy use by 15-25%; generating total savings of up to $50-$200 per month per home for water, sewer and electric bills. Oh, and harvesting rainwater. Pretty bold goals, but that’s the type of world we live in today
  • The next generation: My sons are now 21 and 20. I pointed out that they have never known a world without the Internet, and have never known a world for the last decade without some type of mobile device. They simply will not expect to deal with a government that is not prepared to service them quickly, efficiently and effectively through mobile.

It was a fun talk; and certainly inspired a lot of thinking, with a solid 1/2 hour of Q&A.

I’m extremely impressed by the level of insight provided by a program such as that at UNC. We should do more to encourage innovators in government to take on and assume more responsibility for some of the grandest opportunities of our time!

Sometime in the next few years, someone is going to arrive at a golf course, and have their entire round filmed by a drone up in the air overhead. It will follow them around via a GPS link ; their fellow players might be annoyed at first, but with the ultra silent motor, they’ll soon barely notice.

A drone flies over Pebble Beach, providing some unique views of one of the world's most famous golf courses.

A drone flies over Pebble Beach, providing some unique views of one of the world’s most famous golf courses.Sometime in the next few years, someone is going to arrive at a golf course, and have their entire round filmed by a drone up in the air overhead.Sometime in the next few years, someone is going to arrive at a golf course, and have their entire round filmed by a drone up in the air overhead.

Later, that someone will edit the highlights of their round to share it with friends; they might sent it to the their PGA Pro to help analyze it for training purposes; or they put it some other unimaginable use.

Right now, drone technology is where the Internet was in about 1993, and in the next 5-10 years we are going to see explosive growth in both the number of drones as well the sophistication of the feature set they support.

I was thinking about this while out for my latest golf round yesterday; I’m pretty wired up already, and maybe I just need a drone to complete my wired golf-self.

And I’m thinking about it, because I’m scheduled to keynote the 2015 Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) conference in New Orleans in September; I’ll focus on the future of interactive sport. It’s a pretty big organization: “The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports and fitness product industry. SFIA’s membership represents 500+ premier brands who account for more than $150 billion in annual sales.”

I’ve got my GPS watch to help plan the accuracy of my shots, and for the last several weeks, have been wired up with the GameGolf GPS tracking system. It monitors every swing, and at the end of the day, builds me an interactive map of my round with all kinds of useful insight on my performance. I joked to my playing partner: “It provides me with really good insight on how bad I am. But wait until I have a drone helicopter over my head, filming my round!” (More on the GameGolf technology below — it’s fabulous!)

Like every sport, golf is bound up in a rich tradition and history. The idea that drones might become part of the game will make some go apoplectic; as did the arrival of golf carts in the 1960’s, and of GPS shot tracking technology in the 1990’s!

I addressed this thinking, and the future of interactive sport, when I was the opening keynote speaker for the 2010 PGA of America annual meeting. Here’s a clip — think baseball bats with embedded chips! And in the video, I seemed to correctly predict the arrival of the GameGolf type of technology!

All sports are entering and new and complex future. Webcams, Internet connectivity, motion, GPS and all kinds of other sensor technology are being embedded into equipment now, and there is only more yet to come. This will come to challenge and redefine every sport, but is probably critical to attracting the next generation of kids to a sport — you, the ones that have never known a world without an iPad.

Consider the GameGolf technology. It’s both fun and useful. Here’s the detail on my performance on the first hole (a double bogey…..).

FirstHole

I can review my entire game, post-round, and learn from what I did wrong, and what I did right. The system works with a small sensor inserted into the end of each club; before each swing, I tap the club to a GPS device on my belt. From that, magical information is uploaded later at the end of the day.

Over time, the system is building up some remarkable statistical insight for me. For example, here’s my performance for shots into the green from within 100 yards. I never realized that almost 1/3 of my shots were short; I’ve started to ‘club-up’ and am getting better performance already!

GreenapproachNext! A drone that will film me from up above; I’ll then be able to examine my swing and see what I might or might not be doing wrong.

A foolish concept? Golf carts were considered a horrific attack on the game when they first appeared.

So what will the world of golf do when it sees the arrival of the drones?

It’s going to happen, sooner than people think!

 

I’m thrilled that I’ve again been cover in CG&T Magazine’s annual outlookCGT2015.  This marks 4 years in a row!

This year my comments are short and sweet – I continue to believe that accelerating change with retail models, products, technology, mobile and just about everything else makes it difficult for organizations to ensure that their capabilities are aligned to their strategies.

Here’s what I wroe for this years piece:


Going into 2015 and beyond, the biggest issue for CG executives will be to think about how they have big holes that they need to fix — and fast.

The challenge is that with this tsunami of change, many companies still aren’t capable of coping, and so many mismatches become painfully clear:

  • Strategy mismatch: Are you still trying to solve the social media challenges from 2013, while in 2015 it has shifted mobile?
  • Skills mismatch: What’s your bench strength with all the new technologies flooding the space?
  • Cultural mismatch: Are you equipped for speed? Everyone is talking about being agile and lean — but do you find that even with those strategies you are still falling behind?
  • Worse yet, your technology mismatch is probably becoming bigger than ever. How are you going to fix these holes?

Here are some key secrets of success in an era of high-velocity change: an accelerated innovation cycle, fuelled by the rapid ingestion of new technologies/methodologies. Work on your internal pipelines to gain a faster time to market, and know how to rapidly re-focus resources for opportunity or threat. All that needs to be done in a time in which volatility is the new normal. A pretty tall order, but it will help you close the mismatches that likely exist.

