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It’s that simple.

Here’s a simple list of companies that were once great successes. Then they weren’t: Blockbuster. Borders. Lehman Bros. Kodak. Circuit City. RadioShack. Pan-Am. Enron. E.F. Hutton.RCA. Tower Records. Polaroid. Woolworths. Compaq. Arthur Anderson. 

The list could go on…. companies that were leaders in their time, and then failed, due to a lack of innovation; a failure to adapt; ethical problems; or other factors that could have been avoided.

In the next 10 years, we will see a number of established companies added to the list. Right now, some of them could be making decisions to avoid that fate.

They aren’t.

Here’s some interesting food for thought from a great article on the trend in which every company is becoming a computer company:

“The S&P 500 lists the 500 most valuable companies in the United States. Dick Foster, a McKinsey consultant, studied their average lifespan. It is a sobering tale that reminds just how fast-paced business innovation has become. In 1937, the average tenure of companies on the list was 75 years. By 1960, it was 61 years. In 1980, 37 years. In 2000, 26 years. Today, an average of 15 years.”

If you are a senior executive, you need a serious gut-check. Here you go:

Your chance for longevity and survival is shrinking.

Disruption, business model change, technological transformation is real, and so you have a simple choice: innovate, or die.

A little video clip from my keynote for the PGA – think about what happened when golf carts were introduced to the world of golf!

Food for thought when it comes to innovation and change…!

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?

Drones-Golf

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 fix their slice. Moving beyond filming the swing with your iPad or iPhone, you might now be able to film 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.

CPGA_Drone_Article_Final

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

In this clip, I’m doing the opening keynote for the American Society of Testing Professionals — and I am speaking about how the new generation of students acquires and ingests knowledge. Food for thought in terms of disruption of the education industry!

What’s fascinating is the story I tell – how one of my sons has figured out how to get involved in the outsourcing of computer gaming! Worth a watch – and worth thinking about!

Running in the Ottawa Citzen, Vancouver Province and other papers today is this article, which offers more food for thought about what the future will be like for babies born in 2014.


Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.
“– American author and cultural critic Neil Postman

2014Baby

Carroll admits he’s only guessing, but says the child who is raised thinking, ‘Mom, dad, get off that device and talk to me,’ could conceivably grow up rejecting personally intrusive types of technology

Almost 400,000 Canadian babies will be born in 2014, a small portion of 140 million who will join the human race next year.

In Canada, those babies will be born to the first generation of parents totally consumed by devices with glowing screens — the chronic tweeters, the obsessive email users, the web surfers, the social media addicts.

And when it comes to predicting and imagining what life has in store for the babies of 2014, it is there we should begin, says Canadian futurist Jim Carroll.

“The kids today aren’t getting the attention that I gave my kids or the attention my parents gave me,” says the 54-year-old Carroll. “Their parents are completely wound up in their mobile devices and social networks. They have no attention span. Those first two or three years are formative, so somehow what they learn during that time is going to help shape their view of the world.”

How might that happen?

Carroll admits he’s only guessing, but says the child who is raised thinking, ‘Mom, dad, get off that device and talk to me,’ could conceivably grow up rejecting personally intrusive types of technology — despite the absolute certainty they’ll grow up in a world with more technology than their parents and grandparents living today can only dream of.

There are already many hints of what technology will bring Canada’s 2014 babies. Just a few weeks ago, Sony applied for a patent for the SmartWig, still a concept but an innovation in wearable computing devices that would capture and broadcast sophisticated images and contain minute sensors capable of monitoring bodily functions such as blood pressure and temperature.

Aside from galloping technological advances, today’s Canadian babies will have to grapple with a deteriorating natural environment and increasing social and economic inequity in one of the world’s richest and most desirable countries.

Carroll and fellow futurists in the United States and Europe have plenty of theories on what life will be like for 2014’s children, at least those born in Canada and other affluent nations. The Citizen gathered some of their thoughts and attempts to imagine the lives of next year’s babies.

TECHNOLOGY

In the early 1990s, when British futurist Ian Pearson predicted a method of communication now known as texting, his idea was dismissed as ridiculous. Why would people write on mobile devices when they could just punch in a number and talk?

With Sony now flagging its SmartWig, Pearson has pondered the notion of computerized contact lenses that would flash images to our eyes — maps, road closures on a usual commute, people whose names we forget at parties. But it’s difficult to know where this might lead.

