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I work with many of the world’s leading bureaus, one of who is the Washington Speakers Bureau. They represent such people as Condoleeza Rice, George W. Bush, Tony Blair, John Kerry, Magic Johnson, Terry Bradshaw — global political, sports and other leaders. They’ve just run a blog post that I wrote on trends in the speaking industry. (Many of the worlds leading bureaus book me ; not only Washington Speakers, but also National Speakers Bureau / Global Speakers; Gail Davis & Associates; Leading Authorities; the Harry Walker Agency; Keppler Speakers ; Executive Speakers and many more!)


You can’t open a newspaper without seeing an article on the impact of ‘disruption.’  We now live in a period of unprecedented change in which your business model and the assumptions by which you operate are set to be forever disrupted.

In my own case, I spend a tremendous amount of time with different organizations in a vast range of different industries and professions, helping executives to understand and respond to the disruptive forces around them. And in the last several years, I’ve noticed some pretty significant changes in the speaking industry as organizations struggle with disruption.

If you are someone on your team responsible for organizing corporate or association meetings, you need to think about and react to the trends and forces at work. Quite simply, change is occurring several ways: with the speed with which speakers and topic experts are being booked, the topic areas that insight is being sought for, and the short time frames that everyone is working within.

As a speaker who focuses on how to link trends and innovation, my tag-line has become ‘the future belongs to those who are fast.”

The world is speeding up – and organizations need to respond faster

Consider the changes that everyone is impacted by today. Business model disruption. The rapid emergence of new competitors. The challenging impact of social media. Products that are almost out of date by the time they are brought to market. The digitization of everything and the impact of the Internet of Things.  All of these trends — and more — require that organizations pick up the pace when it comes to their strategies, actions and innovation efforts.

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One of my favorite innovation phrases that I always use on stage or in a CEO off-site is “think big, start small, scale fast!”

thinksmall

So I woke up this morning and came into the home office, and was thinking about the “start small’ part of that phrase. And quickly jotted down a list of small ideas.

Here goes!

  •  do small projects: too many innovation efforts get bogged down, bloated, and blow up due to big scope and size!
  • celebrate small wins : not every innovation effort needs to be a home run
  • learn from small failures: I love the phrase fail early, fail often, fail fast; you can do that better if your project is small
  • scatter your team for small exploration: there is so much going on in so many industries that is so tiny but has huge implications, you’ve simply got to let your people explore!
  • reframe the idea of small: put into perspective how small changes can have a big impact
  • look for small winners: for example, there are tremendous innovations in manufacturing concepts with small manufacturers — learn from them!
  • give a small bit: in an era of open collaboration and global insight, giving back some R&D can be a good thing
  • seek small heroes: in the global economy, there is probably a small 1 or 2 person company who is doing exactly the cool, innovate thing you need. Find them!
  • establish small decision groups: destroy committees; if there has to be one to make a decision, limit it to 1 or 2 or 3 people.
  • focus on the power of small: one person can change a company, an industry, a country, a world!

Of course, my ideas aren’t original. The original concept of small perhaps came from the greatest advertising campaign of all time — for the VW Beetle, Think Small.

It’s a powerful concept.

In my case, the entirety of my career as a global keynote speaker, futurist, trends and innovation expert is that it’s me, and my wife, and a small home office that is plugged into a great big world. From here, I serve up insight and guidance to a vast range of global organizations, associations, CEO’s and leadership teams.

Thinking big, starting small, scaling fast.

Perhaps the real secret to succeeding in a world where the future belongs to those who are fast!

 

GE Lighting

Jim Carroll speaking at a GE Lighting event in New York City: “When it comes to lighting, we’re in the era of revolutionary new opportunities. The potential for significant efficiency and cost savings through deep analytical insight into usage patterns, and detailed, specific-spot addressability and management is real.”

Back in May, I participated in a key customer event for GE Lighting in New York City. Here’s a quick little article summary, and video, which captured my thoughts on the future of intelligent lighting and connected infrasucture.

5 Things to Know About the Connected Future
By Jim Carroll

When it comes to acceleration, we live in one of the most fascinating periods in history where the rate of technology change is absolutely staggering.

So what trends are driving this acceleration, and how are smart businesses adapting to not only survive but thrive in an ever-connected world? Read on to learn 5 things to know about the connected future—and how you can stay ahead.

