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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.”

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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.”

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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.

My recent post about using a live text message poll while speaking to a group of high school students drew a fair bit of attention as an example of the novel use of a social networking tool.

This isn’t the first time I’ve been using this type of tool on stage — I’ve been doing this for close to four years, and it always provides for an amazing amount of interaction with the audience.

Here I am opening the 94th Annual General Meeting of the Professional Golfers Association of America, immediately diving into a poll with the audience in order to gauge their thoughts on when we would see an economic recovery. While running the poll, I challenge the PGA to think about the impact of mobile technology out on the golf course!


Pretty darned effective, isn’t it!

Here’s an article from my September 2010 CAMagazine column:

Jim Carroll was the opening keynote for the 2010 Consumer Electronic Association CEO Summit, speaking to the theme of "Brand Innovation At the Speed of Twitter: How to Innovate in the Era of Hyperconnectivity." Click the image for more on this keynote topic.

It’s no secret that social networks are booming. But let’s put into perspective how quickly they are growing. It took radio 38 years to hit 50 million users. Television took 13 years, the Internet four years and the iPhone three years. In that context, now consider that Facebook is adding 20 million users a month and Twitter reports more than 300,000 people are signing up every day. These statistics are mind-boggling, even to someone like me who has been online since 1981.

Much of this rapid growth is driven by the younger generation: 50% of the global population is less than 25 — and in North America, 96% of them use Facebook. That’s a pretty astonishing percentage. Social networking is also increasing as people use their mobile devices to continually share their thoughts, access social media content and see what their friends are up to. Software such as Tweetdeck lets people access and filter the flood of information that flows through Twitter, whether it is related to the friends and people they follow or to track information posted about breaking news.

But social networks aren’t just inane thoughts people post to their Facebook and Twitter accounts; it’s the flood of video and pictures that people place online. YouTube reports that some 24 hours of video are uploaded to the service every minute — and when the iPhone was released, YouTube traffic rose by 1,700%.

What is perhaps most significant is that social networks are changing the very nature of how people search for information. At this point, Facebook is used for more searches than Google. And at 600 million queries a day, Twitter is now the largest search engine in the world.

What does it all mean? The key point here is that when people search for information on goods and services, they turn to other people on social networks for advice and guidance more often than they consult producers of the product or service itself. At this point, one out of four online searches for the top 20 global brands end up with user generated content, such as information on blogs, as well as what people post to Twitter and Facebook.

The result is that organizations are having to think about advertising and branding in completely different ways. In the olden days a company could figure out an advertising and marketing strategy, build a campaign and put it out to the public. Today, lots of people are having lots of “conversations” about many topics, including the products and services that they use on a daily basis. They’re placing online both positive and negative insight. And increasingly, when we search for information about a product or service, we’re accessing that insight, in addition to — or sometimes in place of — a company’s carefully crafted message.

That’s why organizations are scrambling to change their approach to marketing and advertising.

Last year, I had the opportunity to speak at the annual Consumer Electronics Association CEO Summit in California. It was a pretty fascinating crowd, with senior executives from a variety of global entertainment and technology companies, as well as major global retailers that sell their products. The rapid pace of change in the online world, particularly with respect to social networks, is coming to influence these markets. It’s been reported, for example, that IBM has combined some of its marketing and PR staff to deal with the impact of social networking. And Pepsi now devotes one-third of its advertising budget to interactive and social media.

The bottom line? Companies must think about how to reach their customers in new and different ways.

In a clip from his keynote for the 94th Annual General Meeting of the PGA, Jim takes a look at the challenges the profession and industry must face in trying to reach out to the new demographic — the socially networked generation, and what Jim calls “Mom 3.0”.

It’s a good look at trends with member-based organizations, and the impact of social networking in general.

I just came from giving a keynote for the annual conference of a major customer loyalty organization, with the talk focused on some of key trends impacting the world of retail today.

There’s certainly a lot going on and a lot to think about. Extremely rapid business model change, the emergence of new competitors, ongoing consumer confidence volatility, rapid product turnover and faster product life-cycles.

