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I’m in the airport lounge at LAS. 3 keynotes in 13 days, all of them wildly successful.

LasVegas 2015

“When you are on stage in Las Vegas, you have a massive opportunity to do your best work : engage, inspire and motivate! And you come away with a feeling that as a global futurist and keynote speaker, you’ve changed lives!”

I realized this morning that I’ve now done close to 100 keynotes / executive sessions in this town in the last 15 years, with audiences as small as 30 (a group of legal executives for a massive global infrastructure company), to 7,000 (Burger King’s global franchise conference at the Centre for the Performing Arts,) to 1,000 executives for liquor companies …. how appropriate for Vegas!

Las Vegas is where a keynote speaker earns their stripes. You get on stage with an audience that is tired, overwhelmed, diverted by distractions, and needs a high energy speaker to get their attention.

Which is why my tag line, when people ask me what I do for a living, is “I go out and talk to large groups of hungover people!” And that’s the line I use when I walk out on stage and introduce myself to the audience.

The city provides a buzz that is comparable elsewhere for a speaker — with the result that some of my best work has been done in this city. (I’ve had some marginal results as well; every speaker does…..)

Let’s put it into perspective. In the last 13 days, I’ve done keynotes for:

  • a group of recruitment professionals, seeking insight into how to engage and attract the next generation of doctors
  • a major North American construction company
  • and an audience of 2,000 for the American Production and Inventory Control Society

When you get on stage on stage in Las Vegas, it can be the most exhilarating experience in your life. It’s Vegas! The staging is wonderful. The buzz is vibrant. The Twitter feed is alive. And if you do it right, you win the audience.

When you are on stage in Las Vegas, you have a massive opportunity to do your best work : engage, inspire and motivate! And you come away with a feeling that as a global futurist and keynote speaker, you’ve changed lives!

It might be a city that often has the toughest audience in the world, but it’s where as a keynote speaker, you prove your worth.

 

As a popular keynote speaker with a focus on future trends and innovation, I’m often called upon to deliver a talk that focuses on some very unique or current issues. This post will give you a sense of the types of events that I am being booked into today.

11173324_1139955206031162_1350127962545406975_n There are several key trends that continue to define my business:

  • corporate leadership meetings continue to be a big growth market – I’m often engaged by a CEO or other senior executive for an offsite meeting — on a highly customized topic. There’s more information below on some of the very unique and customized topics that I have taken on as of late.
  • economic uncertainty seems to be growing with the collapse in oil prices, the election, and ongoing questions about global economic growth. That’s a good thing — I’ve got plenty of video and blog posts around the theme of “innovating during uncertain economic times.” It led to strong bookings in 2009-2010, and I’m seeing an uptick for this type of topic again today. Global economic turmoil? Time to innovate! Read more.
  • a topic that is drawing continuing attention has to do with a new book I am working on: “Think Big, Start Small, Scale Fast“. Many companies continue to be blindsided by the speed of technology change, business model change (think Uber), empowered consumers, new competitors — you name it! This simple phrase resonates with people as a keynote topic: read more!
  • in addition, the topic of the “Internet of Things” ties into the current high velocity change occurring in every industry as Silicon Valley comes to drive the speed d of industry. Industries that have had me in on this topic include the automotive/trucking industry (Volvo / Mack Trucks), packaging/paper (Mondi International out of South Africa), energy and infrastructure (GE Lighting, Lennox, Honeywell, and Trane Ingersoll Rand), among others. Read more.