Acceleration: 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 that’s going to occur in a two-year basis, but underestimate the rate of change that will occur in a 10-year basis. A few years ago I used to speak about 3D printing as if it were science fiction. Now it’s part of many businesses day-to-day operations.

In the not-so-distant future, we will likely have connectivity in cars that researches 3-bedroom, 2-bath homes for sale in your neighborhood, and then drives you directly to each house for a tour. We already have augmented reality displays built into ski visors and goggles that tell you, in real-time, how fast and far you’ve skied -this same technology will be integrated into automobiles in the not-too-distant future.

It’s important to be ready for this acceleration. Your opportunity in dealing with this is continuing to ingest new ideas, new technologies and new methodologies to solve problems.

Hyper-Connectivity….and endless possibilities.

Every industry is set to be transformed as an era of hyper-connectivity becomes the new norm. The result? Massive business model disruption; industries in which customers empowered with mobile devices control a wide variety of devices that are a part of their daily lives; unique opportunities for deep analytical insight into trends and opportunities emerging in industries; and 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.

Every device that is part of our daily life is becoming plugged into the Internet. We are becoming aware of its location and its status. And while this has been a trend for awhile, it is today’s businesses that are primed to turn this momentum into big wins.

By the year 2020, there will be more than 50 billion devices connected to the Internet. That’s roughly six devices per person.

The Internet of Things is happening everywhere, it is real, and it is unfolding at a blistering pace. We’re in the era of connected thermostats that link to an intelligent energy grid; autonomous vehicle technology that is self-aware and networked into sophisticated, intelligent highway flow control systems; a connected trucking fleet that is self-diagnostic, predictive and built for zero down-time.

We have scales that record our body mass index, transmit it to a password-protected website and create custom charts on our health. We have ceiling fans that will slow down when owners go to sleep. We have barbeques that send us text messages when the meat needs to be flipped.

These are staggering trends, and what is means is the possibilities are endless for growth and innovation.

Momentum & the potential for big wins.

When it comes to lighting, we’re in the era of revolutionary new opportunities. The potential for significant efficiency and cost savings through deep analytical insight into usage patterns, and detailed, specific-spot addressability and management is real.

New LED technologies change our very concept of lighting and individual addressability at the level of the light bulb leads us to an era that is unlike anything we’ve ever known. Consider these statistics:

Right now, lighting accounts for 12-15% of annual global power consumption, creating 1.7 billion tons of CO2 emissions per year.
According to the International Energy Agency, improving lighting efficiency by 20% can reduce total power consumption by 3.8% and cut total CO2 emissions by 0.8 percent.
According to industry reports, the global LED lighting marketing is expected to grow from $7 billion in 2010 to $40 billion in 2016.

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

The next generation

Today’s younger generation—those under age 25—have never known a world without a mobile device that lets them access incredible amounts of information at their fingertips. They are globally wired, entrepreneurial, collaborative…and they thrive on change.

Gone are the days of MS Dos copy and computer courses like Cobalt. This generational trend is crucial to businesses that need to communicate with customers and employees that are used to receiving information in vastly different ways. Additionally, this generation is starting to drive rapid business model change and industry transformation as they move into executive positions.

According to author Cathy Davidson, 65% of children today will work in a career that has doesn’t yet exist. 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.

The Future Belongs to Those Who Are Fast

As new technology, intelligent lighting and infrastructure emerge, the key phrase businesses need to remember is to 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.

Two days, 215km (145 miles), pounding rain and sweltering heat - but I did it -- my bike and I at the base of Niagara Falls! There is still time to make a donation to this important fundraising cause!

I just successfully finished the 2012 200KM Ride to Conquer Cancer, from Toronto to Niagara Falls. It turned out to be a 109K first day, and 106k on the second day. (For my American friends, that’s about 145 miles … two wheels, two legs, and lots of enthusiasm!)

Yesterday over 4,800 people rode in this groundbreaking fundraiser – through buckets of rain. The first leg took me an unimpressive 5 hours. But today started at 7am, with sweltering heat — but I managed to pull in a pretty impressive 4 hours and 4 minute ride!

Not bad for a 53 year old guy who used to smoke — but quit over 25 years ago at the urging of his wife, Christa. At one poignant moment early in the relationship, she stated: “It’s either me or the cigarettes.” I quit cold turkey. The smartest this I ever did – quitting and choosing her! Otherwise I might just be another grim cancer statistic.

This is a fascinating event in just so many ways. I take tremendous pride in being able to do a ride like this at the age of 53. It is a life-changing experience to ride next to folks — denoted by the yellow flags attached to their bikes – who have survived a bout with cancer.