So what are they really, really worried about? Let’s put in context the people I had in the room — senior VP’s and managers in major retailers representing several billions in revenue in a wide variety of markets, including pharmaceutical, grocery, consumer goods and electronics. Not to mention quite a few bankers, responsible for credit card portfolio’s, loyalty programs and other customer oriented programs and infrastructure.

Given all that, the top of mind issue is — new methods of customer interaction.

Look at the poll results below. The issue stands out far and away as the most important concern of the day!

Hence, my keynote was bang-on. I didn’t touch too much on the social networking phenomena, as this type of crowd has been drowning in social-networking Powerpoints.

My focus was on interactivity, location, and intelligence,, and the extremely rapid emergence of new forms of in-store interaction and product sales uplift. Things like digital signage, in-store electronic promotional displays, iPod based coups. A flood of new stuff and new ideas that promote new ways of

Listen folks, I know I’ve said it here before, but I’ll say it again.

2010 is the year of location, combined with mobility, and it’s happening faster than you think.

I’m pumped about this topic and the reaction, so I’ve rolled this into a new keynote description:

Location is the New Intelligence: Customer Interaction in the Era of Pervasive Mobile

We’re at the leading edge of the merger of three perfect trends: the rapid and massive emergence of a massive mobile infrastructure with increasingly intelligent devices. Pervasive location awareness as a results of GPS and location intelligence/mapping trends in those very same tools. And a consumer mindset that is increasingly open to new forms of interaction. The result is massive business model disruption, absolutely transformative market change, and complete obliteration of old assumptions as to the nature of the customer relationship. Smart, innovative super-heroes know that this is an unprecedented time to jump on the emergence of location as the new intelligence, in order to provide for new ways of product uplift in the retail space, changing the very nature of customer loyalty through new forms of interaction, and enhancing existing one-to-0ne conversations through a more direct, distinct and fascinating new form of location based relationships. Futurist, Trends & Innovation Expert Jim Carroll is setting the retail, marketing and advertising world on fire with his fast paced insight into one of the most important trends to shape the customer-business relationship in the last few decades. Move over social networking — location is the new intelligence!

Read more: Location is the new intelligence

Here’s a summary of my observations from a keynote I did in New York City for retailers, agencies, marketing organizations, food and CPG companies, on some of the trends that are sweeping their industries today.

The summary is courtesy of the event sponsor, the Readers Digest Food & Entertainment Group.

1. The New Consumer Is Shifting Their Attention Faster than Ever

Consumers suffer from “continuous partial attention” with more stimuli around them than ever before:

  • The number of text messages sent each day exceeds the population of the earth
  • There are 62.6 million videogame households (up 11.4%) and the average age of a video game consumer is 41
  • consumers spend about 10 hours per day and $1,000 per year with various media – primarily wireless devices, iPods, in store displays, in-auto media content and the Internet
  • 93% of American teens are online, proving that the Internet will become ubiquitous

Consumers across demographic segments are immersed in this new interactive world forcing brands to engage them across all mediums to stay connected.

This new shopper is not only more scattered and more connected, but also faster – scanning 12 feet of shelf space on average per second. In-store influencers will now evolve at the pace of the iPhone and the Blackberry, challenging marketers to keep up with the pace. Faster is the new innovation and innovation isn’t just about new product design – it’s about responding to fast-paced consumer change.

Marketing Implication: Marketers must work harder than ever to capture the attention of the consumer and make a connection. Brands must keep up with the pace of consumer change in order to stay relevant.

2. The New Consumer Is No Longer Nuclear

The nuclear family is no longer the norm as Americans find new definitions for ‘family’ in today’s world. The following headlines touch on the variety of different ways families are structured today:

  • “….only 1 in 4 of the population live in heterosexual, two-parent families… one in three people now live alone….” – ABC
  • “….urban Americans remain single for more than half of their adult lives, a radical shift…..” – NBC
  • “Between the ages of 18 and 59…. Chicagoans spend… 18 years married.. 4 years co-habitating….19 years alone or casually dating” – Associated Press
  • “LAT tourism …. living apart together ….two out of five marriages end in divorce” – Reuters

Brands must acknowledge these new trends as they develop products and create marketing messages to resonate with today’s consumer.