Even technology futurists admit that ideas that seem ridiculous can become massively popular in the wink of an eye. Just consider the rapid ubiquity of Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Are driverless cars just around the corner? Will plastic soon become redundant as direct payment options move to fingerprints or eyeballs?

THE ENVIRONMENT

By the time children born in 2014 are 50, futurologist Raymond Hammond figures they could be living in a world virtually unrecognizable to those living today, a world in which climate change has been by replaced by climate control (and thereby eliminating TV and radio weather predictors as a career choice).

Less fanciful is the United Nations prediction that by the middle of the century, at least two billion people will face severe water scarcity and/or the contamination of drinking water, a condition already faced by millions in developing countries. Heat trapping gases will cause radical climate change and extreme weather conditions that will equal or exceed the power of Hurricane Katrina that devastated New Orleans in 2005.

In his acclaimed 2003 book The Weather Makers, Tim Flannery wrote: “We must be under no illusions as to what is at stake. If humans pursue a business-as-usual course for the first half of this century, I believe the collapse of civilization due to climate change becomes inevitable.”

WORK

After education that will be increasingly impacted by e-learning, some futurists believe the concept of a career as we know it today will be replaced by constant change.

Learning is what most adults will do for a living,” says Carroll. It’s already underway. As robots continue to eat away at much of our traditional labour, jobs that people once saw as career paths will continue to disappear and be replaced by jobs that are as unimaginable now as the high-tech industry was at the dawn of the last century.

Babies born in 2014 will be members of a workforce that will be increasingly untied to their employers’ office desk. With 3D holographic conferencing and 3D contact lenses presenting pertinent information before your eyes, the office will be wherever the worker is.

HEALTH

Many futurists confidently predict that health care will be tipped on its head during the 90 or 100 years our 2014ers can expect to live.

Along with health gadgets such as smart toilets to monitor waste for early stages of disease and health sensors embedded in our bodies, clothing or homes to monitor well-being, doctors will conduct back-to-the-future-style home consultations without leaving their office or the patient leaving home.

But the biggest overall change, predicts Carroll, will be the perfected ability of people to know with certainty what might ail them before it actually happens.

I can look at a couple of strands of your DNA and know what you will have, or what you’re likely to have,” says Carroll. “We won’t be talking wait times in a system where we fix people after they get sick. The entire system will be based on prevention and deciding what a person has to do to avoid specific illnesses.”

ENTERTAINMENT

This remains one of the more complicated, unpredictable areas of future human activity to forecast.

On one hand, it’s clear that the screens we use for entertainment will become more sophisticated. British futurologist Frank Shaw imagines a future where walls, floors and ceilings will be interactive screens for video games, movies and TV. On the other hand, the 2014er is being born at a time when vinyl records and the turntables needed to play them are making a comeback.

Just consider the confident predictions of the early 1950s that television would kill radio and you have the conundrum of being reasonably sure that technology will offer options but unsure as to whether people will actually embrace it.

FUTURE TENSE

Futurists admit that most predictions are subject to change, but some aspects of human behaviour are predictable enough for them to be relatively confident about some things. Wars, for example. Our 2014ers and their children will face wars, but drones will be ubiquitous both as weapons and quite possibly as (unarmed) toys for the more affluent.

In his 2006 book, Mind Set! Reset Your Thinking and See The Future, American futurist John Naisbitt took a plus ça change, plus c’est la même, relatively optimistic view of what’s to come.

Whether cellphones can display television and calls are made via the Internet, your bathtub filled by taking off your clothes, or your refrigerator opened by a rumble in your stomach, these are just other ways of doing what we do — easier faster, further, more and longer — and not the substance of our lives. We go to school, get married, and have kids and send them to school. Home, family, and work are the great constants.

In September, I was the closing keynote speaker for the American Medical Group Association Institute for Quality Leadership annual conference in Phoenix. Subsequent to my keynote, I was interviewed and published in the prestigious American Healthcare and Drug Benefits peer-reviewed journal. The article follows below.


At the American Medical Group Association 2013 Institute for Quality Leadership annual conference, a session focused on transforming the US healthcare system was presented by Jim Carroll, author of Ready, Set, Done: How to Innovate When Faster is the New Fast,1 who discussed the ways in which the unprecedented technological changes in medicine can transform the system in a positive way, in a very short time.

