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“Previously unthinkable advancements such as the 3-D printing of personalized knee replacements are happening now”

A report on my keynote for the 2016 Benefits Pro conference in Fort Lauderdale earlier this week.

Health care: The Future is Now
BenefitsPro, April 2016
BY SHAWN MOYNIHAN

When listening to futurist Jim Carroll speak, one thing becomes apparent quickly: The future belongs to those who are fast.

Onstage Monday delivering the keynote at the Benefits Selling Expo inside Great Hall 3, Carroll delivered a rapid-fire, deeply insightful “fast future” presentation on where the future of health care and benefits is headed. And to hear him tell it, it is bright for those who would embrace the impact of mobile technology and how the Internet of Things (IOT) will reshape the entire process of health care a lot sooner than later.

For starters, Carroll explained, 10 years from now, health care will look nothing like it does today. A fundamental transformation, he explained, is on its way, and in many cases, already happening. Genetic testing and DNA sequencing will forever alter the manner in which illness is forecasted, diagnosed and treated: in advance of the condition arising rather than after the fact, the way medical professionals do now.

Years ago, he said, having a hand-held device that monitors vital signs, takes your blood pressure, and reads your EKG was the stuff of science fiction. Today, it is a reality, courtesy of the Scanadu Scout (a tool now being tested by more than 7,000 people in more than 70 countries), and that tech will only become less expensive as time goes on. It’s not farfetched, Carroll added, to imagine a day when you can walk into Best Buy and purchase an inexpensive device that does all these things and more, including diagnosing future ailments.

With the advent of technologies that monitor health signs via wearable devices and mobile devices connected to the Internet, only those patients requiring critical care will also change the way hospitals operate — which is advantageous, considering the number of baby boomers who will comprise so much of the U.S. population in the coming decades.

What does all this mean? Massive opportunity, for those who would think forward and recognize how the IoT will shape the world of pharmaceuticals and benefits. The World Economic Forum posits that the global economic impact of the five leading chronic diseases — cancer, diabetes, mental illness, heart disease, and respiratory disease — could reach $47 trillion over the next 20 years.

What if technology could allow medical science to get out in front of that, so that those costs could be slashed?

Carroll said such a world is not as far off as it would seem. Such revolutionary developments in health care virtualization will be driven by big goals and big thinking, said Carroll. Onscreen, he showed the frightening statistics on obesity levels in the U.S. over the past few decades over a map of all 50 states, staggering numbers that illustrate one of the great health challenges of the modern age. However, that’s not even the biggest worry looking forward.

“Alzheimer’s disease and dementia will be the great challenge of our time,” said Carroll, noting that his mother-in-law had suffered and died from the condition (Jim: it was my father in law...), the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S. Going forward, however, developments in science will allow for earlier detection and better treatment options.

Luckily, medical knowledge, Carroll said, is doubling every eight years. Previously unthinkable advancements such as the 3-D printing of personalized knee replacements are happening now; the growth of replacement organs is something that will be available to medical professionals within years, not decades. Ingestible technology will be able to show us how we’re responding to medications, by offering diagnostics on how our bodies are reacting to treatment.

The greatest challenge faced by health care CEOs, Carroll said, includes the need to focus on a direct relationship with the customer — which will require wholesale re-engineering of member plans — and rapid deployment of mobile products to meet customer expectations. People will become far more engaged with matters of their own health, as they are empowered with technology that’s connected to their mobile device.

Carroll acknowledged what he called the “organizational sclerosis” that hampers big ideas and innovative thinking, but offered this piece of advice for those whose ideas may alter the health care landscape: “Think big, start small, and scale fast.”

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I was pleasantly surprised by how many kids knew all about Spock! Read on to find out why I spoke to a bunch of 10 year olds about a television show from the 60’s….

So I golf with this guy at our Club.

He’s a grade 5 teacher, and this has led to some fascinating discussions about the next generation.

At one point, he asked me to come in and speak to his class.

I initially demurred; while I spend a great deal of time speaking at massive association conferences and private corporate events, I’m not really quite sure whether my message on future trends would resonate with a bunch of 10 year olds.

Boy, was I wrong!

This week I went in and spoke to 40+ Grade 5 kids. What an exhilarating experience!

I come away from speaking to this group with an appreciation and respect for the world view that this generation has.

What topics did I cover? They didn’t know what a futurist was until their teacher explained it to them — and they were apparently quite excited to hear from someone who earns a living writing, speaking and thinking about future trends.

I built a little talk that focused on some big trends that they might find impacting their lives in the future — and also an overview of some of the unique jobs and careers that they would see in their lifetime.

I did seek some input from folks on Facebook — after all, this isn’t my normal type of audience — as to what I could talk about. One fellow suggested that I should talk about ‘boogers.’ Sure. Not.