And it’s timely. Right now, I’m right in the middle of doing a number of keynotes around the theme of ‘the future of wellness, health and fitness.” I’ll be blogging on that this week — but let’s just say, what a way to link what I talk about with what I do! I’ve been on a BIG personal fitness kick through the last year, and I can tell you the ride was a heck of a lot easier this year.

The funds from the Ride to Conquer Cancer go directly to the Princess Margaret Hospital cancer foundation, one of the top 5 cancerresearch centres in the world. There couldn’t’ be a more worthy cause.

My sponsors!

These are the awesome people who  sponsored my ride through a donation to the Princess Margaret Hospital. They are the heroes of the ride. (Presented in order of donation, newest donations first.)

I am still short of my goal, so if you would like to make a donation, visit http://ride.jimcarroll.com.

 

  • Steve Potocny, a neighbor and great golf buddy!
  • Max Kazman, my very unique brother in law
  • Mark Davis, a ski friend
  • Colin Thompson, another ski friend
  • Keith Croucher — a pal from University over 30 years ago.
  • the good folks at Goodman Speakers Bureau – who had booked me into the series of keynotes on health, wellness and fitness
  • Kevin Campbell, a ski friend
  • John Langhorne and his family – another ski friend
  • Laura Boland and family — yup, ski friends
  • Peter Smith – you guessed it a ski friend
  • Rob Sykes, a friend of 25+ years
  • John Gardner – he visited my Web site, looking for some info. I found it for him, and he made a donation!
  • Mark Jeftovice, CEO of easyDNS and long time friend
  • Greg McKenzie — golf buddy – he put up with my golfing at Troon in Arizona
  • Scott Kress, Mt. Everest climber and very good friend
  • Peter Berczi – another ski buddy, who put up with my skiing while out in Aspen this year
  • Mary Joy Aitken – a donation from a Twitter follower! (who wrote that it was a very important cause.

Thank you to all!

Tomorrow I head to New Orleans, where I will keynote the International Dairy, Deli and Bakery Association. One of the key themes — fitness, health, and wellness!

Paula Dean and Sarah Palin are also speaking at the conference — I think my message will be different from theirs! And here’s lot’s of fun – I’m followed on stage by Terry Bradshaw….

A press release has gone out about an event I’ll be doing in Chicago later this month.

The essence of the issue is the extremely rapid change coming to the retail sector. I spoke about this years ago, in a video clip called “Cardboard People, Plasma People.” And indeed, this very theme became the opening chapter in my book, Ready, Set, Done: How to Innovate When Faster is the New Fast.

See below to watch the video and read the blog post — and read the chapter from the book!

Gilbarco announces Jim Carroll as Keynote at Upcoming Digital Forecourt
Marketing Summit, 
Thu, 2012-05-31
World-leading futurist will help c-store retailers compete and win in rapidly evolving retail landscape

GREENSBORO, N.C. – May 31, 2012 – The world-leading international futurist, Jim Carroll, will deliver the keynote address at Gilbarco Veeder-Root’s Digital Forecourt Marketing Summit in Chicago, IL on June 26-27th, 2012. As a trends and innovation expert, Jim Carroll helps growth-oriented organizations transform into high-velocity innovation heroes. His clients range from Northrop Grumman to Johnson & Johnson, the Swiss Innovation Forum to the National Australia Bank; the Walt Disney Organization to NASA. Some of his recent speaking engagements include the 2012 Southwest Gas Association Conference, the 2011 Consumer Goods Technology Business & Technology Leadership Conference, and the 2011 Multi-Unit Franchise Conference Las Vegas.

Hosted by Gilbarco Veeder-Root and Outcast, this exclusive, invitation-only technology event will focus on the emergence of Digital Media and its implications on consumer marketing and behaviors. Industry expert led sessions will cover digital media outlook and trends, best practices from retailers, loyalty program integration and more.

“We are thrilled to announce Jim Carroll as keynote speaker for our Digital Forecourt Marketing Summit,” said Mike Schulte, President of Gilbarco Veeder-Root North America. “With his unique storytelling approach Jim will challenge our retailers to think about their business and industry in an unconventional way and help them link future trends to innovation.”