“The future of medicine has nothing to do with politics —it’s got everything to do with science, demographics, new forms of technological applications, such as genomics, new forms of equipment, and other innovations”…said Jim Carroll.

In a brief discussion after the meeting, Mr Carroll offered some food for thought for those involved in the “business” of medicine. He explained that he tells healthcare experts all across the country, “I know you are sick of the Affordable Care Act. But the future of medicine has nothing to do with government—it’s got everything to do with science, demographics, new forms of technological applications, such as genomics, new forms of equipment, and other innovations.”

Mr Carroll suggested that “by the year 2020, we absolutely can harness these to turn the healthcare system from one in which we wait until patients are sick and then we fix them, to understanding what things are going to go wrong in advance in order to avoid those problems.”

The system that Mr Carroll says is well within reach will have characteristics such as being consumer-driven and retail-oriented for treatment that is not related to critical care, and encompassing many cost-saving technologies.

“One example is in the field of pharmacogenomics, involving pharmaceutical products targeted to particular genes for particular cancer treatments. The cost of sequencing machines has plummeted, and they could become low-cost items. Individuals could buy machines that tell them whether they have certain gene sequences that make them prone to cancer,” he said. Furthermore, “when this type of technology becomes ubiquitous and costs just pennies, it transforms everything in healthcare.”

Smartphone apps are also proliferating and becoming very inexpensive, and are increasingly being applied in medicine. More than 17,000 healthcare software apps are available for smartphones, according to Mr Carroll, and as many as 78% of consumers have expressed interest in such apps. For example, consumers are using medical apps to monitor their glucose levels and better understand their healthcare circumstances and options.

“The patient is changing; the consumer is changing. And we all need to align ourselves to the changes that are occurring.” He also pointed to the virtualization of healthcare, with hospitals extending into the community.

“In the near future, a lot of non–critical care patients will be able to remain in their homes instead of being admitted to the hospital, and doctors will be able to monitor their vital signs remotely, using real-time analytics and location-intelligence technologies,” Mr Carroll predicted. He says that because medical knowledge doubles every 6 years, the pace of understanding new medical information is increasing as a result of the power of technology.

“I tell people in the healthcare system, ‘Don’t fixate on the negatives but on the positives. Think about how it’s good for your patients and their patients to embrace these changes,’ ” said Mr Carroll. “Demographic changes mean healthcare administrators, providers, and patients are becoming more welcoming to technology-driven changes in the sector. And that provides huge opportunities for improvement through innovation.” The future of US medicine, according to Mr Carroll, is bright.

It’s a fair question. You might not think about it much, but I do.

I’ve been talking about the concept of perfect microwave popcorn since at least 1995. Heck, I wrote about it in a variety of books in the 90’s. And still, it doesn’t quite exist….

If you try to make microwave popcorn, chances are it will go like this. What if appliance manufacturers used Internet connectivity to redesign the microwave.

So here’s the latest October article from my CAMagazine column.

Maybe I have an obsession with this, but the concept does provide interesting ‘food for thought,’ if you pardon the pun.

Your appliances are getting smarter
By Jim Carroll

Perfect microwave popcorn. I thought by now we’d have mastered this but, for all its successes, the high-tech industry still has not figured out how to make perfect microwave popcorn.

The problem with making popcorn in a microwave is that every oven has a different power output, so all you can do is listen carefully to the popping pattern to figure out when it might be finished. There has to be a better way.

Back in the early 1990s, as the concept of Internet-based home automation started to appear, I figured there would one day be a perfect microwave popcorn machine. While on stage talking about the future, I would tell the story of perfect microwave popcorn — predicting that I’d have a device in my home that would read the bar code on the popcorn bag, query a database through the Internet, and figure out the exact timing for that particular microwave device.

Orville Redenbacher would partner with appliance manufacturers and come up with a really cool automated system that would provide perfect popcorn every time. Internet-linked appliances, back-end databases and a marriage of consumer food products to the Internet and technology. It seemed like a pretty simple idea.
Well, as far as I know, it hasn’t happened — yet.

But this year at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, there were glimmers of hope. Clearly, there were two big trends on display — tech/connectivity in the car, and tech/connectivity in the home.