Customized keynotes

This area continues to be my biggest growth market. I truly believe that clients today are looking for much more than a canned message; they want real insight, deep research, and a highly customized message. I’ve certainly been delivering; here are a few of the unique topics that I have taken on:

  • The Future of Steel” — a keynote for the global leadership meeting of the Finnish company, Konecranes. They build the massive structures used at container ports, shipyards, railroads, oil fields and other industries. They were looking for a keynote that looked at the future of the steel industry, one of their key industry verticals. Watch for an upcoming blog post on the unique research that I undertook
  • Physician Recruitment in the Era of Digital Intimacy” – PracticeMatch is a US company that specializes in the recruitment of doctors/physicians. They were looking for a talk that would take a look at the challenges in recruiting the Millennial medical professional. They didn’t want a canned talk about this unique generation — they wanted real insight. You can read my blog post, which gives you a sense of how deeply I dug into the topic, on this blog post.
  • The Future of Risk in the Era of Big Infrastructure” — this Friday, I’m in Las Vegas with Kiewit, a North American construction company involved in massive oil, energy, highway and other infrastructure projects. More specifically, I’m with their legal team — 50 executives responsible for managing risk throughout the business. My keynote takes a look at new forms of emerging risk, given trends unfolding globally. It’s a very unique and customized topic combining future trends and legal risk — I’ll be blogging about this next week
  • The Future of Energy Infrastructure” — the topic for which GE Lighting, Lennox, Honeywell, and Trane Ingersoll Rand engaged me. This is a good example of very specific customization to an industry of the broader “Internet of Things” topic. You can read a blog post and watch video from the GE event, held in NYC, on the blog post “5 Things to Know About the Connected Future
  • The Future of Intelligent Packaging” — Mondi, a South African based organization, brought me to Prague to open their global leadership meeting. They are deep into the packaging industry in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa, and wanted a talk that would help their team understand the opportunities that would unfold as packaging materials become intelligent, connected, and interactive. You won’t look at a box of Wheaties the same after you’ve thought about this topic! An Atlanta based company, Neenah Paper and Packaging, was also looking for a similar topic — which is a good example of the fact that almost every industry is being reinvented by an era of “hyperconnectivity.” There’s more here.
  • The Future of Sports and Fitness” – I admit it was a thrill to open the CEO leadership meeting for the Sporting and Fitness Industry Association — and to be followed on stage by Roger Goodell, Commission of the NFL. (I didn’t bring up Tom Brady). This booking relates to the ongoing theme of the future of health, wellness and fitness, and “Healthcare 2020” :
  • Autonomous Vehicle Technology, Self Driving Cars and Intelligent Highways” — both the Colorado Department of Transportation and Volvo have had me in to look at this extremely hot topic. You couldn’t have failed to notice stories in the news that both Google and Apple are developing self-driving vehicles. There is a seismic change underway in this massive industry, and I’ve got some great background with keynotes for major players as it unfolds. Automotive World, one of the leading global publications in the auto industry, covered my thoughts on this topic in the article, Is the Auto Industry Ready for the World of 2030. Read more.

These are just a few examples of some of the unique topics I’ve been taking on. Remember — clients are looking for real, deep, specific, customized and tailored insight.

Feel free to contact me if you want to explore some ideas!

It’s an interesting time for many organizations. There is a wave of business model disruption, new competition, fast paced change, a massive transition in skills and knowledge — not to mention the impact of a massive wave of technology.

That’s often the context for the keynotes that I do;  many times over the last 15 years, I’ve been invited in to challenge a global leadership team to how to deal with a fast paced future. Innovation is a key theme, and my job is the wake people up to the trends that will change their industry, careers, and opportunities.

I’ll always work several text message polls into my talks (through PollEverywhere.com) to gauge the mindset of those in the room.

And in the last 18 months, I’ve woven into most of my talks, three key questions:

  • do you believe you are capable of dealing with a fast future?
  • do you think your business model will survive the next ten years?
  • are you prepared to innovate now, to deal with this reality?

I’ve come to this conclusion. Every single audience group has answered “No.” “No”. “No.”

In other words: we’re not ready for a lot of change; we know this change will likely have a devastating impact; but we’re just going to wait a while before we do anything about it!

The thinking, to me, is truly mind-boggling.

Case in point: here’s a recent poll with one recent global leadership meeting that I was asked to open.

The first question: are you ready to deal with a fast future?

FastFuture-1024x648

Well, not really

Next question: do you think your business model will survive?

Definitely not.

10YearsOut-1024x654

Last question: What are you going to do about it?

Excuse-1
Um, we will just wait it out.

I’ve tried this scenario with multiple groups through the last 18 months, and there is a deadly commonality to it.