Marketing Implication: Hyper-nicheing is the new brand reality as the market becomes more specialized and fragmented. Marketers can no longer rely on preconceived segmentation strategies, but rather need to think differently about who they are trying to reach and how to reach them.

3. The New Consumer Is Influenced Differently

We’re in the era of the “Celebrity Baby Blog” where purchases are influenced heavily by what others are doing. And it is not just celebrities that consumers are watching – they are also looking to their peers for advice and brand recommendations. For example, in travel, 79% of travellers trust peer reviews more than ads.

The same thing is happening with consumer products – peer reviews are the new influencers, with 83% trusting the opinion of a friend or acquaintance who has used the product or service.

Marketing Implication: Social networks are the new brand influencers and marketers must find ways to connect with consumers who are highly influential in their peer groups.

4. The New Consumer Is Shifting Their Focus

Socio-economic shifts are affecting consumer behavior at an increasingly fast pace.

For example, the downturn in the economy has quickly had a significant impact on consumers’ eating habits. 71% of consumers are choosing to prepare meals at home instead of eating out and restaurant trips have decreased from 1.5 times a week in 2006, to 1.2 times today. (Food Marketing Institute US Grocery Shopper Trends)

Another prime example of trends reaching mainstream quickly is the health trend. Even the most active consumers shopping at delis are health-conscious. 80% of deli-buyers are making changes to their diets and 90% are now reading deli labels (International Dairy-Deli-Bakery Association)

New markets are constantly emerging, whether it’s fresh-cut snack food, growing from a $6.8 billion industry to $10.5 billion (International Fresh-Cut Produce Association) or rapidly changing tastes – flavors are now moving from upscale kitchens to chain restaurants in 12 months, compared to 36 months 5 years ago.

Marketing Implication: Faster-paced preference change is the new reality and brands must be nimble to keep up with consumer demand.

5. The New Product Is Rapidly Redefined

New products are brought to market faster, redefining the industry quickly and forcing products to keep up.

As scientific knowledge is being shared in real time, ethical packaging innovations are emerging and driving product design.

For example, wax paper infused with cinnamon oil (antibacterial) inhibits 96% of mold for up to 10 days (Investor’s Business Daily). This new discovery allows CPG companies to produce new products with a naturally longer shelf life. Major manufacturers and retailers must respond to these new trends, especially as consumers jump onboard and demand these innovations. Most notably, Walmart has vowed to have zero private label packaging waste by 2010, and to eliminate all packaging waste by 2025 (Modern Plastics Worldwide)

Another example of a new product being redefined at a rapid pace is the “nutri-cosmetic” market – already at $1.5 billion worldwide (only 3% of that is in the U.S.) and predicted to grow at 4.7% a year in the U.S. to $10.6 billion by 2012 (Household & Personal Products Industry). Consumers are embracing new products that can offer positive effects on their appearance, while easily being integrated into their lifestyle.

Marketing Implication: Time to market and corporate agility are the new capabilities to focus on.

6. The New Product Is Upside Down

The way companies are innovating is also changing. The process used to be to get the assortment right, figure out the merchandising, go to stores and create a marketing campaign around it all.

The new innovation model turns that upside down: as large companies are more connected to consumer demand, they can use that insight to come up with the marketing, then determine the merchandising and get the assortment right.

Partnership with retailers and packaging companies in the design of the product is the key trend because these partners are closer to consumer demands and can often guide development of new products through their unique insight. Smart manufacturers are turning to packaging designers to ask for help lowering expenses as oil and raw material prices rise. (Bangkok Post). 73% of packaging machine builders collaborate with customer-packaging engineers. (Control Engineering).

Marketing Implication: Partnership with retailers and packaging companies is the key method to speed up product innovation and efficiently introduce new products to the marketplace.

7. The New Marketing Is Shifting

Consumers are being increasingly influenced by their time spent online. Therefore, online advertising spending is increasing and is predicted to rise to $51 billion in 2012 – up from $21 billion in 2007.

Consumers are looking across all media and being influenced by different sources of inspiration. Different media serves different purposes for consumers and reaches them in different mindsets. For example, certain magazines are set aside for leisure comfort reading, while online media can quickly provide relevant information at the touch of a button.

Marketing Implication: A “healthy mix” is the new advertising recipe for success reaching consumers at different touch-points.

