What you sell today isn’t likely what you’ll be selling in 10 years – Jim Carroll

Home > Archives

Tagged customer events



I do a *lot* of talks for agricultural organizations, both associations as well as agricultural companies (most of the global leaders in this space have had me in for senior management meetings or customer events, seeking my insight on the trends in the industry.)

Yesterday, I was a keynote speaker for the United Soybean Board, speaking to several hundred farmers about opportunities for innovation in their industry.

Prior to my keynote, I spent two hours with the newly elected Board of Directors of the organization, in an intimate discussion about the opportunities for innovation in the industry.

I had six simple slides that led to a very animated, lively and in-depth discussion.

Essentially, agriculture is about science, and science is exponentiating. This slide is from research I undertook years ago….

The result is that knowledge itself is exponentiating: I observed that we are in a situation in which 1/2 of what we learn in the first years of an agricultural degree is obsolete or revised by the time of graduation 4 years later.

These rapid changes drive rapid innovation and the invention of new ideas, concepts, seed varietals. Apple’s situation is that the original Apple iPod could be developed because of the discovery of a single new chemical substance. If there are to be 5 billion, the scope of opportunity in the age of exponentiation is unprecedented! The result for Apple is that 60% of its revenue comes from products that didn’t exist 4 year ago. That’s increasingly becoming the reality for ag-science companies, and is a trend that will filter down into agriculture itself.

 

In this content, organizations are busy reinventing their business though big, bold ideas, such as we’ve seen with Tesla and Elon Muck. Soybean needs to continue to pursue big, bold ideas — better protein, more alternative material use (did you know that soybean is used as a material in seat cushions for cars?), bio-diesel and more. Why not solar cells grown from plants? They are researching that idea at M.I.T. – in an era of exponential science, no idea is too small!

While these trend unfold, precision agriculture and advanced analytics continues to mature — Google Flu Trends set the pace for the idea of real time analytical healthcare dashboards, and the same dashboard capability are coming to every farm!

Who will adopt such bold ideas? From Syngenta, there are two types of farmers. The ones on the right are becoming the majority….

 

The key challenge is knowing when to jump on accelerating and exponentiating trends driven by science. The Gartner hype-cycle provides us guidance: every new technology and new form of science goes through the curve.

Innovators determine the right inflection and jumping-on points. The key is to establish an innovation strategy, driven at the board level, to ensure that you are at the right place on the curve — but also not far behind on the curve.

Was it an effective session? It must have been — at the end, the CEO asked me if I would consider becoming a soybean farmer, since my insight, enthusiasm and focus on innovation would provide an inspirational example to other soybean farmers!

It was fun!

 

 

I’ve had seven weeks on the road, with some great events.

At one event, a recent client told me one of the key reasons they selected me over other experts that focus on future trends and innovation was simple. And they put it at the top of their list of “pros” in their evaluation of various speaker alternatives.

Because you answered the phone.

skype

It’s true. I answer the phone! Give it a try – call me at 214.473.4850, 905.855.2950 or 347.3.Future. If I’m not there, I’ll call you back, and we can talk about how I can help you with your upcoming event, conference or leadership event.

They explained further: “We didn’t have to go through layers and layers of agents and bureaus in order to get to you, to see if you might be the right guy for our leadership meeting.”

And it’s true. I answer the phone, if I’m here! I don’t have handlers in the way, unless you reach my wife and business partner Christa, if she is in the office. (We’ve been working in the home office for 25 years together. Still!) I don’t hide from my clients, potential or existing!

I have a small operation — it’s Christa and I. It’s been that way for 25 years. From this small home office, I’ve provided my insight and services to a global audience of clients that includes Disney, NASA, Johnson & Johnson, Chrysler, BASF and hundreds more. Audiences of more than 2,000,000 people at keynotes, corporate leadership meetings and customer events. Most of them driven through personal contact, in which people have come to take the time to understand how I work, and the fact that I deliver insight that is unique, customized and relevant.

And to do that, I answer the phone.

Yes, I do have agents and bureaus too. Some of the most prestigious in the business, some 40 of them in all around the world in Washington, Singapore, Sydney, Stockholm, London, Toronto. All these organizations book me at the same time that they are booking Presidents, Prime Ministers, Olympians and Hollywood royalty. But even when they book me, I encourage them to get the end client in touch with me. On the phone.