It’s kind of scary, because it implies to me that a lot of organizations, associations, professions and industries are sleep walking into the future.

We live in fascinating times!

 

Every industry is set to be transformed as an era of hyper connectivity becomes the new norm. The result? Massive business model disruption; the rapid emergence of new competitors; 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; a reinvention of manufacturing, logistics, retail, healthcare and other industries because of consumers that are empowered, connected, and enabled with a new form of lifestyle management that we’ve never witnessed before.

The Internet of Things is happening everywhere.

The CEO of a major US energy company hired Jim Carroll to do a video that put into perspective the impact of the Internet of Things on the global energy. There are some pretty profound changes underway.

Think about the video in the context of literally any other industry, and you realize the scope of the potential disruption that is occurring.

The Internet of Things 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 . Intelligent home appliances that link to packaged food products that automatically upload carb, sodium and other dietary information as part of an overall health and wellness program.

Jim Carroll has been talking on stage about the Internet of things since the late 1990’s, when he began using the phrase “hyper connectivity” to describe a world in which “every device that is a part of our daily lives is about to become plugged in.” Since then, he has delivered his insight on the topic to a wide variety of organizations: several global technology leaders with a keynote talk on the future of home automation; several of the world’s largest HVAC companies about what happens when a global, intelligent home and industrial energy infrastructure emerges through widespread connectivity; consumer, food and packaged goods conferences about the impact of intelligent packaging. He has been booked by many leading global health care organizations for keynotes that have focused on what happens when consumers start aligning their wellness strategies through their own personal healthcare infrastructure.

The Internet of Things is a substantive, transformative trend that will provide more change in every industry in the next ten years than they’ve seen in the last thirty.

Jim Carroll already over a dozen years of on-stage experience with the topic, and can help you understand the strategies, risks and opportunities that you need to be aware of you move into a hyperconnected future. Consider one of the world’s most widely recognized futurists, trends and innovation experts for your next association, CEO leadership meeting or other keynote!

"Who is going to fix the education system so that it works for me in the future?"

“Who is going to fix the education system so that it works for me in the future?” Think about this kid – he’s going into a world of rapid knowledge obsolescence, the rapid emergence of new careers, and an era of hyper-knowledge. I’ll cover that and more when I keynote the Association of Private Colleges and Universities annual conference in June, 2015.

University Business Magazine has run an article, “Higher ed thought leaders forecast 2015 trends: Presidents and other thought leaders look ahead on cost, technology and learning.”

They called me for my thoughts which I offered up in a concise way:

Trend: When it comes to the future of education, it’s all about “just-in-time knowledge.” Increasingly specialized careers and skills, and accelerating technological change, mean more organizations will need people who can deliver the right skills, at the right time, for the right purpose. Knowledge development and deployment will accelerate to keep up with trend.

The article offers up a good variety of opinions on the future of education; it’s an industry that is ripe for and in the middle of some pretty significant disruption. I’ve done a lot of keynotes in this space, as seen on my Education Trends page.

As I noted in one of the posts there, “In essence, we’re living in a period of time that is witnessing these trends unfold at blinding speed, all related to the evolution of knowledge.

  1. Rapid knowledge obsolescence
  2. Rapid knowledge emergence
  3. Disappearance of existing careers due to 1)
  4. Rapid emergence of new careers due to 2)
  5. An ongoing need for continuous knowledge replenishment because of 1-4
  6. The migration of knowledge generation further away from academia (i.e. community colleges, high end manufacturing skills) because of the need for faster new knowledge deployment
  7. A massively increased challenge from overseas knowledge generation
  8. The fast emergence of new micro-careers because of specialized knowledge
  9. An economy that succeeds through knowledge deployment
  10. A fundamental transformation in knowledge delivery

I’m thrilled to announce that my efforts to help people understand the massive transformation that is occurring in what is known as “education” continues; I’ve been confirmed as the opening keynote speaker for the 2015 Association of Private Sector Colleges and Universities annual conference in Denver in June.