Here’s a short video clip of Jim’s keynote, in which he speaks about the increasing velocity of change in retail.

Here’s an article that I wrote for the spring issue of Marketline, for the BCAMA. Some good food for thought on the future of branding, and how all this social networking might really evolve.

Key point: “The concept of branding is being re-energized. People care again

Pat Boone Has an App
by Jim Carroll, Marketline, Spring 2010

Does that blow your mind? It should. After all, for some people, Pat Boone could be the most uncool guy around, and yet he has an App with a pretty good rating in the Apple App Store. I think that’s pretty cool.

If it doesn’t blow your mind because you don’t know who he is, then here’s the deal: he’s a singer who sold some 50 million albums during the 50s and 60s. Think Justin Bieber if he was around in 1956.

I learned about Pat Boone’s App when I set out to get my own. Given the nature of my business, I’m a brand, and I’m a big believer that we are rapidly entering the era of the personal brand App. And in fact, the same folks who developed Pat’s App pulled mine together and had it available in the App store within just eight weeks.

What does this have to do with the future of marketing? Probably everything and anything, in that we are in the very early stages of what is likely to be a very significant transformation in the energy that people have towards the concept of a brand.

Bill Gates once observed that “most people overestimate the amount of change that will occur in two years, and underestimate the change that will occur over 10 years”.

Think about that statement in the context of the current impact of social networking on brands and marketing.

Certainly, everyone knows that carefully orchestrated Twitter, Facebook and YouTube-centric marketing campaigns can provide a substantial uplift in sales and that, to a large degree, successful brands are focused on building relationships by having conversations with their customers. It’s all too obvious to everyone that if a brand doesn’t respect the fascinating power possessed by the new collective consciousness, things can go to hell in a handbasket in a hurry. And we all know that, increasingly, a brand is no longer what you say it is it’s what ‘they’ say it is.

Yet, these are early days. Where will we be 10 years out? How will the art of marketing have changed? What will a brand be in 10 years’ time? Will we even find it necessary to market a brand? Or will brands become such a part of our lives that we won’t even think it necessary to market them, because each of us will essentially own those brands? How do you market a product to someone who already owns the brand for that product?

Certainly there has been a tsunami of change in the marketing and creative world over the last few years with the explosion of social networking. But do we know where this change is going to take us? I’m not certain we do know. When the Internet first appeared on the scene, who could have imagined Twitter, or YouTube or cyber-battles between China and a company that didn’t exist less than a decade ago?

Much can happen in a two-year time span. Much more can happen in 10 years. The difficulty is in figuring out how to steer to wherever we might be in a decade. These are the early days and the pace of change is still accelerating. Brands are learning to adapt to fascinating new realities, and marketing skills are transitioning at lightning speed.

Customers are toying with their vast new powers, learning to use them in new and fascinating and sometimes scary and dangerous ways. Brands can go from hero to zero in a matter of moments. Marketing campaigns that one day seemed edgy and leading-edge can suddenly fall off a cliff, looking dull and out of date as a new brand comes along to displace them. And it all occurs at blinding speed.

Maybe in a decade some brands will have transitioned further into our lives through even more connectivity than we can currently imagine. Perhaps one day the packaging for a medication that I will be using will “talk” via a subterranean Twitter-like stream to a sensor embedded in my mobile device, updating my medical profile and adjusting my dosage based on up-to-the-second medical tests. When a brand becomes a part of my being, does that mean that the new brand relationship of today looks ancient?

I don’t think anyone has figured everything out yet with social media. There are certainly a lot of people talking about it, and I spend a fair amount speaking to the trend myself. But I think we are in the midst of something unique, special and awe-inspiring. I am convinced that in 10 years’ time, we will look back and think, “wow, that was an amazing time to take part in something big”.

What is that “something big”? Perhaps a period of time in which everyone customers and brand owners alike are becoming re-energized about the concept of a brand, as a brand truly become part of one’s existence.

Yes, Pat Boone has an App. He’s proud of his brand he put out good work, even if it is niche-oriented. And yes, maybe his market is declining. But here he is, an icon of the birth of the boomer era, and he’s got enough passion and enthusiasm for his brand to reach out to his brand participants using these fascinating new and powerful tools.