Boogers

Wow, there was a lot of excitement when I arrived …. ! Folks, I wasn’t in Kansas anymore!

Audience

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Of course, my plan was I wasn’t simply going to stand in front of them, and speak about things — I wanted to get them engaged and involved, through discussion, and, of course, text message polling!

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Um, isn’t technology a really powerful tool for learning? Why do we ban it?

The class was prepped in advance by teacher that they would be allowed to bring their phones, laptops and other mobile devices into class. That apparently had them extremely excited, and when I I was in the room, the excitement was palpable.

I started out by observing that currently, many school rules forbid  the use of cell phones in class. So, I asked them right off the bat to take out their cell phones and other devices, so that we could poll the room as to whether they should be allowed to use them.

The opinion, which came in live within seconds, was about as expected. (I gave them a fun third option — most of the class knows that the teacher is an avid golfer!)

CellphonesInClass

(Oh, and for the record, I did manage to talk about boogers, by showing my Facebook post where someone suggested I should talk about boogers!

I open many of my talks with a series of observations about the Jetson’s and Star Trek – and how predictions about the future from these TV shows are now becoming a part of our lives much earlier than expected. Here’s a clip where I cover this on stage — in this case, for the Sports & Fitness Industry Association in New Orleans, where I addressed several hundred CEO’s of major sporting goods manufacturers. My key point? We live in the era of the accelerating future.

What was cool was that many of the kids knew about the Jetsons and Spock — I would have expected the numbers to be lower…..

From there, I covered a number of other things, but really zoned in on two key slides: 10 trends that would impact their future, and 10 “really cool future jobs.”
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10 trends? I spoke about autonomous vehicles, smart homes, intelligent eyewear, hyperconnected sports equipment, programmable weather, vertical farms, aging populations/longevity, connected agriculture, an immersive world, and smart medicine. There was quite a bit of discussion – and laughter – as they asked questions or provided their own insight on these trends.

Some of this directly related to their curriculum — which I addressed in another slide:

Curriculum

I was fascinated to learn that their teacher had showed them my “Could the Energy Industry Be Mp3’d” video. This video, arranged for by the CEO of the massive energy utility PG&E out of San Francisco, has me exploring the opportunities and challenges that are emerging with micro-grid energy technology, alternative power sources, and mobile device control of our own personal energy infrastructure. They were really into this topic, and I was really quite thrilled with the fact that they really understood the potential of what is emerging in this space.

I asked them — with all of these trends — did they think about what they wanted to be when they grew up. The answer was pretty interesting!

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I then took a look at some future jobs and careers — but only observing for them that there would be a lot of fascinating future career options. The future isn’t just about doctor, nurses, firemen and office professionals — it involves a lot of really funky new career. Like agricultural drone pilots, healthcare robots mangers, outer space tour guides (which ratcheted up the energy levels in the classroom quite a bit!), water architects, 3D printer clothing designers, computer hacker anti-hackers (which again, provoked a bit of discussion), remote sports performance analytic, smart highway traffic managers, and smart packaging advertising managers!

Cool future jobs

I closed with some advice on the attitudes and ideas that should carry them forward into the future — and that they really can control their future if they excel in class and in their learning ability. With one big piece of advice:


Do Homework

And at the end! They presented me with a thank you poster — and another very nice surprise!

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I think the kids learned quite a bit — how to think about the future, why its important to think about what comes next, and why they should focus on learning how to continually learn.

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“One day, the kids in Grade 5 today will be the leaders of tomorrow. As a futurist, I come away with a deep respect for their insight and knowledge.”

I would do the teacher/golf buddy a disservice if I didn’t come away with a summary of my own learnings from this adventurous sessions, so here’s what I know:

  • I have a tremendous respect for how in tune this group was with the future — for example, their discussion around alternative energy sources and micrograms show that they really get that we live in an era of unprecedented opportunity
  • there was a very real realization in the classroom that technology is going to drive forward much of this opportunity
  • they were really excited about using PollEverywhere in the classroom, which allowed for some instant insight and feedback on the issues we were covering. I am still a big believer that tech can play a big role in the classroom
  • on the other hand, they can easily be distracted by tech. The teacher set a rule that when they weren’t participating in the poll, they had to place their mobile device on the floor, screen down, and not being used. Two kids lost their device during the session for disrespecting this rule! I can only imagine if I could have an audience of 7,000 in Las Vegas respect the same rule — as a speaker, on stage, you see countless numbers of people on their devices

One day, the kids in Grade 5 today will be the leaders of tomorrow. As a futurist, I come away with a deep respect for their insight and knowledge.

I also come away with even more respect for my golfing buddy, the teacher of this energized group of 10 year olds. If he has taken his class into the world of science and tech with the topic areas these kids were talking about, then he is doing a remarkable job to shape the future for all us. Now that’s a real futurist!