There are more thoughts that can be found in my PDF, “21st Century Skills”, below. Read it here or by clicking on the image.

21stcenturyskills

“Skills are Experiential. Skills are Generational. One of the most important assets that a company can invest in is “experiential capital”—that is, the cumulative knowledge the company has generated through innovation, risk, failure and success. Boost that skills capability and you’ve done something that flows onto the bottom line.”

 

The CEO’s are starting to notice.

That is, a lot of my clients (I do a lot of private, corporate off sites with major companies in addition to my conference and association keynotes) that the speed of change in their industry is increasingly being dictated by the speed of innovation of companies in the technology space.

I spoke about this on stage during my keynote for the Human Capital Institute Conference in New Orleans in 2010, in a clip, “When Every Company is Like Apple,” and spoke about the need to align our workforce for increasing speed.

The CEO’s are starting to notice, in that I’m getting an increasing number of bookings – leadership meetings and Board of Director meetings — that are focused on  the theme of ‘how do we align ourselves for faster change.’ My role — I do a full on keynote that outlines the trends impacting the organization, and then a series of interactive discussions in a workshop setting around the biggest opportunities and challenges faced by the organization.

I was quoted on the essence of this trend in Mashable in 2012 in an article, 9 Bold Predictions for the Digital World of 2020.

By 2020, if not before, most industries – health care, agriculture, financial – will have found that they have been transformed by the velocity of Moore’s law. Mobility, wireless, pervasive connectivity – everywhere we look, we see that the big trend for the next eight years is that technology will drive the pace of innovation in every single industry.

Credit cards will be replaced by smartphone transactions systems; auto insurance will be forever changed through GPS-based monitoring devices that reward good driving performance; hospitals will become virtual through the extension of bio-connectivity, involving remote medical monitoring and management.

The big trend is that as tech comes to change industries, change in those industries will occur faster than ever before. The winners will have been those who understand this reality, and adjust their innovation engine to keep up with this new speed of change.”

Jim Carroll, Futurist, Trends & Innovation Expert

I use the tag line “the future belongs to those who are fast” in many of my keynotes, whether on stage in Las Vegas or in small corporate settings with 20 senior executives. It’s not supposed to be just a snappy tag line (and the name of my latest book.) It’s also very much the reality that every industry finds itself in.

Is your organization positioned to be fast? Is Moore’s law and technology accelerating the rate of business model change, customer interaction methods, allowing the emergence of disruptive new competitors, and driving down profit margins? Then you had better be thinking about the role of innovation in order to assure you can align your organization to an increasingly fast future.

It was a bit of a whirlwind the last two weeks, with keynotes in Anaheim (medical device industry), Phonenix (top farming producers) and two in Orlando (the first being for Ameriquest; more on that to come.

The other event I opened in Orlando was for the 2013 Innovation Takes Root conference with  Natureworks; they’re the manufacturer of plant-based Ingeo biopolymer (polylactic acid) product, most often used in food packaging. (You’ll remember the infamous “noisy” Sun Chips bag launch a few years ago; that was their product. They age since fixed the sound issues.

itr2013_jimcarroll

“….packaging is increasingly becoming THE brand (think about the consumer experience of opening an Apple iPhone packaging)…..”

There’s a bit of coverage of my talk on the Pack Web Asia Web site which my news filter picked up, so I’ll run. You can read the full article here.

Innovation Takes Root 2014: NatureWorks Conference – Day One

USA – Orlando, Fla, The Innovation Takes Root conference, organized by NatureWorks, brings together Ingeo users from across the product’s different global vertical market segments to share the innovative solutions being created using the PLA (polylactic acid) biopolymer, reports Trina Tan.

In the spirit of the conference theme, the program kicked off with a keynote presentation by Jim Carroll, a futurist, trends and innovations guru, who challenged the audience to reconsider their attitude towards innovation, and their willingness to adapt to change in our economic, social and environmental global ecosystem.

One of the interesting points raised by Carroll was about how packaging is increasingly becoming THE brand (think about the consumer experience of opening an Apple iPhone packaging), which in turn makes it even more vital for brand owners to make use of the Package to market themselves, and push the packaging supply chain to innovate.