“I’m excited to participate in the Digital Forecourt Marketing Summit,” said Jim Carroll. “It’s a changing time for the convenience store industry and for retail more broadly. There is so much opportunity to innovate — be it in operations, partnership structures, forecourt merchandising or taking advantage of the rapid evolution of mobile payment technologies. I’ll challenge attendees to concentrate on the core activities that will help them focus on the opportunities of the future, rather than the challenges of the past.”

——


:

  • Read Cardboard People, Plasma People 

My son and I finished a 2-day, 9 hr 220km ride in the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer, and raised over $5,500 for the Princess Margaret Hospital Cancer Research Center!

 

I successfully finished the 2011 200KM Ride to Conquer Cancer, from Toronto to Niagara Falls, next weekend, June 11/12. It turned out to be a 113K first day, and 107k on the second day, with times of 4 hrs 35 minutes on day one and 4 hrs 17 minutes on day 2.

23 years ago, when my wife met me, I was a 2-pack a day chain-smoking fool. I remember my brand of choice was Matinee. I literally gobbled them back. It was awful. She got me to quit, cold turkey. I’ve never gone back.

Had she not got me to quit, I would imagine I would either be in the grave by now, or at a minimum, suffering the early stages of the inevitable conclusion of disease from a life on cigarettes.

What made the ride special was that I went with 16 year old son Thomas. He and I raised together just over $5,500 for this fundraising event.

The funds raised go directly to the Princess Margaret Hospital cancer foundation, one of the top 5 cancer research centres in the world.

Shortly after my wife got me to quit smoking in 1988, she got me out jogging — in a local cemetary, the irony of which was not lost on me.

The fact that I completed the event is a great thing, given the alternative. It is also a very important personal milestone.

My sponsors!

These are the awesome people who are sponsoring my ride through a donation to the Princess Margaret Hospital. They are the heroes of the ride. (Presented in order of donation, newest donations first.)

  • Peter Budreski, Chartered Accountant, inspired by my Twitter post for support – and he knows me from 20+ years ago
  • Mark Davis: ski buddy and friend. Always stays up way too late!
  • Milan Popadich: another ski buddy. This guy could do 200miles on a bike in a heartbeat
  • Theresea Beenken: senior VP, National Speakers Bureau, long time friend
  • Gregy Wennyk: Senior VP, Sun Life. He saw me at a speech and was inspired to donate
  • Mark Brandon: @MotiveLegal, inspired to donate through my Twitter post.
  • Simon Anderson: @Futur1st, also inspired through Twitter.
  • Mark Jeftovic: CEO, easyDNS.com, long time friend
  • Jane Gyles: Thornbury, ski buddy and bonfire friend!
  • Timothy Pinos: Lawyer, Cassels Brock, long time friend and fellow rider; he went with me on my first 100km training ride
  • Marilyn Cassidy: Speakers Group speakers bureau
  • Clemmer Group : Jim Clemmer, fellow speaker and leadership expert extraordinaire!
  • W.K. Detlefsen: my boss from 25+ years ago, my mentor, my inspiration for innovation
  • Dennis Craig: Ski buddy and long time friend. Dared to ski with me in the Swiss Alps!
  • Scott Kress: fellow speaker, ski buddy, Mt. Everest champion
  • Lisa Coleman: Speak Inc Speakers Bureau
  • Arnold Sand: SMENet Sports and Entertainment speakers bureau
  • Michael Frick: Speakers Platform speakers bureau
  • Derek Sweeney: Sweeney Agency speakers bureau
  • Peter Smith: ski buddy
  • Rob Sykes: long time friend
  • Kelly Nelson: CFO, National Sea Products. Worked with him 30+ years ago!
  • Laura Boland: ski buddy
  • George Przybylowski: ski buddy
  • Peter Berczi : ski buddy
  • Andrew Cohen: CEO, Collaborative Speakers

What do innovative organizations do? They re-orient themselves for an economy in which their ability to react to fast paced change will increasingly define their success.

In this clip, Jim Carroll outlines for an audience of several thousand the key attributes of today’s innovation heroes:


In essence, these organizations concentrate upon:

  • an accelerated innovation cycle
  • the rapid ingestion of new technologies / methodologies
  • faster time to market
  • rapid re-focusing of resources to deal with new opportunity or threat
  • a rabid focus on operational excellence
  • a  rapid response to volatility
  • and a re-orientation to fast paced consumer and brand perception

Jim has studied the innovation attitudes of hundreds of global organizations, and has carefully come to define what it is that allows some organizations to achieve stunning levels of innovation success, while others become innovation laggards. These attributes are a good part of the defining characteristics for success.

What do you think?

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