Thank you for the opportunity, Mr. Bates! See you on the golf course!

 

 

DowChemicalI was recently interviewed by IN Magazine, the global publication of Dow’s Packaging Division, for why thoughts on trends that will impact the packaging industry, and hence, throughout the consumer and packaged goods sector.

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Four trends driving change towards 2025 are…….

  • Impact of technology, especially digital
  • The next workforce generation has a fundamentally different outlook
  • Growth potential across many markets thanks to economic volatility
  • Quicker prototyping, designing and testing to reduce time to market

THE WORLD IS CHANGING AT A RAPID PACE, BRINGING UNCERTAINTY AS WELL AS UNTAPPED OPPORTUNITIES ACROSS ALL SECTORS AND GEOGRAPHIES. IN THIS ARTICLE, IN SPEAKS TO RENOWNED GLOBAL FUTURIST JIM CARROLL ABOUT THE TRENDS SHAPING THE WORLD, AND SPECIFICALLY THE PACKAGING INDUSTRY OF TOMORROW. WHAT WILL THE WORLD LOOK LIKE IN 2025?

10 years is a long time with the potential for many changes – how do you see the current “norm” changing over time?

We are witnessing massive transformations across every single market, industry and profession. The rate of change is accelerating dramatically compared to past decades, a trend we expect to
see continue.

The impact of technology and the acceleration of science are having a huge impact on this. In addition, our collaborative global community is enabling ever-faster discovery and implementation of new ideas. The power of the next generation shouldn’t be underestimated – as a generation they are highly skilled at seeing and implementing new ways of doing things – in addition to the emergence of new industry competitors.

One of the biggest drivers impacting many industries will come from a shift in control, with Silicon Valley driving the pace of change and innovation more than ever. Industry now has no choice but to act and innovate at the same speed to stay ahead of the game.

Consequently, tomorrow’s world is going to be an entirely di erent place. In fact, I think it’s fair to say, it will be completely transformed. We’re on the edge of absolutely massive change!

Below, Carroll outlines what he sees as top trends.

Africa will have ceased to be a rural continent 

By 2025, the majority of the world’s population will live in less than 30 mega-cities demonstrating a continued trend towards global urbanization, driven in part by greater economic security and an ever increasing global middle class.

There are great opportunities for the development of business involving “mega-city infrastructure support services”, for example – transport, water, and energy “micro-grids”. As you can imagine, the support system for a city of 20-40 million people is vastly di erent to that of a small city.

It’s great to see so many innovators out there already looking for viable solutions, for example, how do we generate energy for such cities? We can see technology emerging to facilitate this switch, just two examples being glass buildings generating solar energy and vertical farming – if we can build skyscrapers for people why can’t we do this for our food supply?

Much of the world will have “gone up”

Because of mass urbanization we are running out of space leaving two solutions: dig down or build up. Towering buildings incorporating innovations in construction will be one of the business growth stories in the years leading up to 2025.

Many pioneering thinkers are now looking at how we can best use the limited space we have left. For example, we are now able to build structures out of wood that are eight to 10 stories high because of our deeper understanding of science, methodologies and architecture. This is providing urban areas with lots of new potential. This innovative “skyscraper” technology is going to be a big trend leading into 2025, with new jobs emerging as a result (for example, vertical farming infrastructure managers).

A dichotomy of life-expectancy will be the new normal

Rapid advancements in medical science in the western hemisphere, the impact of lifestyle changes, and a new “super-health” diet will lead to the first human living to 140. Yet, at the same time, society could be grappling with a decline in life expectancy in Asia, Africa and the Middle East as sectors of the population develop the same lifestyle diseases as North America and Europe.

We are going to see big changes in the pharmaceutical industry, both in packaging and the product. Accessible and intelligent packaging – with packaging becoming part of the product – will see a big tech-up. In theory, a pill will have the power to transmit information from the body
to the package and to the doctor. Tiny bio-sensors will be embedded in all kinds of packaging. Packaging will also help verify counterfeits and we will be increasingly able to track our wellness through mobile devices and bio- connected medical devices, including small chips under the skin that feed critical data back.

Sub-Saharan Africa will have emerged as the world’s new China 

This area holds a wealth of opportunities, for example, in infrastructure development. We have seen this happen previously in the BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China) as they transitioned into middle class. Consequently, it now costs substantially more to produce goods in these countries compared to 10-20 years ago and companies are starting to explore where the next big business opportunities exist. Naturally they are being drawn to these new regions which have huge unlocked potential – not forgetting, we will see almost a billion new consumers entering the global market in the next decade!

We are also seeing an increase of “in-sourcing” with companies taking production and bringing it back locally as it is no longer cost effective to manufacture overseas.