A lot of the news sizzle surrounds tech in the car; the tech-in-the-home field isn’t getting as much attention, because it’s just not as exciting as wheels. But there are glimpses of what is going on: Whirlpool has announced that in 2011, it will have produced one million smart-grid-compatible clothes dryers that utilize smart connectivity to become more efficient. And imagine having a dishwasher or clothes dryer that sends you a text message when the cycle is finished — that’s going to be a regular part of our lives soon, too.

Massive pervasive interactivity on a grand and unimaginable scope will soon be upon us — and the younger generation, weaned on a diet of connectivity, will begin reshaping their world in fascinating ways. Already my 16-year-old son reminds me to stop one car length behind the normal spot at a red light — because he knows I’ll be on a pressure pad that will force an automatic green turn light.

What happens to our world when everything around us plugs in? Fascinating things, including perfect microwave popcorn. Buy the intelligent microwave, bring it home, and plug it into the wall. The microwave will use the basic Internet connectivity found in your home to establish a connection.

The package of microwave popcorn you purchased includes a bar code that uniquely identifies it. When you press “cook,” the microwave will read the bar code. It will then use the Internet connectivity to send a query to a central database. There, it will ask, in effect: “For this particular model of microwave and for this particular package of popcorn, how long is the cooking time?” Receiving the answer, it will proceed to provide you with perfect popcorn — every time.

Farfetched? I don’t think so. I believe we are destined for a future in which everyday appliances and technologies will be linked to the Internet; often through the home network or a wireless Internet connection that is set to invade your home. As this occurs, devices will emerge with capabilities that are quite unimaginable today.

Cyber-skepticism is rooted deep….it’s going to take a ton of work to bring people in the business world back

I just got back from Orlando, where I did a few sessions on my Thriving on Change! How to Create an Innovation Culture theme at the PLUS International conference. [ link ]

PLUS stands for Professional Liability Underwriting Society — in other words, the folks who underwrite liability policies for doctors, dentists, architects, lawyers and accountants. Given the year of scandal, its an industry in quite a bit of turmoil.

My focus was to talk about how emerging business systems will cause quite a bit of change within the industry. I once said that “the truth is that many insurance companies are using 1950s methods to deal with customers who deal with other financial institutions using 21st century methods.” [ link ]

Fact is, it’s not an industry that has been successful at leveraging technology — a 2000 Deloitte & Touche survey indicated that more than 90% of agent-carrier communications go by phone, paper and fax. Paper-intense! Did you know that there are 70 million pre-printed insurance forms floating around out there??? Imagine the cost-inefficiencies in the business.

Fortunately, the big carriers seem to have finally figured the Internet out, after a lot of false starts. Indicative of what is happening is Lloyd’s of London Project Blue Mountain initiative. Simply put, the objective is all about “creating efficiencies for both brokers and underwriters to get more reliable data on which to base their decisions.” In other words, streamline business processes and transactions — the paper! — in order to achieve cost savings between the providers and the brokers and underwriters in the business chain. [ link ]

The industry is slowly moving to a world where brokers and agents can bind policies on behalf of their clients online, and can access all kinds of other policy and transactional detail. In other words — ebiz in the insurance industry isn’t about having customers buy policies online — its about using technology to help the broker and agent do their job better.

OK, so the insurance companies have figured it out. But from every session I do for insurance companies and industry events such as this, I get the feeling that a) the staff is really in the dark ages about what is going on and that b) they’re skeptical of anything technology related overall.

We can fix a) — there simply needs to be better communication of the strategies that are driving this.

But b) is a big problem, and the fact that they think like that isn’t surprising. In their industry, they’ve seen futurists come along and predict “distintermediation. “It was said that all the brokers would disappear, as insurance companies began to sell direct. That didn’t happen, and won’t happen, because insurance is a fear-based product, and is sold, not bought.

Then they were told that there would be vast new insurance marketplaces online that would forever change the industry. That didn’t happen either.

The fact is, they’ve seen a lot of things come and go from the technology world, and the result of all these “big changes” that have never come about is that the typical employee in any insurance company — whether it be life, property and casualty, medical benefits or professional liability — is skeptical of any pronouncement made these days about new technology directions. There’s sort of an attitude there of “yeah, we’ve heard it all before, and it’s just another story. It won’t happen.”

Which means that insurance companies are going to have a real tough time making their new systems work. After all, how can they do so in a culture which has become so darned skeptical?

Food for thought. The terrible thing is that this is a reality in almost every industry. The lingering hangover effect of the dot.com years lingers on.

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