Bearing in mind the constant shifts in the market, Carroll said, “We need to learn to look at the market trends, and see the opportunities that lie behind them.”

What My 2013 Means for YOUR 2020!
December 20th, 2013

It’s been an incredible run! 2013 proved to be another fun year with a number of keynote presentations and workshops, once again in a vast number of different industries.

Usually, at the end of every year, I write a ‘trend report’ related to key trends that will impact you in the future. You’ll find some of them in the 2014 and beyond section to the right.

This year, I thought I would do something different though — why not outline for you what you should thinking about in terms of the trends that will affect you between now and 2020, based on what I’ve been speaking to my clients about in the last year.

A typical working day at the office for me during 2013!

A typical working day at the office for me during 2013!

Here’s a list of just a few clients where I’ve had the privilege of speaking, with a message focused on one or several key trends that we need to think about as we head towards 2020:

  • NASA Goddard Space Center — a keynote and a half day working session with senior leaders, research scientists and project managers – including those who are building the James Webb telescope, the replacement for the Hubble! Perhaps one of the most extraordinary working days of my life, and it was a thrill to bring my 20 year old son along with me – I have long been a space exploration junkie! The focus of my talk? Broadly, putting some context on the theme “the business of space is changing.” NASA is faced with dramatic trends that define new challenges but vast opportunity, from the increasing commercialization of space, rapid advancement of national space programs (think Iran and China) and the impact of the distribution of global R&D. That’s a key trend to 2020 for every single organization and every single industry: there are vast changes underway in terms of business models in every industry, and they are bigger than you think. Transformation is a key word going forward: no industry or company will look anything in 2020 like it does today. Innovators will make sure they are part of it, not blindsided by it.
  • Sandia National Laboratories – a keynote and a half day working session with a room full of, literally, nuclear scientists. I must tell you, when I walk into one of these situations, I often ask myself as to how I ended up in this very strange job. Then I focus on the task at hand: in this case, the broad theme being the fact that there is a fundamental, deep and substantive change in terms of how global R&D is carried out : the knowledge tentacles of an organization into the global collective mind will define its future success. Every organization must align to this new reality, and understand how to realign its knowledge acquisition and development process.
  • Private wealth managers, Athens, Greece – a keynote for a group of “family office managers.” In the room, I had folks who represent and manage the wealth of a vast swathe of some of the wealthiest families on the planet. Key message: on a long term basis, growth abounds in the global economy, and world class innovators focus on opportunity despite economic volatility. Perhaps that’s why it was held in Athens — read my blog post on the “Miracle that is Greece.”
  • American Medical Group, Phoenix, Arizona – a keynote for this group, which represents a vast cross-spectrum of the US healtcare system. Key message? The real future of health care isn’t found in the ridiculousness of the politics, but in that the rapid acceleration of science will provide more opportunity for innovation in the next 5 years than we have seen in the last 100. Looking out to 2020, we are going to see massive change in everything we think about healthcare. Genomic medicine is undergoing a cost curve that equates to what happened with computer chips – in 5 years, you’ll go into Radio Shack and buy your own genomic sequencing machine for $2. That’s but one trend of many – check out the health care section of my blog under the trends area, and dig deeper.