Read the full PDF here, including insight on packaging issues.

 

I just wrote an article for the PGA of Canada, around the issue of new technologies coming into the game. Enjoy! You can access the full PDF of the article As a PGA Pro, What Are You Going to Do with Drones?

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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.

Or will they? Might drone technology present your golf club with the ultimate breach of golf etiquette?

The idea is not far-fetched at all – just visit the Web site for the Lily Camera (http://lily.camera), which ships in just a few months. Turn it on, start your round, and it will follow and film your round!

There are a few questions that come with this fast- paced technology:

What will your club policy be? Will you ban drones or welcome them? Might they be a fascinating tool to help grow interest in the game, which all of us know is a critical imperative? Not only that – might they prove to be an invaluable teaching tool at the same time that they emerge as a critical annoyance?

As a PGA Professional, you should be thinking about these issues. Right now, drone technology is where the Internet was in about 1993, and in the next 1-2 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 in Florida a month ago; I’m pretty wired up already, and maybe I just need a drone to complete my wired golf-self.

I’ve got my GPS watch to help plan the accuracy of my shots, and I’m a very active user of 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.” Not only that, but the golf cart I was driving had the latest in on-board GPS tech, providing me even more information on the course and hole layout.

That’s 3 GPS devices. What’s to prevent the addition of a 4th, in the form of a self- flying drone?

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, as did the arrival of GPS shot tracking technology in the 1990’s!

Think about what happens when a golfer utilizes a drone to lm their round. We’re in the era of social networking and it’s not far-fetched to think that someone will will edit the video highlights of their round to share it with friends; they might even send it to the their PGA Professional to help analyze it for training purposes; or they put it some other unimaginable use.

Which leads us to another question: could it be an invaluable teaching aid? Imagine working with an aspiring golfer on the range, trying to x their slice. Moving beyond filming the swing with your iPad or iPhone, you might now be able to lm the student from above and provide them even more insight into their swing patterns, and help them really visualize the nature of a slice. Could it be a good thing, or something rather ridiculous?

I’m sure I don’t know – all I know is that drone technology is going to invade the game of golf faster than we might imagine. Already in Japan, there is a course that is using drones to deliver snacks, drinks and golf balls to players on a course!

What’s your club policy on drone usage — do you have one? Have you even though about this as an issue? And what will you do as a PGA Professional to incorporate this fascinating new technology into your instruction methods?

FOOD FOR THOUGHT!

Jim Carroll is a leading international futurist, speaking at dozens of conferences worldwide. Most recently, he was invited by the PGA of America to keynote the 2016 PGA Merchandise Show in in Orlando, where he spoke on the challenge and opportunities that new technology presents to the game. He’s a high-handicapper with good intentions, and is an active member at Credit Valley Golf & Country Club in Mississauga.

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More food for thought! Here I am at the 2016 PGA Merchandise Show, speaking about the issue!

Back in 2003, or maybe it was 2005 …. I was invited by DaimlerChrysler — then the merged entity of Chrysler and Mercedes Benz, a merger which would eventually fail — to participate in a strategic planning session that would look at the future of the auto industry.

And so I travelled to Mercedes HQ in Stuttgart, Germany for a two day session. I came away with the feeling that this was an industry that just didn’t “get it.” I still don’t think they do.

The goal of the meeting was to define what the industry would look like in 2013 … 10 years on. I was the outsider, the futurist, with the job of challenging their notions as to how the future might unfold. It was a small, intimate meeting — 20 very serious auto engineers and marketing types, and me.

At that meeting, I predicted, with some uncanny accuracy, today’s Tesla Model 3 announcement.

At that meeting, I suggested that Google might become a car company. Of course, at the time, these auto engineers laughed at me. What a foolish futurist! The thing is — I had my story right in 2003. I just thought it would be Google, and never thought it would be a new company like Tesla.

Think about what is unfolding today: Google, Tesla, Apple — what’s the difference? — my point back in 2003 was that in the future, Silicon Valley would come to define the pace of innovation, structure, manufacturing, and indeed, the concept of how to bring a car to market.

If you watch a few videos — here’s an event in 2006 for an audience of 3,000 engineers in Florida, in which I spoke about my 2003 experience:

Here is a longer clip, in which I predict the structure of the auto industry that is unfolding before us today:

What is today all about? It’s another sign that the auto industry as we know it is dead. Gone. In the dustbin of history. Everything is changing at a furious pace.

In 2003, I nailed the idea that people would buy a car a year in advance as a beta! So far today, it looks like we have 150,000 orders worldwide as an estimate. People lined up for a car that they are willing to buy only based on a promise of being at the leading edge. A company that has a business model that involves “building to customer demand” as opposed to “building to inventory.” Massive transformation of an industry bound up in 120 years of tradition (give or take a few years…..). And a tweet from @elonmusk that suggests they haven’t nailed the design of the car yet, but will make it up as they go. In other words — it’s a beta!