Look, I actually encourage potential clients to call me. I’m known for the customized work and research that I do. With this particular client that made the comment above, I had about 6 conference calls over the last six months, leading up to the event, which helped me understand their issues and concerns, and which helped me to build a keynote the really fit their needs.

Try it! Call me. If I’m in the office, I’ll pick up the phone. And if not, I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

 

On a conference call with a client, the issue of optimism and pessimism came up. For many of the corporate or customer events in which I’m asked to speak, people are seeking my insight on the trends that will provide for future growth. In the call, I mentioned one recent keynote where I made a joke on stage about choosing optimism over innovation – in a bit of a unique way.

But my optimism is grounded by the trends I observe. In this short clip, you’ll also see a lead-in to how I plan to build the case for optimism.

It’s a short, good watch, I think with a key relevant point — and begs the question — are you able to consciously choose optimism over pessimism, despite the environment that you might find yourself in?

Well, the headline caught your attention, didn’t it?

So what gives? How could “golf” possibly be the most important word in a year which promises ongoing economic volatility, potential signs of a recovery, restless consumers, potential challenges with the housing market, extremely fast paced business model change driven by technology — and countless other opportunities and worries?

Because the game of golf is probably one of the best barometers for the pace of the economic recovery. And in and of itself, the fact that the game is examining its future is probably the best sign that innovation and change has risen to the top of the leadership agenda.

Consider the first issue: golf and the economy. When the economy is hot, and companies are secure in their belief in economic growth, there are a lot of leadership events in which strategies are discussed, customers are engaged, and new business ideas are launched.

Corporate off-sites. Leadership meetings. Customer events. CEO-led strategy sessions. All the things that organizations do to ensure that they can focus on opportunity and growth. When the economy is in a good way, we see a lot of these events, and inevitably, they’re held at a resort, conference center or hotel that includes some great opportunities for golf, because that’s where a lot of the real business gets done.

Two years ago, many of these events disappeared or were scaled back in a significant way, as many organizations were focused on survival rather than growth. In the darkest days of the economic downturn and the subsequent era of gloom, customer and leadership events were small, low key, local, and didn’t have an element of golf.

But these events are back in a big way, and they’re being done in such a way that “golf” is most definitely back on the agenda. Only it’s not labelled “golf” on the agenda anymore – instead, you’ll see something like : “1:00PM – Private meetings”. In the last while, I’ve been doing or having been booked for a significant number of leadership, CEO and customer-oriented events at golf-oriented conference centers and locations all over North America.

Smart Meetings Magazine, a US publication, covered my thoughts in the January 2011 issue this way:

“Jim Carroll, a futurist, trend and innovation expert who has written and spoken about the economic horizon, often quotes the American Chamber of Commerce when discussing what lies ahead: “We’re going from a really bad economy to a new economy.” Here’s a rundown of what that will look like. … While Carroll says he’s seen a dip in association bookings, “corporate leadership events are way up.” In this sector of the industry, 2011 bodes well for the amount of meetings held and the funds devoted to them. …. With the economy in ascent, planners should see more hefty budgets allocated for meetings (or, as Carroll puts it, “There will be more golf this year.”)

Here’s the second reason why the world “golf” is so important — because the game itself know that innovation and change has become absolutely critical to provide opportunities for growth.

Read about the PGA of America’s reaction to Jim Carroll’s keynote

Last November, I was invited to be the opening speaker for the 94th Annual General Meeting of the PGA of America.

It’s the first time they have EVER had an external speaker open their event.

When I first got the call, I was a little bit stunned. This was THE PGA.

But then I began to think about my conversation with their senior management. Everyone knows that growth of the game is challenged by a variety of issues, including demographics, the collapse of attention spans, time availability, and a host of other issues. The PGA knows this, and they know that focusing on innovation and change — and confronting these trends — has become one of the most important things they needed to do.

And so they found me — and invited me in to challenge their members to begin just such a dialogue.

I’m seeing many such events. Heck, just over a month ago, NASA — yes, that NASA — had me down to Texas to speak to a senior leadership team on the issue of “Transformational Leadership”. I had in the room with me a very fascinating audience — astronauts, program directors, launch controllers. What was the real issue on the table? NASA’s world is changing fast, and the need for innovative thinking has become critical.

If organizations like the PGA and NASA are putting innovation at the top of their agenda, and innovation is the driver of economic growth — then clearly, golf has to be most important word in indicating where we are going with the economy in 2011.

Send this to a friend

<---->