  • Lender Processing Group – a keynote built on the theme of my book of 15 years ago, Surviving the Information Age. The client was celebrating a 25th anniversary of a customer event, and wanted to look back at trends from the past and cast them into the future. What turned out was a talk that was a huge amount of fun – you can find the full video online as well as a number of clips! Key theme? Baby boomers are a very unique generation because of their relationship with the earliest days of the computer revolution. Key trend? We are in the midst of an absolute massive generational transformation  that relates to attitudes towards innovation and change, as baby boomers retire and Gen-Connect takes over positions of power and influence. Looking out to 2020, this is probably one of the deepest, most profound and sweeping trends to impact us. Right now, half of the global population is under the age of 25. What do you think happens next? It’s going to be different!
  • ERA 2013, Austin, Texas – this keynote and many others involved a dramatic look at some future trends sweeping our world, such as the “car of 2017” Key trend? Increasing acceleration of change means that we are living, for the first period of time, in which modern technologies come into our life,  become a part of our life, and then disappear. Do you think your car will even have a GPS 5 years from now? Probably not — GPS will disappear as the car begins to drive itself. Things are becoming “things from the olden days” literally before our very eyes.
  • FMC Agriculture, Los Cabos, Mexico  – a lot of talks this year in the agriculture and related industries. Think about what is coming soon: driverless, autonomous tractors! Drone aerial technology for monitoring of crop health. Pinpoint targeted seed varietals that are designed for a particular acre of ground that meets certain, key characteristics. Global Acceleration of change. And above all, growth opportunities. Key message: don’t presume that the way your industry works today will be how it works tomorrow: everything around you is going to be very, very different.
  • Black & Veatch , Aspen, Colorado – a keynote for their annual Utility Executive Leadership Institute Conference. My focus? The future of infrastructure, energy, utilities — and what happens when everything around us becomes intelligent, connected, aware, and location oriented. Key message? From now to 2020, industries will be redefined by those who dare to go with big, bold thinking as to solve some of the leading challenges of our time
  • Pella Doors & Windows, Pella, Iowa – and so I found myself in Idaho in the middle of Febraury for a talk to this long established manufacturing company on the key trends that are redefing the manufacturing sector — and every industry, into the future. One of my key messages: out to 2020, a world of rapid concept generationr, rapid concept development and rapid prototyping are the new normal. This requires a new type of skill set and new ways of bringing products to market — as we’ve seen with Tesla Motors and many other new startup manufacturing organizations. Key message – as we head to 2020, we’re witnessing organizations toss away the 20th century mass production methodologies in favour of highly customized, uniquely designed, fast developed new ways of getting things done. It involves flexibility, agilgiy, and the ability to innovate in ways that previously have not been possible, using technologies that were barely conceived of just five years ago.
  • Surge Accelerator, Houston, Texas – an opening keynote for this event involving pitches by young, growth oriented startup companies focused on opportunity in the energy sector. I must admit, it’s the only event at which I’ve seen the audience drinking Bloody Mary’s first thing in the morning (they were served as part of the event)  – this is Texas after all! One of my main points was that we can expect a lot of ongoing, unexpected change over the long term in the energy sector and other industries. By way of examine, I showed multiple headlines from 2008 about the forthcoming “boom” in nuclear power. (i.e. it was on June 29, 2008, that the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran a breathless headline : “Nuclear Renaissance: Nuclear Power is Safer Than Ever And We Need it To Reduce Pollution and Our Dependence on Foreign Oil.“) Of course, they weren’t thinking or aware or cognizant of what was bubbling below the surface, so to speak, in the revolution  is shale-gas, horizontal drilling and other leading edge exploration and production techniques. Key message? Between now and 2020, be prepared for a lot of surprises that might challenge everything you know, and ensure you’ve got the innovation capability to adapt to short, sharp shocks of change.