Every industry is faced with similar transformation and challenge. The future belongs to those who are fast, who are prepared to think big and bold, and are ready to challenge existing norms.

Insurance, banking, finance, travel, healthcare. Folks, what’s your GoogleCar? Do you not get that we live in transformative times, in which the foundation of every industry is being subjected to massive change? Who is redefining your industry? Are you prepared to get aggressively involved, or will you just watch it happen? Are you going to be Tesla’d by someone who is redefining your industry today, yet you laugh at the concept?

I welcome today’s announcement! It’s about time that #tesla and #model3 catch up with what I predicated some 13 years ago.

But if you watch the second video — I only have one question: @elonmusk, will it ship with the “Tesla Car Party in a Box?”

2014.02.20.08.49-1024x683In May, I’ll open the Professional Records & Information Services Management annual conference in Bonita Springs, Florida, and will focus on some of the key issues in terms of corporate records management.

They recently interviewed me, and have run this article on my keynote.

Futurist Jim Carroll to Urge Faster, More Strategic Innovation During PRISM Keynote Address
By Carolyn Schierhorn

World-renowned futurist and innovation champion Jim Carroll intends to spark conversation, creativity, and commitment to strategically lead change when he delivers the opening keynote address on May 17 at the 2016 PRISM International Annual Conference in Bonita Springs, FL.

My role will be to challenge PRISM members to accelerate their ability to deal with the faster rate of change that their businesses are going through and come up with solutions, opportunities, and ideas faster,” said Carroll, whose upcoming motivational talk is titled “What Do World Class Innovators Do That Others Don’t?

During the past 20 years, Carroll has led or keynoted all manner of corporate events and association conferences, serving clients as diverse as Walt Disney Co., NASA, and the Professional Golfers’ Association of America. “I speak in virtually every industry on every kind of topic,” said Carroll, who is based out of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. This gives him a broad, interdisciplinary perspective that allows him to see patterns, identify nascent trends, and gauge whether innovative ideas from one realm will work as well in another.

But Carroll’s knowledge of records and information management (RIM) dates back decades. He made his first foray online in the early 1980s while working as a CPA for a major accounting firm. “I was on the precursors to the Internet before a lot of other folks,” he said. “I had been building a global e-mail system—a global collaboration machine—for the firm when I undertook a new project: the development of a document capture, storage, retrieval, and access system.”

Carroll points out that information management expertise is typically viewed by companies as tactical knowledge. “It’s viewed as a practical role by senior management—simply a necessary evil,” he said. “But records retention, access, security, and privacy are really strategic issues. Look at all the things that can go wrong.” During his address, Carroll will urge the RIM industry to transition to a more strategic role.

Indeed, Program Planning Chair Christopher Powell Jones hopes Carroll will galvanize conference attendees into pressing for a strategic voice in their clients’ decision-making. “We have a window in which we can help our existing clients solve problems related to the way they deal with information,” said Jones, a consulting team leader for Secure Records Solutions in Tallahassee, FL. “We already have our clients’ trust. If we don’t take advantage of that, they’re going to decide to solve their problems elsewhere, perhaps using technologies that aren’t the best fit for them.”

Seizing Opportunities to Lead

Given the explosion of data in many fields, the RIM industry needs to be at the vanguard, proactively seeking and promoting solutions, said Carroll, the author of several books on innovation. For example, he points to the ever-growing amount and complexity of information that could potentially reside in electronic health records. “What happens if you have a patient who is linked to a hospital by a remote blood pressure device or a remote glucose monitoring device?” he asked. “Is that a hospital record, or does that data belong to the patient?” The RIM industry should be at the forefront of defining what is a record and establishing the policies and procedures for storing and retrieving such information, Carroll said.

Similarly, with the advent of the Internet of things—a world of such hyperconnectivity that most household appliances and industrial machines will be monitored and
controlled online—RIM professionals must become thought leaders on how all of this generated data will be organized, protected, and accessed, he emphasized.

In his book The Future Belongs to Those Who Are Fast, Carroll reveals why so many organizations are “innovation laggards,” as he puts it:

  • They fear the unknown.
  • They have a culture that is risk-averse.
  • They are unwilling to confront the truth.
  • They have a short-term focus.
  • Inertia is easy.
  • It’s easy to avoid tough decisions.
  • They fail to adapt to fast markets.
  • They refuse or are unwilling to adapt to new methodologies and ideas.
  • Like most other fields, the RIM industry needs to become more nimble and forward-thinking, according to Carroll.

A lot of research and development today is occurring through Kickstarter,” Carroll observed. “It’s occurring in what we call the maker or tinkerer community. A lot of organizations are flat-footed while kids are reinventing their industry.”