Pat Boone has had his passion for his brand restored. And maybe that is the most important thing that is happening right now. The concept of branding is being re-energized. People care again. We’re out of the era of robots building TV commercials that didn’t resonate, and brand images that didn’t create a sense of awe, and brand images that were simply stuck because of creative failure.

Perhaps that’s the real magic everyone is acquiring a new enthusiasm to do something with brands. If they own a brand, they can be inspired to do something great with it. If they are a customer of a brand, they can be inspired to help to shape the future of the brand more to their own liking through the collective consciousness that is social networking.

The energy and creativity around us is staggering. Continue to jump in, explore, try, do, fail and retry and remember that there is lots yet to learn, since these are early days.

It’s big, and its’ getting bigger!

That’s the location intelligence industry, which is resulting from the rapid dominance of location-aware mobile devices, the rapid emergence of massive sources of spatial (geographic oriented information, i.e. Google Maps), the rapid user adoption of location-based applications (i.e. iPhone Apps), and a significant amount of innovative thinking as to how to capitalize on these very fast paced trends.

There’s a lot of people building a lot of new businesses around these trends. And it’s happening extremely quickly:

    • in a just-announced test of location based advertising in Finland, MacDonalds’ has reported that location-relevant mobile ads resulted in a 7.0% click-through rate. Of those who clicked through, 39% then used the click-to-navigate option to find the closest restaurant. These are significant numbers
    • one if 4 American’s uses location based mobile services, and half of those who noticed an ad while using such services too some action
  • there has been a 68% increase in the use of mobile mapping and direction services in Europe in ONE YEAR according to comScore
  • MarketResearch.com predicts increases of 37% compound annual growth for mobile advertising and 65% for mobile commerce, influenced by the speed of adoption of location-based services
  • Juniper Research suggests that location based service revenues will top $12.7 billion by 2014, up from $3 billion last year
  • another survey by RCNOS suggested that the mobile locations technologies market will grow at annual compound rates of 20%, reaching $70 billion by 2013, which includes both consumer and business intelligence/application (survey, mapping etc) applications
  • it’s estimated that 1 billion people will access social networks by 2014. Most of them will use some form of location based application as they do so.
  • GPS-enabled mobile phone devices will dominate the technology space, comprising 66% of all GPS devices by 2013

This is pretty significant stuff. Actually, its more than significant – it’s huge. Location is set to lead to significant industry transformation; some pretty dramatic business model disruption (think real estate); changes in consumer behaviour (product promotion and uplift); new business models (mobile, text message based banking which starts out via a proximity relationship.). There’s a huge amount of velocity out there!

There are two angles to the emerging market: consumer (i.e. iPhone) driven applications which will involve marketing, branding, product promotion, customer loyalty, point-of-purchase and a huge variety of other opportunities. The second involves corporate applications such as risk-minimization (i.e. mortgage risk analysis based on spatial data).

Regardless of how you look at, the overall impact of location intelligence is going to be dramatic.

It’s even going to come to impact sports. Here’s a clip from a keynote I gave for 4,000 individuals as the recent National Recreation & Parks Association: “Location intelligence and the future of recreation,” and spoke about the concept of a location intelligence professional.

Location is the new intelligence. And its’ happening faster than you think!

And an increasing number of my keynotes and clients are asking me to focus upon the business opportunities that are emerging in this world. Stay tuned.

Related posts:

  • Location intelligence, financial industries and business model change 
  • Location intelligence and the conference industry
  • Extract from Jim’s book, Ready, Set, Done: How to Innovate When Faster is the New Fast 

I used this a lot in the past, but it’s probably good to repeat it here; maybe there is a little too much hype around social networking, particularly around the context of marketing.

Given that’ it’s probably a good time to have a little bit of fun with the issue.