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.

A week ago, I had the pleasure to open the FutureVision, “an invitation-only event designed for the industry’s retail leaders, is an exclusive relationship-building event packed with industry insights.” I shared the stage with some pretty impressive visionaries!

Screen Shot 2014-10-09 at 9.16.50 AM

It’s a small, intimate 50 CEO level event held in Sonoma County, California, with the focus being “the key trends coming over the next three years for retailers. This exclusive format allows retailers to listen and connect with industry visionaries and elite manufacturers — through exceptional networking, business meetings and strategic information sharing sessions. These featured speakers will address critical shifts that will impact your business over the coming years”

Here’s an excerpt from Technology Integrator Magazine on Day 1.


 

The inaugural FutureVision Conference’s first day in Sonoma Tuesday was a forum for three visionaries – futurist Jim Carroll , ShopRunner CEO and former Yahoo and PayPal executive Scott Thompson , and Twitter co-founder Biz Stone – to present their views of how technology has shaped and will continue to shape the retail industry, the consumer and the content that is delivered to that consumer. Some of the comments were colored by anecdotes from the speakers’ personal experiences.

Carroll spoke about consumer technology’s “furious rate of change.” He cited statistics to the effect that 65 percent of preschool children today will work in a career that does not exist today, and that half of what they learn in science will be obsolete by the time they graduate. These realities pose a challenge to CE product-production and marketing cycles as never before, he said. “Sixty percent of Apple’s revenue comes from products that didn’t exist four years ago,” he said, to drive home the point. Crucial to survival in this new normal, he said, is flexibility, and the ability to react to fast-paced change – to the “fast future,” as he phrased it.

Furthermore, he said, “the consumer is increasingly in control. The control of the speed of innovation is shifting from individual industries to technology companies. You need to turn those trends into opportunities and redefine the future.”

Three trends he identified were:

  • the rapid emergence of new business models and new competitors (warning listeners to be careful that what happened in the livery cab industry doesn’t happen to them: “don’t be Uber’ed”);
  • fast-changing media-consumption trends where consumers can get whatever they want, wherever they want, whenever they want;
  • and the shaping of innovation, which is increasingly occurring on the fringes rather than from established sources (“R&D is being changed by crowd-funding”).

He warned against clinging to routine, paraphrasing Steve Jobs, who never worried about cannibalizing his own business because “if you don’t do it, someone else will.”

He told the audience, “Think big, start small, scale fast. What to do? Observe, think, change, dare, banish (as in banish innovating-killing statements like, ‘That’ll never work’ – which create ‘organizational sclerosis’), try, question, grow, do – and enjoy.”

You can find the full article here.

GE is running an article, A Fresh Perspective from Many Minds, that explores the impact of crowdfunding on the world of R&D. I’ve long been pointing out that such efforts are accelerating R&D in countless industries, and in many cases, are challenging incumbent ‘owners of the industry.’

Greenbox

Carroll says that interest in crowdsourcing is spreading, thanks to the inherent desire of small independent firms to make a big hit. “They can get a prototype out in about a month. Big companies can’t do that. If you’re a small startup competing for ideas you can do it and get it to market a lot faster.”

For example, I recently spent time with a company in the lawn irrigation business. It’s been a pretty simple industry: some sprinkler heads, pipes, control systems. But now, what is coming to the industry — hyper connectivity, individually accessible sprinkler heads that are linked to an ethernet network. Not just that, but sophisticated control panels from iPads that provide for individually controllable water application, and sensors that feed moisture and other soil data on a square meter by square meter basis.

A good part of this innovation is occurring out on KIckstarter; there are dozens of examples, but perhaps the best is the Greenbox project, which goes with the tagline, “Your Garden, Connected.”

What this is leading to is an acceleration of change and innovation in many industries, and startups challenging incumbents in new and different ways. It continues to lead us to the future in which the future belongs to those who are fast!

GE Survey: Canadian companies are turning to crowdsourcing to solve R&D challenges

” Essentially, crowdsourcing is distributed problem-solving. It is also called “open innovation” for its collaborative approach to finding new solutions to technical challenges. Canadian futurist, trendspotter and innovation expert Jim Carroll says: “It’s changing the classical approach to research and development. A lot of R&D is being done through crowdsourcing. I call it innovation occurring on the edges.”

—-

Carroll says that interest in crowdsourcing is spreading, thanks to the inherent desire of small independent firms to make a big hit. “They can get a prototype out in about a month. Big companies can’t do that. If you’re a small startup competing for ideas you can do it and get it to market a lot faster.”

—-

Then there’s the issue of compensation and ownership of crowdsourced innovations. Large corporations may pay little more than a few thousand dollars for a bright idea that may make them far more money. This risks alienating the crowdsourcing ecosphere. However, leveraging the resources and ability to scale of a large organization may be worth the risks for some. Carroll says that the phenomenon will “play out in different ways. People will come to realize the currency of their ideas.” Conversely, he says, a lot of promising ideas touted by crowdsource participants may not deliver on time or on spec. “It’s very hard work to get the bloody thing built and tested, and that’s a risk with crowdsourcing.”

The economics of crowdsourcing is only one aspect, however, and the compelling attraction of a thousand independent minds finding ways to solve your innovation challenge is undeniable. A fresh perspective is always welcome.

You can read the full article here.