We know this is a world with massively increasing volumes of information. And the ability to sift through it, sort it, find it, and turn it into something relevant is becoming more complex,” said Carroll, noting how important it is for RIM executives to understand what is happening in Silicon Valley. “Clearly, research institutions, universities, and companies like Google and Amazon are developing new algorithms for how to deal with all of this data.” RIM firms will need to reposition themselves to stay relevant, he said.

Carroll’s keynote speech should jump-start discussions and brainstorming among meeting participants. “My objective,” said Jones, “is for Jim to begin a conversation that will inspire the rest of conference, which has the theme ‘Navigating the Oceans of Opportunity.’ Jim will get us thinking about all of the opportunity that is available to us, given our existing resources, and about the opportunities that lie ahead. There is a lot of room for our profession to grow. I expect Jim to paint a picture of the different areas we have to explore.

“My objective is for Jim to begin a conversation that will inspire the rest of conference.”—Christopher Powell Jones

On his website, www.jimcarroll.com, Carroll provides 10 tips on how to become more innovative. During his address, Carroll will elaborate on a number of these insights, explaining how they apply to the RIM profession:

  • Hire people you don’t like. “The reason you don’t like them is because they are different, and that is probably the exact reason why their ideas are important,” he writes.
  • Forget everything you know. “Knowledge is momentary,” he states. “Learn to grab it when you need it. And don’t assume that what you know right now will have any relevance tomorrow.”
  • Get young. “Take the time to listen to young people—anyone 10 years younger than yourself,” he advises. “They’re building the future right now, and you’ll do well to understand it. Their future is hyperactive, interactive, and multi-tasking.” Millennials get bored more easily and are more entrepreneurial than previous generations, Carroll notes.
  • Appreciate wisdom. “At the same time you listen to young people, be patient with anyone 10 years older than yourself,” he writes. “The fact is, they possess something that you might not have yet—experience and the wisdom that comes from having been there. Your impatience for change might delude you into thinking that things are far easier than they really are.”
  • Forget permanence. “Get with the program—everything is temporary and change is constant,” he says. “Accept that, and the rest comes easy since it will help you
    focus on what needs to be done rather than looking back at what was done.”
  • Make decisions. “Don’t be someone who asks ‘What happened?'” Carroll urges. “Make things happen. Far too many people have forgotten how to analyze information and move forward based on what they see.”
  • Change your focus. “Old glories and corporate nostalgia won’t define future success,” he stresses. “Aggressiveness and adaptability will. Stop thinking about the past, and focus firmly on the future.”
  • Trap creativity. “It’s a precious resource,” he says. “The ideas, thoughts, and initiatives of those who surround you can be your most potent weapon.”
  • Think clear and present opportunities. “Don’t focus on the negativity of change,” he warns. “Instead think about what can be done.”
  • Get excited, and be happy. “Studies show that most people don’t like what they do,” he writes. “That’s sad. Change your attitude, and you’ll find that things really can improve. The next year is full of opportunity, and it’s yours if you want it.”

 

Carolyn Schierhorn is a freelance writer based in Wheaton, Ill.

In a few weeks, I’ll keynote the Digital Now conference — it’s a get together of executives from major associations across the US.

I’ve spent quite a bit of time speaking to, and writing about, the association sector — check out the Association Trends section of my blog for more.

Deirdre Reed writes numerous articles for the association sector, and had this nice writeup on some of the issues I’ll cover in Orlando!

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“The digitalNow conference is a great opportunity to get away for a few days to rethink everything in the company of curious association execs who don’t accept mere relevance.”

4 Truths About the Future of Associations
by Deirdre Reid

“Innovation” is such a buzzword now that I wouldn’t blame association execs for tuning out when they hear it. But I like Jim Carroll’s slant on it: “Innovation is all about adapting to the future.” Now, that’s something we can work with.

Jim Carroll is the opening keynote at the digitalNow conference which will take place in less than a month (April 21-23) in Orlando. The conference website says Carroll will talk about:

  • technologies and innovations that will affect association business models
  • strategies for reacting to these innovations with greater speed
  • challenges associations will face ahead

Innovating is not about surviving, says Carroll, it’s about thriving. Surviving, like relevance, is a low bar. Associations must aim higher—aim to thrive and become indispensable to their community.

Carroll lays down ten truths about the future. Let’s take a look at four of them and think about how your association is handling these truths.

The future is incredibly fast.

How can you, your staff and your board keep up? Can you adjust your business processes quickly? How long does it take to discover a need, develop a solution, and roll it out to your community?

Guillermo Ortiz de Zarate’s session at digitalNow, The Lean Startup Changes Everything, is bound to give us some ideas on how to experiment with and speed up program development. Get a sneak preview of his thinking in the white paper he co-authored with Elizabeth Engel: Innovate the Lean Way: Applying Lean Startup Methodology in the Association Environment.