There’s one more item that should be on the list – eye surgery! Three days ago, I had two intraocular lenses implanted, in what is known as Lens Replacement Surgery. It’s the same surgery as cataract surgery – before you get the cataracts. The benefit? For the first time in 34 years, I’m not wearing contact lenses or eyeglasses. I joke to my wife that I’ve become a bionic man! Whatever the case may be, I’ve got better vision — and hopefully, even more insight into what the future might hold.

 

The Miracle that is Greece….
November 25th, 2013

A week ago, I had the delightful opportunity of being the closing keynote speaker for a global conference of family wealth managers that was held at a resort outside Athens. It was a pretty fascinating group ….

Athens2013Needless to say, I don’t take on too many international keynotes; the travel can be gruelling, and to do a quality job, you need to ensure you’ve planned in enough time. And in this case, the trip was all the more wonderful because I was able to bring along my wife, Christa. We turned it into a bit of an extended adventure.

We spent 3 days in and around the Athens area (in addition to side trips to Italy and Germany.) And I must say, I came away pretty impressed with what I saw.

I think my expectations of Athens have, in large part, been shaped by international media coverage around the upheaval, protests, riots and political challenges that have occurred through the last several years. Certainly, it is a country that is in the midst of significant turmoil and challenge.

But here is what I saw — the people were genuinely friendly. There was a vibrancy in the tourist areas, the markets, the streets. There were no visible signs of unrest. I kind of liked the place. I was impressed; it did not fit with my expectations of something much worse after the political challenges of the last few years.

On the flight home, I read the slide deck of another presenter at the conference — George Pagoulatos, Professor of European Politics & Economy Athens University of Economics & College of Europe.

And I’m fascinated by what he has summarized, in terms of just how quickly has aligned itself to its new reality:

This has been the largest fiscal consolidation of any country in modern history

  • the primary budget deficit of 10.5% in 2009 is now 0.0% in 2013
  • the cyclically adjusted fiscal balance: ‐19.1% in 2009 and just +0.6% in 2013
  • the 2013 budget deficit 2013 at 4.1%  is lower than Ireland, Portugal, Spain, the UK, and the US!
  • the current account deficit is now close to zerom down from 14% GDP in 2008

It is estimated that the country will see the first signs of positive GDP growth in 2014.

These are truly staggering numbers, and a truly astonishing achievement. Granted, it has not come without significant pain to the Greek people. There is a lot of unrest bubbling beneath the surface, as well as political challenges and uncertainty. The rates of unemployment are simply staggering, particularly amongst the youth.

So how will things unfold for Greece from here? It’s hard to say, particularly given the unemployment situation. But what I saw myself, and what I see from George Pagoulatos, convince me that Greece has likely hit bottom, and there’s no where to go up but up.

Let’s hope so. It’s a wonderful country.

ERAPoll

“I’m now building polls, live, in real time, while on stage in front of several hundred people. Talk about a deeply powerful method of providing for audience interaction.”

As my audiences become ever more engaged with their mobile devices, I’ve learned that I must continually step up my game and ensure that they remain engaged with me!

Attention spans in society are collapsing, and we who own and do our job on stage must ensure that we keep those attention spans on the message…. whether I’m in front of scientists, leadership and researchers at NASA’s Goddard Space Center or 2,000 ERA real estate professionals in Austin, Texas.

And so my most potent powerful weapon in that regard is my use of PollEverywhere on stage.

Yesterday during a keynote in Chicago, in a pattern that I’ve been using for about a year, I took things a step further than simply using several multiple choice text message based questions from the stage.

I worked interactively with the audiences to build a list of the most difficult challenges that they may face — and another list of the responses they think might help them deal with those challenges. After coming up with each list, everyone in the room got a chance to vote on the responses!

Live, in real time, in front of hundreds of people. This is fun stuff! Think about it — working with the audience, I’m now building part of my keynote on the fly to delve deeply into the real issues and opportunities my audience is thinking about.

I’m doing this more often as of late : here’s a post I did about one recent talk, “Highly interactive, highly insightful – a private strategy meeting for 50!”.

Here is what the room came up with yesterday in Chicago, n terms of their most significant challenges — and after I built the list in my Web browser, how they voted on the list. (Click on either image below for a larger image)

SignificantChallenge-550

I then worked the room again, seeking answers on how they might respond to the challenge. Once again, I built poll in real time, and had the room vote on the results.

ChallengeResponse-550

This is POWERFUL stuff for a keynote presentation.

If you are seeking someone to wow your audience, challenge them to think differently about innovation and the future, then you might find this to be a really fascinating way to take your meeting or event to the next level.

By the way, when you’re on stage, you’ve got to keep your cool — and have a tech partner who excels at customer service! So it is with PollEverywhere. Somehow during the process, just after voting and building the second poll, I lost the results to the first one! While on stage, I commented about this to the audience, looked up the customer support phone number for PollEverywhere, and phoned them.

They picked up the call in just under two minutes — and immediately showed me how to fix my problem.

Astounding, wonderful, stupendous customer service!

I LOVE POLLEVERYWHERE!