  • no one is sure what it is, but they hear that its great
  • everyone thinks that everyone else is doing it
  • those who say they are doing it are probably lying
  • the few who are doing it aren’t doing it very well
  • everyone hopes it will be great when they finally do it
  • once they start doing it, they’ll discover that it is going to take a while to figure out how to get really good at it
  • and they’ll realize that they’ll have to try to discover a whole bunch of new methods of doing it to really figure it all out

2010PRSM.jpgAt many of my keynotes, I focus on some of the most successful creativity and innovation attributes that I see within organizations. Here’s a list of guidance from a recent keynote for a group of executives in the consumer goods sector:

  • Adapt to more challenging customers: customers expectations and needs are changing rapidly, and yet they are more demanding than ever before. Loyalty disappears….at the same time they expect creative perfection from you, they are more fickle, and far less loyal …. I’m not even sure the concept of loyalty exists any more for many brands!
  • Costs increase: all this is happening in a world in which producers and retailers are faced with a rapid increase in uncontrollable costs…energy, plastics, you name it! Margins are being squeezed and pressured as a result. Operational excellence is no longer optional!
  • Focus on collaborative relationships: The key to innovation in retail today can be found in collaborative relationships and partnerships between packaging companies, consumer products and brands, and retailers. ! Noted Paul Moss, British Bakeries Divisional Marketing Director, “We have more to talk about than price.” No one wants to fight in a brand sector that is involved in a race to the bottom, but that’s what happens when everyone focuses on price. Shift the equation with your partners, and you’ll find a way out.
  • Remember — the package is the brand: Heinz, StarKist and other industry leaders have learned that packaging innovation, driven by new methodologies, ideas and technologies, has become the secret to brand image in many sectors, because it permits a shift of value and customer perception in ways that haven’t previously been seen. Think upside-down-Ketchup. If you aren’t innovating with packaging, you aren’t in the game
  • Hyper-innovation is key: Throughout the consumer products world, we are witnessing faster time to market in every single sector. The concept of a product lifecycle is disappearing as products come to market and thrive for but short micro-bursts of time. Make sure you’ve got the agility on your team you need to cope with this reality, and you might survive
  • Get used to rapid change. Consumer desires, needs and demands will continue change at an ever more furious pace, often in ways that won’t make sense, particularly with the impact of social networks. Don’t despair from it: learn from it. Take the recent race to value-oriented products as a result of the recession. Did you act fast enough? What organizations sclerosis blocked your ability for quick change? And what should you do to fix it?
  • Capture the insight of creatively new competitors – constantly: Admit this: there are likely going to be a lot of folks out there who are a lot more creative than you are. They’ll beat the pants off you all the time with quick short bursts of tactical success, while you are still busy marshalling your forces. Rather than losing sleep over their success, study them! Learn from them! And then capitalize by doing what they do – and do it better. Rapid creativity in a time of constant change is the name of the game, and you’d do best to work to obtain the same skills and insight that your best competitors have developed.
  • Ride the wave of continuous business model innovation: If someone is reinventing your business model, reinvent it faster! In retail, we are seeing constant experimentation with store formats, brand partnering, in-store displays, logistics and tracking studies, and countless other new ways of doing things. Get on board the tornado of change in retail and ride it for all it is worth. You should develop a team that has a finely-tuned radar for unique trends, experiments, success stories and innovations. They’re swirling around you continuously, they are constantly reinventing the world of retail on a minute by minute basis – and you’ve got to understand them and capitalize upon them.

I’ve got quite a few keynotes coming up with the consumer, food, packaged goods and retail sectors in the next several months, one of them being the Professional Retail Store Maintenance Association in Orlando, Florida next month.

The topic for that keynote will be: Where Do We Go From Here? Why Innovators Will Rule in the Post-Recession Economy – And How You Can Join Them.

Here’s an extract from the keynote description:

Jim Carroll has carefully studied what it is that organizations are doing to position themselves for post-recession growth.

One thing they are certainly doing is positioning themselves for innovative solutions to complex problems. When it comes to retail store maintenance there is no doubt that we are in the era of fast-paced solutions, whether its related to intelligent building management solutions, the rapid evolution of in-store layout and design principles; innovative environmental and green technology solutions; or new in-store
customer engagement methodologies, all of which impact in-store maintenance professionals in new and dramatic ways.

In his keynote, Jim will share his insight into the key trends impacting the retail sector, and how maintenance professionals can take a seat at the “strategy table,” providing unique solutions and guidance to the management team by adapting to fast paced trends.