The future involves a huge adaptability gap.

This one blew me away because it’s so true:

Earlier generations – boomers – have participated in countless change management workshops, reflecting the reality that many of them have long struggled with change. Gen-Connect – today’s 15 and under – will never think of <the> change management issue. They just change.”

Change management experts say it isn’t the actual change we resist, it’s the psychological transition we have to make to accommodate change, that’s the tough part. Adapting to change is a skill set, one you can teach your staff and your members. Today, knowing how to develop new skills is the most important skill of all.

The future is being defined by renegades.

Nearly two years ago, I wrote two articles for Avectra (now Abila) about for-profit online communities: The New Competition: For-Profit Communities with Deep Pockets, part 1 and part 2. Since then these “renegades” have become even more popular and profitable. They saw an opportunity to deliver value to markets long served by associations, and they went for it.

“Increasingly, the future of many an industry is being defined by industry expatriates. When a real innovator can’t innovate within a company, they step outside, form a startup, and spark massive industry change on their own. Before you know, they’ve reinvented you.”

Keep an eye on innovators and hold them close. What if associations had been part of these ventures? What if associations were agile enough to play the game at that level?

The future involves partnership.

How can you help your members—both professional and vendor members—become more successful? Associations have always declared themselves member-centric, but too often their perspective is inside-out rather than outside-in, as Anna Caraveli points out in her excellent book, The Demand Perspective. The value proposition has always been based on what the association says is valuable, not what members believe is valuable. Crazy, right?

Partnering means regularly listening to members (and non-members) and involving them in the early stages of discussions about value delivery—behaving like a real partner in their success. Don’t assume you know what members need, instead be guided by member behavior (data) and conversations for your direction.

To do this, you’ll have to schedule more member interaction than you’re used to, and not just interaction with the usual suspects, but interaction with “regular” members and non-members too. But think about all you’ll learn—they call this business intelligence for a reason.

Don’t ignore those other members—you know, the vendors, consultants, affiliates, associates or whatever you call them. Here’s what you should call them—partners. How can they help you become more successful and, in turn, how can you help them become more successful? What can you learn from each other? What access and resources can you provide each other?

Associations and their boards need to get over themselves and treat vendor members as partners in their success. You can help each other succeed if you get together and figure out how to deliver value to members in ways that help both of you.

The future requires rethinking value.

That one’s from me. Many associations are still struggling financially and would benefit from rethinking the whole non-dues revenue issue. Heck, rethink the whole value issue. If you’re struggling, it’s a sign you aren’t delivering value to your community. If you were, they would be joining, renewing, registering, sponsoring and buying.

The digitalNow conference is a great opportunity to get away for a few days to rethink everything in the company of curious association execs who don’t accept mere relevance. The speakers from outside and inside our industry poke at our assumptions and introduce us to new ideas. I can’t wait.

(Creative Commons licensed photo by Rennett Stowe)][

The National Watermelon Association recently ran a blog post, with some succinct coverage of my thoughts on the future of agriculture, and the opportunities that come from innovation. It seemed like a good read, so I’ll repost it here!


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“….drone technology, vertical farming practices, and robotics will play a larger role…”

I know that I’m ‘singing to the choir’ when I write that the real innovators of the 21 century are farmers. We just returned from the National Watermelon Convention in New Orleans, where over 500 members of the watermelon industry gathered to hear what is new in the industry. During a morning impact session, our growers were introduced to a variety of new innovations in agriculture, including the use of drones and precision technology, bee pollination services, and revolutionary nematode control.

Jim Carroll, a futurist and trend and innovation expert, points out that the multigenerational nature of agriculture, blending the experience of older farmers with technologically eager younger farmers, creates an opportunity for innovation and success. In his post, ’10 Big Trends in Agriculture,’ Carroll shows us how farmers are poised to meet the demands that are just around the corner. He states that the growth in the world population, an increase of over 45% by 2050, will inevitably create a huge demand for food and potential in the marketplace. Limited arable land will motivate those in agriculture to become more efficient. Perhaps drone technology, vertical farming practices, and robotics will play a larger role.

Carroll notes that new methods to improve crop yield as well as intelligent packaging are the direct result of rapidly developing chemical substances. Emerging methodologies, practices and partnerships will continue to rise as those in agriculture focus on growth, efficiency, and ingestion of new science.

Trends that encourage a focus on health and convenience have created a surge in fresh-cut produce as snack alternatives at home and in schools. Concern over food safety has inspired greater relationships between producer and consumer. Jim Carroll is convinced that, “…an increasing number of partnerships between growers and advisers, suppliers, buyers, retailers and just about everyone else,” will continue to increase in order to , “… deal with the massive complexities that emerge from rapid change and innovation.”

The most impactful trend that Mr. Carroll notices is that of generational transformation – he is convinced that the as the younger generation of farmers take over the family business a “sea-change in the rate by which new ideas in the world of agriculture are accepted,” will take place. No doubt change is already taking place.

The National Watermelon Association is preparing for this tidal wave by embracing its future farm leaders. During the convention, four Future Watermelon Farm Leaders were recognized as rising leaders who will ride the wave of transformational innovation.

Nicole Schrader

Another one of my articles for GE Reports has been published.


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The Future Belongs to Those Who are Fast features the best of the insight from Jim Carroll’s blog, in which he covers issues related to creativity, innovation and future trends.

In this era of hyperconnectivity, transformation is happening faster and impacting every industry. To thrive in this environment, you need to understand these five things.

Someday, we will look back and realize that we live in one of the most fascinating periods in history, with technology having entered a new era of what I call “hyperconnectivity” — where the rate of change is accelerating in nearly every industry.

What are the trends that are driving this faster future, and how are smart businesses adapting to not only survive — but thrive — in a faster world? Here are 5 things to know about the accelerating future and to stay ahead.

1. Speed — Today’s is the slowest day of technology change for the rest of your life

Bill Gates once observed that most people tend to overestimate the rate of change in a two-year basis, but underestimate the rate in a 10-year basis.

Take 3D printing. Just a few years ago, I would speak about 3D printing as if it was science fiction — far away and entirely theoretical. Now it’s becoming a part of day-to-day operations for many businesses.

Consider, for example, what is happening with dental medical implants, where the idea of printing dental bridges or other implants is becoming ever more real. Now, people are talking about 3D printing surgical knee replacements.

2. Hyperconnectivity — and endless possibilities

Every industry is set to be transformed as an era of hyperconnectivity — powered by the Internet of Things (IoT) — becomes the new norm. The result: 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 capability of achieving deep analytical insights into emerging trends in industries also presents an opportunity for massive business model disruption.

By the year 2020, there will be more than 50 billion devices connected to the Internet — roughly six devices per person. The IoT is happening everywhere and unfolding at a blistering pace. We’re in the era of connected thermostats that link to an intelligent energy grid; a connected trucking fleet that is self-diagnostic, predictive and built for zero down-time; and scales that record our body mass index, transmit it to a password-protected website and create custom charts on our health.

Imagine a world in which that 3D-printed knee replacement reports that it is malfunctioning by sending a message to your iPhone. Seem far fetched? Hyperconnectivity is a staggering trend, which means the possibilities are endless for growth and innovation.

3. Momentum and the potential for big wins

Add these trends of acceleration and hyperconnectivity together, and you’ve got the opportunity for major industry transformation.

Consider the lighting industry, which is in the era of revolutionary new opportunities for significant efficiency and cost savings through deep analytical insight into usage patterns. In addition, since we can now build energy systems in which each individual light bulb is accessible via the Internet, very sophisticated energy management solutions are emerging.

LED usage is accelerating, with the global market expected to grow from $7 billion in 2010 to $40 billion in 2016, according to industry reports. At the same time, the ability to control those intelligent light bulbs is changing is enabling a reimagination of lighting. People can easily set up a smart home where they control their lighting and other energy systems via an iPad. They can become energy-conscious consumers, responsible for their own personal energy infrastructure management. If we empower millions of people, some fascinating opportunities for energy usage reduction result.

There is so much momentum behind these changes because the potential for big wins are huge.

4. The connected generation

Meanwhile, the next generation of youth are starting to embrace every opportunity for hyperconnectivity and acceleration — whether in their homes or businesses.

Today’s younger generation — those under age 25 — have never known a world without a mobile device that puts incredible amounts of information at their fingertips. They are globally wired, entrepreneurial, collaborative — and they thrive on change. As a result, this generation is starting to drive rapid business model change and industry transformation as they move into executive positions.

About two-thirds of today’s children today will work in a career that has doesn’t yet exist, according to author Cathy Davidson, Think about titles like “water usage audit analysts,” “energy usage audit architects” and “location intelligence professionals.”

We are at the forefront of a remarkable time in history, as the next generation uses connectivity to advance some of the biggest energy successes.

5. The future belongs to those who are fast

So how should you deal with fast-paced technological change? As new technology and connected infrastructure emerge, keep in mind a phrase I often use when I’m on stage: “Think Big, Start Small and Scale Fast.” Take on a small-scale, experimental project in you municipality, industrial location or retail store. Test out a new technology with a target group of customers.

By starting small and learning to scale fast, you can adopt an innovation mantra and build a business plan that leads to success.

 

From my keynote for the global Worldskills conference in Sao Paolo, Brazil! What types of new careers are emerging around us?

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